A recent article by Dishan Joseph (see below) has marked the role of a commando outfit known as the SBS, or Special Boat Service, that was developed within the Sri Lankan Navy (SLN) during the Eelam Wars. The story is complex and demands an elaborate ‘companion piece’ that is attentive to time, combat locations, initiatives and the lessons derived from a remarkable and formidable enemy, namely, the Sea Tigers. In war one becomes like one’s opponent in order to survive. The innovativeness of the LTTE was monumental and its sea-faring capacities were one reason why it outdid-and-outbid the other Tamil militant organisations in the fight to lead the claim for independence for Thamililam during the 1980s/1990s.
The struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting — Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (1979)
Memory does not explicitly feature among the four pillars of transitional justice: truth, justice, reparations and guarantees of non-recurrence. Hence the precise role memory plays within a transitional justice process is often left to those negotiating the contours of the process. Memory is a vital ingredient in ascertaining the truth and in securing evidence to ensure justice for victims and survivors. Moreover, memorialisation of loss has a place in the symbolic initiatives owed to victims and survivors under the reparations pillar. Meanwhile, public memorials commemorating man-made tragedies contribute towards a society’s collective commitment to non-recurrence. Thus memory often becomes the lifeblood that preserves and binds the traditional pillars of transitional justice.
Chandre Dharmawardana, 30 March 2021, in Email Memo entitled “Alleged Human Rights Abuses of the Sri Lankan Army” ……….. a memo commenting on responses to his previous Essay[i] … with highlighting imposed by The Editor, Thuppahi
Ramesh Somasundaram, (commenting on the Thuppahi website) is absolutely right in saying “that the Sri Lankan governments and the Sri Lankan military personal have been correctly accused of human rights abuses. “Sri Lankan Soldiers have been accused of grave crimes, and they should be investigated and brought to trial. Many of the soldiers were simply carrying out orders, and so the high command must bear the final responsibility except in cases where the soldiers exceeded their acts as soldiers and acted even more inhumanely than needed.
Situation Map 2 February 2009 — an excellent work by, I think?, the Daily Mirror
All those addressing the fervour that promoted the killing work of the Zahran Hashim jihadist network in Sri Lanka in April 2019 must come to grips with the modern currents of Wahhabi political thinking that go back to the outpourings of the Egyptian intellectuals Sayyid Qutb and Al-Zawahiri in the latter half of the 20th century. This step will then take investigators to the Al-Qaida movement and thence to the more recent brand of Wahhabism embodied within ISIS.
Lord Michael Naseby, in Island, 5 March 2021, where the title is “Lord Naseby asks why Adele not prosecuted in UK for child recruitment”
Lord Naseby President of the UK all party British-Sri Lanka Parliamentary group, has questioned the failure on the part of the UK to prosecute senior LTTE leader Adela Balasingham, wife of the outfit’s late theoretician Anton Balasingham. Lord Naseby said that Adele, who had been involved with the LTTE for several decades, was responsible for recruitment and deployment of child soldiers.
Sarath Gamani De Silva, in The Sunday Island, 26 February 2021, where the title runs “Problems in Geneva: Facts that brought us here””
The annual patriotic taunts and the laments of the majority are heard as the day of reckoning approaches in Geneva. We are shouting ourselves hoarse, complaining that the whole world is ganging up against the brave Sri Lankans, to punish them for eliminating the most brutal terrorist outfit the world has ever seen. It is true that what was achieved in 2009 is something that no other country could do in eliminating terrorism. But does that guarantee peace when the basic grievances that led to civil unrest over the years have not been addressed?
This article is not an attempt to justify violence, untruth or deplorable and unprincipled activities of other countries. Nor is it to devalue the achievements up to 2009. The intention is to open the eyes of my own countrymen to the reality of the hopeless situation facing the nation.
Raj Gonsalkoralein Daily FT, 25 February 2021, where the title runs thus: “UNHRC What is the real agenda?”
The US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken seems to give an indication as to what the real agenda behind his and his country’s support for this resolution. [the UNHRC one]. He speaks of “lack of accountability for past atrocities”. This statement implies that atrocities were committed if there is to be accountability for them.
An Email Memorandum from Gus Mathews in London, c. 24 February 2021[i]
Michael, I am afraid there are no niceties in war. War is brutal as is the detritus of war. Unlike in a conventional war where the behaviours of troops are defined by the ‘Geneva Convention,’ it is not applicable in a civil insurrection especially one that attacks a legitimately elected democratic government. No country is bound to tolerate a secessionist group especially one that utilises terror to achieve its ends. History is replete with examples of civil wars that were prompted by secession. The most glaring example is the United States civil war. We also have an example from Vietnam and currently ongoing is the Korean debacle.
Tiger dead collected by the SL Army …. and Tamil civlians incl Tigers in civies leaving the final battle arena east of Nandhikadal Lagoon
see Roberts, Tamil Person & State. Pictorial, Colombo, 2014 for details and more Pix
Mathias Keitle, a German scholar from Statalendorf ++
Sri Lanka eliminated a dreaded terrorist group, with intricate global links, but receives little credit for it! Unlike elsewhere in the world, Sri Lanka has succeeded in resettling 300,000 IDPs (Internal Displaced Persons). There are no starving children for the NGOs to feed but this gets ignored!
Sri Lanka has avoided mass misery, epidemics and starvation, but the West takes no notice of this. Sri Lanka has attained enviable socio-economic standards for a developing country while eliminating terrorism but gets no
Sri Lanka – UNHRC-Ref A/HRC/46/20- 12 January 2021 = Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Sri Lanka’
Assessment by the Rt. Hon. the Lord Naseby PC- Hon President All Party British-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Group. **++**
I have just finished a careful read of this extraordinary document which glosses over the full extent of the War when a group of vindictive terrorists tried to create a Tamil quasi neo-socialist revolutionary state by first murdering all the moderate Tamil leaders, then murdering President Premadasa and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, as well as countless ministers, parliamentarians, civil society leaders and finally using extreme violence to wage war against the armed forces of the democratically elected Government of Sri Lanka. All in the name of Eelam.
Thuppahi's Blog · This web site presents the interventions of MICHAEL ROBERTS in the public realm with reference to Sri Lankan political affairs. It will embrace the politics of cricket as well. ROBERTS was educated at St. Aloysius College in Galle and the universities of Peradeniya and Oxford. He taught History at Peradeniya University and Anthropology at Adelaide university. He is now retired and lives in Adelaide.