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.
Meagan Flynn, in Washington Post, 17 April 2018, where the title runs thus: “How thousands of songs composed in concentration camps are finding new life”
Ilse Weber 1903-1944
Ilse Weber, a Jewish poet, was imprisoned at the concentration camp at Terezin in German-occupied Czechoslovakia when she wrote a song called “When I Was Lying Down in Terezin’s Children’s Clinic.” The song was about caring for sick children at the camp where Weber worked as a nurse. She had little-to-no medicine available. But she had her poetry and her music — some of which her husband managed to salvage by hiding the written verses in a garden shed after her death at Auschwitz in 1944.
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
Chandre Dharma-wardana,24 March 2021, whose preferred title is “The Real-Politik behind the UNHRC Actions and What the West Aims to Achieve in Sri Lanka” … … note PS at end….. End Notes are by Thuppahi
The core-group of Western countries behind the UNHRC resolution have their own highly developed intelligence sources of information on the Eelam War as it was of intense interest to the Western nations – in fact the foreign ministers of UK and France actually came to Colombo to intervene personally. Given that level of interest, they had reams of information on the Eelam War. Lord Naseby has exposed the tip of this hidden iceberg of information possessed by the British Government alone. The US, the Indians, the French, Germans, and most of all the Norwegians possessed first-hand information. None of that has been exploited by the UN, but remain hidden because, in all probability, what is in them are of little use to the agenda of the core group of nations behind the UNHRC resolution.
Matt Ridley, in The Spectator, 9 May 2020 … where the title runs ” We know everything – and nothing – about Covid
We know everything about Sars-CoV-2 and nothing about it. We can read every one of the (on average) 29,903 letters in its genome and know exactly how its 15 genes are transcribed into instructions to make which proteins. But we cannot figure out how it is spreading in enough detail to tell which parts of the lockdown of society are necessary and which are futile. Several months into the crisis we are still groping through a fog of ignorance and making mistakes. There is no such thing as ‘the science’.
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
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.