Battling terrorism: Time to discard mindless shibboleths

  • 7 Jun 2008 21:24:20 GMT

    WE need to read everything. but, when we accept those things we need to remember everything that we have read.

    West says, there is no talks with terrorists until they lay down the arms. for us they say, talk.

    the real world is far more complicated than we thinks. Sri Lanka is in the right direction. but, we need to do far more things.

    One way to solve this problem is to eliminate Velu.

  • 8 Jun 2008 01:58:27 GMT

    [Battling terrorism]

    Leave aside battling terrorism and `finishing off` the tigers and the LTTE. We still have not been able to get a control on things such as even the mosquito menace in the country!

  • 8 Jun 2008 03:18:06 GMT

    Something interesting from the Island of yesterday, 07th

    [Reach out to the minorities, Island 7/6/2008 ]

    [Let us first accept that every Tamil is NOT a supporter of the LTTE - there are thousands of Anandasangarees living amongst us they remain silent out of fear for the reach of the LTTE is extensive. Let us reach out to them make them feel secure. Without a hearts and minds approach to the minorities we cannot crush the insurgency. In this regard it must be realized that our fellow Muslim citizens who live amongst us should also not be alienated]

    Isn`t that the way to defeat `terrorism`?

  • 8 Jun 2008 04:09:22 GMT

    [Let us first accept that every Tamil is NOT a supporter of the LTTE]

    That is ideally how it `should` be, but when the LTTE strikes, such as a bomb going off in a bus, what happens?

    For instance when the Katubedda bus bomb went off the first people to be arrested were 18 tamil students of the Katubedda University which is in the vicinity of the carnage and 40 other tamils residing in and around Katubedda. The presumption was that they were suspected tigers. Why? Because they were tamils. The police is on record saying some of the tamil students were not even able to speak sinhalese? Does the inability to speak sinhalese make a tamil an LTTE activist?

    Eventhough the authorities go public saying that every tamil is not a tiger, the fact is that every tamil is now a `suspected` tiger. It is common knowledge how suspects, regardless whether they are sinhala, tamil, muslim or burgher, are treated by our law enforcements authorities. When it happens to be a tiger suspect there is more `spice` to it!

    The presumption observed by our authorities upon arresting suspects seems to be that the suspects are guilty until the suspects themselves prove that they are innocent.It`s on that basis that the interrogation takes place. Some innocent suspects pay with their lives before they are even able to prove themselves The owner of Balloons & Balloons Ethul Kotte. There would be many such others.

    On one hand the methods adopted by the authorities simply push non tigers towards joining the tigers. On the other hand can we blame the authorities for suspecting each and every tamil as a tiger as there is absolutely no way to distinguish between a hardcore tiger bomber and a killer from an innocent tamil civillian. Is the scenario a master plan of the the LTTE and VP to draw non-LTTE tamils towards the LTTE? Is it typically a case of `Balallu lawwa kos aeta baawanawa`?

  • 8 Jun 2008 11:15:22 GMT

    [Let us first accept that every Tamil is NOT a supporter of the LTTE]

    So, it is easily said than done. Seems, it is a lose, lose situation for the authorities and a win, win situation for the LTTE.

    On the other hand, after more than two decades of war, isn`t it time that we had a system of investigation in place which caused least inconvenience to the innocent Tamils? I am sure the innocent Tamils will be willing to put up with some inconvenience short of the presumption of `guilty till proven innocent`.

    Isn`t it up to the authorities to ensure that the non-LTTE Tamils remain that way always?

  • 9 Jun 2008 03:08:26 GMT


    [Isn`t it up to the authorities to ensure that the non-LTTE Tamils remain that way always?]

    Yes, of course!

    BUT.. the fact is that they are faced with a task of sifting the tigers from the non tigers in an environment where the tigers mingle amongst innocent tamil civillians and the only strategy the authorities can use to do the sifting is to presume that every tamil is a tiger until the non tigers tamil civillians prove themselves innocent.

    When an innocent non tiger tamil civillian tries to prove him or herself as innocent the next problem is the language of communication. Most tamils are not very fluent in sinhala while many cannot speak at all. On the other hand many of the armed forces personnel are not at all fluent in tamil or even english. In such a scenario of communication mismatch immagine an innocent tamil trying to prove that he or she is not a tiger. Suspicion,misunderstanding, panic, tension and a slip of the tongue could all add to an innocent being `confirmed` as a tiger.

    Another fact is that the law enforcement authorities at field level are under severe pressure from those above them to apprehend the perpetrators of terror. The out come is that innocent tamil civillians could be paying the price.

    It is simply amazing that the police which cannot detect and arrest the burglar, robber or murderer in the local area is able to detect and arrest the tiger bomber or the master minds, in many instances, within 48 hours of an attack! It`s anybody`s guess as to what actually could be happening!

    It is a known fact that the majority of LTTE suicide bombers are individuals who have undergone severe psychological trauma such as seeing their family members going through agonising deaths, being raped etc etc and it is common knowledge that such individuals are about 50-75% deranged so it is easy for the LTTE to brain wash the remaining 50-25% making them 100% zombies and send them on death missions.

    Therefore it is an extrememely dangerous situation for us civillians be it sinhala, tamil, muslim or burgher and it is a extrememly difficult situation for the law enforcement authorities. The beneficiary of these combined unfortunate circumstances is the LTTE. It`s the ideal environment for them.

    Peace would be a reality in Sri Lanka only if a compromise is struck. The more we remain at the extremes of our own ethnic views the problem will definitley drag on and we all should realise that these `quick fix` six month or one year time frames and associated solutions will never put an end to the menace of terrorism.

  • 9 Jun 2008 05:16:27 GMT


    I guess you are right.

    Re your last para, peace thru compromise seems as elusive as ever. While GOSL seems to think a military solution is close at hand, the LTTE will want to prove GOSL wrong come hell or high water.

    Should GOSL be proved wrong, then it will be LTTE`s turn to insist on separation with or without the East. The problem for GOSL would be the constraint imposed by funds to finance the war. As long as its supporters overseas are able to provide the funds LTTE seems to be better placed to continue on the military path.

    If the IC acts firmly and evenly with both GOSL and LTTE, the war can be brought to an end. That is a big `IF`.

  • 9 Jun 2008 07:44:49 GMT


    There is another option that you have not touched on, that is for GOSL to come up with a credible political solution constitutionally safeguarding the minorities within a United Sri Lanka. Such a move will woe the Tamils away from the LTTE, this option has not been tried, and no political party is willing to risk their political standing but willing to put many ordinary folks lives at risk liberally!

  • 9 Jun 2008 08:07:33 GMT


    [If the IC acts firmly and evenly with both GOSL and LTTE]

    The LTTE is a banned organisation with a terrorist label. They have nothing much to lose further by the IC acting firmly against them. Their fund raising is not done officially, but by the LTTE supporters and sympathisers on a private level. The LTTE offices around the globe were raided, bank accounts frozen, arms ships destroyed etc etc and at each instance the Govt told us that the LTTE was `over`. In reality we have seen it hasn`t been so. Amidst all these the LTTE is still a formidable fighting force. Our forces are certainly not having a walk in the park!

    On the other hand the Govt is a citizen of the International commity of Sovereign States. This suggests many obligations cast upon the Govt. If the Govt continues to act with impunity in total disregard to established norms which a responsible govt is expected to maintain, then it is the turn of the Govt to face the consequences. The consequences are many. We have seen Sri Lanka losing the UNHRC seat. The next could be losing out on the GSP+. Similarly we could face sanctions, trade embargos, sports bans etc etc in the days to come. If the Govt could withstand all that and continue with the war to a succesfull completion to the extent of annihilating the LTTE and ending terrorism it would be good but extremely doubtful. However it is the Govt that will now be at the receiving end more than the LTTE. The LTTE has been pushed down onto the mat from the bed by the IC.

    So far all our govts acted with responsibility and did not face any sanctions from the IC. Not any more. MR`s approach is completely different from the approaches seen before. Anyway whether the new approach will pay off is still to be seen. However the new approach of MR is not going down well with the IC. Whether MR can sustain the war without the support of the IC is anyone`s guess.

  • 9 Jun 2008 12:12:40 GMT


    True. A political solution acceptable to the Tamils and Muslims would certainly derail the LTTE. But, the MR govt. is NOT interested in it now. It wants to eliminate LTTE by year end.

    When the year end comes, and if the LTTE is still alive and kicking, depending on the ground situation, MR will either give another date in 2009 or sue for peace. If it is the former, more deaths and suffering. If it is the latter, it will be LTTE`s turn to talk tough.

    With MR and LTTE, there is NO chance of compromise and solution. It is War, War and War from both. That is the point I was making.