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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2556

What the world needs to learn from Sri Lanka’s humanitarian rescue operation

By Shenali Waduge

Instead of appreciating the humanitarian rescue operation being carried out by Sri Lanka and its armed forces, world leaders are exerting pressure upon the Government to enter a ceasefire ….their belief being that a ceasefire would help rescue these civilians. It is more than apparent that the world leaders and even media channels are clueless about the reality of the situation in Sri Lanka & it naturally makes any to wonder whether world leaders, foreign envoys, foreign secretaries etc apart from repeating what is on paper prepared by someone else actually understands the ground situation and seriously believe in what they say – because it is apparent that what they say is nothing but gobbledygook.
Why?

Yes, civilians are trapped – their numbers, certainly not the numbers quoted by UN officials stationed in Sri Lanka, NGOs/INGOs, Human Rights Groups, Consulates and ICRC though they were and are very much present to actually give the correct picture and the correct numbers. With their access to media and a false credibility for their “work” they projected numbers exaggerating figures between 250,000 to 400,000. The Government maintained the numbers at 100,000and this is the very number that has been rescued by the armed forces. Rescuing 100,000 civilians from a ruthless outfit such as the LTTE is no easy endeavor and many a soldier had to risk and sacrifice his life to follow the instructions of the armed forces head that there should be zero-civilian casualty. Where in the world has there been a military onslaught that has rescued over 100,000 civilians? Which foreign military ends up being cooks and nurses to these rescued civilians? Which foreign military or even UN peace force has carried out a similar rescue operation of this magnitude?

Yes, there is a situation but not of the nature that is being described. Sri Lanka is a third world developing nation, a nation financially suffering because of a 30 year old conflict that was implanted to save another larger nation from having to suffer separatist ideologies. These rescued civilians were never living in luxury all these years, these civilians had no development mentally, socially or any means to a better education. So, being rescued from an abysmal situation in the clutches of a dictator and his stooges, these civilians can but smile and be grateful to their saviors – the soldiers. Have they asked for houses instead of tents, have they complained about the food they have got?

Have they complained at all …..a complaint if at all came from a little Tamil boy who wanted to have a book which had been denied to him all these years….but what do world leaders and human rights groups say ….."give them access to move…..(have they even been out of the Wanni jungles to even know what Colombo is like? – where do they move to? Are they to walk around as vagabonds with no money? What a silly statement to make and does anybody actually buy these loose cannons? They describe these civilians as living in camps compared to how the Nazi’s kept their prisoners…..even the Italian earthquake victims ended up sleeping under trees!

All that world leaders, human rights groups should have done was not go complaining about what could not be given by the Government but ask the Sri Lankan Government what the requirements are and send these items – food and medicine (not those that have lost shelf life and opportune to dump them upon innocent civilians as is customary and done when any disaster situation arises) send tents, other equipment…..these are the constructive actions that could have been taken but instead the world prefers to issue statements that are as hollow as the message that comes out not to mention how absurd its contents are.

Why do foreign media never say a word of praise or show footage of these soldiers carrying babies, children, the elderly, even helping to deliver 2 babies while transporting these civilians to safety.

Why do they show footage of people coming in their hundreds in boats and while scenes of Sri Lankan soldiers handing over biscuits, food parcels, water and even gently accompanying these Tamil civilians the reporter prefers to admonish the Government’s attacks and report that civilians are being shelled and even suggest the only solution is a "ceasefire" – what are we to read from these statements….Obviously very few may be concerned about Sri Lanka but those who are should first ask ……isn’t this the army that is supposed to be carrying out genocide on the Tamils…..isn’t this the army that is supposed to be discriminating against the Tamils ………… instead of rescuing these Tamil civilians the armed forces should be shooting these people and claiming they are LTTE, instead of cooking food and feeding them breakfast, lunch and dinner, these people should be shot, instead of providing medical treatment they should be leaving these people to die ……Why Are These Questions Never Asked….or at least wondered……even reporters with access to so much information should reveal the truth – isn’t that ethical journalism?

But, the army is rescuing these people – how else would 100,000 be under their care and still alive? Why is the army not completing their operation and the Government braving the storms of pressures that is calling for ceasefires and ludicrous negotiations? It is because the military and the Government feels that a possible 10,000 more Tamils may still be held hostage by the LTTE and the army does not want to storm the area since the lives of these innocent people will be in jeopardy ….it is Only for the safety of these Tamil civilians still held hostage by the LTTE that the army is delaying their victory and sacrificing their own lives as a result. Not a mention is made that the military actually saved 100,000 civilians and are presently feeding, clothing and providing medical care – instead only negatives come out ….no emergency care unit ….would these civilians have had even this much of attention trapped inside the no-fire zone with the LTTE?

Obviously there is a large force that desires to have the conflict continue.

Are these civilians complaining? No ….if they are not then should we worry about the loose statements that are uttered by foreign envoys or foreign secretaries ….who admirably say one thing, watch the reactions from the public and retract their earlier statements with something completely the opposite ….a perfect example is India’s leaders ….who now are at a very critical juncture ….65million Tamil Nadu votes are important….Tamil Nadu leaders allegiance equally important for a coalition government ….so when their leaders say "Prabakaran is our friend" even the ghost of Rajiv Gandhi is forgotten and so we now have NSA advisor and Foreign Secretary Menon in Sri Lanka for an immediate ceasefire….it just depicts the falsehoods of nations that say they are committed to ending terrorism ….when Britain says "ceasefire"….”no military solution”….your thoughts must immediately go to ask …why would Britain wish to stop a country which is just 6sq.km from regaining illegally held State land by a terrorist group Britain has banned …..?

Why would India’s Central Government even regret banning the LTTE in view of the stake LTTE has in Tamil Nadu and influence over its leaders….why would Canada’s political leaders feel they need to also join the parade for ceasefires & negotiations ….. would all readers wonder what power pressurizes Britain to exert calls for a ceasefire …yes, there are 300,000 Tamils in the UK ….a country that gave the world modern democracy has a very poor voter turnout and aspiring politicos especially the likes of Miliband turn to immigrant voters to prop up their popularity …..most of UK’s parliamentarians are voted in by immigrant communities and payback for favors becomes natural….especially when a terror movement like the LTTE makes between USD200 to 300 annually with a running cost of just USD8million….there’s enough money to go round for all those who support the LTTE and its diabolical ways….thus we need little imagination to wonder when foreign and local voices come out in support of the LTTE’s continuous we know that a part of that USD192million goes in to their personal bank account!

Let us just go through the logic ……the LTTE is a proscribed terror outfit in 33 countries. Unfortunately, in these very countries the LTTE runs its offices, conducts its propaganda, stages protests, raises funds and very little is actually done by these Governments for the LTTE to even fear that their operations are at stake. The LTTE’s barbaric ways are nothing new and unknown – it has killed a President, scores of Presidential candidates, Tamil leaders, Tamil politicians, Tamil civilians, religious heads, unarmed armed personnel, and scores of men, women and children as well as a foreign Prime Minister.

It has influential connections so strong that it has been able to procure and stock arms, ammunition and state-of-the-art equipment that even Sri Lanka’s military does not have…despite the colossal discoveries of arms and ammunition and other sophisticated equipment by the armed forces following a series of military victories – the LTTE is still able to continue fighting back even within the small stretch of territory that they are now confined to…..all we need imagine is with what intention did the LTTE store so much of weapons, ammunition, planes, aviation fuel and build fortresses, bunkers, defacto secretariat…..obviously to create their separate state even though it may not have been internationally accepted …the LTTE may even have toyed with the idea of taking over the commercial capital of Colombo ….the LTTE’s ability to secure arms did not compliment its ability to maintain its cadres…what the LTTE lacked was sufficient fighters and thus their option for kidnapping and nurturing of child soldiers through brainwashing & for this purpose confining people of the Wanni within their control suited them perfectly which may explain the large number of expectant mothers.

Ceasefire for what and for whom?

The Government had declared 2 important ceasefires and none of these moments were taken to release the civilians by the LTTE – if so the 48 hours declared by the Government should have seen a large exodus of people being allowed to leave by the LTTE who then could have had it out with the Sri Lankan army – one to one. So for those countries and their leaders who demand a ceasefire – we merely ask the simple question…..why did the LTTE not release these civilians when the ceasefire was declared?……..why did the LTTE declare instead that these civilians preferred to stay with the LTTE out of choice?…..if so why would 100,000 somehow journey out into the care of the armed forces and only 10,000 still remain? Can world leaders not ask themselves these simple questions?

It is apparent that there remains an ugly connectivity between the presence of terror outfits, humanitarian enterprises, NGO/INGO presence especially in third world nations and influential nations who strategize their policies upon the existence of terrorist activity….it thus ends up a you scratch my back and I scratch yours endeavor….similarly should we be surprised with the link Saddam Hussein had with the US secret service? the US links to Osama bin Laden, the links Governments who call themselves “peace facilitators’ have with terror movements?

It becomes a laudable endeavor that Sri Lanka has reached a very important pinnacle – not many countries has had to endure the pressures Sri Lanka has had to at different periods – it is unfortunate that some of our political leaders succumbed to foreign pressures and false promises but it is a remarkable stroke of luck for our nation that the present Government remains steadfast and brave to say "NO to any calls for a Ceasefire…" It is the backing that the people give that allows the Government to bravely resist the calls and it is the people’s backing that has successfully limited foreign nations to utter silly but none the less damaging statements against a sovereign Government. Yet, no nation will ever even think of a foreign intervention when the people of the nation are steadfast in their resolve that they want a military solution to the LTTE and what the people want is what the Government is compelled to do….that is democracy isn’t it?

So what is the Tamil Diaspora calling for – a ceasefire to release the Tamil people or a ceasefire to allow the LTTE to regroup as is customary? It is apparent that the Tamil Diaspora (not all) contribute to the LTTE’s kitty and this monthly contribution allows the Diaspora to bring in their families and secure citizenship and working visas etc….are they concerned about the Tamil people of the Wanni….well judging by the slogans which read support for the LTTE, we can assume that the Wanni civilians are mere guinea pigs both for the LTTE and the Diaspora…..but what the Tamil people the 100,000 or so who have been rescued by the Armed Forces see is something that the LTTE will feel ashamed of…the lies will slowly dawn upon the Tamil people of the Wanni who will judge for themselves whether the soldiers who cook, pack packets and distribute to these civilians are the treacherous people that the LTTE had pictured them to be…with these lies will emerge lies that others have also been telling….

The truth will come out….we saw the falsehoods of NGOs/INGOs operating in the North….what little have they done can now be seen….we can fathom the falsehoods of nations and their leaders and come to the conclusion that the existence of terrorism actually sustains foreign policies of powerful nations and allows them to bully smaller nations and pressurize them as is being done to Sri Lanka.

The truth will slowly emerge and while some Colombo bigwigs predict an LTTE as a guerilla force the manner in which it has to shamelessly hide as civilians reveals what little power they have ….had these people been privy to the experiences that the 100,000 civilians are having the army would now have successfully concluded its humanitarian operation alongside its military operation.

No country has had an armed force compete a military operation and a humanitarian operation simultaneously….can any nations armed force even equate itself to the manner the Sri Lankan armed forces have conducted themselves? Not even the UN peace keepers have acted with professionalism.

We are in deed proud of the armed forces, without political affiliations we back the elected Government grateful that it is braving the pressures for useless ceasefires which they know only too well how worthless they are….we appreciate the heads of the armed forces and the defence secretary…..the people will back its Government so long as it does what is right by its people…..along this path Sri Lanka is assured to reach prosperity and bridge the divides that the LTTE and selfish political leaderships combined with treacherous policies of foreign nations has contributed towards.

- Asian Tribune -

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