Monday, January 02, 2006

strangers night or how to make enemies and offend people.

some people never learn.
new year's eve in colombo was marred by a so called cordon and search operation dubbed strangers night. nor was this the first one, several similar operations were conducted since the recent escalation of violence, both here in colombo and in northeast. after checking on large numbers of residents, police arrested around 1000 people and then released almost all of them. by this morning(2nd) only about dozen people remain in custody.

question is exactly what the authorities aim to accomplish by this mindless use of force.

officially this is an attempt at preventing an imminent attacks by the ltte and generally disrupting tigers' network here. mahinda buffalo himself has reportedly explained that only the 'criminals' have to fear this. that statement betrays not only that he lacks a coherent strategy to deal with the present crisis, but perhaps more importantly his inability to empathize with the minority mindset.

when police knocks on a house of a sinhala buddhist and proceeds to question him, he indeed does not have to fear anything, unless he is a criminal. he can more or less rely on the laws of the country to protect him. however, when police does the same to a tamil, the situation is completely different. long history of racial prejudice and constant equating of all tamils with tigers, means that most police officers almost unconsciously suspect every tamil. that some of them are ill educated and venal only exacerbate this. result is unnecessary humiliation, harassment, and then inevitable alienation, of not only all those tamils who are unfortunate enough to go through this, but almost all tamils.

we, sinhalese in general (not just buffalo) fail to grasp this difference . since most people get released eventually, we tend to dismiss the whole thing as just another wartime inconvenience (even duty) that everybody has to put up with. that is not so. searches and even roadblocks can be terrifying experiences for tamils, while we only suffer from occasional invasion of privacy.

kotakadeniya (recently appointed jhu adviser to defense secretary , whose idea this was probably) and his ilk, will argue that the search is justified since it will prevent attacks in colombo. this is highly doubtful. ltte teams (not just individual suicide bombers) were able to carry out and then hide without a trace, even when similar search operations were carried out earlier (even when kotakadeniya himself was deputy inspector general - colombo). next ltte attack in colombo, now almost certain to happen anyday imo, will prove how wrong these people are. (btw i do not believe that ltte will attack civilians targets this time around, to avoid international condemnation in this era of global war against t terrorism).

only way the government will be able to prevent attacks and disrupt the ltte's colombo agents (other than through pure luck) is through good human intelligence work, not through mass scale arrests. in fact, i am not sure that police can properly investigate all those arrested in an operation like this in any meaningful way, given the numbers involved. same untrained and venal police officers will probably let the real ltte people escape, if they were caught at all. problem is human intelligence takes ages to develop properly.

unofficial cause (partly at least) for this stupid search was, that buffalo and his herd were feeling completely helpless in the face of ltte's provocations. unwilling to admit in public( given all their empty 'patriotic' slogan shouting during th election campaign) that the best method to react is not to be provoked, they felt they must do something to show off they are not impotent. hence this operation.

well, nobody is going to be fooled for long. instead, tamils here will feel more sympathy for a state of their own that does not harass people, tigers will get encouraged to attempt ever more damaging provocations in order to get similar or worse responses from buffalo, and army will have to suffer ever more causalities as a result of bad planning and general playing to the gallery, that seem to be the developing hallmark of buffalo administration. they better wise up quickly and start working on a comprehensive plan on how to deal with the cowardly tigers when they are forced to go to war eventually, otherwise the whole country may collapse, as in 2001.

18 comments:

indi said...

the idea of policemen rounding up Tamils (without warrants or evidence) is both ineffective and insulting. In America as well civil liberties are recently being seen as a luxury, but they're part of the very fabric of a democratic society.

You have the right to not be pulled out of your house on New Year's Eve for no reason. The country also has a right to be protected from terrorism - via the hard and pain-staking work of gathering real intelligence. Intimidating normal Tamil citizens is insulting to all Sri Lankans, and it doesn't make us any safer.

Thanks for speaking out on this.

ashanthi said...

s/nut - great post. I have forwarded this onto a lot of people.

for someone who claims not to be a journo you sure do know how to get to the crux of the matter.

when you have a corrupt, bankrupt, violent ridden police state - lets face it, anyone can get arrested.

there are many appalling things happening to Tamils at the moment, as you know. Under the guise of "special operations" - the words "stangers night" takes on such a whole new meaning. So the SL army is sending in young troops to "search & destory" Tamil women whilst their husbands stand outside & watch. I do believe this was the same sort of tactics that the IPKF applied when they were last in town. Must be what Mahinda went all the way to India to guage the fier points of.

Well, well, well - we are a Buhhdist state after all, arent we. What better way to subjugate a race than with rape & murder.

As a consequence young Sinhalese boys in the army in Jaffna are getting killed as if they were toy soldiers that can be blow to smithereens at the toss of a grenade or pull of a pin.

So all those people, not us, but those other people, who really, really fought very, very hard for peace... I guess they know about these things. They know all the stories, from all the sides. Right now they probably feel sick. Be good to hear what they have to say as opposed to some pounce who thinks he's just God's gift to blogsphere that he can drop in here & give you a nice pat on the back.

What a joke to compare what is happening in SL today with the "civil liberty" issues in the US. How nice of Indi to drop in to give us a comparison of how rotten the Yanks are & so I suppose we shoudln't feel too ashamed.

Don't kid yourself s/nut that the civil liberties of Sinhales people aren't stamped on - you're just not talking or listening to the right people.

Was really pleased to read your post till I read the schmuky holier than thou comment.

Keshi said...

** however, when police does the same to a tamil, the situation is completely different

so true...my Tamil cousins/friends say the same..racial prejudice is always there and it's really unfair. To be pulled out of ur house just cos ur Tamil is such a shame....how can the SL govt/Police do this to the fellow-citizens just cos they r born into Tamil families? As long as Sri Lankans have this racist attitude, no good will happen to SL....

Keshi.

Komisiripala said...

Well said Ashanthi

When one peoples rights are tramped on the remainder of the people of that country. Who are we Sinhala/Buddhists does not mean nothing happens to us.

A bomb goes off, EVERYONE is affected. Soldiers die EVERYONE gets affected. I don't think i have to spell it out how and why everyone gets affected now do I?

civil liberties in the US is right now a privilege. How many people are surveilled w/o court permission? Hell, everyone watches what they say on the phone etc.

Strangers Night et al is I agree a poorly disguised excuse for rooting out 'malcontents'.

But just think, do we need operations like this? I think so, its all well and good to ASSUME that LTTE won't hit civilian targets. What will we do when they do hit it? Put our heads in our hands and say 'aiyyo, aparadei' and then pick up the remote and flip the channel? What about THOSE WHO DIE? The Sinhalese and the Tamils and the muslims and the burghers?

Its like global terrorism in the world today, Muslims are targeted because majority of terrorists are Muslims. In SL, the innocent Tamil people did not choose for the LTTE to be there. But they are there, and that is another burden the LTTE has placed on Tamils.

Not all Tamil people are LTTE. But the LTTE are Tamil. And as such, the burden they create is of their own. The security sweeps protect not just Sinhalese, but they protect SRI LANKANS.

sittingnut said...

indi:
great to see you here.
Intimidating normal Tamil citizens is insulting to all Sri Lankans, and it doesn't make us any safer.-
that's it in a nutshell. :-)

ashanthi:
great to see you here again, as always.

you have a corrupt, bankrupt, violent ridden police state
no, this is not a police state, yet.

.... we are a Buhhdist state after all, arent we. What better way to subjugate a race than with rape & murder.
have to disagree again, this is not a buddhist state either, and please don't exaggerate, let's stick to facts, ( hint: do not give any credence to tiger propaganda ). :-)

while it may not be correct to compare what is happening here to u.s., with regard to civil liberties, we can certainly compare the behavior of americans and others (including australians i have to add) in iraq with our forces, with the result our forces appear paragons of restraint .
that does not mean we should not be ashamed of our record, rather that all breaches of civil liberties by anybody anywhere should be unreservedly condemned ( in other words, we should not pick and choose who to condemn, but be honest). .

you're just not talking or listening to the right people.
i form my opinions based on confirmed facts, and not by listening to other people. :-)

i really do not see why you are so dissatisfied with indi's comment. he basically said what i said.

btw i am pleased i got pats in the back from both of you. :-)

keshi:
you are back! great!

and you are right, as always. as long as we, all of us, act like racists, we will not get anywhere.

racists in both sides feed each other.

komisiripala:
glad to see you

you are right about the ltte.

however,
The security sweeps protect not just Sinhalese, but they protect SRI LANKANS. - if only, in fact they do not protect anybody.

one must question the utility of this kind of operation. last time around, attacks continued unabated even when they were conducted. only result i can see is , that they drive even moderate tamils to sympathize with ltte.

conducting this sort of counterproductive operation just to show that something is done and to have an excuse when an attack happen, is simply stupid.

all indications are that ltte is going to war and will continue to attack regardless of what we do, what we should not do is to give them the moral highground. that is what buffalo has to understand.

Keshi said...

**that they drive even moderate tamils to sympathize with ltte.


Sittingnut u r truly very knowledgable and the most fair Sinhalese guy I ever met! Well-said there.


Keshi.

ashanthi said...

S/nut ...
you have a corrupt, bankrupt, violent ridden police state
no, this is not a police state, yet.

I think you are splitting hairs dude :-)

.... we are a Buhhdist state after all, arent we. What better way to subjugate a race than with rape & murder.
have to disagree again, this is not a buddhist state

I was being sarcastic, goose :-)

either, and please don't exaggerate, let's stick to facts, ( hint: do not give any credence to tiger propaganda ). :-)

I think you know me well enough by now to know that I don't give creedance to any propaganda, including yours :-). The fact that so many people in power in SL make a mockery of Buddhism, as you know, plays right into the ltte hands

while it may not be correct to compare what is happening here to u.s., with regard to civil liberties, we can certainly compare the behavior of americans and others (including australians i have to add) in iraq with our forces, with the result our forces appear paragons of restraint .

I think you need to go & ask a Tamil woman/mother/wife who has just been raped that question ... I don't think this issue is a Sinhala/Tamil one specifically btw - it is more a gender issue.

that does not mean we should not be ashamed of our record, rather that all breaches of civil liberties by anybody anywhere should be unreservedly condemned ( in other words, we should not pick and choose who to condemn, but be honest).

I think if I get anymore honest with you, you might not speak to me again :-) - of course I'm being honest

you're just not talking or listening to the right people.
i form my opinions based on confirmed facts, and not by listening to other people. :-)

see above - go visit a woman recovering from rape trauma. you won't necessarily need to go to Jaffana to do that. In our culture & yes I do mean ours - I think most women would prefer to be dead rather than survive a rape...

i really do not see why you are so dissatisfied with indi's comment. he basically said what i said.

I apologise - I am harsh with Indi - but hey he's never taken the trouble to personally take me to task about it - so it obviously doesn't bother him, just the dumb ass trolls that used to plague Morq's blog site... iow - don't worry about it. I'm harsh with Indi probably because he comes across as a bit of a brat - I'm sure when he gets to be as wise & mature as you, he will make more considered comments - let's just hope he doesn't end up as cynical as you though :-)

btw i am pleased i got pats in the back from both of you. :-)

you are welcome - keshi - who is a much gentler soul than myself is absolutely right - you do remind me of the old Sinhalese gentleman of old that I used to meet as a young child in SL (friends of our family) - except of course, 30 years of war have made you a little harsh... - I hope you appreciate that I too have my moments.

all indications are that ltte is going to war and will continue to attack regardless of what we do, what we should not do is to give them the moral highground. that is what buffalo has to understand.

S/nut - when it comes to war - no one ends up looking like a saint - these is no moral ground in war & I can assure you - both sides are going to look equallly bad. The issue here is that a so called legitimately elected government has a responsibility to ALL it's citizens. By discriminating against Tamils in every which way imaginable for decades, the GOSL does a disservice to humanity - all humanity. I know you're not too fond of buffalo - but truly he merely walks the path of those who built it. He has no chance of changing the status quo.

The only people that can change the statuq quo - are Sinhalese men/women aged between 18 to 45. The responsibility of the governance of your country is on your shoulders. Not buffalos - he is just the monkey on your back.

On a lighter note ... the JVP wish to contest the election on their own? Are they nuts, fools or so psychopathic that they have started to believe their own propaganda? Topic for another post perhaps?

sittingnut said...

keshi:
thanks! :-)

ashanthi:

you should really use '' or like keshi, * s when quoting if you do/can not use html tags. otherwise comments like above become quite unreadable. :-)

police state:
i do not split hairs. sri lanka is not a police state, but a democracy just like any other. government here does not do anything( i repeat anything) that governments in u.s.a or australia does not do. prove me otherwise if you can. :-) if you can't, please refrain from calling sri lanka a police state or if you so prefer call australia a police state too. btw usa and australia and all other governments agree with me on this. it is precisely because we do not live in a police state that we must protest searches, arrests, or phonetaps that is happening now in our respective countries.

rape issue:
I don't think this issue is a Sinhala/Tamil one specifically btw - it is more a gender issue.-
you are right, that it is a gender issue and must be discussed separately
however, since you seem fixated on it i would point out some facts. rape incidents here are not in any way higher than in any other country or military. if ltte thinks that these incidents will generate any sympathy or international outrage in favor of them (same people who use girls and boys as cannon fodder, who instead of letting police catch a convicted serial british pedophile arrested the policeman who went to catch him) they are sadly mistaken.
in any case some of these cases (including the one recently in jaffna ) cannot be blamed on the military. in fact that incident shows signs of a so called honor killing as in pakistan, since the woman concerned seems to have had sexual relations with the navy personnel for some time. if you do not believe me read the uthr report. http://www.uthr.org/Briefings/Briefing5.htm
rape is of course a dastardly act and perpetrators should be punished, but as ivap said to you recently, a bad apple does not mean a bad harvest. i will only add that number of bad apples here are no higher than anywhere else.



fact of the matter is ltte is desperately trying to justify their suicidal drive towards war.
they are quite taken aback by the restraint shown by the army in jaffna. they expected massive reprisals but nothing of the sort happened. buffalo and government just have to follow what the army is doing there, show restraint instead of conducting stupid search operations. even when a bomb( which quite possible given ltte's desperation) go off here in colombo.

when it comes to war - no one ends up looking like a saint these is no moral ground in war & I can assure you - both sides are going to look equallly bad.- exactly! that is why everyone should condemn ltte's attempt to provoke the government to war now. as long as government doesn't give in, government has the high moral ground. buffalo must make sure it does not lose it.

so let us be honest, and condemn the ltte warmongers who are driving the country towards war , while pointing out any missteps the government is taking in responding to ltte's provocations. so far we have to admit the missteps have been low to the chagrin warmongers in ltte, jvp and jhu.

I hope you appreciate that I too have my moments......I think if I get anymore honest with you, you might not speak to me again :-) - of course I'm being honest
i will never stop speaking to people, especially to friends who are honest or/and frank(which is not the something as being honest btw) :-)

Keshi said...

Sittingnut plzz put up a new post :) I know ur busy but when ur finished being busy, I need a new post hehehe...

Keshi.

Ajay said...

hey cangratz buddy.,..

sittingnut said...

keshi :
yes yes i know i should put up a post (especially bc you ask one :-)) but i am really busy as you know, but i will try today(10th, see i am up at 2am) or at least by tomorrow morning

ajay ?! who are you ?

Keshi said...

congrats? lol why Ajay?

Heyy Sittingnut...this time, put up something different..what abt a non-poloitical one? :) Hey I hope u dun mind suggesting this...just being silly :) ignore me. U write what u like na..hehehe..

Keshi.

ashanthi said...

yes - I agree with keshi - having scolded me all over blogsphere - I think s/nut the least you can do is put up a new post. I mean no wonder Keshi's asking for a new post - just read the comment above, scolding ashanthi. Was too hurt to even respond... sniff.

I tell you what you & that Ivap - it's always nothing but scold, scold, scold. Come to think of it - even that Morq - scold, scold, scold. You Sri Lankan men. - ganging up on poor ashanthi, sniff... sob... Wonder what star sign Ivap is, he's probably some grumpy goat sign too.

Poor ashanthi - just gets scolded :-( - sniff... not fair Keshi, not fair... sob... you tell them... :-((

Keshi said...

hey Ashanthi why is Sittingnut scolding ya so much awww...lol...tell me...

Keshi.

sittingnut said...

keshi :
at last wrote something. something not a real post :-)

asthanthi
sorry.:-(
i will send you a handkerchief as soon as i figure out how it is done using email. :-)

Keshi said...

Hey mate...why d u think it's not a 'real' post? huh! :):) Something so real abt u isnt a real post? I think this is the first real post I enjoyed...cos u know Im not much into politics...hehehe...

And why r u scolding my poor lil Ashanthi...she's a darling na...so dun scold her ok :)


Keshi.

gihan said...

Wow I never thought we have this number of counter terrorism experts in Colombo...I can see you all are good at one thing that is criticizing, pointing finger...telling others what they should be doing...

I don't think any of you have been to a war effected area...imagine if you had been asked to man a centre point and tell me how you are going to identify who are terrorists and who are innocent civilians...Have you ever seen a RPG coming towards you? Have you ever seen a teenage girl running towards you with explosives trapped around her body ? (this how Ravi Jayewardene, founder of STF, once explained the situation )

Like all of you, I don't want to see innocent people suffer. But at the same time we should ask ourselves what options our security forces have to counter attack or prevent something happening...

We while living comfortable lives in Colombo trying to advice those guys in uniform how to deal with suicide bombers who are ready exploit every possible mean of reaching their targets...don't know how fair this business is..

When Kadiragarmer was killed, security forces were accused for not frequently clearing his neighborhood...the reason for not conducting search and clear operations near his residence was kadiriagarmer didn’t want to harass his neighbors...we all know how he was paid back for his kindness

I would like to suggest you all to go through the news archives and find out how US, UK and other European nations reacted when they were attacked...I have seen pictures of search and clear operations conducted by their law enforcement authorities...those operations were clearly targeting people of Arab decedents and I wonder what those watch dogs of Human Rights had to say on these things...on the other hand thanks to the "freedom" LTTE and other terrorist groups enjoying in Canada and other Scandinavian countries, we who are living on poor countries have lost our very basic right to live...

Personally I would like to see a town without armed men, batten carrying policemen etc etc...but only an insane person can ask for that at this moment...

sittingnut said...

keshi:
i did not scold her but will not do whatever i did in the future.
as for the post well you are the judge :-)


gihan:
what's your point?
in the absence of one i will point out some errors and prejudices in your comment

I can see you all are good at one thing-
really? :-)

criticizing, pointing finger...telling others what they should be doing... -
hmmm, is that one thing or two or three? where did you learn to count, i have an idea but will not say.

I don't think any of you have been to a war effected area.-
more inaccurate assumptions, as i have already replied to such comments before i won't go through them again . read earlier posts and comments before jumping to silly conclusions.

how you are going to identify who are terrorists and who are innocent civilians.
so you would kill the civilians too huh ? why not come straight out and say it, instead of hiding behind words?

what options our security forces have to counter attack or prevent something happening
this post was about strangers night operation in colombo and other places, as such your comment implies that forces should counter attack unarmed civilians on colombo in return for getting hit in jaffna.
be more clear. what do you recommend. again what is your point?

When Kadiragarmer was killed, security forces were accused for not frequently clearing his neighborhood
well i did not. and if you are familiar with the case you will know, that simple protections without any hindrance to his neighbors would have prevented the assassination.
would a search operation on his neighbors house prevented the assassination ? no. so why search?
stick to facts

I have seen pictures of search and clear operations
:-)
well everybody can see the news and pcs too, and they are also no closer to winning the war on terror.
we should use our greater experience and not be continuously suffering from an insecurity complex like you seem to do. don't try to ape white guys so much.

I wonder what those watch dogs of Human Rights had to say on these things.
don't wonder, you can visit the human right watch and amnesty international websites and read . i specially recommend amnesty international report on gitmo camp.

I would like to see a town without armed men, batten carrying policemen
nobody asked for that here :-) read before you comment otherwise you just prove yourself to be a ......:-)
btw baton carrying policeman?