sri lanka

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Respond to Rajapaksa’s offer, State government tells Tigers

Article Date: 
31 Jan 2009

The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government on Friday urged the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to respond to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s announcement of a 48-hour “ceasefire” to release civilians in the war zone.

Article Source: 
The Hindu

Onus now on LTTE: India

Article Date: 
31 Jan 2009

With Sri Lanka announcing a 48-hour pause in hostilities, India on Friday said the onus was now on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to allow the trapped civilians to move to the designated safe zones.

Article Source: 
The Hindu

War in Northern Sri Lanka: A brief respite, but not quite?

By: on 30 Jan 2009

Here at Pass The Roti, we had a self-imposed moratorium on posting while our brilliant webmaster readied the blog for some major changes. But as I readied myself for bed last night, I found I could not sleep. After some pacing, I become suddently aware that my brow is furrowed, much as it has been over the past two years, since the (most recent) war between the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) began in 2006. So I write in an attempt to unfurl some of that worry.

67 or more Sri Lankan civilians killed in GoSL battle with LTTE

Article Date: 
23 Jan 2009

At least 67 civilians have been killed as Sri Lankan government troops push further into rebel Tamil Tiger territory, according to local health workers.

Article Source: 
Al Jazeera

Sri Lanka's Government closing in on military victory

...if it hasn't already.  This is frightening because it looks like an end to the military operations - but what does that mean for Tamil people of various sorts and other people who don't toe the Sinhalese nationalist line in Sri Lanka?  Some of the possibilites - like massive ethnic cleansing - are horrifying.  And it, like most war situationns, has relevance for the broader social context as well.

Oy Gevalt

By: on 27 Dec 2008

"Israeli war planes and combat helicopters pounded the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip on Saturday, killing at least 140 people and prompting rocket fire from Palestinian militants that killed an Israeli, medics said." What a bunch of f@#kers.  After you sabotage a democratic election, create bantustans, build a huge f@#king wall, set your enemies against each other, set up a naval blockade, have several unnecessary skirmishes/wars, and do very very little to address the problems from your own side of the iss

Six Days in July

By: on 26 Jul 2008

At this time 25 years ago, Sri Lanka burned for six days in July in anti-Tamil pogroms. More than 3000 people were killed, one hundred thousand displaced, and 18,000 businesses destroyed. All for being suspected of being Tamil. The UNP government of then Executive President, J.R. Jayawardene, disingenuously claimed that the riots were a result of an ambush of 13 Sri Lankan soldiers in the north (a mission later claimed by the LTTE) that enraged 'the Sinhala masses' who were provoked into wholly 'spontaneous' acts of violence. Eyewitnesses testified otherwise, recalling local thugs who stalked their streets wielding machetes in one hand, and in the other, official voters lists to identify Tamil homes and businesses. Many of these survivors were saved by their Sinhala and Muslim neighbors, drivers, partners, friends. They waited, hiding in dark cellars and closets while their streets burned.

As the flames rose, whole families were consumed, their homes reduced to ash and rubble, their children, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, parents and grandparents lined up and shot, beaten, or covered in petrol and burned alive. Tamil political prisoners were killed by other prisoners with the aid of their guards. Over the next two decades, if they had the means or the contacts, what remained of these families was scattered to the far corners of the earth by an unwinnable war; a war waged by politicos with a love for power and a hatred aimed at anyone who would stand in the way. The targets were not only Tamils, but the journalists, poets, academics and activists of all communities who dared to speak truth to that power, regardless of who claimed it and to what end.

But even if "politics is the continuation of war by other means" in the continuing transformation of Sri Lanka from welfare to warfare state, those black days in July marked a turning point. Not in any simple, quantifiable sense of "more" or "real" violence, for to say that makes violence a very specific kind of object, it trivializes the lives of those who suffered through and continue to endure everyday discrimination and social and economic injustice, past riots (in 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981), disenfranchisement (in 1948-9 of the Indian Tamils, as well as other migrants from India/Pakistan) expulsion (of Muslims from Jaffna in 1990), and the ongoing war (1983-1985, 1987-1995, 1995-2002, 2006-present). Black July changed the social and political landscape of Sri Lanka; it led the country down a war path that has inflicted suffering and hardship on people from all communities. For many Tamils, the extraordinary events of July '83 crystallized into an experience that told them, once and for all, that they did not belong in the only home most of them had ever known. How? By showing them that they could be killed, simply for being themselves. For being a Tamil; or being mistaken for one; for being married to one; or being forced to pass as Sinhala, Muslim or Burgher. But also, by making everyone realize that they, too, could be complicit in violence against their own people when, instead of standing up to denounce violence against another, they stayed quiet to save their own skin, or spoke in the perpetrator's tongue to deflect a pointed finger.

Hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans, mostly Tamils, left the country; their deep shame masked by the guilt of having left, they sent money to support their families and oftentimes, paradoxically, the war that drove them out in the first place. The pogroms steered youth towards armed struggle as a means of redress; finding no way out in politics or peaceful protest, they sought refuge in militant movements. But violence begat more violence, within and among these groups as they sought to eliminate one another, giving rise to the LTTE, a group that many Tamils tenaciously cling to as their 'one and only hope' and defense again state violence. And so, violence begets more violence.

In the End, A New Beginning? We'll Make Another Way?

By: on 8 Mar 2008

Dear Aut Viam Inveniam Aut Faciam--

This started out as a comment on another "South Asian" blog, on which I haven't been inclined to participate, but felt compelled to by your comment. However, it got "excessively long" and "boorish." So I am posting it here, in another place where I also feel public discourse on Sri Lankan and diasporic politics has a long way to go. Thank you for posting your comments, despite their apparently "excessive" length. (Brevity may be the soul of wit, but pithy remarks do not make for much of a discussion.) My friend V.V. undertook the unenviable task of generating a decent discussion, and while there are some points where we may differ, I think she has done an admirable job.

Stop the Bombs, Thambi's Bowling (The View From Victory Blvd)

By: on 26 Apr 2007

In South Asia, it seems, cricket can do what the tattered remains of a five year old ceasefire cannot.

But like Sri Lanka's now-defunct 2002 Ceasefire Agreement (CFA), without a consistent political process, it's a stop-gap measure. And as we should be well-aware by now, the island doesn't take too kindly to damming.

On Tuesday, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, otherwise known as Tamil Tigers) carried out a second air attack against a Sri Lankan military installation (Myliddy army camp) 3 km from the airport/base at Palaly, Jaffna, following last month's bombing of Katunayake military airport. The bombing at Katunayake, 16 km from the country's only International airport, was claimed to be a "preemptive" strike, and unprecedented in the ongoing conflict, although rumors persisted throughout the CFA period that the Tigers were building up these capabilities. Unsurprising, given that both parties to the agreement showed little commitment, saving face with donor countries and the international community in periodic talks while stockpiling arms in the meantime.

Despite the recent attack on Palaly, and daily military offensives between state forces, the LTTE, and the Karuna faction, AFP reports that there was a short respite for fighters on both sides:

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels are to take a brief break from battle later Tuesday to watch the national cricket team play New Zealand in the World Cup semi-finals.

"There may not be any attacks tonight because we are also watching the match," Tiger spokesman Rasiah Ilanthiriyan told AFP by telephone from the rebel-held north of the island.

Tamil Tiger supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran is believed to be a cricket fan.

The comments came the morning after the Tigers staged an air strike against the military's main facility in the northern peninsula of Jaffna-- the latest violence in a bloody civil war. [Link]

Stop the war, the game is on?

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