Kalugu

Insight into South Asia

Burma, China and Sri Lanka – The lessons

If you are wondering whats so common between these three Asian nations – well firstly, the religion Buddhism binds the heritage of these three nations. Secondly -all the three nations have been facing internal resistance and have used force to contain them for the past fifty plus years.  Its an irony that the religion of peace, has not imparted peace in the minds of its followers in these nations. While Dalai Lama – in the name of Buddhism, is fighting for the freedom of Tibet from China through peaceful methods, Burma has been using violence to quell internal disturbances and Sri Lanka is using excessive violence to quell the Tamil resistance. 

Burma:

Burma’s Junta recently extended the house arrest of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, 61 for another year, defying overwhelming international appeals. Suu Kyi, has spent more than 11 of the past 17 years of life in detention.

Aung San Suu Kyi

The Junta took power in 1988 after crushing pro-democracy demonstrations in Burma. It refused to hand over power when, on May 27, 1990, Suu Kyi’s Burma’s National League for Democracy party won a general election by a landslide.

Suu Kyi won the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru peace prize by the Government of India for her peaceful and non-violent struggle against the military dictatorship. According to the results of the 1990 general election, Suu Kyi as leader of the winning National League for Democracy party earned the right to be the Prime Minister, but her detention by the military Junta prevented just that.The United Nations, the European Union and the U.S. government have been repeatedly calling for the release of Suu Kyi and other political prisoners, as well as for moves toward democracy in Burma.

China – Tibet:

Chinese soldiers and Paramilitary encircled cities and villages in Tibet early this year, on the tip-off about possible unrest on the 50th anniversary of the failed uprising against Chinese rule.

Half a century ago Dalai Lama – the Tibetan spiritual leader fled Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese and has been living in Dharamsala, India – the Himalayan hill town that is the seat of the so called Tibetan government-in-exile. Tibetans outside of China and their supporters held rallies around the world recently to mark the 50th anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising.

Dalai Lama

Meanwhile Dalai Lama acknowledged the “failure” of his policy of talks with Beijing which yielded no results. “Our approach never affects the inside situation. Things are not going well.” he told reporters.

Dalai Lama – The spiritual and political leader for the people of Tibet has been talking about the “cultural genocide” by the Chinese, has been warning that Tibet’s “ancient culture and ancient civilization are now dying.” and painfully confesses that “for the short term, the Tibet issue is hopeless.”

There is a suspicion among foreign analysts of Chinese policy toward Tibet that Beijing has no intention of seriously seeking a solution to the problem and is planning simply to wait for the death of Dalai Lama. His successor, after all, would enjoy none of the international kudos, domestic devotion, or diplomatic experience that gives Dalai Lama his political strength.

Since the last round of talks between top Chinese officials and delegates of Dalai Lama that took place through the year 2002 there appears an impasse. The Chinese side has repeatedly refused the Tibetans’ demands to discuss the outlines of  Tibetan autonomy,calling it a “covert independence” and a violation of Chinese sovereignty.

Sri Lanka – Tamil Eelam:

Tamils – the speakers of an ancient classical language, who have a heritage of rich literature dating back as much as 5000 years old are the native inhabitants of Southern India and North East of Sri Lanka in the present day boundaries of this region. Their struggle for self determination and the establishment of a free state “Tamil Eelam” has been countered by successive heads of the Sri Lankan state. Both peace-full resistance under the leadership of S.J.V.Chelvanayagam and armed resistance under the leadership of V. Pirabakaran have met violent opposition by the Sri Lankan government. 

The plight of the high civilian causalities during the recent offensive and the regular disappearances of internally displaced people from the Intermittent camps remind us of the Nazi days. The “Never Again” slogan seem to have been lost in the rumbles of the “war on terror”. Leaked UN figures state that more than 20,000 Tamil civilians were killed and several thousand injured by the Sri Lankan Army just in the last few days of the war. Several International analysts who have focused on past genocides of the world have warned that the Tamils of Sri Lanka are facing “slow genocide” at the hands of Sri Lankan armed forces and the Sri Lankan government. While the human cost of the Sri Lankan civil war has been extremely high, world leaders were still of the opinion that the Tamils struggle was legitimate, but their use of violence is unacceptable. The casualties of this war has largely been ignored or hidden by world bodies such as UN to avoid the embarrassment of the exposure of the “uncivilized” world. 

Non-violence and Armed struggle

I am wondering, if the world leaders and world bodies seek an end to all armed struggles across the world, do they think that the world is ready to heed to peaceful protests. If so why has there not been any progress or hope for the freedom of Tibetans. Why has there not been any success with the Aung San Suu Kyi’s strugle to bring democracy to Burma?.

Even after 50 years and 17years of struggle Dalai Lama and Aung San Suu Kyi are yet to see any meaningful progress, leave alone a permanent solution. The International Community have been occasionally releasing statements in favor of these two rebel leaders, but carry on their diplomatic missions and trade agreements with China and Burma. The UN has always remained the extended arm of the Security Council members and has done nothing for these two peaceful struggles. 

It makes me conclude that the International Community and the UN are nothing more than empty words. Until they are able to bring a positive outcome to the peaceful struggles in these Asian nations or across the globe, they will not earn the respect of anybody and cannot gain any legitimacy in dictating the means and ways of somebodies struggles towards equality and dignity. Until then, the power to end the miseries of Burma, Tibet & Tamil Eelam rests in the hands of it own people.

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New leadership to emerge from Diaspora Tamils

Amidst several new revelations in the Sri Lankan crisis by the Tamils, Sinhalese and rest of the world, the Asia team comprising of India, Pakistan, China and Iran continues to reign in the rhettoric of “war on terror” despite the heavy cost of the war. UN is now on a damage control mode, after the leaked information on the casualties of 20,000 civilians in the last few days alone of the war. With the Sri Lanka government establishing that the LTTE has been eliminated from the face of the earth, the Tamils, especially the Diaspora seem to have gotten even stronger in their resolve for continuing the struggle.

While the UN Chief Ban Ki Moon reiterated the need for an international investigation to examine the war crimes of Rajapakse’s government, the Sri Lankan administration continued ignoring the growing resentment across the globe. In a statement to reporters on Friday at U.N. headquarters, Mr Ban Ki Moon said:

“Any inquiry, to be meaningful, should be supported by the members of the United Nations, and also should be very impartial and objective,”

“I would like to ask the Sri Lankan government to recognize the international call for accountability and full transparency, and whenever and wherever there are credible allegations of violations of humanitarian law, there should be a proper investigation.”

So far no Tamil has been quoted as welcoming the outcome of the war. Even hardcore Sri Lankan government supporter Mr. V. Anadasangaree has termed the conditions of the Tamils in the Manik Farm Camp as “horrible”.

Canadian Tamil Congress spokesman David Poopalapillai said he does not believe Mr Rajapakse even for a minute.  His organization has planned to hold several protests in Toronto and is also calling European Tamil organizations to hold protests. 

Jan's parents were teachers in Nigeria and Zambia where she lived in her youth. In England she lived in Southport in Merseyside, Croydon and Winchester.

In Europe young and elite leadership is emerging from the Diaspora Tamils. Rapper MIA endorsed Jan Jananayagan who is contesting as an the independent candiate to the EU Parliament. MIA appeared in several major media network, calling upon Londoners, to support Jan on a platform for Civil liberty. Jan holds an MBA from the INSEAD Business School in France and says she stands for, Individual Freedom, Financial Transparency and Effective Regulation, Equality and Diversity, Small Businesses and Entrepreneurship, Ethical Foreign Policy & Animal Welfare. Jan has been campaigning with all minority communities in London and the Sikh and Tibet community organizations have declared their support for her candidature.

The EU Parliament election is a win-win effort by Jan, with some visible results already – of the unifying Diaspora that is strengthening the freedom movement after the demise of the military wing of LTTE.

Out Look India’s Sadanand Menon observes the following:

..a newly articulate, million-strong, diasporic community with international connections is poised to step in. That is where the new leadership, new resistance and new political process will come from. This segment is better equipped to continue the struggle through constitutional means..

The Lankan Tamil community stands as a symbol of hope for civil liberty. With their resolve they are demonstrating that there is nothing called “defeat”. Their determination and focus is likely to result in the emergence of a new elite leadership for the Eelam Tamils.

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Rally in Chennai to mourn and pay homage to Tamils massacred in Ealem

Thol. Thirumavalavan. MP.

Thol. Thirumavalavan. MP.

The leader of Viduthalai Siruththaihal Katchi ( VCK) Thol Thirumavalavan has announced that a peace rally will be held in Chennai on May 28, 2009, to pay homage to the freedom fighters who fought under the leadership of Prabakaran and died in the struggle for freedom of Ealem.

The following are the resolutions passed in the meeting of the office bearers of the VCK.

1. We salute the freedom fighters who fought under the leadership of Prabakaran and our brethren who sacrificed their lives in the battleground for freedom of Ealem.

2. We condemn the genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka and request that Mr. Rajabakse should be enquired and punished by the International court.

3. The Sri Lankan Government which trumpets that it has killed Mr. Prabakaran, his family members and front leaders should handover the bodies of the killed to their relatives.

4. The world including India should press for identification and preservation of the bodies.

5. Since Sri Lanka has announced that the war has come to an end, the food, medicine, water and basic amenities should be provided through international agencies.

6. A political solution should be arrived for obtaining Ealem by conducting peace talks with the rest of the Tamil Tigers. No talk should be conducted with others.

7. Even after the announcement of silencing of the guns by Tigers, the Sri Lnkan Government has massacred the Tamils. We condemn the inhuman attitude of the international community including India which prefered to simply watch the massacre.

This call for peace rally is made by Thirmavalavan, now an elected Member of Parliament in India. We all, the global citizens, shall mourn the death of our people and take a vow on that day to struggle for the Freedom and Justice for Ealem with more Valor and Determination.

It is only the wise who can convert
Loss into Gain and Death into Life

( Thiruvalluvar 235)

Written by Malarthamil
Malarthamil is a civil engineer and writer-poet inspired by Thirukkural – a classical Tamil poetry that expounds various aspects of life.

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10 Questions to World Leaders

Honorable US President Mr. Obama, US Secretary of state Mrs. Clinton, UK Prime minister Gordon  Brown, Norway Minister Eric Solheim, most importantly UN Secretary General Mr. Ban ki moon,

Civilians in Internment Camps behind barbed fences

About quarter million civilians are in Internment Camps behind barbed fences. About 20,000 wounded are in need of immediate assistance. Food, Water and Medicine are in immediate need.

Even after the SL government claims to have won the war, President Rajapakse is busy celebrating his victory, while the Tamils are struggling for their lives, living at the mercy of the Sinhalese prison guards, without food, water and medicine.

Yet, the IC, UN, Red Cross and all World Organizations are watching the happenings without any action.

If you could touch your heart and answer even one of these questions truthfully, you are justified to be in the seat that you occupy.  

  1. What is stopping Mr. Rajapakse from allowing international help to reach the affected area? Is it because he needs his people to clear up all evidences to the genocide, in the name of clearing land mines?
  2. Why is there no Tamil in the Srilankan Army? Can those aristocrats in Delhi, Washington, London, France care to answer or comment.
  3. Weren’t the TNA MPs democratically elected? Then why is that their input is not taken into consideration in any of the decisions taken by the World Organizations?
  4. Millions of Tamils around the world have fled their home country Sri Lanka. Is it because, they wanted to tour the world?
  5. Those millions worldwide demonstrated in support of LTTE, and described LTTE as their freedom fighters. Are all of them hardened terrorists, as the Srilankan President Rajapakse is claiming?
  6. When will Rajapakse allow international aid to reach the Tamils? Or does he think that it is not necessary? Why was the ICRC thrown out of Srilanka?
  7. When will the reporters be allowed to report freely from the affected areas? What is the status of investigations carried out in the case of the reporters who have been killed? Why were the UK journalists thrown out of Srilanka?
  8. Why have the SL Government arrested the doctors who reported casualty figures from the war front? Also, why any one who raises his voice against the government, even if they are civilians or reporters, arrested and investigated?
  9. What is the function of UN? You might think that this is a stupid question, but I bet if anyone can provide an answer and prove that the answer is justified by quoting the activities of UN.
  10. How come Mr. Rajapakse has not yet mentioned about what he intends to do to protect the rights of the Tamils? Is he going to think of a plan when he has time after his victory bash?

Indian leaders from Delhi, Chinese Communists and Japanese war mongers are excluded from these questions, as this is directed to those who have some basic dignity and humanity.  

Note to Mr. Ban Ki Moon: Please do not ask advice from the following people

  1. Mr. Vijay Nambiar who goes for a leisure tour to Srilanka every few days and says everything is fine.
  2. Mr. Pranab Mukherjee who has been assigned to look out for investment opportunities in Srilanka, on behalf of Mdm. Sonia Gandhi.
  3. Mr. Manmohan singh, as he cannot answer without Mdm. Sonia Gandhi’s permission. So kindly do not disturb him.

Written by Joy Arun

Joy Arun is an engineer who also works to spread education to the needy. He believes education is the foundation for a healthy society.

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Open letter to Cho Ramaswamy – the strawman of Tamil politics

Mr. Cho Ramasamy the actor turned politician and editor/publisher of a Tamil weekly has recently appeared in few national television media to air his opinion on issues relating to the region.

This is an open letter to Mr. Cho with reference to his recent interview published in The Economic Timeson 19 May 09. I hope Mr. Cho will be a good sport for appreciation/criticism.

Open letter to Mr. Cho Ramasamy:

20 May, 2009

Good Morning Mr. Cho. Congratulations for getting a spot in the The Economic Times to air your views on the fallout of the latest Lankan developments in Tamil Nadu and to give your advice on what the Indian government should do now to find a solution to the problems.

I would like to point out some of your answers and seek some clarifications.

To start with, for the question: “What you think will be the fallout of the Lankan development on Tamil Nadu, where Sri Lanka war was a big election issue?”, you have answered: “It was never a poll issue and this time also it wasn’t a poll issue

However, In the very next question: “What about youngsters here? Do you think their empathy will spill over to agitations? “, You have answered “…. It may be a poll issue but parties will not support agitations”

If “the poll issue” fliflop was a print error by The Economic Times, I guess it can be left uncorrected as most readers presume that it is indeed your style of expression (confuse the issue or reader or if possible both). Otherwise, please clarify.

Further in one of your answers you have stated that “Nobody was elected because he was a champion of LTTE and nobody was defeated because he was not.

I am positive that you must be aware of the following facts:

The rout of several senior Congress leaders, including Union Ministers:The prominent losers from the Congress include Union Ministers E.V.K.S. Elangovan from Erode and Mani Shankar Aiyar from Mayiladuthurai, former Union Minister R. Prabhu from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu Congress Committee president K.V. Thangkabalu from Salem. In a see-saw battle, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram of the Congress won by a narrow margin of 3,354 votes.
— Frontline , “The Hindu” publications.

Are you not aware that there were few organizations that worked exclusively for the defeat of these candidates?  May be you did not want The Economic Times to know these facts?

Also you cannot refuse the argument that AIADMK would have been routed if not for the last minute announcement by Ms J. Jayalalitha that she will send the Indian Army to create an independent state for Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Further, you have also stated this: “As far as the LTTE is concerned, there is no sympathy left with the Tamils here

Can you explain the methodology you use to feel the pulse of the people in our state? Do you refer to surveys conducted by reputed firms?, Because all the surveys I have read (Indian Express, Vikatan and Loyola College) indicate that if not all, a sound majority view LTTE as a legitimate freedom struggle. Please let us know what logical reasoning you adopt to come to conclusions about the views of the people, because you may have to change it as it had gone totally wrong.

You have clearly stated that you oppose an independent state for Lankan Tamils. I respect your anti Eelam stance and will stand to protect your freedom of thought and speech. However the tool you are using to push your viewpoints – “Lies” is not appropriate in any manner. In my humble opinion, using “Lies” will not only taint your reputation but also weaken your viewpoints.

Further you have stated: “Well here, some fringe elements will indulge in some agitations. Some fanatics may even try self-immolation”.

Can you please explain what the term “fringe elements” mean?. Mr. Muthukumar has been given a page in Wikipedia. His statement became the most circulated material in the Tamil print and internet media. It fueled 10 other self immolations across the globe (Mostly in Tamil Nadu) which is very sad.  Film Actors, Film workers, Doctors, Advocates, Traders, IT Engineers, TV Actors, Directors, Students, Painting Artists, Poets – folks from all walks of life have observed protests. All political outfits have organized several forms of protests. The Chief Minister Mr. Karunanidhi and the opposition leader Ms Jayalaitha have observed fast protests. I have not seen an uprising in my life (in my state) that parallels the protests in the last few months. Your above statement that these protests are by “fringe elements” is nothing less than a consciously stated lie.

Again, I respect your anti Eelam stance, but the tool you have chosen to push your view points – “Lies” is not appropriate in my opinion.

To my knowledge, this convinient misrepresentation of facts (Lies) by you to mislead some of the National Indian English media  is indicative of the low standard of journalism you have set for yourself. It also indicates the low standard of moral ethics you have set to yourself. The sloka you quote very often which is the essence of the Hindu religion talks a lot about truth. 

“Sathyam Bhruyaath
Priyam Bhruyaath
Mathbruyaath sathyamapriyam
Priyam cha na anruthambruyaath”

(Speak the truth,
speak the soothing word,
Even if truth,speak the soothing word,
Even if true, do not speak the harsh word, Even if soothing, do not speak the untruth.)

What benefit it does to understand just the individual meaning of the words and not practice it in your life.

I urge you to write more about why you have been opposing the formation of an Independent state for the Tamils in Sri Lanka, with verifiable facts and arguments based on policies and geo political interests and above all with “Truth” behind your view points.

I do admire your sense of humor and will be delighted to see you in the screen again. 

Sincerely,

Sunderapandyan
Citizen Journalist, Kalugu.com
——-***——-
The Straw-man of Tamil Politics:

Cho’s affiliation to RSS and the Hindutva ideologies are his birth right. In my opinion he has his own version of the Hindutva philosophies and is yet to find a platform or a leader to carry that forward.

Cho has been very vocal in opposing any movement that would lead to the creation of an independent Tamil state for the Lankan Tamils. So I view him as sabotaging the Lankan Tamil interests and progress. Some feel that Cho represents the aspirations of the Tamil Brahmins. I don’t agree to that either. Cho has never represented the Tamil Brahmin aspirations. Here is an example from a recent happening:

Mr. Cho Ramasamy

MrCho is a self-confessed well-wisher of the BJP which did not win a single seat in the state.Mr. Cho predicted 25 constituencies for ADMK and 15 for DMK in this elections.

An incident that rocked the sentiments of the Tamil Brahmin community in recent times was the arrest of Swami Jeyendira Saraswathi – The Sankaracharya of Kanchi Mutt.  Needless to say the Kanchi Mutt is one of the oldest and most respected institutions for Hindus all over the nation. Several members of the mutt were in turmoil with the incident being highlighted in a manner that brought disrespect to the institution and its tradition. While most members of the mutt agreed that the crime has to be punished, they were shocked in the way the story was handled in the media, with no respect to the Hindu sentiments.

While the leader of the Tamil Brahmin community organization (TAMBRAS) called upon members of the community to come out of their house and organize protests, there was little support. To my knowledge Mr. Cho did not utter a word about the whole chapter. While Cho would comment on all state issues in National media, he failed to use his network in the media to throw some light into this issue. Mr. Cho would openly state that he does not stand for the welfare of his community. The pretext being – his ideologies are larger than just his community or even the state. So patronization of Cho by sections of his community (by subscribing to his magazine) has indeed recieved no gratification.

While among Tamil Brahmins, he ignores their true sentiments, while amongst Tamils he sabotages their aspirations, and we can speculate what he will stand for as an Indian/Human.

Cho being the straw-man he is in Tamil politics, does offer some value to the state. However, if one does not understand the correct perspective with which his opinions can be taken, it may lead to a disaster. The key is – his opinions should be listened to, but not implemented. In fact it may work in most instances if you implement the opposite of what he suggests. 

Mr. Rajinikanth and Ms Jayalalitha are two examples of otherwise successful individuals reaching the lowest point in their public life due to their association with Cho. The reason these associations resulted in disaster is because both of these individuals did not have any clue on how to apply Cho’s intelligence appropriately.

In simple terms, the key to success with Cho on your side is: When Cho says go south, you should go north.

Written by Sunderapandyan

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Sri Lanka – back to square one after decades of unrest

Sri Lanka yesterday claimed that several of LTTE top leaders including its chief Mr V. Prabakaran have been killed. This news provided by the Army has been widely circulated in the Sri Lankan, Indian and Western media. However S. Pathmanathan, Head of LTTE’s International Relations in an interview to TamilNet on Monday refused those claims and said:

“The Sri Lankan government makes unverified claims. I am only able to ascertain that our National Leader is alive and well. It is true that many of our senior members and leaders have either given up their lives or been treacherously killed. This is very unfortunate, but it is important to realize that our struggle will continue until the aspirations of our people are realized.”

Mr S. Pathmanathan in an earlier interview to UK’s Channel 4 informed that LTTE is silencing their guns to avoid further killing of civilians by the Sri Lankan forces in the name of war. 

However sources from the conflict zone indicated that the attack by the Sri Lankan forces continued several hours after this announcement. Earlier audio recordings uploaded onto youtube website by unknown individuals from the conflict zone, mentioned about large number of severely wounded civilians laying across the conflict zone without any medical treatment. The only hospital that was functional in the area was destroyed by Sri Lankan shelling. 

Also the doctors who were providing updates to the international media from the conflict zone had evacuated, leaving the wounded at risk. Rebel sources claim that the government forces killed indiscriminately all the remaining rebels in the area who had already laid down their weapons. With 240,000 Tamils held in camps behind barbed wires and further 70,000 estimated to be directed to the camps and several thousand wounded or dead in the conflict zone, the situation remains the largest man made catastrophe in the region.

Back to square one:

For those who have been following the Sri Lankan crisis for the past 30+ years, it may be striking to see that the ground situation has gone back to what it was before 30 years:

  • Sri Lanka aligned with India’s strategic enemy nations (Then it was USA & Pakistan, Now it is China & Pakistan)
  • Sri Lankan forces had full control of Tamil areas
  • Tamil rebels were not a formidable force, but had widespread public support among Tamils in Sri Lanka and India.

The biggest fear of the southern Sinhalese back then was India’s intentions for intervention leading to an invasion. That fear has been further aggravated today by the open calls for the creation of Eelam by the two most powerful political parties of Tamil Nadu – DMK and ADMK as part of their election campaign strategies in Tamil Nadu. 

Early on it was India and Tamil rebels fighting Sri Lanka, next it was India and Sri Lanka fighting the Tamil rebels (Indo Sri Lanka Peace Accord), then it was India fighting with Tamil rebels and Sri Lanka (IPKF period when Sri Lanka was clandestinely funding Tamil rebels to pack Indian forces) followed by the current phase of Sri Lanka and India (Clandestine support by the Congress government) fighting with the Tamil rebels.

The new entrant to the conflict this time being China which is now the major partner of Sri Lanka and is constructing a billion dollar port in Southern Sri Lanka as part of its String of pearls strategy – raising India’s concerns. Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram last month accused China of using the ongoing crisis in Sri Lanka to “expand its sphere of influence”, adding that this had “impacted on India’s response to the situation”. Meanwhile, China in April blocked India’s loan efforts at the Asian Development Bank on territory that both nations claim.

It may also be noted that Chidambaram gave an interview recently to an Indian news channel which marked a sharp difference from his parties earlier stance regarding the Tamil rebels. With India’s security coming above all other concerns, the strategic interest might prompt for a change in India’s foreign policy. Whether that will take into account the aspirations of the Tamils people of Sri Lanka needs to be seen though.

Written by Sunderapandyan.

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USA: The Al Qaeda threat and the need to find new partners

First published in Blogcritics.org – An online magazine that syndicates content to online editions of newspapers around the United States.

Spending on the US war on terror recently hit 1$ trillion, as reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a US government watchdog agency. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), covering Afghanistan and other Global War On Terror (GWOT) operations, ranging from the Philippines to Djibouti began immediately after the 9/11 attacks and continues.
Has the threat to America been eliminated? Well, its hard to say, isn’t it?. There have been no attacks since 9/11. which implies that the Homeland Security team must be doing its job well. On the flip side, the threat is as alive as at any other time prior to 9/11, with Bin Laden — the mastermind — still around, hiding somewhere in Pakistan, and releasing cynical videos to scare the Americans and their allies.
Everyone will remember the days when the Bush administration was compounding the magnitude of the threat by introducing what they called a threat alert system, with a color coded index. The security threat to the US resembled a stock market index, with television news anchors announcing where the index stood every day.

Spending on the US war on terror recently reached 1$ trillion, as reported by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), a US government watchdog agency. Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF), covering Afghanistan and other Global War On Terror (GWOT) operations, ranging from the Philippines to Djibouti began immediately after the 9/11 attacks and continues.

Has the threat to America been eliminated? Well, its hard to say, isn’t it?. There have been no attacks since 9/11 – which implies that the Homeland Security team must be doing its job well. On the flip side, the threat is as alive as at any other time prior to 9/11, with Bin Laden — the mastermind — still around, hiding somewhere in Pakistan, and releasing cynical videos to scare the Americans and their allies.

Everyone will remember the days when the Bush administration was compounding the magnitude of the threat by introducing what they called a threat alert system, with a color coded index. The security threat to the US resembled a stock market index, with television news anchors announcing where the index stood every day.

caption here

In an August 2008 update, the Congressional Budget Office projected that additional war costs for the next ten years from FY2009 through FY2018 could rangefrom $440 billion $865 billion.

By announcing the response to the 9/11 attacks as “Global War On Terror”, the Bush administration was also magnifying the enemy. The administration engaged in worldwide propaganda against terrorism. This was widely reported in the media as well, and news about several other armed groups around the world made headlines. The general attention towards similar attacks across the globe received primetime exposure on all media channels. It was as if the whole world were being attacked by terrorists, who somehow were all connected, with a common goal of  terrorizing people.

The policy of “Global War on Terror” not only diluted the focus on the real enemy – Al Qaeda, it also lacked a benchmark to measure its progress — the reason why none of us can ever conclusively say whether or not the job is done.

The USA was seen as chasing the weapon, rather than the enemy. Since it was declared a “global war,” US government resources were spent on assisting other nations to do their own dirty laundry. Nations with internal disturbances by armed groups lobbied the US administration to include their enemies in the list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) resulting in Foreign Aid and Diplomatic Operations spending alone (as part of the GWOT), amounting to 46.6 million. The US taxpayer was now paying for several other wars around the globe, several of which an average American would have never heard of before.

The Bush administration believed that these other wars would provide tactical experience for the “Global War On Terror”. Insurgencies around the world became experiments to test different strategies, some with very high civilian casualties. Most western nations, including the US, and even the UN, are now tolerating severe human rights violations by rogue nations which carry out their civil wars under the cover of counter terrorism.

A US soldier in Kabul, Afghanistan

A US soldier in Kabul, Afghanistan

While American soldiers serving in Afghanistan were losing their lives, a stretched-out policy of GWOT without a benchmark allowed the Bush administration to return to power for a second term, taking advantage of the patriotic sentiments of Americans.

The misguided policies  resulted in the “War On Terror” becoming similar to the “War On Drugs” or the  “War On Poverty;” without a definitive goal or deadline.

Interestingly, in the first 100 days of the Obama administration we are seeing a new approach on the horizon. Obama calling sections of Taleban to work with the US is not only a tactical and strategic move, but could be seen as a diplomatic one too. Working with other Islamic groups will open new doors for US diplomacy in the Muslim world. While the US is currently seen by many in Islamic societies as an enemy of Muslim interests, the new policy offers an opportunity for the USA to counter Al Qaeda’s propaganda and split the support base for Al-Qaeda in its home ground.

The option of networking with non-state players was never studied by the Bush administration. The possibilities can be quite significant, however, as US intelligence could gain unprecedented access to and knowledge of financial, communications and other infrastructure networks of similar organizations.

The US administration can also look for partners from other parts of Asia. The recent developments in Sri Lanka, where the Tamil minorities have been pursuing a 30 year struggle against the ruling regime, offer an opportunity for the USA to network with another insurgency group: the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), known to be a very innovative and motivated armed group. However, their use of suicide bombers for military and political targets has landed them on the USA’s FTO list. Though the group has met some setbacks recently, it is known to have a strong global network and enjoy widespread support from the Tamil Diaspora. A timely intervention in the crisis could not only arrest the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe in that nation, but could also serve the strategic interests of USA.

There could be other non-state players who can offer an edge to the USA in its pursuit of Al-Qaeda. Armed groups such as LTTE and the likes that do not share the ideologies of Islamic extremism should be evaluated for strategic partnership. Concurrently, the US should also use the association to cultivate these groups and encourage them to give up unacceptable conflict practices.

However, the biggest challenge to Obama administration would be to convince Americans to unlearn what the Bush administration preached to them and show them who the real enemy is, how small the enemy is, how important it is to partner with non-state players and how such a focused approach can eliminate the threat once and for all, leading to a conclusive victory in the “War on Al-Qaeda”.

Written by Sunderapandyan.

Filed under: Asia, North America, Politics, , , , , , , , , ,

IMF: Funding and defending genocide in Sri Lanka?

The Government of Sri Lanka is attempting to get a loan package of Rs.1.9 billion dollars from the International Monetary Fund ( IMF) under the pretext of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. The application of the loan is now being considered by IMF amidst international concerns of Human Rights violations by Sri Lanka. The loan is considered to be granted for the so called post conflict reconstruction or to help Sri Lanka to weather the impact of the global financial crisis or for both purpose.

In the North and East of the Country, the Sinhala Government has been waging a war on section of its own citizens which has caused extremely high civilian casualties along with destruction and uprooting of a millions of Tamil community from their homeland. It is evident that any financial assistance to Sri Lanka by any country or organization shall only encourage the policy goals of the Government of Sri Lanka to continue the Genocide of Tamils, thereby implying that those who assist GOSL shall become a part of such heinous crime.

Headquarters building of the International Monetary Fund

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) is a private international organization that oversees the global financial system. It is an organization formed to stabilize international exchange rates and facilitate development. Its headquarters are located in Washington, D.C., USA.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) declares itself as an organization of 185 countries, working to foster global monetary cooperation, secure financial stability, facilitate international trade, promote high employment and sustainable economic growth, and reduce poverty around the world. It offers financial and technical assistance to its members, making it an international lender of last resort. 

This declaration is under the assumption that each member country should treat its citizens equally. The main objectives of IMF can be considered as related to helping member countries in distress caused due to financial crisis purely out of fiscal conditions of economic activities. It is not meant for an attitude of Destroy & Reconstruct.

The Sri Lankan Central Bank’s statement reiterated that the aim of the IMF loan now applied for is to “continue with the resettlement, rehabilitation and reconstruction work in the Northern Province, and the continued rapid development of the Eastern Province, which it deems key not only to uplift the living standards of the people in the areas affected by the decades long conflict, but also to successfully implement the government’s efforts to bring a sustainable solution to the conflict.”

In fact Sri Lanka is asking for this loan for a reason untold. The real situation is that the loan is required very urgently for the near bankrupt country. Sri Lanka desperately needs the money to make payments for imports and loans.

The central bank of Sri Lanka has said that in 2009 around 900 million dollars is required to repay the loans alone . Sri Lanka is in a debt trap and needs borrowing to repay the loans raised already. The country has lost its foreign exchange reserves in defending its currency paying for import and service loans as observed by Sri Lankan economists.

Such downward trend of Sri Lankan economy is due to heavy military expenditure and lavish spending of Government for its own establishment of a mega size ministry. Therefore the loan now requested by Sri Lanka must be considered as payment for the expenditure already incurred for the cause of genocide since such a necessity could not have risen if there had been no war.

Some countries like India and China are involved in competitive helping attitude to grant financial and military assistance to Sri Lanka without considering the humanitarian tragedy in the past few months. If IMF loan is granted the western powers shall enter Sri Lanka through their companies by getting contract for Reconstruction and the Ealem shall become a playground of USA, UK, China and India. It will be leading to a free for all situation.The total idea of India not to internationalise Ealem issue and acting as a big brother in this region shall fail ultimately. The Geo political hegemony and the economic interests shall compel all of them to turn a blind eye to the atrocities of the Government towards Tamil community which is almost orphaned.

Tamils are stateless and therefore Tamil Diaspora is left to fight its legal battles against the IMF Loan only in the western countries which are considered more responsive to the struggle of Tamils.

Earlier, Tamils Against Genocide (TAG), a US-based activist group, filed a complaint against Secretary of the US Treasury, and the US Executive Director at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in the United States Columbia District Court to obtain a declaratory judgment that a failure of the United States to oppose Sri Lanka’s pending $1.9 billion IMF loan application would constitute a violation of law.

Confidential UN satellite images leaked show the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed No fire Zone of about 150,000 civilians fleeing the fighting against the Tamil Tigers

Confidential UN satellite images leaked last week prove that the Sri Lankan Air Force bombed the No fire Zone while 150,000 civilians were sheltered there. The images exposed earlier lies of the Sri Lankan government officials that the No Fire Zone was never shelled.

The Complaint detailed the Sri Lanka’s pattern of gross violation of internationally recognized human rights under the categories of 1.Extra-judicial killings and disappearances, 2.War Crimes in Violation of the Hague and Geneva Conventions: Shelling and Bombarding Civilians, 3.Rape, 4.Cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, 5.Prolonged detention without charges, 6.Arbitrary arrests and national identity cards and limits of freedom of movement, 7. Starvation and denial of medical care, 8.Denial of free speech and press, 9.Denial of Investigations by International Organizations: Media Blackout, 10.Political Repression and 11.Torture.

Separately in another development on 28.4.2009, Public Interest Lawyers, a group of attorneys representing a Tamil activist group in UK, charged that in light of the Sri Lankan Government’s systematic and gross violations of international humanitarian and human rights law ,the UK under international law has various obligations, namely, to denounce and not recognize the situation in Sri Lanka as lawful and not to render aid and assistance to Sri Lanka .The group will file legal action in the British High Court if the UK Government fails to respond satisfactorily to the charges.

It is to be seen whether such legal battles can be quickly settled and due Justice is shown to the Tamil community which is fighting for its survival.

Sri Lanka is attempting to get this assistance from IMF with no conditions or safeguards, specifically with regard to the military action in Northern Sri Lanka.

There is also a speculation that the IMF asked to privatise some state entities as a condition for its loan to be granted as revealed by Danushka Samarasinghe, head of research at Asia Securities.

It is learnt that Sri Lanka’s IMF loan request is rapidly moving towards agreement and that the loan would be available for Sri Lanka between the first and second weeks of May 2009. While the Colombo-IMF talks are in a second tier process, the final stage of loan approval depends on the “votes” of IMF Executive Directors.

The votes of Executive Directors are governed by the local laws of respective countries they are representing, and at present both Executive Director for the United States, Meg Lundsager, and Executive Director for the United Kingdom, Alex Gibbs, are facing legal action blocking their votes to the loan (to Sri Lanka). Therefore it is a test of concern on genocide for both USA and UK.

If such assistance is granted by IMF with implicit conditions on Capitalist Economy, without any safeguards on humanitarian aspects and without any monitoring mechanism on the flow of funds for the purpose specified, it will only strengthen the hands of Sri Lankan Government in finding military solution to the ethnic problem under the name of Reconstruction and Rehabilitation. Sri Lanka shall again utilize the money for retaining its establishment of tyranny after making some symbolic throw of funds to Tamil population to hoodwink the world just as in the case of Tsunami Reconstruction.

Tamils against Genocide

Tamils against Genocide is a US based organization that campaigns against the killing of civilians in Sri Lanka and highlights the human rights violations by Gothabaya Rajapakse and Sarath Fonseka - senior members of the Sri Lankan government and Army who are filed with genocide charges in an US court.

Several Western nations that are witnessing the unrelenting resolve of the Tamil diaspora are surprised at their unity, perseverance and persistence against all odds. Some Tamil leaders have emphasised the importance of devising intelligent ways to stop the Sri Lankan regime from pursuing the genocidal tactics. When a community displays such an acumen, wisdom and strength to win their land, they will be victorious. With that, the present phase of Ealem struggle is just one phase of their journey and defenitely not the end of their world.

Twofold is the way of the world –
Wealth is one Wisdom is another.

( Thiru Valluvar 374)

Written by Malarthamil

Malarthamil is a civil engineer and writer-poet inspired by Thirukkural – a classical Tamil poetry that expounds various aspects of life.

Filed under: Asia, Politics, World, , , , , , , , , ,

Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka

Whatever the outcome of the battle in Sri Lanka, the world cannot stand by and see over 500,000 innocent men women and children be the victims in this war. We in India have a special duty to go in and add to the rescue efforts of the innocent on a much larger scale than we have. Not just as a humanitarian gesture, but as a neighbour we are most suited for the rescue mission. And if we do not, the Tamils of Sri Lanka will never forgive us, nor will our Tamil people forget this.

I am not taking sides in the War. I just do not know enough. Except that we all know that India has meddled in Sri Lankan affairs in the past, has been responsible for the formation of the Tamil Tigers, and then tried to rein them in, leading to Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination.

Whatever the past, we cannot just be bystanders. Even the political fallout is extremely dangerous for us. If the battle for a separate Tamil State fails in Sri Lanka, those ambitions could easily be transferred to Tamil Nadu.

Written by guest writer Shekhar Kapur.

Shekhar Kapur is a noted film maker with international repute. One of the few Indian movie directors to make a career in the U.S., Shekhar Kapur has proved his filmmaking worth in both countries. You can read his blog here.

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Eelam crisis – The unsettling conflict of mind

While traveling in the bus, sipping a cup of coffee at the office cafeteria or while walking alone, it reverberates in my mind. Is everything over?

This thought is unbearable and overwhelming. At times, I have to control my tears and emotions looking at the ignominity of my fellow Tamils at the hands of Sinhalese. Tamils are slaughtered by the Sri Lankan army with the total support of India. The pictures and videos are disturbing. I avoided the websites such as puthinam which had horrendous images of the people caught in the cross fire. Videos of people suffering in the shell attacks are all over the Tamil websites. Tamils from Tamil Nadu, Malaysia, Canada, Britain, France, Swiss, Germany and USA have done whatever they can. They explained to every representative of the congress. Sent emails and faxes with lots of information about the crisis. It made some difference in the places like USA which to some extent respects the views of the people. Britain appointed special envoy and tried to bring the issue to the UN Security Council. But unfortunately China and Russia have blocked the issue from being debated in the council. It is now a known fact that China and Russia are acting on behalf of Sri Lanka in vetoing the discussions at the UN Security Council.

The feeling of “Is everything over?” is not about the rebels getting crushed at the hands of the Sri Lankan forces which is backed by India, but is about a legitimate insurgency for the right to self determination being brutally silenced. Victory at any cost for Sri Lanka, Elimination of LTTE at any cost by India – is the driving force behind the war. Meanwhile a country such as China which has ambitions to become the global power is trying to compete and grow its sphere of influence in the changing global dimensions.

Amidst the power play of the global powers, people like me and million other Tamils all over the world are watching the events helplessly. The pain of being powerless when we are brutally crushed by the global powers can’t be explained in simple words. There were sleepless nights. There were days when I could not concentrate on work, just staring at the computer monitor with the mind pondering over the events in Vanni and Mullaitheevu. There were moments when I just avoided visiting Tamil/Sri Lankan websites. I resigned to the fate of the Tamils. I tried to divert my depressing mind by watching movies and songs. But it has not been easy. Also, it does not last long. My hand will automatically go to the websites again in the hope of seeing any better news.

This utter sense of desperation and depression has driven many to severe extremes such as self-immolation, starting with Muthukumar and nearly 20 others from across Tamil Nadu, London and Malaysia. Now I understand that the sense of being powerless is what drives one to the extreme. No one should be suppressed and brutalized by force. People should not be ruled by the power of guns, fighter jets, artillery and multi barrel rocket launchers. There is inherent anger in the Tamil minds which can take any shape in the coming days.

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When Sri Lankan Tamils approached the Indian Tamil leaders in the 60's Periyar has asked

When Sri Lankan Tamil political leaders approached the Indian Tamil leaders in the 60's when the oppression started, Periyar had asked "How can one slave help another slave?".

Tamils cutting across the different nationalities shared the grief and anger. Tamils could not avoid the feeling that they are orphans without a single government they can call as theirs. For a community which is six times bigger than Sinhalese in its population, there is no country that will support their existence. Makes me think, If only they had a nation of their own, may be things might have been different. However the reality is that the entire Tamil community is powerless as Periyar – the leader of the self respect movement once rightly said – Tamils are slaves.

Tamils had to beg the western powers for their intervention. Their legitimate demands have to be propagated through propaganda for which they did not even have the media power, not even in Tamil Nadu – their home state, where media is ruled by a different class.

While Eelam Tamils have a complete different sense of feeling which I can’t explain as I am not an Eelam Tamil, Tamils from Tamil Nadu have to watch various dramas enacted by the Indian and Tamil Nadu governments. I have never witnessed such dramas anywhere in the world to fool the people. The officials and politicians would condemn the war in the media and would supply arms and intelligence to the Sri Lankan Army through the back-door. The duplicity shown by the Indian government and different Tamil Nadu political parties were a real nightmare for the people of the state. In fact many believe that India is the main cause for the setback to the Tamil Struggle. India is seen as the culprit for the sufferings of the innocent Tamil civilians. Indian National Security Adviser M.K.Narayanan is seen as the man behind the Tamil’s miseries.

M.K Narayanan - Indias National Security Advisor

M.K Narayanan - Indias National Security Adviser

Though the Tamil Nadu political parties duplicity and lip service to the Tamil cause was disappointing initially, I see that it has created a sense of anti-Indian mood in the hearts and minds of the people of the state. The silent wave of change in the people’s mood was sensed by the “Voice of Rajapakse” in Tamil Nadu Mr.P.Chidamabaram. He did a Volte-face and started letting out his crocodile tears for Eelam Tamils. But it’s too late Mr.Chidamabaram !!!

******************

I hold an Indian passport, so I carry the identity of an “Indian”. But I am starting to feel that this identity is just a ceremonial or legal one that exist in the paper. I am starting to loose the sense of being an Indian in my mind. I feel strongly to shed my Indian identity and proclaim my Tamil identity. I don’t feel that this is something I am forcing onto myself, but rather a natural outcome of the recent developments. This Tamil identity will keep reminding me the sense of betrayal, the sense of brutalization by the global powers of South Asia. The ordeal suffered by my people will keep me focused in opposing the forces of India, China and Sri Lanka. I guess, this is the only natural outcome of this whole episode. Whether this was planned and meant to be this way – I am not sure.

There is a sense of helplessness, disappointment, grief, anger and much more words beyond the realms of the English language dictionary. This disappointment and anger will not die in our minds and hearts. It’s going to reverberate for the rest of our life. It will have its impact even in the next generation. I am going to tell my kids and grand-kids about the brutality of Sri Lanka and the betrayal of India. It is going to drive me and millions of Tamils for the rest of our life.

Written by Tamil SASI

Tamil SASI is a popular bilingual blogger who writes on various topics in Tamil and English. You can read his other writings at tamilsasi.com

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Nepal transforms from Saffron to Red

Chinese outsmart Indian Intelligence

The Prime minister of Nepal Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda)  is scheduled to go to China shortly. The Indian observers in bureaucratic circles and media are anxious about this visit because Mr. Prachanda is a Maoist leader visiting  China. The concerns are due to growing influence of Maoists in certain pockets of India and their ideological affinity towards communist China; China is a regional power and a rival to India in military and economic activities and therefore  Nepal  getting closer to China  may become a conduit to fuel internal disturbances in India.

Nepal - the worlds youngest republic is landlocked by its two neighbours China and India

Nepal - the world's youngest republic is landlocked by its two neighbours China and India

A controversial debate on the future of a triangular relationship among India, Nepal and China began in Aug 2008 when  Mr Prachanda, after swearing in as Prime Minister decided to visit China first deviating from the tradition of Nepal leaders calling on India first.

For the last six decades India has shown a casual attitude towards Nepal since the Kingdom was ruled by Hindu Monarchy. This country with a small population of 27 million was not at all considered a security threat to India. Indian policy planners were lethargic as they believed that the Well water could not be carried away by the Floods. But ever since the Maoists fumed against the Monarchy this landlocked buffer state between China and India became a neighbor to be watched and dealt with care.

Unfortunately those in charge of Foreign Affairs right from Krishna Menon to Shiv Shankar Menon could have no imagination and forethought and have failed in their duties by implementing policies that have compromised the security of Indian people.

In 2005, when King Gyanendra seized power to rein over a Hindu kingdom of Nepal, the Maoists resorted to road blockade for 11 days against his coronation. Later they demanded the private schools in Nepal to lower admission and tuition fees scrap singing of the national anthem, stop teaching Sanskrit and remove photographs of the King. At that time about 1.5 million students studied in 8,500 private and boarding schools and 4.9 million students studied in 25,000 public schools. The owners of private schools opposed those demands.

The very fact that Maoists were demanding to stop teaching Sanskrit in schools showed that our Indian Political and Bureaucratic establishment were identified with the unpopular King and his religious and media protégées.

We can recall how Jeyendhira Saraswathi – The Sankaracharya of the Kanchi mutt who considers Sankrit as Deva Basha but failed to acknowledge the antiquity of Tamil was closer to the Nepal King. At the time of his arrest in the Sankara Raman murder case, there were rumors that he planned to escape as a refugee to Nepal to avoid arrest. Not long before,  many high level officers from several ministries of the central government were seen visiting the mutt as devotees of the Sankaracharya. No wonder, such policy makers could mislead our leaders and parliament. The sentiments over language leads us  to believe that these people might have tried to play with the language feelings of the Nepalese people.

But in contrary to the approach of India developing relation only with the creamy layer of the Nepal society, China encouraged contact with the common people and concentrated on the real issues confronting Nepal.

Supporters of Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda listen as he addresses an election campaign rally in Bhaktapur, on the outskirts of Katmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, March 12, 2008.

Supporters of Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda listen as he addresses an election campaign rally in Bhaktapur, on the outskirts of Katmandu, Nepal, Wednesday, March 12, 2008.

After the popular movements and protests by the Maoists, Nepal became a secular state in May 2006, declared itself a Federal Republic and abolished Monarchy in May 2008. The Maoists backed by China participated in the elections held in April 2008 and staged a democratic coup by capturing power. Mr Prachanda became the Prime minister of Nepal.

With the installation of Maoist Government in Nepal, China sent delegates of political and military experts and tried to cement the relation with Nepal. The Chinese delegates have even met Madhesi groups from the restive Terai region of southern Nepal, in the Indian border.

But Indians who are driven only by self interests could never learn a lesson. This is best exposed if we read the opinion of Tarun Vijay one of the opinion manufacturer found in the media reported like this even after the victory of Maoists in elections in Nepal: “Riding on the power of the gun, they seized control of half the Nepalese districts, murdered an inspector-general of police who had shown courage to take on them, banned Brahmins from having traditional tufts, stopped Sanskrit in schools and desecrated temples. Their ‘revolutionary zeal’ was never showered on any non-Hindu person or institution.”

Such a Hindutwa opinion shows where the truth is. They could not understand and digest that there is a change in the Nepal polity and continued to point out at the violent events in Nepal as if nothing such happens in Indian Democracy.

On the other hand, Chinese swiftly showed keen interest to develop good relation with Maoist coalition Government of Nepal in which India again lagged behind.

Now the Maoists are developing grass root level relation with the Communist party of China by sending delegates. Ahead of the Second visit of Prachanda to Beijing,  China has announced doubling of aid to Nepal amounting to $21.94 million.

Prime Minister Prachanda: Nepals longtime rebel leader or the fierce one

Prime Minister Prachanda: Nepal's longtime rebel leader or 'the fierce one'

And on seeing India out maneuvered by China, the media in India has now started rumors about a coup by Nepal Army against Maoist rulers. The difference in opinion between the Government and Army about induction of Maoist activists in Army has been exaggerated and the visit of Prachanda to China has now been postponed. We can very well understand who is planning and planting such stories in Media- the still powerful status quoists in India and Nepal.  Even if it is true, any military coup in Nepal should happen only against the will of the people and will not last long.

We are deeply concerned and pained that Indian people are mislead and betrayed by insensitive  officials and media. No one is going to be punished for a failure in foreign policy and we are running a democracy without any democratic accountability, a shame.

We expect Indian Government to follow a transparent policy towards Nepal and other neighbors. We need more open discussion in all forums  about all our neighbors.  We should develop people to people relation by allowing and promoting interactions in Culture, Arts, Music and Dance. That is the way to have good relations with neighbors. India failed to respect the linguistic feelings of the people of Nepal and identified itself with Sanskrit and Religion which went wrong. We cannot forget that our only success story is the creation of Bangladesh by giving due respect to the linguistic feelings of the Bangla people who rose above their religious nationality.

Nepal and Ealem should be as good as Indian terrritories if dealt with due consideration for the aspirations of the people of those Nations. The Pro Sanskrit approach to Nepal and Anti Tamil approach to Ealem is proving suicidal to Indian interests in the region.

Alternate opinion is neglected and our policies are framed by horses of  narrow vision. Clandestine policies on foreign affairs under the pretext of secrecy in National Security have failed. There is no meaning in allowing a problem to expand by leaving the head and catching the tail. We should not consider the personal belief  and grievances of some leaders and officers to dictate our foreign policy.  Otherwise we will end up in a situation of a Nair holding the tail of a tiger.

We have no friends in our neighborhood.  This will hamper our Growth. If  not even one country along our boundary desires to have cordial relation with India it is only our fault. We have failed to do what is fit to do. And it will be even more harmful when  we are doing something which  is not to be done.

 It is ruinous to do what should not be done
And ruinous to leave undone what should be done.

–ThiruValluvar 466

A Showcase of Failure of Indian Foreign Policy

China – Tibet
India recognized annexing of Tibet to China. India should have bargained by delaying the recognition to settle the border issues.

China War 1962

Failure of Panchsheel policy followed by Jawaharlal Nehru. India was weak in military prowess and still chose to remain non aligned with no allies at the time of crisis at China border. India lost.

Pakistan- Kashmir

At the time of partition on achieving independence india agreed in UN for plebiscite in Kashmir. India should have asserted its rights over the Kashmir based on the instrument of accession signed by the ruler of Kashmir.

Pakistan wars

India failed to gain territories in Kashmir even after victories of war with Pakistan

Bangladesh

India could not develop a trusted alliance with Bangladesh although India was instrumental for the birth of Bangladesh. India is harboring illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

Myanmar- Tamils

India failed to protect the interests of Tamils when Burma made lakhs of Tamils stateless. Further it is not at all concerned with the lakhs of Tamils living in Myanmar without any linguistic and cultural rights

Myanmar – China

India could not prevent China from making inroads in to Myanmar cultivating military and economic cooperation although India shares boundary with Myanmar

SriLanka – Plantation Tamils

India failed to protect the interests of Plantation Tamils in Sri Lanka when more than a lakh of them were striped their  Sri Lankan citizenship. 

Sri Lanka – Ealem Tamils

India – Srilanka agreement and sending IPKF was a misadventure. India fell into the trap laid by Sri Lankan President Jayavardhane. IPKF killed Tamils and committed atrocities against Tamil women.

In the subsequent Ealem wars India helps the Government of Sri Lanka against the interests of Tamils. A policy that may backfire and may encourage separatist movements in Tamil nadu

By these senseless foreign policies, India cuts its own flesh to bleed for what? 

Written by Malarthamil

Malarthamil is a civil engineer and writer-poet inspired by Thirukkural – a classical Tamil poetry that expounds various aspects of life.

Filed under: Asia, Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

India demands Sri Lanka to end the war

India asked Sri Lanka on Thursday to stop its military campaign against the Tamil Tigers, while the issue forced a regional party to shut down a key electoral swing state in the middle of India’s election.

“We are very unhappy at the continued killing in Sri Lanka. All killing must stop. There must be an immediate cessation of all hostilities,” the foreign ministry said in a statement.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/topNews/idUKTRE53M2C620090423

It is speculated that the protests by Diaspora Tamils in the Western world had resulted in pressure from the West for India to call for a ceasefire. 

However it is not sure if Sri Lanka will heed to India’s call or if India will take more stern action if the war is not halted.

Posted by Sunderapandyan

Filed under: Asia, Politics, , , , , , ,

Tamil Nadu CM Karunanidhi knows he will never be forgiven by his people

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK patriarch M. Karunanidhi seems to be a desperate man these days. His comments, reactions and flip-flops on the on-going genocide of Tamils by the Rajapaksa regime (in the latest war crime, they have just massacred over a thousand civilians using cluster bombs, white phosphorus and other banned chemical weapons) would be amusing, if it were a movie or a play.

But this is no movie or play – thousands of men, women and children (both born and unborn) are being butchered and used as human shields by the genocidal Sri Lankan army as they advance and occupy a supposedly “no-fire zone”, the civilian toll is simply unimaginable and constitutes the worst war crimes of the 21st century. In this genocide without witness, where civilians are starved, denied medicines and then murdered in cold blood using banned weapons, all carried out in a planned, cold-blooded manner in the absence of journalists and humanitarian aid workers, Mr. Karunanidhi is aware that he is an accomplice.

Images from Sri Lanka Safe Zone (Warning: Contains disturbing images – View with discretion):

Mortuary 

Unborn Baby

It is a script gone terribly wrong for the octogenarian script writer – the man who likes to call himself the “leader of world Tamils”. His attempts to plead that he is helpless, tearful, concerned etc. all go against what everyone is aware of. Along with rogue regimes of the world, the Indian establishment is actively supporting the genocide by supplying weapons, money and blocking efforts to bring the genocide to the notice of the world and Mr. Karunanidhi’s DMK is one of the largest constituents of what is left of the UPA regime.

The CM had stated months ago: If this (UPA) government cannot stop the war and the killings of Tamils, we have to wonder whether we need such a government. That was when the script writer collected the resignations of TN MPs and held them, ready to forward them to the Speaker. So much Tamil blood has been spilled in Eelam since then, with the UN shamelessly admitting that over 4,500 civilians were killed and more than 10,000 injured in the last three months alone and the situation of civilians is catastrophic. That’s not including the one thousand murdered yesterday and hundreds being killed as you read this, not to mention the tens of thousands starving and thousands detained in barbed-wire fenced concentration camps in inhuman conditions and subject to degrading treatment by the world’s most notorious armed forces.

Yet, Mr. Karunanidhi has not only performed several flip-flops since then, the DMK is actually contesting the Parliamentary elections in alliance with the hated Congress party! What does Mr. Karunanidhi think? That the people of Tamil Nadu are fools? That the people of Tamil Nadu don’t have an ounce of sanity or humanity left in them? That the people of the state will be fooled by the drama that is being enacted by the octogenarian script writer whose only concern seems to be the completion of his 5-year term and ensuring a line of succession within his family? If that’s the case, someone in the DMK needs to give their leader a dose of reality, for the their own good!

The DMK has come a long way and it should know this well. Way back in 1965, when the people of Tamil Nadu were betrayed by the TN Congress party leaders to please their bosses in Delhi, they were taught a stinging lesson in the 1967 elections. The Congress was annihilated completely in Tamil Nadu. The DMK and its splinter groups have controlled the regional politics since then. How times have changed! In an unbelievable twist of fate, when electoral history is going to repeat itself, the DMK faces complete annihilation along with its beloved ally – the Congress whose candidates, including several Union Ministers, are going to bite the dust in the most humiliating manner possible, losing their deposits!

Mr. Karunanidhi knows this very well. He also knows that any amount of spin by his media channels or any further acts of drama that he may stage, like sending letters and telegrams to the Prime Minister cannot fool the people – I have lost count of the “appeals”, “letters” and other non-sensical stuff that the TN CM has done, knowing very well that the only thing that would have worked, the only action that could have saved thousands of lives, was forwarding those resignations that he had so eagerly collected.

This is what worries the “leader of world Tamils” – not the fact that his inaction on this life-and-death issue has resulted in the loss of thousands of innocent lives. He is worried because he knows that his DMK is going to be buried in the same grave as his beloved alliance partner. For a politician, author and script writer who has churned out innumerable stories, plays and movie scripts, this is a real life script that has gone bloody horribly wrong!

(Warning: Contains disturbing images – View with discretion):

Written by An alien Earthling

An alien Earthling, a.k.a Raj, is a blogger whose interests include current affairs, technology and sports. He is an engineer by profession.

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I will die as an Indian, love Tamil Eelam for ever

As the Tamils in Sri Lanka are facing one of their worst nightmare in the entire history of (several thousand years old) their  civilization in North & East of Sri Lanka, all the political parties in Tamil Nadu – India cutting across party lines are conducting some form of a peaceful protest to extend their support to the Sri Lankan Tamils. People from different walks of life – students to lawyers, government employees to private businesses, political, religious leaders to film actors are rasing their voice to bring visibility to the sufferings of the Tamils to the national and International media. Yet, I feel that the “severity of this gruesome situation” is not being realized by many in other parts of India. 

Tamils are living peacefully in more than 50 different countries including India. Nowhere in the world Tamils are under going a similar catastrophe as that faced in Sri Lanka. In India, Tamils have been elected to various positions including Presidents, Home minister, Health minister, Asst Defense minister and head of the army. Former presidents R. Venkatraman and Dr. Abdul Kalam are Tamils. Dr Abdul Kalam served India as president and principal scientific advisor. He was the backbone in the development of the Indian missile technology and the infamous Baharan Nuclear bomb test.

Right from the days of the freedom struggle of India, the contribution of Tamils towards India has been in parallel to any other community be it Keralites or Telugus or Biharis. Tamils have participated in both non-violent struggle under the leadership of Gandhi and the armed struggle under the leadership of Subhash Chandra Bose. Several thousand Tamil men and woman served in the Indian National Army and fought side by side with Bengalis and Rajputs against the mighty British Empire. Several Tamil men and women gave their life to achieve India’s freedom. One can’t brush aside easily their contributions and sacrifices towards free India.

Several Indian Tamil soldiers have perished in the recent Kargil war (India fought Kashmir/Afghan fighters supported and backed by the Pakistani military). It shows to the world their valor and great determination towards protecting the “sovereignty and territorial integrity” of the India.

At present, every morning when we read and hear about the news of our Tamil brothers and sisters killed by the Sri Lankan army in the so called “slow Genocide”. As a Tamil each and every one of us are under going severe mental pain. Several sleepless nights have passed with horrifying dreams. More than 10 Indian Tamils had given their life by self-immolation to highlight and seek attention from the Indian government to take meaningful steps to solve the Tamil national question in Sri Lanka. None of them had any direct relation with Sri Lankan Tamils or Tamil Tigers. They did this “unthinkable act” spontaneously to show their affection towards Tamil brothers who are living just 30 miles away from the Tamil Nadu coast.

Muthukumar

K. Muthukumar, First one who perfromed Self-Immolation on Eelam Cause (19.11.1982 - 29.01.2009)

Each of these 10 Indians represent several political parties, different age groups and social backgrounds. Some of them are educated and some are not. They took conscious decision of supporting the freedom struggle of their brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka. They could have taken other route of destroying public property or hurting political leaders. But they took one of the toughest decision of “Lighting themselves” to shed some light on the suffering of  Sri Lankan Tamils. It is regrettable to see their sacrifices not being given fair attention and importance by my fellow Indians in Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi or else where in India. These 10 gentlemen are Indian citizens. For the sake of their citizenship, fellow Indians should wake up from their sleep and participate and strengthen the protests of the Indian Tamils. This would create a sense of unity and also give some solace to the protesting Tamils of India.

Few years back my next door neighbor (An American) knocked my door with warm smile and explained to me about the Christian religion. He knew that I am a practicing Hindu. I have allowed him to talk further without commenting on his views. On several subsequent visits he explained to me about the various chapters of the Bible.  One day he gave me a pamphlet of “Stories of Jesus” and asked me to read. The following week, he asked me about the Stories. I replied that the stories had good concepts and philosophies. Immediately he asked me if I want to convert to Christianity.

I gave him the following reply:

My mother may be uneducated, poor and old. My next door neighbour may be a good looking, well educated and rich woman. However, I still love my mother and would like to be her son. I cannot transform into the son of the neighbour, whatever be the benefits and gains. 

Similarly, even though we Indian Tamils love the indepence of the new state in Sri Lanka in the name of Eelam, we cannot seperate ourselves from India and annex ourselves to the new state. Our commitment and support to India goes like son to mother relationship. We may have some differences, but our bond towards India would never change what ever be the situation.

No one on this earth can question the Tamils integrity and sacrifices towards India.

Sri Lankan Tamils are our brothers. When they are suffering from the brutal assault of the Sri Lankan army as Tamils we are under going severe pain. We have undergone similar pain when innocent civilians were affected in the Godhra riots, Gujarat earth quake or Assam bomb blast. Tamil business’s and community organizations collected several million rupees for the relief efforts of those affected regions. We thought and believed they were our brothers too.

However, I notice that the Indian administration is finding reasons to abbet the Sri Lankan governments effort to eliminate Tamils from Sri Lanka. The accusations made by the Sri Lankan government regarding the rebels are easily accepted without any validations or reality checks. The voices of the suffering civilians are not being reported in major media and are brushed aside as unverified news. The sentiments of 70 million Tamil Indians are branded as regional opinions. The Indian administration is funding Sri Lanka and putting the Tamil Indians into mental agony.

The Mahabaratham Epic has the character Karnan depicted as a good soul that sides the Duriyodhanas side to uphold freindship

The Mahabaratham Epic has the character Karnan depicted as a good soul that sides the Duriyodhana's side to uphold freindship

In the epic Mahabaratham, Karnan although was a brother of the Pandavas had to side with Gauravas and fight his own brothers to fulfill his commitment towards friendship. Indian Tamils are in a similar situation today. Even though we know that India is commiting a blunder, we are expressing our dissent only through peacefull means because we are committed to our bond with India. 

It is unfair and unjust to hurt the feeling of Indian Tamils further. The reasons quoted by our administration – Rajivs death or extremism have all been well debated and answered. We need to move forward and think about ways to solve the crisis of Sri Lanka once and for all through viable political settlement. India should nurture the ethnic bonding between the Indian and Sri Lankan Tamils to its advantage. India should accept the aspirations of the Sri Lankan Tamils for independence and extend their support to their struggle.

Above all my Indian brothers should respect the feelings of fellow Indian Tamils and extend their sympathy and support to them. This is applicable to every individual Indian citizen. Every Indian should participate in the protests and demonstrations organized towards the Tamil cause and strengthen the bonding within India and with the Sri Lankan Tamils.

After all sovereignty is “for the people and by the people”. If the Tamils of Sri Lanka wanted one, No one can stop them from realizing their dream.

Written by Kandhan

An engineer by profession, Kandhan writes to promote progressive politics in India.

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Tamils plan for a massive rally in New York city on 17th April

As news of large scale violence and civilian casualty numbers arrive from the Safe Zone in Sri Lanka, a massive rally is being organized in New York city on the 17th of April. Tamils all over the world are intensifying their protests and are urging the local governments of their respective countries to intervene and stop the carnage.

Organizers of the New York rally have made open calls to not only Tamils but also to Americans to join the protest to stop the genocide. The organizers have informed that “We want not only you, but your whole family – we need the children’s voice as well. So consider taking them from school and informing the school that they will be participating in a rally against genocide”. The rally is planned to be held in front of the United Nations Office and at Times Square on Friday between 11:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Voices of protests to the genocidal war is being raised from several quarters of the western world as well. Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch Asia director said “Sri Lanka’s so-called ‘no-fire zone’ is now one of the most dangerous places in the world.”

In Dublin, Tamil protesters were joined by Ireland Socialist Party members. irland1

While the intensity of protests by Tamils and others against the genocide is increasing day by day, the Sri Lankan government however is continuing with the killings in the Safe Zone. TamilNet – the website that the Western diplomats rely on to get information from sources outside government controlled media, reported yesterday that 180 civilians have been killed in 3 hours of shelling by the government forces.

Written by Kandhan

An engineer by profession, Kandhan writes to promote progressive politics in India.

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