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Tamils in Sri Lanka seeking asylum: A need no more or not?

by Rev.John Barr

After UnitingWorld’s the Rev. John Barr returned from visiting the war-torn north of Sri Lanka in June, he described his journey as one of the most challenging and confronting trips he has ever experienced. Here is his reflection.

The island of Sri Lanka is likened to a tear drop in the Indian Ocean. This is, perhaps, a most apt image given the country’s tumultuous history. In 2009, we all cried and opened our hearts to over 280,000 Tamil civilians that were interned in detention centres run by Sri Lankan security forces. Humanitarian aid was severely restricted and ‘unexplainable disappearances’ were frequent.

My recent journey to the north of the island gave a chilling insight into the issues that thousands of Tamils continue to face. While much of the conflict is over, it is clear that many people have been unable to access their most basic needs. My experience left me questioning whether Tamils are truly safe from harm today.

During the one week trip to assess the situation, I visited several holding centres for Tamils who have been released from detention camps and await permission from security forces to return to their homeland.

These holding centres are extremely dire places. Food is scarce and access to basic health care is minimal.

One of my strongest memories is my visit to a centre located in the grounds of the former Killinochchi Central College, where some 335 families reside today.

The top floors of the main building have been blasted by artillery and mortars during the war. The people who live there receive food from the United Nations World Food Programme, but access to basic health care remains extremely limited.

A doctor from the Jaffna Diocese Green Memorial Hospital in Jaffna visits the centre for a few hours whenever possible to perform medical checkups. During this visit I met Annamma, a young mother of three children. One of her legs had been blown off during the recent war. Her husband was incapacitated due to a bullet lodged in his spine.

Annamma’s family were Tamils that had fled Jaffna in 1995 to rebuild their lives in Vanni, an autonomous Tamil region. Their future now remains in serious jeopardy.

Annamma told me she is “sick of being here”. She is “sick of waiting… all we do is line up and wait… for food, for water, for a shower…”. Thousands of others are in this same situation. There was a depressing sense of hopelessness in this holding centre.

These families are waiting here for land to become available where they can resettle, but much of the land remains riddled by land mines and is as such uninhabitable.

At another centre, the people were in no better condition.

I met a man who had lost both his legs. Another man suffered shrapnel wounds in his stomach. Then a woman next to me collapsed to the ground and gripped her head tightly, convulsing on the ground. People tell me that this happens to her frequently, a result of shrapnel lodged in her brain.

Today approximately 45,000 people have no choice but to continue to live in these centres scattered throughout the country’s north.

Back here in Australia, we hear little more than reports that we war is over and that conditions are improving in Sri Lanka. But my first hand view highlights that the Tamils there continue to experience a real sense of subjugation and humiliation.

Many queue for hours to access to food and health care. They wait for months on end, uncertain of when they will be able to return to their land and start rebuilding their lives. There are no places for Tamils to mourn, and many do not know what has happened to their loved ones. Trauma is a massive issue, and there is no closure for so many people.

An urgent question in Australia concerns the wellbeing of Tamils from the north and the east of Sri Lanka seeking asylum in Australia. Many are detained in terrible conditions with limited access to their most basic needs.

Are Tamils truly safe in Sri Lanka today? From what I saw the answer is NO.

We have a responsibility to continue opening our hearts to the many thousands of Tamils who face danger in Sri Lanka today.

John Barr is Associate Director for Church Solidarity (Asia)

35 Comments

I have 3 questions for Rev John Barr?

1. Dont you think that, following a 30 year brutal terrorist war in a country , stories mentioned above are not uncommon?
2. How many articles of this nature has been published by John or his humanitarian friends in the recent situations where millions civilians have been killed and injured, such as Iraq, Iran, Afganistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Ruwanda etc etc. Is it because they belong to a different kind of humans?
3. Why didnt he bother to interview single tamil of a population in excess of 3 million who peacefully live amongst the other races elsewhere.?

Posted by: Deepal | August 7, 2010 03:33 PM

Thanks for visiting and publishing this article.
My opinion, International forces should be in Sri Lanka to protect Tamils.

Posted by: Steve | August 7, 2010 05:08 PM

Is Rev John Barr a religious minister or a mouthpiece of the LTTE.

It is sad that all he saw was supposed suffering of the Tamils and closed his eyes to the many advances in both governance and development that will make the life of the Tamils truly much better than when then were under the iron fist of the LTTE.

So by virtue of his conclusion that the Tamils are not safe is he implying that the Tamils were safe under the LTTE? Today the whole country is governed by a democratically elected government where there are Tamil lawmakers are involved in governance and development.

Did Rev Barr visit the city of Colombo and meet any Tamils there? Or did he go with his eyes closed? Be a man of God by virtue of your calling spreading peace and supporting reconciliation and not hatred and prejudice.

Posted by: Joseph | August 7, 2010 05:53 PM

The writer says:

"Annamma’s family were Tamils that had fled Jaffna in 1995 to rebuild their lives in Vanni, an autonomous Tamil region. Their future now remains in serious jeopardy."

Actually, in 1995 the LTTE forced our people to leave Jaffna and move to the vanni under threat of death. That is exactly what they did when they hearded all the people of the vanni and forced them to follow the LTTE fighters into Mullaitivu and NandiKadal, to form human shields for the Tigers. Reading what rev. barr has written, I wonder if Rev. Barr knows any of this.

That was the Jackboot of the Tigers. The government has removed the jackboot by destroying the Tigers. While the Tigers were a source of misplaced pride for many Tamils who remembered the misdeeds of the JRJ government and some previous governments. However, these tamils today are living comfortably in the south and in foreign climes. But the Tigers were a hellish nightmare to the rural Tamils living in the Vanni. Even now,
there are many Tigers and tiger sympathizers still around among the affluent Tamils in Colombo and in the West. Many youth and rural people know nothing but what they heard during 30 years of Tiger propaganda. They, and their attitudes are the main obstacle to
improving conditions, by setting up the Diaspora, the foreign countries etc., against
any cooperation with the govt to help our people.

Foreigners and rich Tamils should follow the lead of KP (Kumaran Pathmanathan) and send money, food, health aid etc., and create jobs and employment. The PROBLEM IS NOT A MATTER OF SAFETY, BUT ORGANIZATION AND BUILDING UP TRUST BY ELIMINATING CONTINUED PRO-LTTE ANTI-GOVERNMENT APPROACHES AS PRACTICED BY THE TNA:

see the video:
K-P visiting Vavniya in June 2101-Video

KP was a top Tiger leader who knew what was real and what was propganda. He has now realized that the way forward is to work with the government. So I think Rev Barr has not understood the situation. A foreigner coming to these places for one week cannot understand what is happening. Rev. Barr should also visit the IDP camps in India and then he will see what one can expect in these situations. So, would Rev. Barr think that the Sri lankan Tamil refugees held in camps in Tamil Nadu are unsafe? They have worse health, food and personal conditions than in the Sri lankan IDPs in Sri Lanka itself.

Posted by: natesan | August 7, 2010 06:19 PM

Well done Father/Rev pl PL visit my brothers and sisters at afganisthan/iraq/palastine.give them asylum not American Demacrecy what they promise

Posted by: piyal | August 7, 2010 07:11 PM

Another bleeding heart with a handful of "insights" gathered during the first and only visit and no context
I wonder whether he has visited Australia's detention centre's yet

Posted by: mercator | August 7, 2010 07:43 PM

I am a Catholic living in Sri Lanka. Your report is bias and incomplete. Your report is only a small percentage of Tamils living in Sri Lanka. I hope you would correct the report by considering the total number of Tamils living in Sri Lanka, the number living in the North and the East, the number displaced, the number resettled and to be resettled. I am sure you have not visited the Muslim refugee camps where the displaced are living. Then you have not met the Sinhalese who were chased away from Jaffna. Perhaps you were not aware that about 3 centuries before the Sinhalese were the majority in Jaffna and the ethnic cleansing has now continued for several centuries.
The Sri Lankan problem is very complicated and how can you understand it is a one-week visit to the North. You have to speak to a cross-section of the population.
Is it not surprising that you have not seen anything good in Sri Lanka? Only who are living in Sri Lanka can understand the improvement in the situation in Sri Lanka.
Perhaps you were sympathetic to the Tamil cause due to their propaganda and met only a few of them who still dream of a Tamil Elam.
Almost all who writes on Sri Lanka knows very little of Sri Lanka.

Posted by: Prasad Fonseka | August 7, 2010 07:54 PM

An excellent factual analysis of how the poor Tamils have to survive under this draconian government.

The so called president proudly states that the Tamil people are his relatives but on the other hand he is continuously tormenting these hapless souls and is also spreading to his own kith and kin.

Being an amputee myself, I thank the lord that I am living in Australia, where the government caters to all my needs and in the next few days will be the recipient of an artificial limb.

I feel very sad for my fellow brethren languishing in Sri Lanka, the government should begin looking after it's own people instead of spending the peoples monies to build military cantonments and beef up their defences.

The government is getting hammered on many a front but they are like the wounded rampaging bulls in a bull-fight are carrying on regardless of the impending consequences.

God please look after these innocent folk. a j.

Posted by: anthony jones | August 7, 2010 07:54 PM

The good father has seen the repercussions of war. A war which was funded by the west to which he belongs.To moralise after the event is easy but to critisise having been part of the problem is immoral. The west must leave the poor countries alone to destabilise is inhuman.

Posted by: jan | August 7, 2010 08:02 PM

Father, I think your LTTE supporter.

Posted by: gama | August 7, 2010 08:09 PM

Do you realize that there are close to 2 million Tamils in Sri Lanka, Muthiah Muralitharan and Russell Arnold not withstanding? Do you realize that most of these tamils are integrated in to SLan society way better than aboroginals atre integrated in to Australian society. How many aboroginals have served as a Foreign minister in Australia? Sri lanka had Lakshman kadiragamar, a Tamil, who incidentally was killed by the Tamil tigers.

Why are these 45,000 in camps?Because the LTTE mined the heck out of areas they are from. If the Sri Lanka givernment lets these people go back to their villages, and they die due to land mines or lack of food (how can you farm when your farmland is infested with land mines),then hypocrites such as your self will decry against the SL government again. SO it is a no-win situation for the government.Notice the 45000 people have dwindled down from an original 300,000, so indeed the government rehabilitation programs are working albeit slowly.

Additionally, President Rajapakse's niece is married to a Tamil, while incidentally the Presiden's wife is a Roman Catholic.Has the Australian political figures have married off their kith and kin to aboriginals.

I have been to Autstralia and have seen how Indians are beaten up in Sydney. I have seen the brutal racist comments made by ordinary Australians as it relates to Aborignals. We Sri Lankans have not forgotten how a member of then Autralian cricket team calling Russel Arnold, a Tamil Sri Lankan cricketer, a black monkey.

Perhaps John Barr, It is us Sri Lankans who should save these poor Tamils from the hands of Australians such as your self. One last question. Howe much did the Tamil diaspora pay you to write this article to influence ordinary Australians in to changing their mind on boat people?

Posted by: Ari D | August 7, 2010 08:15 PM

Sri Lankan Government or Sinhalease people or army did not plant those land mines. It is done by their Own people, LTTE. If you people wants to help, help us to clear those landmines. So people can go home. Don't say that Sri Lanka is unsafe so that they must be given in asylum in Austrialia. It is a distortion of facts

Posted by: DH | August 7, 2010 08:27 PM

A nice work for a fiction. Why would these be allowed to visit Sri Lanka?

Posted by: shan | August 7, 2010 10:36 PM

Rev. John Barr.... first and foremost there is a First Class Travel Ticket reserved by the Courtesy of the Tamil Diasspora of your Church to Star Class Hotel reserved for you in HELL....

Now the God of men have turned terrorists. Reverends, Priests, Fathers, whoever they may be, this article has contributed to unruffling not some BUT many Tamil feathers.
Your rewrad for this effort is similar to the reward Judas received for the betrayal in the eyes of many peace loving Tamils.... I leave the majority out.Let the minority deal with you.

Then in 2009 Tamils were not interned BUT just flung themselves into the arms of the Soldiers to save them.
Why did not you take with you, your divine intervention powers on your recent trip to Sri Lanka? You could have cleared all those mines and obtained Manna from heaven for the needy and cured the sick.

John Barr An Associate of the Church of Solidairty from Australia...........Going by your narration ;

a) You certainly appear to be a decendant of an ex-convict going by your statement you have even duped your own God & Master.. leave alone your congragation, followers & the world. What was the reward? Its stated in the first line in this reply.

b) What do you assume, there was a party in Sri Lanka for 30 years? Read the Times/NewsWeek, the GOSL was fighting one of the most ruthless terrorist groups in the World who neither respected Civillians nor Professional nor Intellectuals or the Innocent whether they be Sinhala or Tamils..............

c) Who supported these terrorists to obtain vast amount of arms even the SL Forces were not privy? Your God or Your Church or Australia or Norway or the West ?
d) Where are those supporters who financed the war & shed crocodile tears for their people coming to help resettle these people & uplift their living?

Wonder whether GOD will ever have what it takes to forgive an id8t like you ???????????????????
He is sure to forgive me for replying ...........

Where will be your next visit? Iraq, Afganistan, Sudan, or to an Aussie detention camp in Indonesia or where you are? Please let us know..............

Posted by: dagobert | August 8, 2010 12:20 AM

John Barr should know the history of srilanakan ethnic conflict before coming to superficial conclusions.Where did he live when tamil tigers killed men women and children of sinhalese and muslims in bordering tamil areas.Is it becasuse they were decent enough to live in Sri Lanka without getting into a boat.If Tamils are suffering in Sri Lanka how come 60% of capital Colombo poulation in Sri Lanka are Tamils.These commets are ice berg of international cospirators.

Posted by: Ravi Denagamuwa. | August 8, 2010 12:48 AM

Rev Fr Barr, while I will not question or contradict anything you've said here, please do indulge my curiosity and tell us when you last visited Afghanistan or Iraq, and what you reported/recommended on the public record after such visits, if any.

Posted by: Dr Dayan Jayatilleka | August 8, 2010 01:39 AM

I would like to find out where THE REV was when the LTTE was recruiting children and brainwashing young kids to blow themselves up. Was sticking his head in the sand like ostrich?
How many innocent lives were sacrificed?
Why are all the Tamils going to Australia, Canada and Western Countries when the TAMIL HOMELAND was right next door?

Posted by: Ranil | August 8, 2010 01:52 AM

Mr.John Barr ur reports totaly ZERO.IT MEAN no good frame work N BASELESS for ur reports.pls if u need MONEY try to work HARD AND GET ITS.pls DON'T WRITE ilike this RUBBISH REPORTS AGAIN.Mr. john Barr KEEP IN CLOSE in ur Religion PRAY.GOD BLESS U IN FUTURE.

Posted by: DEEN | August 8, 2010 02:04 AM

Thank you Rev.John Barr, A few vociferous racist sinhalese done see anything beyound their tip of the nose.

They spill and spin hatred, Unable to see any one
practicing the Buddha's preachings. No tolerance, no feeling for their fellow citizens. Buddha a Hindu prince abrogated his throne to find a solution to resolve the fellow human sufferings, here the Srilankan buddhists are heaping misery on their fellow citizens, what an irony.

Many sinhalese only talk about the 30 years of LTTE terrorism what about the state terrorism from 1956? which created the tigerness within the Tamil youths. This war was executed as a racial war no doubt about it,To win the support of the west LTTE was demonised, discrdited by using a Tamil Foreign Minister, to convince that Tamils are separate and Tigers are the problem, and used the wests paranoia after 9/11 to win their support.

So thay won with the help of the west and their buddies India China and Pakistan, on the fringes Russia and Isreal. It was a brutal war, aerial bombing 4000 sroties between Jan 2009 till Mid May this claim by none other than the defence secretary President's brother.

Don't these men and women have any humanitarian feeling for the sufferring fellow citizens. can't they see the governments racists policies, using foreign aids funded by generous countries to rebuild the battered northeast being used to build military cantonments and buddha viharas.

IDPS are left to starve this what Buddha Dharma preaches is it. and to bash any one who speak for the Innocent Tamil victims. Open your eyes and ears with your consciousness. See the truth, if you can help do so but done create misery to others.

Posted by: Dr.Easwaran | August 8, 2010 02:45 AM

What a load of bull dust.No point wasting any more time to reply to this.

Posted by: Maha Day | August 8, 2010 02:54 AM

Rev Pastor,

Thanks for speaking your conscience.

1. Sinhalese who argue that the Tamils REverend refers to are small in number.
- Of course it is. Because the Sinhalese drove Tamils out to Colombo and Western countries. If freedom exists, why is
is Jaffna an open prison since 1983 and that too after Tigers were wiped out. 1000 year old Tamil manuscripts were
burnt in Jaffna library. Can Sinhalese bring them back to life. Heck, they dont even care for Tamils' life.
2. Some Sinhalese argue that westerners never complain about Iraq, Afghanistan etc, but choose to talk for Tamils
- During the peak of Iraq war, 100 bishops or so, wrote a letter to Bush saying that US is responsible for death of
100,000 Iraqi children each year due to war. Not even islamic countries said that; Besides, US pumped in help for
the civilians now. Where the heck are Sinhalese in helping Tamils after the war. They are busy protecting facism,
but for a few souls such as Ranil, Wickramabu, Mangala, the late Lasantha etc
3. Some sinhalese argue that even Sinhalese are not taken care of by their politicians and why bother about Tamils
- That is why Tamils want their freedom to do what they are capable. Ofcourse sinhalese keep them in open prison and
claim they take care of Tamils' livelihood by feeding them with basic things. Give Tamils freedom and they will
produce Doctors, Engineers, Pastors, Priests. What are Sinhalese afraid of?

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2010 02:57 AM

John, you have hit the nail on the head. Tamils are being treated like third class citizens in their own country.To the majority anyone who supports the Tamils are branded as LTTE supporters. People should realize that the war against terrorism is over and the LTTE in the country has been wiped out.So the LTTE card is not going to work anymore. More people like you John should visit the country to expose the hypocrisy of the people in power in this country.

Posted by: Mano | August 8, 2010 03:51 AM

Why is it there is so much arguments on this issue???? If the world feels that the Tamils are persecuted in SL then for gods sake open the doors in your country to them. Australia and Canada have large enough areas to accomodate them!! Sri Lanka Government should provide additional ships to carry these asylum seekers including the LTTE ers who langushing in the jails to leave the country. Once this is done the country will be rid of this disgrunteled elements and the rest of the Sri lankan who love the country could live in peace and harmony. Once this terrorists demand equal status in thier adopted countries and start a rebellion we can sit back and enjoy.

Posted by: Pancha | August 8, 2010 05:36 AM

this, which is another advertisement by the u-no-whoos of this world. go down the drain by NGO sustenance advertisements.
THAN YOU

Posted by: Asitha gamage | August 8, 2010 05:49 AM

It took a few months from SLA to go from Kilinochchi to Mullivaykkal but it cannot afford to clear the mines to resettle the Tamils for more than 14 months with all the help from the Western powers. For the government building roads to Colombo to Kandy and Matara is more urgent than settling these poor souls.

We had ltte and government propagandists vomiting insults at the messengers and now ltte is no longer there, but the other side continues to do the same.

Spare a thought for people continues to live in makeshift camps who were forcibly put in there by the government.

Posted by: Champaka | August 8, 2010 06:25 AM

Well done, Rev, your views are typical of judgement of "kangaroo courts", why don't you practice what you preach? instead of wasting money driving around, stop at the first camp - feed the people whom you are so concerned about, go to Killinocchi Central College - arrange to repair the roof - if there is lack of food provided by United Nations World Food Programme, (you seem to criticise the efforts of a World organisation as inadequate - so you must be coming from a more affluent circle - or EFFLUENT BIASED CIRCLE?) arrange funds from your church/or elsewhere and feed them properly, improve the basic healthcare at least marginally, I do not expect you to build luxury toilets overnight, do it slowly, perhaps if your church has sufficient funds to send you on a joy trip, they could divert some funds for more useful humanitarian matters - urgently, you need to sort out something for Annamma’s family whom you are so concerned about, fit an artificial limb perhaps(wonder how long Anthony Jones had to wait for his limb in Australia), sounds like the husband needs a major operation on the spine, there may be institutions in your country who might have a solution - the children, certainly need to be looked after an guided, maybe your time could be better spent, attending to this.

There are several people like you who expect an overnight solution - for 30 years of damage caused by the LTTE as you know has caused severe damage mainly to the Tamil dominated areas in the North, and devastated the country's finances, funds are needed to implement re-settlement, land mines to clear - laid by LTTE, people to be rehabilitated, and many more issues to be attended to, I do not think it is an easy task for any government, please leave the reporting to the journalists and you concentrate on preaching. Do you realise if all Sri Lankan communities worked together what a wonderful country it would be - in 30 years it could have been much better than places like Singapore, there are still elements of the defeated in countries like yours still collecting funds to cause further damage - this will need a long term solution too.

Posted by: Jai Lameer | August 8, 2010 07:06 AM

Tamil daispora promoting human traficking as paid the air fair

His biased assesments and onesided stories are a hindrance for many christian workers in the former war zone. the free access will be denied to many fi this type of false messages are published.

The LTTe proxsies need some article so that they can continue their illigal money spinning businesses.

Today the majority have realised how the LTTE proxies twist the truth for their advantage.

This article is purely to facilitiate the illigal boat people to claim asylum and the human traffickers to prosper.

Posted by: TRN | August 8, 2010 09:09 AM

Thank you for visiting the cordoned -off areas and reporting it to the world.

http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/03/no_funds_to_meet_needs_of_near.html/
No funds to meet needs of nearly 200,000 Northern IDPs due to govt refusal to endorse 2010 action plan, 13 March 2010: ''The funding crisis follows the government’s refusal to endorse the 2010 Common Humanitarian Action Plan (CHAP). Produced annually through a collaboration of all major humanitarian assistance groups in the country (including UN agencies), the CHAP is a document listing out priority areas for donor funding along with estimates.''

Preventing aid agents help the physically and psychologically distraught people is severe oppression. It is internal colonialism. The world knows when one country invades another but not when the armed forces of the ethnic majority occupy the areas of the ethnic minority:

http://transcurrents.com/tc/2010/06/vanni_northern_sri_lanka_where.html#more
Vanni, northern Sri Lanka, where war has never ended, 1 June 2010:
''The area is still actually in the hands of the military, which allowed the return of the population but force them to live in absolute poverty. The military blocks any attempts to improve their lives, but does not stop abuse and violence.''


Will the world see an end to internal colonialism in 21C?

Posted by: Vino Gamage | August 8, 2010 03:08 PM

Jai lameer, Asitha Gamage, Pancha, Maha Day ,Ranil, Ravi Denagamuva,Dagobert Please write your venom as long as this venom exsist the Rajapksha Government will thrive and the poor Sinhala people will suffer

The only hope for SL is people like Champako mano Dr.eswaran

Namo Namo matha

Nathen

Posted by: nathen | August 8, 2010 03:14 PM

Not surprising to see Dr DJ joining other members of the Rajapkasa Brigade in this forums to attack Rev. Barr. Because the Americans are treating Afghans and Iraqis poorly, its OK for the Sri Lankan state to treat its fellow citizens, Tamils so badly? Is that your argument Dr?

Posted by: Kaz | August 8, 2010 06:49 PM

"Rev Fr Barr, while I will not question or contradict anything you've said here, please do indulge my curiosity and tell us when you last visited Afghanistan or Iraq, and what you reported/recommended on the public record after such visits, if any.

Posted by: Dr Dayan Jayatilleka | August 8, 2010 01:39 AM"

Dear Dayan Jayatllke,
When is truth relativistic? Does your above view come from your Jesuit "Just War" Theology that you profess to Defend Violence. War is wrong where ever it is and whoever wages it and it is Christian, no. more so Buddhist to have compassion for the suffering. War is over and no need now to stick to your Jesuit "Just War" Theology and it is time to move to more Christian/Buddhist principles which are more appropriate to peace times

Posted by: Anonymous | August 8, 2010 08:33 PM

Father
Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Internal colonialism:
1. Preventing free entry to journalists is hiding something. This has been happening over several decades to the Northeast of Sri Lanka.
2. Preventing aid agents help the people battered by aerial bombing, intense shelling and economic embargo in several episodes over the last several decades is oppression

Posted by: justice4peace | August 8, 2010 10:48 PM

Dear Rev John Barr,
Thank you for your visit to Srilanka and the objective report on the situation. Rev John Barr forgive those people who made bad comments about you and your report, they do not know what they are writing.

Posted by: Rajan | August 9, 2010 01:25 AM

Most of the comments here are of the SL Regime.

But there were so many other independent reports to support the facts given in this article. Independent observers are rarely allowes to go to the NorthEast.

Many of the stooges justify the genocide in our country by quoting war in Afgsnistan, Iraq etc. This is obviously a poor defence.
War crimes were commotted and continue to be committed.

Day of reckoning is not far.
Justice.

Posted by: Justice | August 9, 2010 05:45 PM

"Rev Fr Barr, while I will not question or contradict anything you've said here, please do indulge my curiosity and tell us when you last visited Afghanistan or Iraq, and what you reported/recommended on the public record after such visits, if any.

Posted by: Dr Dayan Jayatilleka | August 8, 2010 01:39 AM"

Hello Dayan, what moral right do you have to question Rev.Fr. Barr, about Afgan &Iraq. Dayan do you think the war in Srilanka is a just war? Let us analyse how and why a war was executed in Srilanka. for 150 years under British rule the Tamils and Sinhalese lived without any hatred,moved around the country without any check points or harassment.Ceylonese people were mingling well with each other and many intermarriages took place.[Presidents sister is married to a Tamil] But since 1910 Mahavamsa and Anakarica Dharmapala started to seed the hatred by digging up the past [Kingdom period][prior to western invasion in 1505]. since independence the Sinhala politicians failed to consolidate the unity and build a great nation instead, Sinhala politicians started plotting ways and means to get rid of minority groups especially Tamils from public service, reduce their representations in the parliament[1949], prevent them studying, by dismanteling the Science labs in the North[1960], transfer good teachers away from their homeland. quota system to enter university[1970], higer marks to get into medicine, Engineering faculties. employment in public service,civil service restricted,imposition of compulsory sinhala grade for increments and promotions. no entry into armed forces. Repeated pogroms to subdue and subjugate the Tamils [lightly called civil disturbances or commotions] which was state terrorism from 1956,1958,1961,1974,1977, 1981 burning of Jaffna library, and police atrocities in Jaffna and finally the holocoust in 1983. all these were the reason for the frustrated unemployed Tamils youths to take up arms and fight the state. rest is history with lots of twist and turns.Today all Tamils are tarred with the same brush to discrdit the diaspora even demonise them. Many sinhala brethrens without understanding the true nature of this political saga and the misdemeanour played on Tamils by successive sinhala majoritarian government,unfortunately with this skewed eye on srilankan politics can only spill the beans of hatred and venom. You Dayan a educated fool if you think you can bury the truth. You a academic, jounalist a diplomat,please use your tallent to speak the truth,understand another human feelings and guide the politicians and your people to build a vibranet,healthy nation without destroying it any further. Already you are scoring your own goal to discredit srilankans. Do you approve, Just building cantonments and Viharas are not going to feed the people in srilanka and bring peace. Try to live and let live, all are mortals one day we all perish. see what is happening in Pakistan floods, China's mud slides, Russia's fire. Don't let God to punish another Tsunami will submerge srilanka to go under the sea. Do good,teach tolerance what Buddha had taught your people. let us hope sanity prevail.

Posted by: Dr.Easwaran | August 11, 2010 04:12 AM

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