LTTE Is No Excuse For Killing Vanni Civilians
April 17, 2009 8:35 AM   Subscribe

"A young mother is injured and her three month old baby killed by shell fragments as she breastfeeds the child in the government declared no fire zone. Parents hide their children in roughly dug bunkers to escape LTTE press gangs who comb the no-fire zone for conscripts. A woman loses her husband to sniper fire and the toddler he was carrying too drowns when they attempt to wade across a lagoon to escape the no-fire zone. A father is shot in the head by LTTE members as he attempted to flee with his family." - The University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) discuss the situation in Vanni, Sri Lanka, in their 47th information bulletin.
posted by chunking express (25 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Good God the world is a fucked up place. Seriously.
posted by spicynuts at 9:05 AM on April 17, 2009

Just put a little baile funk with some gunshots recorded in the "no-fire zone" where 150,000 civilians are being held hostage by the Tamil Tigers and you've got a new M.I.A. track!
posted by Nelson at 9:27 AM on April 17, 2009

Huh, it took four comments. That was two over my guess...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 9:29 AM on April 17, 2009

Yeah, I'm not entirely sure why I post anything about Sri Lanka here, it's usually a big waste of time. Nelson, thanks for letting us know the LTTE are bad. If you read the article, the UTHR(J) say the same thing, only without trying to be funny.
posted by chunking express at 9:41 AM on April 17, 2009

Sorry if I disappointed you with an attempt to be flippant; at least I'm not putting my fingers in my ears. I hear about the disaster in Sri Lanka in two places: The Economist, which once a month writes a frightening and dismaying article about the grim situation. And MIA, who writes a lot of awesome music with a veneer of activist politics that on further examination seem pretty creepy. I fear for many MeFi readers, the MIA connection is probably the one that's most meaningful to them, and I think it bears further examination.

Honestly, I'm at a total loss on what I as an American should feel or do about Sri Lanka.
posted by Nelson at 9:46 AM on April 17, 2009 [1 favorite]

Also in today's NYT-The Lede (with short video): Is the World Ignoring Sri Lanka’s Srebrenica?
posted by mrducts at 9:51 AM on April 17, 2009

Once the LTTE is finally eradicated, what happens next - will the government start to treat the Tamil people as equals or will they continue with the injustices that brought around the Tigers to begin with?

I don't think I need to say that these atrocities conducted by the LTTE and by the SL army are indeed horrible, but what will be even worse will be if the government doesn't learn from its original mistakes (or "misguided decisions", to be more politically correct).

I do believe that a sustainabile peace is possible in Sri Lanka, but it needs nurturing guidance and investment. It also needs commitment from the Sri Lankan people of all ethnicities, Tamils and Sinhalese.

Anyone care to back me up or refute me? What is the general consensus in Sri Lanka overall? In the cities? In the universities? Are all of its citizens and denizens ready to take that step forward?
posted by bitteroldman at 10:28 AM on April 17, 2009

And this was not , btw, a snarky, rhetorical or sarcastic question - I really don't know and would like to know what the feelings are in the rest of the country
posted by bitteroldman at 10:29 AM on April 17, 2009

Tamil civilians slaughtered as army shells 'no-fire zone'. Red Cross doctors treat 1,500 injured evacuees. Two regional health directors, defying government instructions, have described at length the extent of the unfolding humanitarian disaster.
posted by adamvasco at 10:53 AM on April 19, 2009

Bitter end of Sri Lankan Rebels?

Day of Reckoning in Sri Lanka.

Today the government has pledged to push into the rebel held territory if they don't surrender. Considering there are still upwards of 100,000 civilians still there, I don't expect things to go well. Today will probably be one of those important days that mark this conflict.
posted by chunking express at 8:11 AM on April 21, 2009

Dark Victory
In its rush to exterminate the Tigers—partly in justified fear of their skill at manipulating foreign opinion—the army has shown a cruel disregard for Tamil civilians crowding the battlefield. Earlier this month the UN estimated that since early January, when the Tigers’ fled their northern capital, Kilinochchi, driving perhaps 200,000 civilians before them, some 4,500 had been killed and 12,000 wounded. The International Committee of the Red Cross, which has evacuated over 10,000 wounded civilians and their relatives from the no-fire zone, said on April 20th that hundreds more had been killed or wounded since the army made its breach.
In comparison, the infamous 1983 riots that marked the real turning point in the conflict resulted in the deaths of 3000 or so Tamils. The number of civilians killed when this is over will probably be much higher than the 4500 mentioned here. It will be interesting to see how this is all looked at in the future.
posted by chunking express at 11:12 AM on April 23, 2009

Some Big Pictures of refugees.
posted by Nelson at 11:02 AM on April 27, 2009 [1 favorite]

Because of the government imposed media blackout the quality of the war photography isn't that good, and seems highly editorial -- i.e. many of the photos come from the government, or the LTTE. Still, there are a handful of powerful images here (16, 17 & 29 in particular).
posted by chunking express at 12:25 PM on April 27, 2009

If you had told me last month that there would be a protest in Canada demanding that the United States and Canada intervene militarily in a country halfway around the globe that had done neither of us any harm, I'd have called you a liar.
posted by oaf at 7:41 PM on April 28, 2009

It's true, Canada has a long history of not intervening in countries at war, if you ignore the First World War, World War II, Peace Keeping in Egypt, Cyprus, Lebanon, etc, etc.

Try harder.
posted by chunking express at 7:14 AM on April 29, 2009

Also, I don't think the protestors are asking for a military intervention at all. I think they want the US and Canada to put some political pressure on the Sri Lankan government. (Though I doubt they'll stop shelling and bombing civilians & the LTTE any time soon, they are so close to "winning".)
posted by chunking express at 7:17 AM on April 29, 2009


It's a good thing that conflict is over.


It's a good thing that conflict is over.
posted by oaf at 10:22 AM on April 29, 2009

Toronto's police chief Bill Blair on the protests: Inconvenience is a small price to pay.
posted by chunking express at 12:45 PM on April 30, 2009

chunking express - thank you for your continued updates on this unfolding tragedy. There's little or no money to made here by any of the western powers so I guess they aren't really worried about the death, carnage and mayhem.
Only the arms dealers profit. There still seems to be questions over India's involvement in this.
posted by adamvasco at 11:21 AM on May 6, 2009

That this is a racist war is not a secret. I would not go so far as to use the word genocide, but it would not surprise me to see it used in future international legal action against the government. At any rate, the government itself has plastered the countryside with enormous placards lauding the military with the slogan, in Sinhala, the language of the Sinhalese majority to which I too, belong, stating: "Soldiers, our race salutes you!" Not "the people", not "the country", but the race. And all these placards exhibit the stated provenance of the Ministry of Defence or other government institutions. Interestingly, none of these hoardings are in Tamil, the language of the people the government claims it is seeking to liberate. -- Sonali Samarasinghe Wickrematunge, the widow of Lasantha Wickrematunge, who was recently posthumously awarded the World Press Freedom Prize 2009.
posted by chunking express at 8:09 AM on May 7, 2009

Tamil protests block Gardiner
posted by oaf at 5:58 PM on May 10, 2009

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