Meanwhile in Sri Lanka…


by Sunny
9th August, 2006 at 2:16 am    

A veteran political opponent of the Tamil Tigers was wounded yesterday and three people were killed when his vehicle was torn apart by a bomb in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.

The bomb, the first in Colombo in nearly four months, coincided with the funerals of 17 local tsunami aid staff shot dead in north-eastern Sri Lanka at the weekend, and brought the death toll over the past fortnight to 440.

Yesterday’s remote controlled bomb marked a change in tempo in the fighting which, since it erupted last December, had been confined to the north and east, and raised fears that a tattered three-year-old ceasefire had finally given way to all-out war. [The Times]

I hate to be the constant harbringer of bad news and writing about one bombing after another but, as Raz pointed out earlier, let’s not lose track of the escalating violence in SL.


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  1. Pessimisto — on 9th August, 2006 at 2:54 am  

    Agreed, let us not lose track. Especially when the Sri Lankan government is becoming as bad as the LTTE when it comes to tactics – it is fairly clear that the aid workers were killed by government troops, and there will most likely not be any proper inverstigation. Mr Rajapakse and his government seems to have lost control of SL armed forces, unless he actively accepts and encourages incidents such as these.

  2. sittingnut — on 9th August, 2006 at 4:16 am  

    pessimisto
    how the hell did you come to that conclusion that it is ‘fairly clear’ that government troops killed the aid workers? care to explain in detail if you dare
    don’t make stupid allegations without having a clue as to the circumstances.
    or do you believe all the terrorist propaganda you see.

  3. StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara — on 9th August, 2006 at 8:30 am  

    it is fairly clear that the aid workers were killed by government troops,

    Yeah, where on earth do you source your info? Besides I dont see the LTTE offering to open an investigation. But hey they dont have to adhere to any International laws…oh how lucky they are!

    Yesterday’s remote controlled bomb marked a change in tempo in the fighting which, since it erupted last December, had been confined to the north and east, and raised fears that a tattered three-year-old ceasefire had finally given way to all-out war.

    Nope, the change in tempo came two years ago when a suicide bomber tried to blow up Douglas Devananda – the Tamil politician whos party member was yesterdays target.
    The next big change in tempo came when Lakshman Kadiragamar (also Tamil) Foreign Minister was bumped off by the Tigers, he was probably the biggest thorn in their backside.
    That was in November.

    Then of course we had the suicide bombing undertaken by a PREGNANT woman of the Chief of the Army, a deputy General was killed by a bomber a month later and a public bus was hit with a claymore mine killing 64 including schoolkids.

    I needn’t go on but the level of violence, whilst definitely hitting a new high since November, is part of a ‘double-pokey*’ attitude thats going on. It started off in many ways as an assesment of strength but political assasinations take things a step further, as I mentioned above , the LTTE don’t have to operate by any rules of engagement (which gives them a distinct advantage) and wont have to worry now that they’ve kicked out most of the ‘impartial’ Scandinavian truce monitors.

    Peace is still on the cards but certain things may have to play off naturally…

    *you poke me, Ill poke you and we ll see what happens.

    Bomb kills three amid fears that island is on verge of renewed war

    I get the distinct feeling that all these hacks are just praying that SL returns to war so they can finally bathe in their self righteous glory. They keep saying ‘one step closer to war’ so often now that we should’ve reached Armageddon by their estimate…its a far more complex situation than that lot can ever hope to fathom.

  4. mirax — on 9th August, 2006 at 10:29 am  

    I can’t fathom the LTTE’s actions myself, Kesara! What the fuck do they want/intend? Running rings round the Norwegians and sacking the truce monitors? All to bitchslap the GOSL into more favourable terms when they finally deign to negotiate?

  5. mirax — on 9th August, 2006 at 10:31 am  

    Btw the talks in Nepal between the marxists and interim government is on the verge of breakdown too. So much joy being spread around by mofos with guns.

  6. BurgherBoi — on 9th August, 2006 at 12:37 pm  

    The latest blast in Colombo was about two minutes from my Uncles house, another Aunt was private secretary to Kadiragamar. Everyone knows someone who is in some way linked to or has been affected by the atrocities on both sides in SL. I was out there during a brief lull in violent activity at the end of May and the atmosphere in the capital was (as nearly always) incredibly complacent. The fact is that within SL clear and concise reporting of the facts of outbursts such as these is always limited by a number of factors. The state controlled media is obviously censored to some degree, several outlets are woefully sectarian in their coverage. In addition, much of the fighting happens in incredibly remote areas which are hard too reach and where facts are lost in the general chaos of events as I am sure will be the case with the aid workers. (I notice that I have seen no mention of the nationality of the aid workers, though I presume that they are SL working for french org.) In any case, the main catalyst for eventual resolution of the situation; pressure on the leaders of the factions from the people that they suppposedly represent, will not emerge whilst those directly affected do not hold all the facts and are pursuaded in their beliefs by whichever group happens to be shouting loudest in their area.

  7. mirax — on 9th August, 2006 at 3:12 pm  

    The murdered aid workers were local SL Tamils. I don’t know their religion. It seems Sunny believes that if they were muslim, then they were undoubtedly killed by the LTTE, cause the LTTE is, er, Hindu you know.

  8. BurgherBoi — on 9th August, 2006 at 5:40 pm  

    I stand partially corrected

  9. Kismet Hardy — on 9th August, 2006 at 5:52 pm  

    If the tigers were muslim and didn’t have women, what’s the likelihood they’d be linked with the al-qaeda long time ago?

    Kinda makes you think this whole ‘terrorists working as one’ thing is just bollocks

  10. Sunny — on 9th August, 2006 at 6:16 pm  

    It seems Sunny believes that if they were muslim, then they were undoubtedly killed by the LTTE, cause the LTTE is, er, Hindu you know.

    What?

  11. temptation — on 9th August, 2006 at 6:27 pm  

    hey Sunny, i was just flicking through this weeks issue of THE ECONOMIST mag and there is an article that made me think of you, pg67…

  12. mirax — on 9th August, 2006 at 6:59 pm  

    I was referring to this Sunny:

    >>from the ‘what muslims want’ thread

    Take the blinkers off, Sunny. Islam is a major problem, whereas christians, jehovahs witnesses, sikhs and hindus are not.
    I guess that depends who you ask doesn’t it? You have a very western centric view on this.

    Your reply linked to the LTTE massacre of about a 100 muslim villagers. The LTTE are murdering scum, but they don’t kill on the basis of religion. They are not a ‘hindu’ outfit. But that’s the impression your answer created with its curious juxtaposition.

  13. sittingnut — on 9th August, 2006 at 7:25 pm  

    burgherboi
    what was that you said?
    state media is not censored but is biased . but there are more than enough private media representing all shades of opinion even openly ltte ones.are you denying that? may be you should come to sri lanka more often before passing judgement.

  14. Bikhair aka Taqiyyah — on 9th August, 2006 at 8:58 pm  

    Mirax,

    “Islam is a major problem…”

    How exactly is Islam a major problem? I know Muslims, some, many of them, are a major problem. As far as I am concerned the lack of Islam is a major problem for Muslims.

  15. mirax — on 9th August, 2006 at 9:36 pm  

    I didnt write that, I was quoting Bert Preast.

    Bert: Take the blinkers off, Sunny. Islam is a major problem, whereas christians, jehovahs witnesses, sikhs and hindus are not.
    Sunny: I guess that depends who you ask doesn’t it? You have a very western centric view on this.

    FWIW, I don’t think that Islam itself is any more problematic than any other religion. I do have issues with any religion that has political ambitions or encroaches into the secular public space. I am atheist; I’m hardly likely to warmly embrace theocracy of any sort.

  16. Kismet Hardy — on 9th August, 2006 at 9:54 pm  

    I’m an ehtheist

    I say what I believe

    People go ‘eh?’

  17. Sunny — on 9th August, 2006 at 10:02 pm  

    Mirax – There was no curious juxtaposition. When I wrote the previous comment I was referring to the Indian Hindu-Muslim riots of 1992 and 2002. And when referring to Sikhs, I was thinking of Sikh militancy during 1984. Any other smart-ass questions?

  18. childof25 — on 9th August, 2006 at 10:35 pm  

    “Yesterday’s remote controlled bomb marked a change in tempo in the fighting which, since it erupted last December, had been confined to the north and east,” – where has Nick Meo been for the last year or so, definitely couldn’t have been Colombo. As StrangelyPsychedelique / Kesara the violence came to Colombo some time ago, don’t forget the assassination of members of EPDP, etc in broad daylight in Colombo (one was opposite House of Fashion).

  19. Bert Preast — on 9th August, 2006 at 10:37 pm  

    Mirax wrote: “FWIW, I don’t think that Islam itself is any more problematic than any other religion. I do have issues with any religion that has political ambitions or encroaches into the secular public space. I am atheist; I’m hardly likely to warmly embrace theocracy of any sort”

    Islam in itself need not be problematic. But islam in the west is costing us both a lot of money for no return.

    You seem to have quoted me in the wrong thread? :D

  20. Bert Preast — on 9th August, 2006 at 10:40 pm  

    My apologies Mirax. I’m confused, but not quite as confused as Bikhair. Communications seems to be, as ever, the problem.

  21. Roger — on 10th August, 2006 at 11:26 am  

    “As far as I am concerned the lack of Islam is a major problem for Muslims. ”
    That- or what some muslims would do to remedy it- is the major problem for everyone else.

  22. mirax — on 11th August, 2006 at 9:08 am  

    >>When I wrote the previous comment I was referring to the Indian Hindu-Muslim riots of 1992 and 2002. And when referring to Sikhs, I was thinking of Sikh militancy during 1984. Any other smart-ass questions?

    You thought of these examples – all correct- but didn’t write them or link them, just the LTTE in that inappropriate context.

  23. raz — on 12th August, 2006 at 8:24 pm  

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4786001.stm

    The killing is really spiralling now. Might even overtake Lebanon soon.

  24. mirax — on 12th August, 2006 at 9:04 pm  

    I’ve been reading the news, Raz. All very depressing.

  25. Sunny — on 12th August, 2006 at 9:23 pm  

    Mirax, I don’t need to link them! You know enough about south asian politics not to have to make me spell everything out. If someone like j0nz had made that assumption then I’d understand.
    Instead you run into your standard little rhetoric that I’m only saying to appease Muslims. Sheesh.

  26. mirax — on 12th August, 2006 at 10:13 pm  

    >>> I don’t need to link them! You know enough about south asian politics not to have to make me spell everything out. If someone like j0nz had made that assumption then I’d understand.

    Sorry Sunny, but your logic doesn’t hold up. You don’t write for just one person, me. You write for a much larger audience whose levels of knowledge you cannot presume, so it is very sloppy to not make your examples clear. You seem to see this a pedantic quibbling but it really behooves you as a good journalist NOT to leave that kind of room for misinterpretation.

    >>Instead you run into your standard little rhetoric that I’m only saying to appease Muslims. Sheesh.

    See, here is where that lazy, dangerous habit of
    generalising pops up again. I have NEVER ONCE accused you of appeasing muslims and it is not a ‘standard rhetoric’ of mine – I challenge you to prove it or withdraw it.

  27. mirax — on 14th August, 2006 at 10:45 am  

    Not that many care hereabouts really care about what’s happening in Srilanka but here goes:

    Bomb blast in Colombo kills 7.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/4789991.stm

    That article mentions an air raid on an orphanage that killed 43 schoolgirls. Was that true? Where was the international media? All in the ME?

    I recall NO NEWS REPORTS at all about this.

  28. Arif — on 14th August, 2006 at 11:15 am  

    That’s a massive atrocity. Sri Lanka (as well as Pakistan and India) should be pressurised to sign the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court. I guess that means us.

    Interested to read that the Tamil Tigers claim they want to highlight mistreatment of Tamil people. Leaving aside the mistreatment they themselves may be responsible for, I would like the media to report what their allegations are and what the real human rights situation is for Tamil people in Sri Lanka.

  29. sonia — on 14th August, 2006 at 11:29 am  

    to be fair to Mirax, I agree ‘appeasing Muslims’ is not one of her standard pieces of rhetoric.

  30. mirax — on 14th August, 2006 at 7:06 pm  

    Hmmn, who cares how many die in Srilanka or Darfur? It doesn’t provide that frisson of excitement and delight the ME does, hey?

    Over the weekend, this was in the Guardian’s letters page:

    As international focus turns to the Middle East, the ruinous conflict in Darfur continues unabated (Darfur returns to chaos after peace deal fails, August 9). Gross violations of human rights and humanitarian law persist unchecked, as thousands are being killed, raped and forced from their homes. Despite best efforts, the strength of the present African Union peacekeeping force – Amis – is limited in this brutal conflict, as little or no protection is offered to the vulnerable.

    With the peace agreement seemingly in tatters, the international community must intervene quickly by strengthening Amis with adequate resources and equipment. As well, they must push for a UN peacekeeping mission with a strong mandate, as this is critical to the survival of Darfur’s civilians. For thousands in Darfur, international intervention is their only hope. One major international crisis should not cause the rest of the world to forget those whose lives are still being destroyed on the other side of the globe by an ongoing, brutal conflict.
    Kate Allen
    Director, Amnesty International UK

    See this is why I think it a bit obscene to claim Qana as genocide (quite a few excitable people did that in the media) when a real genocide – or something damn close to it if you want to quibble – has been underway for many, many months right under our noses.

  31. mirax — on 14th August, 2006 at 7:15 pm  

    The ICC, Arif? Well it’s good to be a signatory but what after?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/letters/story/0,,1842893,00.html

    That same letters page has another touching on the Gatumba massacre in 2004, related to the other genocide of our time, Rwanda. These 16 signatories seem to have put their trust in the ICC -as a last ditch hope- but really, who is there to help them or champion their case? They call upon the Uk and the EU. But everyone is otherwise occupied. No?

  32. raz — on 14th August, 2006 at 10:05 pm  

    Tamil Tigers tried to assasinate the Pakistani ambassador today. They failed, but killed 7 people. Fucking terrorist scum.

  33. Sunny — on 15th August, 2006 at 1:13 am  

    Mirax – on the orphanage bombing
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4792943.stm

    btw, i totally misunderstood your original point to me, now having re-read it. Ahem. So, err, my apologies.

  34. mirax — on 15th August, 2006 at 5:31 am  

    I don’t think the target was the Pakistani diplomat, Raz,his convoy just happened to be passing by – in the vicinity of Rajapakse’s official residence. Ltte have no beef with Pakistan, as far as I know. But cannot fail to say murdering scum often enough in their case.

  35. mirax — on 15th August, 2006 at 5:31 am  

    Thanks Sunny, appreciate it.

  36. Desi Italiana — on 15th August, 2006 at 6:56 am  

    I agree with Mirax on two points:

    1) “Hmmn, who cares how many die in Srilanka or Darfur? It doesn’t provide that frisson of excitement and delight the ME does, hey?”

    Completely agree with you here. Many people (including myself) do not know much about SL politics, when clearly there are major events that have taken place. Everyday when I read the news, I see snippets of scores of people dying, clashes, etc. It’s hard to make sense of things when you don’t really know the background. And you are totally right, the ME gets much exposure when SL and Darfur don’t (for various reasons, ie US as a superpower whose foreign policy’s stakes are higher in the ME, etc).

    (BTW, if anyone has links to informative article, pieces,books, that would be much appreciated.)

    2)”The LTTE are murdering scum, but they don’t kill on the basis of religion.”

    From whatever I know about the LTTE, I think Mirax is right about this.

  37. Arif — on 15th August, 2006 at 11:13 am  

    Also agree with Mirax. I think the focus on the middle east is obsessive – in the sense that it excludes other wars, occupations and human rights abuses. Sudan has been absolutely vicious to the people in the South, and yet went on to make a peace deal with the SPLA – it seems like media attention itself doesn’t make things better or worse.

    Who knows if the ICC would make human rights abusers more accountable as well. It is a new organisation, focusing on just the worst abuses, but it is a start along the right lines. I guess I want to feel something can make a difference. Sri Lanka has (had?) its own human rights commission. I think these are the kinds or groups I want to learn from and who might tell us what (if anything) we can do as concerned individuals far away.

  38. Arif — on 15th August, 2006 at 5:22 pm  

    I found this interesting – text of a constitution for an Interim Self Governing Authority proposed by the LTTE.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3232913.stm

    Although the preamble is almost certainly a whitewash over their crimes, and the principle of Self Government is something which the SL Government would oppose, the constitution itself is very reasonable and a good starting point for discussion.

  39. raz — on 15th August, 2006 at 6:25 pm  

    Bloody hell. If either Israel or Hazbollah had killed 61 schoolgirls it would have been the biggest news story ever :(

  40. Arif — on 15th August, 2006 at 6:30 pm  

    The Sri Lankan Government are still maintaining that it was a terrorist camp, and that the monitors who visited didn’t have a military background, so should not be given credibility.

    It does seem like a massive atrocity to me too. A war crimes tribunal must be worth considering.

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