Thursday, June 29, 2006

a hero of our time

funeral of major general (posthumously promoted to the rank of lieutenant general) parami kulatunga , deputy chief of staff of the sri lanka army, took place yesterday with full military honors. he, like hundreds of other servicemen killed daily by ltte terrorists, was a true hero of our time. they are the ones who are fighting against a totalitarian regime that oppress all those who are under it, whatever their race. as i said after the attempt on army commander's life they are our pride. we were not shy to say it then; we are not shy to say it now.

while some try to rationalize and justify terror as perceived 'justice', 'freedom' struggle, etc. equating tamils with terrorists in denial of facts on the ground, and advocate appeasement so that we may live in 'peace' in colombo while all sri lankans in northeast will continue to suffer, it is the military that has to face the full brunt of the terror. while (sri lankan?) blogosphere is posting and talking of doing 'something' about the violence with a vagueness and a disconnect from reality that takes one's breath away, sri lankan military is actually doing what is required to be done, with reality fully in the face. .

military is facing daily ltte attacks with restraint (as they have done since last december) and with limited retaliatory strikes occasionally (since the attempt on army commander in april). as i said in april they are the ones who are keeping us from war, while ltte tries its best to provoke a full scale war with its attacks on both military and civilian targets. they have to continue with the same strategy until ltte either stop the violence and return to peace talks or provoke a full scale war on its own responsibility. given the resources available and current circumstances, that is the best method forward in order to ultimately defeat or contain ltte effectively, which is a necessary precondition for real peace.

some peaceniks and the ltte propaganda machine, as usual in unison, cry out that there is no restraint and the military target civilians based on few incidents of indiscipline. but they are just that, incidents of indiscipline. compared to the number of attacks faced by the military and number of soldiers killed number of such incidents are few. sri lankan military discipline compares favorably with almost any another army in a conflict situation, certainly with coalition forces in iraq. however that does not excuse the perpetrators of those crimes. they should be properly investigated, and punished if found guilty, or released if found innocent. in fact all such incidents are been investigated. it is also significant that peaceniks are nowhere to be seen when ltte intentionally target civilians including children continuously in an unsuccessful effort to provoke a communal backlash.

let them hide. let us honor those who fought and sacrificed in order that justice, freedom, democracy, human rights, and ultimately real peace, will be enjoyed by all in sri lanka.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

sports and i

while some people rationalize terror as perceived 'justice' meted out (erroneously, misguidedly, or otherwise) by ltte on behalf of tamils, while reality of terror is bought ever closer to everyone and real peace far is away, i thought i will write on something completely different; sports and my reactions to them.

day before yesterday when england won its word cup group of 16 match against ecuador i was disappointed. i so much wanted england to lose in spite of the clear inferiority of ecuadorean team and the high odds given by bookmakers against an english loss (i have a healthy respect for bookmakers odds, calculated using bets made by people who put their money where their mouth is). why was i disappointed? well i simply do not like the english football team. it is however not because it is english that i dislike it. i wanted english rugby team to win the last world cup and i do not derive all that much pleasure when we beat the english team in cricket. ( in cricket i always support whoever plays against australia and india in that order and is resigned to take our performances as they come these days )

so why do i have a dislike of english football team? i am not so sure. it may be the pre tournament hype, which i thought was quite unjustified. on the other hand brazil was also unjustifiably (more understandably) hyped (much more so) but i have never disliked it. it may be i don't like david beckam's fake pr persona from hair down or may be because i hated spice girl songs. anyway the talented idiot scored the goal in that match. f..k!

i and it seems lot of other people probably like brazil because they somehow manage to combine their favorite status with a certain and quite unwarranted perception of being underdogs, a near impossible task. (fact that they are not european and comes from a developing country has a lot to do with this, as i said unwarranted perception.). underdogs are usually favorites with everybody (so much so studies have shown that in important matches it skews the bookmaker's odds measurably). winning underdogs are irresistible. but is that all?

same goes for other sports. since only the sri lankan cricket team and sometime athletic team is internationally competitive and sl rugby played internationally is unwatchable i always have freedom to choose sides. in last winter olympics i was behind austrians whenever they participated. why? again i have no clear idea. may be it was the silly doping scandal against them during the games, may be because i have always liked habsburgs and their usual sticking to the wrong side of history, mostly incompetently but always with a certain principled self awareness. (for instance i consider empress maria theresa a great monarch). i also liked the music. but that is all.

probably same sort of inconsequential reasons lie behind my usual backing of french (i am probably indebted to them than any other people) and americans (who except socialist or pacifists can hate them?) and other random choices.

individual sports
same happens with individual sports. i so wanted martina hingis to win the french open and was quite out of sorts when she was defeated in quarter final by kim clijsters. i actually thought i will write some thing like this post then, but forgot. may be i like her for the same reasons this slate writer came to love her ? may be not. i simply cannot put my finger in it but the fact remains that i wanted her to win and like her.

it may be that we unconsciously dislike or like something or someone mainly because of feelings and reactions imperceptibly induced in us probably by something else that may be related in a way that escapes us. we react to and judge art this way, fans of films stars are living testimony to this, and advertisers certainly make use of this.

ultimately it is probable that i was in a happy or an unhappy mood when i heard or saw some thing related (probably remotely) to each team and i have forgotten the mood but i continue to subconsciously associate happiness or its opposite with them. with each victory or defeat and their resulting emotions and memories i may be printing these impressions and loyalties ever deeper in to my mind.

anyway i hope england get well and truly beaten out of the tournament in the next round and either brazil or argentina ( in this case at least it is pure admiration at their skills in first two games) win it. what do you know? bookmakers think so too. :-)

Saturday, June 24, 2006

birthday wishes to keshi!

since i do not have the vocabulary and the eloquence to fully express the wishes i want to convey and i am quite unable to create or select a pic or a card that does the same, i will limit myself to the above wish.

25th june 2006

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

why saying enough is not enough

it is revealing how sri lankan blogosphere reacted to kebettigollawa bus bomb that has by now killed more than 67 people including 15 children. to link blog posts individually would be tiresome but if you go to for june 2006 and browse through you would not have any trouble finding several. this moju post entitled enough by one 'mala' is typical. very similar posts were occasionally posted even before in response to other attacks.

what most of them have in common is their lack of clarity. they all abhor violence but then who doesn't. if they limit themselves to expression of personal anguish brought on by the violence i would not be writing this but most want to go beyond that. they cry 'enough' and want others to cry 'enough' too, and do 'something'.

what is wrong with that? you might ask.

that is where lack of clarity comes in. 'enough' of what? do what exactly? enough of 'violence'? protest against 'violence'? is it that simple? is all violence same? what about self defense? or fight against 'occupiers'? against terrorists?
do they believe anybody really want mindless violence to continue? is someone a megalomaniac? who? who are we to protest?
we are to protest against 'authorities'? against 'politicians'? against war profiteers? against 'old generation that fucked up their lives '? in lipton circus? outside temple trees? in wanni?

what is the outcome they want as a result of these vague actions? peace? peace talks? peace of their mind? what kind of 'peace'? the kind that ensure justice and freedom to all? or the kind that merely stops bombs exploding? the kind where they do not have to see ugly pics in the news? the kind that makes those checkpoints disappear? the kind of peace that gives amnesty and more power to people who exploded bombs in the first place?

read as much as you like, you won't find any details about any of that in their posts.

that is the problem with them. they deal with vague ghosts. they are too cowardly to make moral judgments against anyone or anything. they are afraid to have firm convictions or clear principles. expression of any such conviction or judgment smells of extremism to them.

in the real world people do not act against vague ghosts. that is why so called peace activism is so unsuccessful here. they cannot muster any sizable amount of people for any 'peace' event because they fail to define what 'peace' is.

in other countries people march, protest, petition, etc. against wars and violence because they know what they want and protest against specifically.
even here jvp/jhu warmongers were able to call up people against p-toms etc. because they are specific and clear in their moral judgment. unp was able to successfully stage jana bala meheyuma last year because they too were clear about their objective and people participating or supporting knew that. same thing is true of any mass protest whether they are ultimately successful or not.

on the other hand, these bloggers are as i said too cowardly to make a detailed moral case against anyone (buffalo, big pussy, or whatever) based on their convictions and principles. details make them sick. they find substantiating their evidence too much hard work, while unsubstantiated rumors (preferably received through mobile text/sms) are always credible.

saying 'enough;' and expecting others to say so is not enough, if they want to 'change' anything even a little. they should judge and make a case to convince others. if they cannot or if they do not want to do that, they should stop after expressing their anguish. leave action to others who can and want. other's moral judgments and resulting actions however may mean more violence. whose fault is that?

ps i was of course not speaking about peacenik posts like this, whose pathetic attempt to accommodate ('incomprehensible' according to author) bus bomb attack with standard ltte biased peacenik position is telling. the bomb (not a unique event btw) and its intent is perfectly comprehensible to anyone watching the ltte's actions since end of last year but then one cannot expect a peacenik like that to accept even such horrifically real evidence for what it really is: latest terrorist attempt to provoke a backlash and thus blame government for restarting the war, ltte desire so much. to him and his ilk it will always remain incomprehensible, at least in public.

Friday, June 09, 2006

good riddance

united states with the help of iraqis got rid of abu musab al zarqawi, whose real name was ahmad fadil nazzal al-khalayleh, yesterday.

to come back to sri lanka, will we ever see a pic like the above of big pussy ? or will we see him dug out of his hole like saddam? imo coward like him will take the saddam route. he may even take the related wijeweera/gamanayake route.

lets' see.

one thing is certain as long as he remains free we won't get real peace.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

meaning of sri lankan model devolution

variety of ideas have been expressed about the rather vaguely explained 'uniquely sl model of devolution' floated by mahinda buffalo at last all party conference (apc). imo it is simply buffalo's method of getting rid of the 'unitary' straitjacket that he voluntarily wore to please jvp/jhu during the election. this way he can move towards a federal solution without admitting the fact.

that he is preparing the ground for such a federal proposal is clear from his recent pronouncements. even his efforts to get jvp into the government by playing them against unp dissidents, may be intended partly to blunt jvp criticism afterwards (if they are in the government they cannot very well leave immediately afterwards and if they refuse to join he could imply he had no choice).

tackling the tigers
more importantly floating a federal solution (even one disguised as a 'sl model') in the apc will wrong foot the tigers. not only will tigers lose one of their main lame excuses for not attending talks, it will also convince satisfy co-chairs that government means peace and is building consensus in the south. tigers' choice will become even clearer; war on their own responsibility or talks where gosl may propose a devolution model as developed by apc. imo tigers will still go for the former, but they will have to contend with even more pressure to choose the latter.

btw it will be a mistake to propose any sort of draft proposal to tigers directly while attacks continue, that should be done only when attacks stop and they come to real peace talks. otherwise the choice before tigers will become blurred, and they will take the opportunity to use intensity of attacks as a negotiating tactic, or they will use the proposal as an excuse for not attending talks.

it is of course doubtful whether apc will get anywhere, but since tigers probably won't come to talks anyway, any time soon, that does not matter. even if they come (now or after a short full scale war) it is unlikely they will agree to discuss anything government proposes. talks will just drag on. we are some years away from a real practical solution and as long as ltte remains what it is, that is but right.

what is important now is to make tigers' choice as clear as possible, with the blessing of the international community.

ps. unp, instead of threatening to boycott apc on account of unp crossovers (btw unp should allow people who want to go, go. that would increase unp party discipline and ruin upfa's discipline come next election), should attend it and force buffalo to flesh out the details of 'sl model'. when details come to light they should point out it is in fact a federal solution (what they have been proposing all along) in order to split jvp from him. sooner they do it the better otherwise jvp will be maneuvered by buffalo into government and silence.

Monday, June 05, 2006

bala's double-talk and peace talks

this is what anton balasingham said to tamilnet on may 20, about the impending eu ban,
i gravely doubt that the ltte leadership will bow down to pressure and humiliation. as such this move will be counter-productive. faced with global isolation and humiliation, the ltte may be compelled to stay away from further talks.
this what he said when asked about the recent developments in yesterday's sunday times.
the ltte is seriously committed to the peace process and a negotiated political settlement. we will not abandon the peace dialogue. the government has to create congenial conditions for peace negotiations by implementing the resolutions adopted at the Geneva talks.
he of course goes on about the asymmetry between ltte and gosl, eu ban being biased, and paramilitaries being impediments, as before, but notice the difference.

this is of course expected and true to form. that earlier statement was merely a crude attempt to blackmail eu was evident even then, only peaceniks bought it.

paikiasothy saravanamuttu, jehan perera and co., went so far as to say that 'full scale hostilities' and 'strong military reaction' will be the result of eu ban, ignoring the fact that ltte efforts to restart war commenced long before eu started considering the ban. in fact those provocations contributed to the ban. these people who nominally stand for peace did (and do) their best to prevent international pressure being brought on ltte to restart peace talks.

no doubt, peaceniks will start reverting to usual ltte line blaming gosl for breakdown of peace talks, even though fallacy of that is obvious to everyone else, faithfully following bala now that eu ban is a fact.

to them ltte is always right even when they stay away from peace talks and government is always wrong even though it is ready to start peace talks.

to them peace means peace through appeasing ltte and on ltte's terms only, no matter how horrible that may be. views and concerns of international community, gosl, or civilians, do not matter to them. according to them even listening to other views or pressuring ltte to stop attacks and restart talks is a sure way to war.

and they say they are for 'peace'!

Saturday, June 03, 2006


left, 12 year old selvarajah sthyam murdered by the ltte on may 20th, for refusing to join.
right, a protest against eu's ltte ban held on may 29th in switzerland.


images from the outside.
(pics from tamilnet and mod.)

Thursday, June 01, 2006

morality of peace

benjamin franklin said "there is no such thing as a good war or a bad peace", but he also said, "even peace may be purchased at too high a price". (he was also instrumental in securing french military and financial aid to the war of american independence.)

when it comes to war and peace we cannot make such simple generalized judgments based on sayings of someone else. if we want to judge at all, we have have to come to our own judgment after examining specific particulars of each case.

as citizens of sri lanka we are responsible for what happens here. we cannot disclaim that responsibility, if we do, we might as well not be living here. if we accept the responsibility, we have to judge what happens here, even if we cannot influence actual events. that is the least we can do.

with ltte pushing for a war we are faced with a decision:
  • should we do all we can to appease the ltte in order to secure 'peace'? or
  • should we continue to hold the strong and patient defensive stance as we are doing right now, knowing well that unless ltte stop the attacks we will eventually be forced (say by a successful attack that results in huge number of military or civilian deaths) into a full scale war as they desire and will be blamed for?
in other words should we avoid war at all costs ? is peace so unqualified a blessing? we have to judge.

peaceniks and their stand
recently somebody wrote that i toss the word 'peacenik' as if 'peace' is an insult. by peacenik i mean people who believe peace is preferable at any cost. i do consider people who take such a stand as no different from warmongers, that is people who advocate war as the only solution.

because such a position indicate a willful disregard of and dismissal of all manner of horrors and sufferings of fellow sri lankans at the hand of ltte in the same way that warmongers dismiss and disregard horrors and sufferings of war. in fact it is worse because even the most extreme warmongers at least try to justify their position, while most peaceniks seem to assume they do not need to justify their stand at all as they are supposedly on self evidently high moral ground. so much so any criticism of their position in one of their rather isolated hangouts will bring down on the critic all manner of shrill attacks.

they also automatically assume that just because they nominally do not side with either the sri lankan government or the ltte, they are 'moderates' holding the middle ground, forgetting that middle is always relative.

peceniks' peace
peace at any cost means giving ltte free reign to continue with what they are already doing . that is license, to suppress all fundamental human rights, to annihilate of all opposition whether organized or not, to ethnically cleanse rest of northeast, to recruit and indoctrinate children to serve an authoritarian ideology, and to exploit all resources in northeast for the furtherance of god-knows-what ambitions of a fascist organization led by a megalomaniac.

in addition, such a peace would mean wholesale amnesty to the ltte leadership. they will literally get away with wholesale murder of thousands of civilians. talk about culture of impunity!

(to accuse the government of same oppressions is besides the point. rest of sri lanka enjoy most fundamental rights and when they are taken away citizens have recourse to courts, there is an active political opposition, a large proportion of population belong to various minorities and are politically influential, children's rights are legally protected, and political leadership is democratically elected. atrocities committed are investigated and as practically possible under limitation imposed by law of evidence and proper procedure perpetrators convicted. all this is not perfect but vastly better than anything under ltte.)

a 'better' ltte?
some would argue that ltte would change for the better,that all people under them will enjoy the freedom to exercise their fundamental rights, that they will grant political freedom to their opponents and not insist they alone are the sole representative, that they will allow remaining sinhalese and muslims in the east to continue living there, that there would not be any need for child soldiers, and that they will concentrate on developing the northeast not furthering their political and military ambitions, when they get control of northeast under a peace agreement.

some may even argue that ltte will submit to some form of justice (say a truth and reconciliation commission as in south africa) for the crimes committed.

may be so, but what if they don't? then are we not going to end up where we are now but with ltte in control of whole northeast? they broke the ceasefire agreement when they chose, several fold more than government, didn't they? isn't that why we are in the present situation in the first place? how are we to react to ltte reneging on peace agreement? are we to depend again on international community to put pressure on them again as they do now and hope for the best? in other words are we to depend completely on ltte's good faith, which they have a history of not keeping? imo no, we shouldn't.

that is why we should take a strong stand now . they agreed to the ceasefire so they should cease fire before we make any more concessions. period.

we should not bend over backward to appease them when they do not abide by agreements and make demands using threats. peace on those terms do not work any more than munich 'peace' of 1938. it will only encourage the ltte and postpone the war. it would mean sri lankan government handing over large portion of its citizens to ltte to oppress or not as they wish, whatever is written on paper.

before we do that we should ensure with certainty that ltte follow through on commitments they agree to and that we and international community has some form of control over them including ability to make ltte pay in case of gross violations.


question is can we achieve that? probably not. quite apart from ltte's present drive for war, it is not likely ltte will submit to anything that will control them even in case they return to peace talks. so peace talks probably wont make any progress.

however if we get them to talks with the help of international community now or after a period of full scale war (which would most likely confirm to everyone that nobody is going to win militarily) we would have scored a victory. ltte's slow but certain deterioration when not at war, already observed in period to november 2005, would be assured. several years of that may make ltte in to something that can be trusted with peace.

until then we have to do exactly what we are doing now; take a strong defensive stand, and make ltte realize that there is no appeaser on this side. we should persist in this even though this may mean full scale meaningless war in the short term, because peace by appeasing is worse and will only postpone the inevitable.

"my good friends, for the second time in our history, a british prime minister has returned from germany bringing peace with honour. i believe it is peace in our time."
neville chamberlain - british prime minister - september 1938