Thursday, March 29, 2007

will loss to south africa cost us dear?

short answer is yes, for the long answer read on

sri lankan team showed lot of character in not giving up, but it was only due to malinga's near miracle that match was so close.

it would have been better if our tail enders scored. they were after all 208 for 6 at end of 48th over. instead of getting the quite possible 10-15 runs, they scored 1 run while giving away four wickets. on the bright side such a collapse is unlikely to be repeated in the same way soon. imo (as i said before the world cup) the greater concern is mahela jayawardene's lack of runs. we will not go all the way if he continues to fail (i am not counting his 85 against bermuda). so far we have got away with this because other batsmen have been performing alternatively. in fact everyone except mahela had contributed, but given the number of games it is inevitable that in one of the matches others will fail and he will be called upon to perform. will he be able to? that is why he should start performing and get into form before it becomes essential. (btw to be clear i am commenting only on his form as a batsman, he is excellent as a captain )

i will say it again, if he does not get one 50 or several 30-40 run innings ( not counting innings against lesser teams) soon we will not go all the way. period. at least he tries to play positively. let us hope he will succeed.

implications of the loss
anyway this post is about implications from our loss to south africa.

in the first place we lost a great and not to be repeated opportunity to kick the south africans out of the tournament. as i said before if they lost they would have been forced to win the remaining five games to qualify for semi finals. given their history, that was a big ask with their new zealand, west indies, and england, games still to be played. now they can afford to lose one match and still qualify. so they will now almost certainly qualify. furthermore we will probably meet them ( instead of new zealand or west indies) in the semifinals if we qualify. all that could have been avoided.

secondly we increased the pressure on ourselves. one more loss and we will have to win all the rest in conditions that will probably not suit us. if we won this we would have almost certainly qualified for semi finals. now the equations are not so favorable. if new zealand continues to perform as they are doing (in fact if we do not go all the way i will back new zealand to win the world cup, injuries permitting), they will qualify. australia will certainly qualify. england probably won't (hopefully). so the last slot will be decided between us and west indies. if new zealand wins against west indies tomorrow and we win against wi on sunday we will still have some justified hope. if we don't we are almost certainly out. if new zealand loses to wi but we win against wi, whole thing will be wide open.

thirdly we lost the winning momentum. (however malinga's four in four and other's support will certainly help to keep the spirits up). another loss, coming consecutively, on sunday will probably be irredeemably hard.

all the more reason to win against indies on sunday.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

cricket, character, and super 8s

cricket is not a 'gentleman's' game, but it is a game of 'character'. most memorable and pleasurable games of cricket are the ones where lot 'character' is shown. to excel at cricket it is not enough to be fit athletes, have oodles of talent, or mastered the techniques as in other sports.

what do i mean by 'character'? it is a hard thing to define. it may mean the exercise of will power, the strength of mind, the determination to fight to the last, never giving up even when there is no hope, and many similar things. that old imperialist rudyard kipling came close in his poem if-. in other words it means something similar the quality described by that now politically incorrect term 'manliness' (a quality not confined to males btw in spite of the name). ancient romans and renaissance men had a term that described this better - 'virtue'. then the word meant something different from the modern meaning of moral excellence. (vir in latin means 'man'). after all when machiavelli took cesare borgia, as an example of ’virtue’ in action, he was not referring to his 'goodness'.

it is a quality one must have if one is to do well in life. that is why until recently educators endeavored to build 'character' in their charges not just to 'educate' them. this was before political correctness, worship of equality and averages, pop psychology, and liberals (in the american sense of the word) took over education world over.

while it takes some 'character' to do well in most sports (esp. in individual sports), cricket is exceptional. in a sport like rugby or basketball its is next to impossible for a team that do not have the required physical attributes to do well no matter how much 'character' they show. same may be said of a team of football (as in soccer) players lacking in inborn talent. in cricket, especially in test cricket they can still come up on top. one of the great things about test cricket is the possibility of a draw. a weaker team that force a draw or avoid an innings defeat may score a moral victory that is just as much uplifting and absorbing to its supporters and neutrals ( and demoralizing to other team and supporters), as an official win in any other sport. where else can people cheer defensive shots, dot balls, and batsman who remain in without doing anything for hours and hours? shorter the game becomes less of this is there, but even in limited over cricket there is enough.

that is why everybody knew as the match progressed, that india was a goner and did not deserve to be in super 8s when they were defeated by bangladesh. it is not so much the defeat as the way they went down. they did not show any 'fight' in contrast to bangladeshi teenagers.

anyway while rugby may be an exhibition of brute force, football a beautiful piece of art, cricket is stuff of life.

super 8s and semifinal qualification

to come back to earth, super 8s in world cup starts today. there are 2 lesser teams (or former 'minows') in addition to 6 established teams (though england is probably in between). including the matches played against fellow qualifiers earlier there will be altogether 28 matches in this stage with each team playing 7 matches. first four teams in points will be semi finalists.

in order to discover the minimum qualification we will look at two extreme cases taking only the 6 established teams as real contenders. in the case team performances and rankings are absolute, the best team will win all 7 matches, second ranked one will win 6, third 5, fourth 4, and so on. in the case that 6 teams perform roughly equally, 3 teams will win 5 matches and 3 teams four (making 27, match between two lesser teams not being counted). of course reality will be somewhere between these two extreme cases, with upsets by lesser teams thrown in. anyway the conclusion is that if you win 5 matches you are through, while winning four will mean lot of calculator use.

however as i said in the first part of this post, it is the way teams win and lose that will make the difference not the result itself though that is important . if a team lose a match in this stage as indians lost to bangladesh they do not deserve to be in semifinals, but if they go down fighting to the last they may probably go all the way.

sri lanka vs. south africa
sri lanka's first super8 match is on wednesday against south africa. we have a great opportunity to send the first ranked team out of the tournament. south africa probably never deserved the ranking in the first place. their bowling attack is long on names and short on performance. their captain is unimaginative and never changes a thing (batting order, power play order, bowlers, etc). only thing going for them is that they do play well to a set plan. however they are known to crumble under pressure (and sledging. btw did you notice all the sledging that went on in sl - india match? we may see more of that tomorrow). anyway given that they are already one down another loss will mean they have to win all the other matches to qualify. so if they lose tomorrow there is a good chance we will not play them again in the world cup. let us hope so.

Monday, March 26, 2007

some thoughts on terrorist air attack

(people reading this in "blog archive" after being redirected there after clicking in kottu, please read the note at bottom.)

main implications of the pussy air attack are political rather than military

1/ threat
since military probably now know what the ltte really have (which may not be what the tigers are claiming in their post attack propaganda), the threat posed by such light aircraft can be neutralized to a large extent, through counter measures and greater vigilance. anyone expecting aerial dogfights will be disappointed. given that both sides have limited number of aircraft, facilities available to air force to track aircraft are inadequate, and the airspace that has to be covered is extensive, it would be next to impossible to intercept terrorist aircraft in the sky. they have to be destroyed at their base or at their intended target.

as pointed out by the comments in previous post there should certainly be an investigation into the military shortcomings.

2/ strategy
no material change is required in the overall military strategy in that such light air craft cannot do much damage in a strictly military sense. as i said above the main effect of this attack are political rather than military.

however government should realize that too much propaganda will backfire. instead it should be more open about the time frame it will take to defeat the ltte (several years at least) and the very real possibility of continuing terrorist attacks well in to the future, even after ltte's defeat.

that ltte have to be defeated through a pragmatic military strategy that take account of the resources of the country is not in doubt. no is there any doubt that any sustainable political solution can only be made with democratically mandated tamil representatives in consultation with other democratic representatives representing other communities, not with terrorists.

so far the government has very competently executed the present strategy aimed at progressive weakening and long term defeat of ltte. it should continue to pursue that strategy. it should however guard against raising unrealistic expectations of quick end to military conflict.

3/ military options and human shields
the argument that some people used (i personally did not buy it) that government should limit its operations to protecting civilians immediately at risk can now be disregarded. this if followed would have limited any retaliation to the attack range of ltte artillery. thankfully it was not followed even before this. anyway this attack coupled with tigers' past actions (not to mention the proximity of the airport to today's attack) indicates that all the citizens of the country are now at risk (if any idiot wanted such indications).

contrary to false claims of peaceniks, government did in fact forgo some of its military options (esp. the use of multi barrel rocket launchers) in some recent operations because of the threat they may pose to civilians held as human shields. unfortunately this attack means that options available to military when degrading terrorist infrastructure have to be reevaluated now, taking into account the interests of civilians now under threat in all areas of the country, as well as those held as human shields by terrorists. military should be free to take more risks when conducting anti terror raids inside tiger controlled areas (by air force, deep penetration units etc). to not to engage in such a revaluation would mean that government is neglecting its duty to voters.

4/ jvp/jhu/... and ngos

jvp/jhu /etc. who have been crying all along that aircraft were being smuggled in by ngo peaceniks and other ltte sympathizers during ceasefire and under the cover of tsunami aid, gained in credibility by being proved right. hopefully in the future government will act more proactively and energetically when such revelations are made, instead of being afraid of alienating international community, some members of which may have unwittingly donated money to such ngo outfits

5/ india and global war against terror

ltte probably scored an own goal with regard to india. for those who do not know, india (and others) has long expressed concern with regard to ltte's air capability. it is ranil wickremasinghe's unp government that denied the existence of such an air capability when the matter was initially raised by india. when gosl eventually accepted the existence of terrorist air craft, india reportedly provided some radar equipment to sri lanka.

after today, such inter governmental cooperation will only increase from india and from others fighting terror around the world. this is especially true given that other terrorists have a history of copying ltte terror tactics (sometimes with active ltte help).

6/ limitations
probably more stringent limitations will have to be imposed on goods transported to ltte areas. this is unfortunate but probably necessary.

7/ unp and its postion
unp will not be able to make any political mileage out of this due to the hole it has dug itself. due to its leader's actions and associations with peacenik position, its criticism of government will have to take the form - "ltte is attacking, military is losing the war, give us power to appease ltte and bring 'peace' ". only cocooned colombo peaceniks will see any validity in that argument.

more potent criticism in the form - "ltte is attacking, government is incompetent and should do more, give us power to defeat ltte more competently in order to bring lasting peace" is not available to them, esp. the last part.. that argument they have ceded to jvp/jhu/ etc.

since majority of sri lankan do not accept other political positions of jvp/jhu/etc, public has no choice but to go with the government. that is a pity because a democratic country requires an opposition that speaks for people not colombo 7 peaceniks. sooner unp change its policy (and leader) the better.

8/ mud slinging

government will probably try to implicate (using some rather fussy logic), those who have been criticizing recent mig air craft purchase with this attack. i personally think that the mig purchase was perfectly logical and necessary, and probably not any more corrupt than any other government purchase. those who were using it to attack government were merely playing politics without facts to back them up. however they should be allowed to play politics (so should the government btw). in other words, as long as all the mud is confined to words there is no harm.

i know i should flesh out these points in more detail, but no time.


for some unknown reason people clicking on the this post at kottu are redirected to a separate full copy of this post at "blog archive". if you are reading this there you can read the original posted at lanka libertarian blog at following location.

this error seems to have been fixed as of now (2230hrs 03/26/07) though other posts at kottu seems to be suffering from it. anyway i will keep this note on for some time just in case.

airbase attacked?

it seems that pussies tried to attack katunayake air force base just before 1 am (about two hours ago), probably even using a light aircraft. airport which is nearby was not damaged.

as usual (1, 2, ...) bbc seems to have got the details confused, reporting that airport was attacked. anyway the details are sketchy at the moment so the following may contain errors. attack seems not have caused any major damage to the airbase either (though will have to wait for confirmation here). several explosions were reportedly heard . however though i am in the neighborhood, i did not hear any ( unlike in the 2001 attack when i clearly heard the attack). so they may have been minor. around 20 airmen were reportedly injured (but not too seriously it seems). at the moment security forces are firmly in control and the air port is in operation.

as i said before
terrorists will continue to make such desperate attacks. even when they are reduced to a handful they will continue to do so, as similar cowards do in other parts of the world. victory in this war is not defined by the number of attacks but by how many people are controlled through terror. that number is steadily going down in sri lanka and such attacks should not be allowed to disturb that steady progress.

anyway this shows once again why pussies have to be defeated (through a pragmatic way taking in to account the available resources of the country. as we are doing in fact). there is no other option. we certainly should not appease them as peaceniks advocate and thus allow the terrorists to hold a democratic government to ransom through the threats of such attacks.

in august last year tiger propaganda made a false claim about an 'aerial' attack on palaly airbase.

update/s to 4.30 am.
two bombs were dropped it seems. 2/3 people dead, 17 injured, 4 seriously. but it would be better to wait till things have stabilized to know the exact casualty figures. airport is certainly in operation though several flights were diverted to india initially. no damage to military air craft either.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

momentous day for south asia at world cup

pakistan is out. india is not but if they get to super 8 it would probably be at our expense.

of the three south asian teams in group b bangladesh is the best placed in that they are sure of two wins now. we are better placed than india in that we have two games and probably need to win only one. if all three win two, our big margin of victory against bermuda will come in to play. that is why even remaining matches against bermuda are crucial.( but we need to win both anyway to make sure we carry points through to next round since we cannot know which of the other two will come with us) india of course has to win both their remaining matches with big margins if they want to get through.

i am not a fan of current indian cricket team (i am a fan of india the country but that is a different thing). i never liked ganguly in particular (hard to explain why but never liked the fellow). so i do not have much pity for them (esp when they can still push us out) but i do have lot of pity for sponsors of world cup. most of the top sponsors and lot of lesser ones are indian based. without them we would not have the world cup in the current scale. indian success is important for the sport.

that is why there is a real danger of undue pressure being put on our team and even on umpires before the next games by both official and unofficial quarters. (this is of course only speculation on my part). our board should take action to preemptively counter that.

anyway it is great that bangladesh is claiming its place in the top table. i was always surprised that they did not do that earlier. they have a cricket loving public of 150 million for devil's sake. they should be ahead of us by rights.

anyway at this rate we could well have bangladesh, ireland, and even kenya, in super 8 at the expense of india/us, pakistan, and england. that would be fun (if india not sri lanka is the one missing out)

full scorecars of saturday matches
bangladesh v india
ireland v pakistan


the official worldcup website is down at the time of writing (for several hours in fact). stupid.

btw it is also good that ireland is probably through. the fact that they are a rich country (they have a higher gdp per capita than england) and not good at other sports (except perhaps rugby) means that their success now (esp when it comes with st. patrick's day) will do nicely for cricket in the long term.

i hoped to avoid writing anything on world cup but after spending a week in outstations ( mostly in trinco) and nights watching cricket, i am too tired to write anything else today. so since a week has passed since my last post i gave into temptation.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

waiting for 300 and disappointment

300 (directed by zack snyder) adapted from yet another frank miller comic was released in united states last friday (9th)α. i have not seen the movie. i want to very much. why? because the battle of thermopylae on which both the comic and the film are based on, is one of those things that gets inside one's head. it certainly did in my case ever since i read the histories of herodotus long ago. even now i get goose-bumps when i read (or even remember) the epitaph on the spartans.
"Go tell the Spartans, you who read;
We took their orders, and are dead."

audrey de sélincourt translation (which is the one i read first). there is a list of alternate translations here.

of course there have been many other cases, even in sri lanka, where small number of people overcame or bravely died facing overwhelming odds. what makes this different was the undoubted importance of the occasion, and its symbolic value. if persian empire won the war there would not have been a greece, and the western civilization, which is more or less the modern civilization, we inhabit would have been completely different. greeks probably would have won anyway regardless of thermopylae, but this battle almost instantly became a symbol of what greece stood forβ, and retelling of the whole story (mainly through herotodotus) contributed to that through the ages. that is why it is repeatedly depicted in various forms of art, or in other contexts. for some references to it see here

so why do i expect to be disappointed?

it is inevitable when too many things are riding on it. most films based on history, novels, or any other source, almost always disappoint. greater the original source greater the disappointmentγ. simplifications, stereotyping (especially of persians if early reviews are to be believed), pandering to contemporary problems, sensibilities and attitudes (thankfully early reviews say it is not politically correct) are unavoidable.

nothing else will probably explain why that battle still gets inside so many people, better than reading it at the source. for all his obvious faults and exaggerations the storytelling style (with all the side stories from the one about spartans exercising and combing their hair, down) of the old man herodotus is still the best way to understand why some 300 spartans and 700 thespians chose to die than abandon their post on the third day of the battle.

he King with half the East at heel is marched from land of morning;
Their fighters drink the rivers up, their shafts benight the air,
And he that stands will die for nought, and home there's no returning.
The Spartans on the sea-wet rock sat down and combed their hair.

A. E. Housman

α of course there were the usual pre screenings and festival appearances before that.

β probably inaccurately, after all militaristic totalitarian (as ancients could go) sparta was hardly the place one would want to live.

γ the comic which i have not seen, would probably been a disappointment as well.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

emergency vote and political posturing

sri lankan parliament have to vote every month to extend the emergency regulations. this is a very democratic procedure. anyway yesterday's vote passed with a large majority since both unp and jvp supported it as usual. this routine clearly exposes the hypocritical political posturing of unp.

ngo peaceniks typically oppose any laws that aim to restrain the 'actions' of the group they have accepted (after forgetting all the principles of democracy and human rights) as tamils' 'sole representative'. though they try to portray such opposition as concern for deterioration of human rights (! yes they have no shame) situation and increasing totalitarianism (! to them it doesn't matter that they cannot point to anything that does not happen in any other democratic country) of the government.

for instance peaceniks at sri lankan blogosphere's conspiracy blog ("aliens... ooops government is conspiring to abduct opponents and tamils using white vans!!!" ) grundviews not satisfied with comparing sri lankan government to a big brother like totalitarian regime has started to compare it to hitler's regime as well. that is to be expected from people who are so unconnected with sri lankan reality that they prefer to read the latest pussy propaganda through some foreign news source forgetting that they can get the same uncensored propaganda through newspapers bought at a local new stand.

unp posturing and reality
some opposition unp politicians (not all, its great that some promising second tier ones do not) also repeat some of these unsubstantiated claims. they do it probably to embarrass the government, or more to the point to score points with the opposition leader, who has unwisely tied himself to a policy that is perceived as peacenik (peace at any cost including at the cost of freedom, democracy, justice, and human rights, and through appeasement of terrorists). in fact he is not a real peacenik but he is so incompetent when it comes certain aspects of politics that he has let others define him and his position.*

if they are really concerned about the abuse of emergency regulations unp should vote against the emergency or at least propose amendments. instead they continue to vote for it. they do not even attempt even purely symbolic measures like the non binding resolution that congressional democrats in u.s.a. tried the pass recently opposing the increase in troops to iraq. sri lankan parliament with its standing orders and procedures borrowed from english one, does offer opposition party with various options for such tactics, which would require concerted and tiresome efforts by the government to defeat. in fact opposition forced the government to withdraw several (non emergency regulations) bills before votes were taken last year, but when it comes to emergency, nothing.


because even the unp leader knows that what the government is doing is necessary and in accordance with similar measures in other democratic countries faced with terrorism. unp knows that such measures meets with public's approval. they also know that in order be back in power they will have show that they are not living in a fantasy (or cooperating with ltte) like the ngo peaceniks. in fact unp is well aware that if they were in power they would do the exact same things when faced with the same situation.

is anybody (other than the naive peaceniks) deceived by such empty posturing and statements by some in unp? imo no.

so it would be far better for the unp and its prospects, not to mention the country at large, if their statements accord with their actions. in other words if they do not want to look ridiculous do not criticize the emergency laws while voting for them

as for peaceniks if they want to oppose emergency regulations they would have to get their hands dirty and find real evidence to back up their so far unsubstantiated allegations about government sanctioned human rights violations and totalitarianism. so far it is the government that has arrested people who were engaged in rights violations (ltte terrorists including sinhalese ones, other militant groups, criminals, and even corrupt military personnel aiding those) without any help (in fact in the face of opposition in some cases) from those who make such accusations.

if they are really sincere about human rights and democracy, instead of saying that ''some people were killed like dogs in some place (without specifying a date) ", making unwarranted racist statements accusing 'sinhalese' and 'muslims' of ever readiness for genocide, and total ignoring of ltte atrocities (all this was done in this groundviews post by consortium of humanitarian agencies (cha) which includes ltte front tro as a full member), they should provide the specifics and details. they should then expose the evidence to scrutiny so that veracity can be judged instead of censoring anyone questioning them

unfortunately these people would rather pluck false facts out of thin air in order to get some foreign donor to part with money.

* ranil wickremasinghe has an over rated idea of his own cleverness for political intrigues and manipulations. this in spite of the fact he was outplayed by almost all his opponents; gamini dissanayake in 1994, cbk for long time (specially in 2004), mahinda, and even the pussies. he seems to have an erroneous belief that politicians can really deceive opponents (as opposed to forcing the opponents to choose between unfavorable options).

it’s a pity he is so delusional about certain aspect of politics, because imo most of his policies esp. economic ones are not bad. anyway i will reserve all that for a future post.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

ordination of children - a human rights violation?

dinidu de alwis of chappafine blog wrote a post yesterday entitled "mass human rights violation by buddhist monks" criticizing ordination of children. i also think ordination children to be a human rights violation. however imo (as i said there) he muddied the argument by bringing in unwarranted comparisons with barbaric practice of forced terrorist child recruitment and unsubstantiated allegations about sexual abuse.

clarity of argument is important. a rights violation should not be measured in relation to other rights violations, even if such comparisons are possible. (in this case i don't think there is any comparison between the fate of a young monk and a ltte child recruit.) nor is it logically correct to condemn a widespread practice based on the actions of a very few (if any) who may engage in sexual abuse. even the scale of the ordinations should not matter much.

i consider ordination of children to be a human rights violation because such ordinations commit the children to rules of behavior and a path of life before they are able to fully understand or to freely decide on, the implications of such rules and that path.

as i understand in theory monks can leave at anytime, but in practice it would be a very difficult (in some cases almost impossible) decision to make, given the inertia, prevailing culture, and other economic opportunities available. when i was in my twenties i gave up my entrepreneurial activities and started on a 'normal' career due to various personal reasons, intending to get back after 5 years. however when the time came, i found it hard to give up a clear socially accepted career path and regular income for the risky business of being my own boss in pursuit of my dreams. it took me two extra years to make the decision. so i can understand the difficulty facing a monk who wants to lead a normal life after being ordained and educated from a young age to be a monk. if we have a system like in thailand where supposedly a majority of young men get ordained for a short period this would not be a problem. unfortunately that is not the case here. in other words imo an ordained child is trapped in a way of life without his informed consent and that is a violation of his rights.

i know that there haven’t been any sort of major objections to this practice. on the contrary lot of highly educated and respected buddhist monks (most of whom were ordained as children) support it (whether they are political or apolitical does not make a difference). so do vast majority of buddhist laymen i know. what i have not seen is a proper justification.

that is why (as i said in reply to referred post). i would really welcome a properly argued justification of child ordination from buddhists in blogosphere.

btw i am not a buddhist. i was bought up as a roman catholic by a non practicing catholic mother and a non practicing buddhist father, and was more or less an atheist from my teens. you may gather what i think of religions in general (including buddhism), and impossibility of constructing a secular universally valid moral code, from some of my earlier posts. this one for instance.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

men in black and white vans

anyone reading peacenik remarks online or offline will be surprised at the recurrences of the words "white van"*. these words are the only 'evidence' they have for their far fetched conspiracy theories about 'disappearances'. these sort of absurd inventions are common with other conspiracy theorists. for instance ufo conspiracy theorists in united states have "men in black"(on which the films were based**) in order to explain their lack of evidence for alleged alien encounters.

here peaceniks (and more direct pussy propagandists) use "white van" to cover up their lack of evidence and to link together real or imagined 'abductions' into a supposed conspiracy by the government to harass and murder tamils. naive may believe such theories without questioning, anyone else may do this experiment when they are next in a public place. note the color of ten vans at random. they will find that on average 8 of the ten to be white. in other words if it is a van it is likely to be white. that does not prove that the people using it are the same.

btw i am not disputing the existence of so called 'disappearances', though the numbers and lists put forward by certain self appointed politically motivated committees of peaceniks are full of holes. they still include people's names even after the discovery of the fact that they have returned after 'disappearing' for private reasons (as was the case about a disappeared student from a leading school in colombo. while a certain channel gave a lot of publicity for this incident showing the relatives crying and pleading and others referring to 'white vans', the student reappeared to much less publicity. there are lots of similar cases in that list). so called 'disappeared list' also include people from all communities not just tamils as its compilers and other peaceniks are in the habit of claiming publicly.

all the evidence in investigated cases indicate that 'disappearances' or kidnappings are due primarily to former terrorist groups and some criminals moving into weakened (due to anti terror actions of the government) tiger money collection networks in colombo. (isn’t it curious how the peaceniks never ever complained about intimidation of tamil businessman in colombo by ltte to collect money. perhaps they believe that 'sole representative' did not need intimidation? ltte by the way engage in that kind of intimidation and killings in foreign countries with substantial tamil communities). yes governments (here and in foreign countries) should do more to stop all such illegal collections whatever the group. on the other hand there is no evidence that sri lankan police show more than their usual level of inefficiency in these cases.

some other so called 'disappearances' were in fact legal arrests made by police according to law. in one case three extreme leftist sinhalese armed and trained by ltte to carry out bombings were arrested. these people who had connections to some peaceniks also ran some trade union newspaper. peaceniks and already discredited free media movement at once made a big cry about it after they were arrested without making the proper inquires through the official channels, just because the suspects' families who have an interest in concealing the truth said it was ‘abduction’.

most of the remaining 'disappearances' are, like the student's case referred to above, similar to what happens in any society (runaways, criminal kidnappings etc). in fact the percentage of 'disappearances' in sri lanka is still far short of percentages in other countries including ones at peace like u.s.a.

'white van' in other words is a device to support unsubstantiated accusations against the government and for spinning it into a big brotherly totalitarian regime, because the peaceniks do not have any evidence for their conspiracy theory. if they really believe that government is abducting tamils (why? for god's sake. esp when it is bad pr. do they think that government is stupid as they are?) they should investigate the disappearances and find real facts. but i suppose peaceniks are too lazy and unprofessional by nature to do that. hence the plagiarized allegations, 'white vans', and other such absurdities straight out of ltte spin office.

* i always read peaceniks, in the same way i read and listen to direct terrorist propaganda like tamilnet. most peaceniks on the other hand cannot stand opposing (or even dissenting) viewpoints and resorts to censorship. they just want yes men, if they do have real jobs they would probably not hire anyone capable of independent thought. no wonder that most of them work at ngos that cannot organize even a protest successfully)

** hopefully someone would make a films called 'while vans' so that groundviews can write a review, as they have taken to doing in search of visitors.