Opinion Article

War crimes and human civilisation

[TamilNet, Monday, 12 July 2010, 08:19 GMT]
A war will not end without the delivery of political justice to the core issue. Even the winners who waged World Wars for the monopoly of colonies couldn’t escape conceding independence to colonies. USA and India bungling political justice to the national question in the island will have a bearing on Afghan War, Western Civilisation and on Indian integrity. The solidarity of Eezham Tamil diaspora is as important a trump as the geopolitical trump of Sri Lanka. In its historic duty to its nation and to civilisation, the diaspora without succumbing to lures should intensely align with the people of Tamil Nadu and progressive Sinhalese in realising political justice and in seeing no others ever suffer like Eezham Tamils. The last diplomatic chance for the USA and India to make ‘strategic partnership’ a smooth affair is to jointly uphold the balance of nations in the island.

“We didn’t take prisoners and there was nothing to do but kill them, and we did,” says an Allied World War II veteran, cited by British historian Antony Beever in his 2009 book revealing the war crimes committed in hitherto undisclosed scale by the Allied troops, for whom the only good German was a dead German in the famous D-Day battle for Normandy in 1944.

2,50,000 civilians and soldiers were killed in Normandy alone and the new book, 'D-Day: The Battle for Normandy,' reveals that the allied soldiers committed war crimes to a much greater extent than was previously realized, says a review appeared in the German weekly Spiegel in April 2010.

What’s the point in a British historian revealing this after more than six decades, when the Nuremburg Trial that investigated the crimes of World War II was 'partial' to the winners, made them the heroes of the 20th century human civilisation and influenced a whole world in polity, psyche and in cultural products such as films, is a question anyone may ask.

But the new revelation makes an important contribution to contemporary thinking. It tells us the unreliability and obsolescence of an international legal system of the Nuremburg model, if it is going to continue basing itself on states and winners investigating war crimes.

The liberation struggle of long oppressed Eezham Tamils can never be in comparison with the German war. Yet, a current symbolic gesture that foretells the direction war crimes investigation may take in the island of Sri Lanka is Colombo and New Delhi building war memorials and paying homage to their fallen soldiers, while the LTTE memorials are razed down.

Eezham Tamils have inexhaustible evidences and indelible memories of the war crimes committed by Indian and Sri Lankan soldiers.

The very fact that Colombo's memorials are built in different parts of the island, especially in the 'conquered' land while no such memorial has ever been built anywhere for the JVP insurrection, shows the ethnonationalist connotations of the war and underlines the truth that the war was not actually fought against ‘terrorism’ but against Eezham Tamils and their nationalism.

There is also a strong message to the West in the timing of the opening of both Sri Lankan and Indian war memorials and in the Indian military top brass paying homage at their memorial in Colombo. The message is that the West should not pursue war crimes investigation. India couldn’t tell it openly this time due to public opinion in its own country.

Many ‘core facts’ on the war crimes are yet to be known, or will never be known, but at least some Indian ministers have gone on record for misleading the public by wrong statistics and shielding the gravity of the crimes when they were taking place.

Whatever the scepticism may be about justice coming through war crimes investigations of the winners, no one should ever forget that even the winners of the World War II could not escape paying through their noses the political justice to humanity, by conceding independence to the colonies.

It was for the monopoly of the colonies the European powers were committing the crime of war for centuries, culminating in the two world wars of the 20th century. Besides, the Jews too received political justice for them after 2000 years, by getting back their country snatched away by the Roman Empire.

The point is that a war will not end without the delivery of political justice to the core issue, and no one claiming a winner could escape it.

War was fought in the island of Sri Lanka in a hitherto unseen way in history.

The USA and India were primarily responsible for the way the war was fought in the island. All the others only exploited the situation or played second fiddle.

Handling the liberation struggle of a chronic national question went to counterinsurgency desk of Pentagon and went into perverted hands in New Delhi.

Whether the Norway-facilitated peace process and the Co-Chair countries later allowing its breach are both components of a counterinsurgency agenda is a question widely asked in the Tamil circles. It was also a point discussed at the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal held in Dublin January this year.

At the height of the unfair war, the entire diaspora of the Eezham Tamil nation took to streets across the world in a hitherto unseen show of solidarity. They only asked the war to be stopped.

By directing the war to the ‘finish’ in favour of the oppressing state, that resulted in mass-scale massacre and incarceration of civilians, and continued humiliation of the Eezham Tamil nation, what point of international political order has been achieved is baffling.

But, one thing is clear – if the concerned powers are unable to deliver political justice now, it is going to reflect very seriously on them.

It will reflect very seriously on the USA and the NATO bloc, on their ability of upholding any international order in future and on their ability of delivering political justice when they want to pull out of Afghanistan.

Whatever the outcome of its military venture in Afghanistan, if the USA politically fails in Sri Lanka, that is going to have a special bearing on the decline of the Western Civilisation.

As for India, its military failure in 1987 affected only the ego of some individuals, generals and bureaucrats. But any political failure of India now is going to reflect very seriously on its national integrity itself.

Perhaps for the very same reasons China and Russia are now meddling with the island of Sri Lanka, either to discredit India or the USA, and they want to achieve their point by victimising the victims.

The unjust war, the unjust abetment it received, an unjust victory becoming a possibility, the post-war competition of powers, the geopolitical trump – all have now given immense confidence to Colombo to think that no political justice need to be conceded to conclude this first of its kind of war, and the political question itself could be handled in counterinsurgency ways.

In occupied Tamil land, every day Colombo is nakedly engaged in genocidal activities.

The war crimes of Colombo didn’t stop at Mu’l’livaaykkaal.

Thanks to the international system completely handing over the victims to the winners in an ethnic question, war crimes are being committed on the life, honour and property of Tamils everyday nowadays.

What is clearly and repeatedly demonstrated by the Sri Lankan state today, more than ever before, is the improbability of a political solution less than that of the total independence of Tamil Eelam.

The following are excerpts from what M K Bhadrakumar, a former Indian diplomat who served in Colombo wrote in May 2009 itself:

“The Europeans fancy they can try the Sinhalese for war crimes. What naivety!

“We asked the Sinhalese in private many a time how they proposed to navigate their way in the coming period. They wouldn't divulge.

“But we know that it is not as if they have no solution of their own to the Tamil problem, either. We know they already have a blueprint.

“See, they have already solved the Tamil problem in the eastern provinces of Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara. The Tamils are no more the majority community in those provinces.

“Similarly [..] the Tamils will be made into a minority community in their own northern homelands. They will have to live among the newly created Sinhalese settlements in those regions to the north of Elephant Pass.

“Give them a decade at the most. The Tamil problem will become a relic of the bloody history of the Indian subcontinent.

“As for the blood on our [Indian] hands, true, it is a nuisance. But this is not the first time in our history that we're having blood on our hands.

“Trust our words. No lasting harm will be done. Blood doesn't leave stains.”

Bhadrakumar may be sarcastic about Indian policy makers, but the continued counterinsurgency approach of USA and India, even towards the national liberation aspiration of Eezham Tamils, makes one wonder whether Colombo’s aim is the aim of the powers too, since they are impotent of any political solution.

In what way war crimes investigation, after keeping Tamils gagged, is going to bring in any justice to the investigation and to the cause of Tamils is the question.

While using war crimes investigation as a pressure tactic on Colombo what the powers indirectly tell the Tamils is that ‘all roads lead to Rajapaksa.’

Colombo’s confidence comes from this very attitude of the powers.

The Eezham Tamil diaspora, which is going to be a part of the Western world forever, should realise that its solidarity of opinion is as important a trump as the geopolitical trump displayed by Colombo.

Whether the diaspora has realised it or not, Colombo has realised it and that’s why the efforts to capture the diaspora.

Colombo’s present urgency is to diffuse the pressure of war crimes investigation by showing that it has made ‘reconciliation’ with the diaspora and it tries to achieve that too through counterinsurgency methods.

Colombo has now decided to face the war crimes investigations by forging a deal of all those who have to save their skins for different reasons. It is said that Colombo’s counterinsurgency agents are now even embarked upon bidding for research on why the Norway initiated peace failed.

The duty of the diaspora, which only the diaspora could do, is to see political justice is delivered not only to its nation but also to entire human civilisation. No one should ever dream of committing what had been committed to Eezham Tamils to any others in future.

It is for this noble purpose of human civilisation the diaspora has created its political institutions and those institutions should not fail in realising their responsibilities.

Mukilan, a writer from Tamil Nadu living in USA, recently wrote on how he was pained during the height of the war to see some individuals among the Eezham Tamil diaspora arguing in favour of finishing the war to the end, to see the total elimination of the LTTE.

The diaspora has mistaken if it had thought that such individuals and some Tamil ‘counterinsurgency’ writers were behaving in that way only because of their animosity to the LTTE.

The lure of Rajapaksa-provided political space or the need to maintain the market value of their ‘counterinsurgency’ writing have now made them to go to any extent in denouncing the cause of Tamils.

Some of them have now started arguing that war crimes were committed primarily by the LTTE. But at the same time they don’t want to see international investigation of war crimes either.

By shielding war crimes, and thus encouraging further crimes by an occupying army in everyday life of Tamils, this group of diaspora individuals in the service of Rajapaksa is going to be internationally ostracised for its anti-humanity stand.

There can be no argument about diaspora helping the rehabilitation. The diaspora did it earlier, is doing it now and will do it in future, but in its own way. We don’t need to discuss the ways. But, diaspora has a more important responsibility in fighting for the honour of the people.

Why should the diaspora give money to a government that has money for Sinhala colonisation, that has money for keeping the occupying army ‘comfortable’, but has no money to rehabilitate the sons of the soil?

Some say, Tamils in the island should not be allowed to beg others. Actually they are in a situation worse than that. Their appeal is “no need of alms but hold the dog” (Pichchai vea’ndaam, naayaip pidi). The dogs have to be sent out.

There is another shade of diaspora opinion that is harping on tangential polity and diplomacy. They may be right, but that can’t be the mainstream polity. Common masses need straightforward politics and political leadership appealing to their pulses.

There is a systematic effort going on now by ‘counterinsurgency’ elements in creating an image that Tamil national cause is ‘sectarian’ and not mainstream polity of Eezham Tamils.

The simmering anger in the hearts of the people will not subside until political justice to their aspirations go to them.

The diaspora, the people of Tamil Nadu and progressive forces among the Sinhalese have to be prepared with solidarity for a long political or geopolitical struggle, if the war crimes Establishment is not going to cough out what is due, and if Washington and New Delhi are going to continue deceiving solutions to the national question in the style of Colombo.

The hard truth is that the LTTE was the real obstacle for the USA and India to enter into the island or any one of them to monopolise the island. The Sinhala masses will realise it soon and will also realise the folly of not conceding sovereignty to Tamils on their own.

As the LTTE is silenced now, the USA and India are perhaps getting their last diplomatic chance to make their ‘strategic partnership’ over the island a smooth affair among them. That is possible only by both of them jointly upholding the balance of nations in the island for the benefit of every one. That is the reality of present times.

Related Articles:
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21.05.10   SLA demolishes Valvai Monument for victims massacred by IPKF..
16.01.10   Dublin verdict: Sri Lanka guilty of War Crimes
17.05.09   'Long live human dignity; shame on international community'

External Links:
AsiaTimes: Bhadrakumar: The rise and fall of Prabhakaran
spiegel.de: The Horror of D-Day: A New Openness to Discussing Allied War Crimes in WWII
Mukilanin Pithattalka'l: ஈழத்தமிழர்கள் - ஒரு புலம்பெயர்ந்த இந்திய


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