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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2964

The killing of Balachandran - Who cries for the thousands of little boys and girls killed by his father, Prabakaran?

By Raj Gonsalkorale

While the UNHRC, The Tamil Diaspora and their friends are focusing on the last few days of a 10,800 day bloody conflict, Balachandran’s father, Velupillai Prabhakaran who was responsible for not hundreds but thousands of deaths of innocent children, women and men, appears to have disappeared from the radar of all those who are accusing the Sri Lankan Armed Forces of War crimes.

The Tamil Diaspora led “Tamilwood” movie industry keeps churning doctored, stage managed footage every year on the heels of UNHCR meetings. Their associate producers like Channel 4, Human Rights Watch, politicians in Tamil Nadu, some Western nations, spends the intervening time working on the next set of make believe war films and documentaries. One can be more than 100% sure that the next UNHCR session in Geneva will see more “footage” of alleged Sri Lankan Armed Forces atrocities, and recordings of alleged “torture” by them. This will not end, as it cannot end considering the importance of these campaigns for the Diaspora economy to survive and prosper. It is a self-perpetuating industry. Let there be no mistake about it. It is the classic beggar’s wound. It cannot heal as it will end the beggar’s begging days.

Some sections of the international community have forgotten Prabakaran’s crimes against humanity. The fearsome environment he created during 30 years of terrorism and cold blooded killings of hundreds and thousands of innocent Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese is forgotten. The deaths of thousands of child soldiers are forgotten. The hatred he created in the minds of some who lost their loved ones is forgotten. The fact that he took his so called “homeland” back to the medieval dark ages or worse is forgotten.

But a little boy did die. A little boy was in fact shot dead. Few would not be moved by the photograph of this chubby, cuddly, little boy with bullet holes in chest, dead. Few fathers and mothers would not look at those eyes and that still body and not have their thoughts stray to their own children. A little boy the photograph of whose dead body is bandied in international forums but the hundreds of little boys and girls his father kidnapped and turned into child-soldiers are un-remembered, just like the hundreds of little boys and girls slaughtered upon the same father’s directive. Or the boy who was sent to an Army ‘Receiving Center’ loaded with explosives in order to dissuade the Army from ‘receiving’ and hostages from escaping. That’s politics. But that politics doesn't make his death any less tragic. He need not have died and need not have died in this manner – Journalist Malinda Seneviratne

The ground situation of the last battle in the lagoons of Nandikadal where more than 300,000 people plus thousands of LTTE cadres were holed up in an area less than the size of 4or 6 football grounds, with those who were trapped being subject to a cross fire barrage from the LTTE as well as the Sri Lankan Armed Forces, is forgotten.

The likelihood of people actually dying, yes people actually die when they are hit by bullets, in war, although the “good Samaritans” of the world have conveniently not mentioned the many wars they have fought where millions were killed, has been forgotten.

They have forgotten what they need to remember.

Borrowing from what Malinda had so eloquently written, no one is asking the question or looking for any answers to key questions like (1) Who deliberately dragged the boy, his own son along when the wives and children of other terrorist leaders such as Thamilselvam and Soosai were allowed to flee into the safety of the Sri Lankan security forces. (2) Who put every civilian, every man, woman and child not engaged in battle, at risk by holding them hostage as per the need for a ‘human shield’. (3) Who on countless occasions refused to engage in dialogue for conflict-resolution, banking on military capability to deliver the impossible? (4) Who killed so many Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims in cold blood that it would be a tall order for any soldier who has seen comrades die and children slaughtered to show any mercy if he was chanced upon by an LTTE cadre (not to mention the fact the practical stupidity of taking the risk of believing him to be unarmed). (5) Who made it impossible to see any Tamil child anywhere close to LTTE fighters in anyway other than a ‘child soldier’s? (6) Who led thousands of his child soldiers to their deaths by sending them as to open battle?

While all Sri Lankans know the answers, and are sure those who are continuously persecuting Sri Lanka also know the answers, they feel let down by some countries who they thought were their friends and who would help a country devastated by 10,800 days of terrorism, war and conflict to raise their heads. They thought their friends would understand what war means and the toll it takes, as they very well know having fought many wars, and still fighting some.

Take India for example. They are not interested in the truth or justice. The congress led union government’s priority is to remain in power at any cost and not prosecute justice. The DMK and Tamil Nadu vote is more important for India than justice for anyone in Sri Lanka. That is very clear now and Sri Lanka should take note of this.

Balachandran should not have been killed. He should have been allowed to blossom into a young adult and a man who could have been a decent human being unlike his father.

One hopes that those who mowed down this little child would be caught and punished, and if any Sri Lankan armed forces person or personnel were involved, that they would be dealt even more severely than someone else, as our men and women in uniform should not have committed such a dastardly deed.

As much as Balachandran should have lived to achieve his true potential in life, so should have thousands of children that his father killed, knowingly. They died because his father, the mass murderer, did not attach any value to anyone else’s life other than his.

However, there is not even a whiff of evidence that this child was killed by anyone in the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. On the contrary, the evidence that is available is the acts of kindness and consideration shown by the Armed Forces towards their enemies despite the utmost provocation not to take any prisoners.

But did they not take their prisoners with them and even share their food with them? If the Armed forces were child killers, why did they save Thamilselvam’s and Soosai’s children? Why did they save and subsequently rehabilitate more than 12000 LTTE combatants? Why did they save some 300,000 innocent Tamil people from the clutches of Prabakaran out of Nandikadal?

Balachandran could have been killed by the LTTE themselves to transfer the blame to Sri Lankan Armed Forces by giving viewers the impression through doctored or stage managed location shots that he was in an Armey bunker when he was killed. Those who are raising their eye brows now should ask themselves, who has a known, documented record of cold blooded killings not just adult men and women but thousands of children? LTTE and Prabakaran or the Sri Lankan Armed Forces? Therefore who would not have batted an eye lid to kill Balachandran’s son if they thought a defeated, leaderless outfit would benefit more by a child’s death, rather that his life?

Nearly four years has passed since the end of the final, brutal, bloody war against the LTTE. Questions are being asked whether the Sri Lankan government has done enough to address the causes of the conflict and whether they have done enough to advance reconciliation.

Sanjeewa Ranaweera, attorney at law writing in the Colombo Telegraph on September 22nd, 2012 encapsulated the thoughts of many when he wrote “Now, have we made that gesture of goodwill towards the Tamils of this country after putting a victorious full stop to the bloody war? I’m afraid; my answer to this question is in the negative. Let us be clear that what we buried in the Nandikadal Lagoon, on that historical day, was not the legitimate aspirations of the Tamils, but a violent dream of a ruthless terrorist. Hence our celebrations over this military triumph should not be stretched to the point where the sentiments of a minority community are hurt”.

Ranaweera goes on to say “It is disheartening that there is no atmosphere in the country at present for racial unity. Religious leaders, who could play a significant role in fostering ethnic harmony, are too busy playing politics! The “Saffron Robe” still has an exalted status in our society. And that status should not be exploited for petty political gains. Any right-thinking man cannot claim that ‘Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist country’. And if you say so, either you are impractically oblivious to your surroundings, or you are misinformed of the recent history of your nation. Let us say repeatedly that ‘Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic country’ and it belongs to me as much as it belongs to my Tamil and Muslim neighbor. And there was a time in this country where movies, dramas and songs were produced with a view to promoting the racial and religious unity. Such artistic endeavors enjoyed the patronage of the State and were recognized for the contribution that they made towards changing the deep-rooted perceptions of our ethnicity. Unfortunately, nowadays, our filmmakers are more inclined to make films depicting the heroism of our ancient kings and war heroes.

Moreover, lengthy teledramas are being shown on almost all local television channels on a daily basis, but none of them focus on this burning issue. Perhaps the artists do not want to be controversial or else, they are simply uninterested in doing something meaningful.

Strangely enough, the individuals, who have been harping on the lack of enthusiasm of the government as regards the post-war reconciliation, are not doing anything tangible either to promote racial and religious harmony. These self-proclaimed civil society activists are, apparently, very concerned about the implementation of the LLRC Recommendations. But they are tight-lipped about the potential fragmentation of the society fuelled by the separatist agendas of the Tamil Diaspora and of the nepotistic politicos, like the ageing Karunanidhi.

Call it togetherness, brotherhood or camaraderie; it is this sense of amity and friendship that will bind us together as a nation. Besides, none of us had any control over our birth. I became a Sinhalese, and he or she became a Tamil. And what difference it made? We speak different languages. We have different cultures and mannerisms. But at the end of the day, both of us are human beings. More importantly, both of us have a limited stay on earth. And during that limited stay, let us reach out to our minority brethren. Perhaps one gesture of goodwill will suffice.

Sanjeeva Ranaweera has been quoted extensively here because he has articulated the views of many moderates in the country. He has also been fair in presenting his views.

The need to focus more on reconciliation has been argued well by many. This columnist has also in several articles in the Asian Tribune called for community and religious observations on the anniversary of defeating the LTTE as a means of promoting reconciliation, rather than Military parades because it was felt that reconciliation will not be advanced by Military parades as different communities viewed the defeat of the LTTE from different prisms.

This is not to say the Military should not be thanked and honored for their service to the country. On the contrary, the best way to honor them would be to make sure political reasons that eventually gave rise to terrorism and war are addressed so that terrorism and war will never raise its head again in Sri Lanka, and the soldiers will not be required to fight for the country and die for it again, ever. An assurance of peace through reconciliation and a political solution is the best way to thank the brave Military.

There were some, and still are some Tamils, who do not condone LTTE tactics but supported their objective of self- determination for Tamils in the North and the East. The rest of Sri Lanka never supported this, and will not do so in the future. However, one cannot ignore such sentiments in reconciliation efforts if the objective of reconciliation is to convince those Tamils who have been pursuing such a line of thinking, to think otherwise and move towards a more central line of thinking where separatist visions do not have to be pursued.

While the government has taken some initiatives in the sphere of administration, such as the implementation of the language policy in schools and work places, one cannot say with conviction that any serious political moves have been made make the Tamil community feel more inclusive than what they are now.

It needs to be said however that reconciliation is not the sole responsibility of the Sinhala community alone, and that the Tamil community too should demonstrate their willingness to engage in the process by understanding why some Sinhala political forces adopted the policies they did, and which unfortunately resulted in several pogroms against the Tamils, and eventually the birth and growth of the cancerous LTTE.

Sri Lanka could take an example from other countries like for example Australia, where contentious issues have been discussed at broad based summits where community organisations, religious organisations, the business community, and of course the politicians, participated and discussed and arrived at appropriate options for pursuing a way forward on such contentious issues. The summit on models for a Republic for Australia was one such event.

Sri Lanka too could do with a broad based summit involving a wide cross section of the community to discuss ways and means of promoting reconciliation as there has not been such community consultations and engagement to date since the conclusion of the war. The government alone cannot be left to take responsibility for reconciliation as political realities associated with vote bases that impact on its survival as a government will constrain what it could do, although they may know what they should do.

Greater community involvement of civil society, religious bodies and their leading personalities, supported by an active media unlike the lethargy one sees from them in Sri Lanka in respect of promoting reconciliation, would bale out not just the government, but even the Opposition who also have to contend with political realities associated with vote bases. Changing community attitudes would then bring about pressure not just on the government but the Opposition as well, to take bolder initiatives to further reconciliation.

- Asian Tribune -

The killing of Balachandran - Who cries for the thousands of little boys and girls killed by his father, Prabakaran?
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