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By SOMINI SENGUPTA
Published: May 19, 2009
NEW DELHI — The Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Tuesday savored a victory that had eluded every Sri Lankan head of state before him: he declared on television that after more than 25 years, his troops had defeated one of the world’s most enduring guerrilla armies on the battlefield.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka saluted members of Parliament on Tuesday after his victory speech to the nation.
Behind that victory speech was a historic and bloody family triumph, guided by two of the president’s brothers: Gotabaya, the influential secretary of defense, and Basil, a so-called special adviser who devised the political strategy around the war effort.

Together, the brothers Rajapaksa defied international pressure to stanch civilian casualties, squelched dissent, blocked independent reporting of the war and achieved what many had thought all but impossible: they vanquished the Tamil Tigers, who had waged a pitiless war of terror and once ruled swaths of Sri Lankan territory as a de facto state.

With Gotabaya Rajapaksa in charge of the defense portfolio, the government sharply increased defense spending; bought new weapons, primarily from China and Pakistan; and nearly doubled the size of the armed forces, to roughly 160,000.

The political cunning of Basil and Mahinda Rajapaksa was put to use. The president asked India for weapons first. Only when it refused because of domestic sympathy for the Tamil cause did he turn to its rivals.

The military strategy paid off, too. Starting in 2006, the government forces staged intense air, sea and ground assaults against rebels in the east and the north, sustaining the attacks even though the two sides were still officially engaged in cease-fire negotiations. The government also adopted some guerrilla tactics from the Tamil Tigers, using small groups of troops to penetrate deep into the jungle and assassinate rebel leaders.

The brothers, who come from upper-caste landed gentry, are not part of the English-educated elite of Colombo, the capital. Snubbing pressure from the West did not hurt them; it helped them consolidate their southern Sinhalese nationalist base.

“There was no vacillation as there has been with previous governments,” said Nilan Fernando, the country director for an American nonprofit, the Asia Foundation. “Previous governments were always playing for a draw. This time, they were playing for a win.”

They won.

The victory, like Russia’s smothering of Chechnya’s separatist rebellion, comes at a high cost. The United Nations says 7,000 civilians have been killed since January alone, and more than 265,000 ethnic Tamils who fled the war zone are now interned in overcrowded camps. Some civilians are missing, including three government-employed doctors who worked in the rebel-held area and regularly spoke out about the shelling of hospitals there. Human Rights Watch has repeatedly said the government shelled civilian areas, even as the rebels held tens of thousands of ethnic Tamils as civilian shields.

Now, some of Sri Lanka’s erstwhile allies, including those that had banned the Tamil Tigers as a terrorist organization, are calling for an international commission of inquiry into possible war crimes. Sri Lanka desperately needs foreign aid for postwar reconstruction.

In prosecuting the war, President Rajapaksa, a lawyer and member of Parliament who was elected, narrowly, in 2005, cultivated tacit backing from India. Though India did not supply offensive weapons, it became less active in seeking to stop the fighting. Sri Lanka’s success in intercepting supply ships in the Indian Ocean is frequently attributed to Indian intelligence.

The chairwoman of India’s governing Congress Party is Sonia Gandhi, whose husband, Rajiv, a former prime minister, was assassinated by a Tamil Tiger suicide bomber.

The Sri Lankan president dresses in the traditional white tunic and sarong of the Sinhalese. In the 1980s, when anti-government ethnic Sinhalese activists were being abducted and killed, he was one of their most vocal champions, appealing to the United Nations for support.

After his election, however, he put defeating the rebellion ahead of protecting civil liberties. The Rajapaksas treated dissent as support for the enemy. Some journalists were jailed under an antiterrorism law; some were mysteriously killed, including one newspaper editor, Lasantha Wickrematunge, who in a chilling essay, foretold his death and blamed Mr. Rajapaksa for it.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the defense secretary and a former computer systems administrator in Los Angeles, accused international aid agencies working in Tiger-held territory of helping the insurgents. Last fall, he ejected nearly all of them from the area.

In June 2007, the defense secretary was instrumental in ordering the expulsion of nearly 400 Tamils living in low-cost hotels and boarding houses in Colombo, on suspicion that they were helping ethnic separatist rebels plot bombings in the city. Sri Lanka’s highest court later overturned the deportation order.

On Tuesday, in his speech to the nation, the president said a new political solution for minority Tamil rights could not be dictated from abroad. “We do not have the time to be experimenting with the solutions suggested by other countries,” he said.

He spoke in generalities about forging a peace settlement, but he gave few details beyond saying it had to be acceptable to everyone in Sri Lanka.

That is, of course, the Rajapaksas’ next challenge: reconciliation.

Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, executive director of the nonpartisan Center for Policy Alternatives here, said the president had “struck the right notes by making the distinction between the Tamil people and the Tamil Tigers.”

“What was missing was more details about the post-conflict phase,” Mr. Saravanamuttu said. “I would have liked to have seen him make a real commitment to a political settlement and human rights by addressing some of the serious allegations that have been made against the military.”

The Tamil Tigers’ missteps contributed to their downfall.

They helped elect Mr. Rajapaksa by enforcing a boycott of elections in November 2005 in Tamil-majority areas. Almost immediately after he took office, they provoked his government with deadly strikes on his forces.

Their suicide bombers tried to kill Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his army chief, Gen. Sarath L. Fonseka. Friends say the attempted assassinations strengthened the Rajapaksas’ resolve.

On Tuesday, Sri Lankan television flashed an image the government had pursued for three decades: the corpse of a man the military identified as the ethnic separatist chief Vellupillai Prabhakaran, dressed in battle fatigues, his eyes wide open, his mouth agape, as though he, too, were in shock. There were no Tamils left in the homeland he had fought so fiercely to create, only plumes of smoke, and soldiers.

A reporter for The New York Times contributed from Colombo, Sri Lanka

Amazing stuff

01. Coca-Cola was originally green.
02. The most common name in the world is Muhammad

.
03.The name of the entire continents end with the same letter that they start with.
04. The strongest muscle in the body is the tongue.
05. There are two credit cards for every person in the United States.
06. TYPEWRITER is the longest word that can be made using the letters on one row of the keyboard.
07. Women blink nearly twice as much as men!
08. You can’t kill yourself by holding your breath.
09. It is impossible to lick your elbow.
10. People say “Bless you” when you sneeze because when you sneeze,your heart stops for a millisecond.

11. It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.
12. The “sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.*

13. If you sneeze too hard, you can fracture a rib. If you try to suppress a sneeze, you can rupture a blood vessel in your head or neck and die.
14. Each king in a deck of playing cards represents great king from history.
*>Spades – King David*
*>Clubs – Alexander the Great,
*>Hearts – Charlemagne*
*>Diamonds – Julius Caesar.
15. 111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987, 654,321
(count out the answer)   16. If a statue of a person in the park on a horse has both front legs in the air, the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air, the person died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has a all four legs on the ground, the person died of natural causes.
17 What do bullet proof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers and laser printers all have in common? Answer – All invented by women.
18. Question – This is the only food that doesn’t spoil. What is this? Answer – Honey
19. A crocodile cannot stick its tongue out.
20. A snail can sleep for three years.
21. All polar bears are left handed.
22. American Airlines saved $40,000 in 1987 by eliminating one olive from each salad served in first-class.
23. Butterflies taste with their feet.
24.Elephants are the only animals that can’t jump.

25.In the last 4000 years, no new animals have been domesticated.
26. On average, people fear spiders more than they do death.
27. Shakespeare invented the words ‘assassination’ and ‘bump’.
28. Stewardesses is the longest word typed with only the left hand.  

 

 29. An ant always falls over on its right side when intoxicated.

30. The electric chair was invented by a dentist
31. The human heart creates enough pressure when it pumps o squirt blood 30 feet.

32. Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.
33. Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.

34. The cigarette lighter was invented before the match.
35. Most lipstick contains fish scales.

36. Like fingerprints, everyone’s tongue print is different.

நரைக்காத இதயம்

ஊசி ஊசியாய்
உடல் குறுக்கும்
பனிக்குளிர் இரவு !

இருள் முக்காடு
தளர்த்தி
மெல்ல முகிழ்க்கும்
அதிகாலை !

நொண்டி நொண்டி
வரும்
கடல் காற்று !

அபாபீலின் குருதியாய்
சிவக்கும்
கிழக்கு வானம் !

ஈரம் காயாத மண்ணில்finalists_1_xl
விழுதிறக்கும்
சுஜூதுகள் !

உதடு வலிக்காமல்
விரியும்
முதல் பிரார்த்தனை !

ஒரு விநாடி
…………..
ஒரே விநாடி

தூங்கப்போன
நிலவு
துடித்தெழுந்தது,

உயிர் வேர்களில்
மின்சாரம்
பாய்ந்தது.

ஹெலியே
எப்படித்துணிந்தாய்…
எப்படித்துணிந்தாய்…
எங்கள்
யாஸீனைக் கொல்ல…

இலை மடியிலிருந்து
அவிழும்
பனித்துளி போல…

காம்புக்கு வலிக்காமல்
கழன்று விழும்
ஒற்றை ரோஜா போல…

நீங்கள் சென்றீர்கள்……..
எங்கள் இதயங்களோடு

‘உயிர்த்தியாகியாய்
மரணிப்பேன்”
வலிக்கும் அவ்வார்த்தை
ஒலிக்கிறது என்னுள்…

சக்கர நாற்காலி
சந்தோஷப்பட்டிருக்கும்
ஒரு ஷஹீதைச்சுமந்த
கனதியில்…

உதடுகளில்
உலாவரும்
அந்த
புதிய புன்னகை…

கனிவும்
காயாத தெளிவும்
கலந்த
அந்தக் கண்களின்
வலிமை…

தளர்ந்த உடல்
தாங்கி நடக்கும்
எஃகு இதயம்…

இதயம் பிழிகிறது !
வெடித்து
வெளிவருகிறது
விம்மலோசை…

புஷ்ஷும் பிளேயரும்
ஏரியல் ஷரோனும்
சந்தோஷித்திருப்பார்கள்…
உங்கள்
உறைந்த விழிகளின்
தீவிரம் காணாததால்


அஹ்மத் யாஸீன்
உங்கள்
சிதறிய சடலத்துக்கு
கூட
இத்தனை சக்தியா?

பனிச்சுனை
நீர்கசியும்
இருதயத்தில்
இத்தனை
உறுதிப்பூக்களா?

ஹமாஸ்-
இங்கு தானே
பூக்கள் புன்னகைத்தன
மரணத்தைக்கண்டு…

விழிகள் அசந்த போது
விழிப்பாய் வந்த
ஹமாஸ்

பிஞ்சு நெஞ்சில்
விதையாய் விழுந்து
விருட்சமாய் விரிந்த
ஹமாஸ்

மரணம்
இங்கு கெளரவிக்கப்படுகிறது,
யாஸீனைத் தழுவியதால்…

அஹ்மத் யாஸீன்
நீங்கள் புதைக்கப்படுகிறீர்கள்…
இன்திபாழா
உயிர்த்தெழுகிறது.

வல்லரசின்
நிம்மதி தொலைத்த
உங்கள்
வெண்கலக்குரல்

மனசு வருடும்
அந்த
விழிகளின் தீர்க்கம்!

இன்னும் நரைக்காத
உங்கள் இதயம்!

யாஸீனே
எங்கிருக்கிறீர்?

மரணம் சிதைக்காத
அந்த
புன்னகையோடு
சுவனத்தோட்டத்தில்
உலவிக்கொண்டா???

இனி
ஓங்கி ஒலிக்கப்போகும்…
ஹமாஸின் அலைவரிசைக்காய்
காத்துக் கொண்டா???

பொறுத்திருங்கள்
நாங்களும் வருகிறோம்.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..
உயிர்த்தியாகிகள் மரணிப்பதில்லை.மெழுகு கரைகிறதே என்று திரி எரியாமல் அணைவதில்லை.
அஹ்மத் யாஸீன் அவரது மரணத்தால் மனதுகள் வலிக்கலாம்.
ஆனால் தீயின் நாக்குகளில் போராளிகள் பொசுங்கிப்போவதில்லை.
…………………………………………………………..
2004 March 24th
copyright@shameela_yoosufali©

Sri Lanka: Genocide of the Tamil minority

children2 

 

By Brian Senewiratne

 

 

 

 

January 23, 2009 

 

 

 There is a humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka, where the Tamil minority in the island’s north and east are facing annihilation at the hands of the Sinhalese-dominated government. 

 

 

This article will deal with the current crisis, with the more fundamental problem of the legacy left by colonial British rule (1796-1948) dealt with in later articles. These colonial administrative structures will need to be reversed of there is ever to be peace or prosperity in Sri Lanka.

 

 

I am a Sinhalese, from the majority community, not from the brutalised Tamil minority. I quit Sri Lanka in 1976.

Who runs that country is of no concern to me, as long as it is run without serious violations of human rights. Sri Lanka was tossed out of the UN Human Rights Council in May last year due to its human rights record, and the drift of a democracy to a fascist politico-military dictatorship, none of which have been publicised internationally.

 

 

Current problem

 

The ethno-religious mix of Sri Lanka, with 20 million people, consists of ethnic Sinhalese (74%), Tamils (18%) in two groups (ethnic Tamils, 12.5%, and the plantation, or Indian, Tamils, 5.5%) and Moors (6.5%).

 

 

The ethnic Sinhalese and the ethnic Tamils have been in the country for at least 2500 years – the Tamils for probably much longer, given the proximity of Sri Lanka to south India from where the ethnic Tamils came.

 

The plantation Tamils are descendants of indentured labourers brought to the country by the British in the mid-1850s to work in the tea plantations in the central hills. The Moors are descendants of Arab traders from the 13th-15th century.

 

 

The ethnic conflict is between the Sinhalese-dominated government and the ethnic Tamils. The Sinhalese speak an Indoaryan language, Sinhalese, while the Tamils a Dravidian language, Tamil. The Moors are mainly Tamil-speaking but many are bilingual.

 

To add a religious dimension to an already existing ethno-linguistic one, the Sinhalese are Buddhist (70%) and the Tamils are Hindus. About 7% of each group have been converted to Christianity by Westerners. The Moors are mostly Muslims.

 

 

Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multireligious, multilingual and multicultural country. Despite this, the Sinhala-Buddhist majority claim that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala-Buddhist country.

 

 

The main proponents of this ethno-religious chauvinism are, firstly, the Buddhist monks who claim that Buddha on his death bed nominated Sri Lanka to be the custodian of his teaching, and secondly Sinhalese politicians across the entire political spectrum who have done so to gain the political support of the Sinhalese Buddhist majority to get into or remain in power.

The major Sinhalese political parties have competed with each other to discriminate against the Tamils in language, education and employment with the clear intention of getting the Sinhalese vote.

A third proponent is the Sinhalese-dominated Sri Lankan Armed Forces (99% Sinhalese). The head of the Sri Lankan army stated in an interview in September last year: “I strongly believe that this country belongs to the Sinhalese …”

The real danger is that while the ethno-religious bigots among the Buddhist clergy and the Sinhalese political opportunists are not in a position to deliver an exclusively Sinhala-Buddhist nation, the Sri Lankan army – equipped and supported by countries such as the US, China, India, Pakistan, Britain and Israel, for their own geopolitical/economic gains – do have that capacity.

 

 

If this means committing genocide against the Tamil people, the politico-military junta, which has the temerity to call itself the “Government of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri lanka”, is more than willing to do so.

 

 

Problem of ethnic cleansing

 

 

There are four options to achieve an exclusively Sinaha-Buddhist Sri Lanka.

 

 

1. Drive them out of the country. Although 1.3 million have already been driven out, there are still 2 million left.

 

 

2. Make them “non-people”, ie: internal refugees. Currently, there are 500,000 Tamil civilians living in refugee camps in the Tamil north and east or have fled into the jungles in the north to escape Sri Lankan army bombing. There are also 200,000 Tamil refugees in south India.

 

 

On November 19, Amnesty International USA, in a publication titled Sri Lanka government must act now to protect 300,000 displaced persons, stated: “In September 2008, the Sri Lankan government ordered the United Nations (UN) and non-government aid-workers to leave the region (the Tamil North).

 

The government then assumed total responsibility for ensuring the needs of the civilian population affected by the hostilities are met.”

 

 

On December 23, the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) came out with a 49-page report entitled Besieged, Displaced, and Detained. The Plight of Civilians in Sri Lanka’s Vanni Region, which detailed the Sri Lankan government’s responsibility for the plight of 230,000 to 300,000 displaced people in the Vanni (northern) conflict zone.

 

 

It documents that thousands of Tamils fleeing the fighting in the north are trapped by the government and are being denied basic provisions.

 

Brad Adams, HRW Asia Director, one of the people who wrote this report, said: “To add insult to injury, people who manage to flee the fighting end up being held indefinitely in army-run prison camps.” He went on to make the situation abundantly clear: “The government’s ‘welfare centers’ for civilians fleeing the Wanni are just badly disguised prisons.”

 

 

3. Make them “disappear”. Today, Sri Lanka leads the world in “involuntary disappearances”. On November 24, HRW published report entitled Sri Lanka: Human Rights Situation Deteriorating in the East in which Adams stated: “The Sri Lankan government says that the ‘liberated’ East is an example of democracy in action and a model for areas recaptured from the LTTE. But killings and abductions are rife, and there is total impunity for horrific acts.”

 

 

4. Kill them – i.e. commit genocide.

 

 “Genocide” is defined by the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide as “an act committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”. Genocide has nothing to do with numbers killed, it is the intention and the act(s) to achieve this intention that defines it.

Bombing, shelling and shooting are not the only ways to kill. One could starve them, withhold essential medicines, prevent survival activity (e.g. fishing and agriculture), destroy businesses, markets, homes, hospitals and schools. Once the intention is there, the ways to achieve genocide are endless.

 

 

There are also different types of genocide. I have called these, “educational genocide”, “cultural genocide”, “economic genocide” and “religious genocide” – defined as the intention, backed by the act, of destroying in whole or part the education, culture or economy and religion of an ethnic group.

The Sri Lankan government is guilty of all of these.

 

 

A war on Tamils

 

 

The “war” that is going on in Sri Lanka is a liberation struggle of the Tamil people for their right to self-determination, which would enable them to exist with equality, dignity and safety in the area of historical habitation of the Tamil people – the north and the east of Sri Lanka.

 

 

This war could not continue without foreign aid going to the Sri Lankan government. Without this aid, Sri Lanka would be forced to the negotiating table. Imperialism today takes the form of foreign aid.

 

No discussion of what is going on in Sri lanka is complete without a comment on the question of suicide bombings and child soldiers, issues used to demonise Tamil resistance to the Sri Lankan regime.

 

Suicide bombings have been a hallmark of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in its decades-long armed struggle against the Sri Lankan state. The latter has used and promoted extreme violence in its attempt to enforce Sinhalese (the majority ethnic group) domination on the island.

 

I will quote the Booker prize-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy in her book The Ordinary Persons Guide to Empire.

 

Substitute Sri Lanka for Israel and Tamil for Palestinian.

 

“Young Palestinians who cannot contain their anger turn themselves into human bombs and haunt Israel’s streets, blowing themselves up, killing ordinary people. Suicide bombing is an act of individual despair, not a revolutionary tactic.

 

“The world is called upon to condemn suicide bombers, but can we ignore the long road they have journeyed on before they arrived at their destination?”

 

The psychology of the suicide bomber is: “You shot my father, raped and killed my mother, hanged my brother, tortured and killed my sister. I have nothing left. When I decide to leave this planet, I will take you with me.”

 

Also, the LTTE has, for years, recruited children as fighters. What is new is that there are several recent reports that the Sri Lankan army is doing the same thing.

 

 

Allan Rock is a Canadian diplomat working with the United Nations sent to Sri Lanka in 2006, who issued a report that confirmed that the LTTE was recruiting child soldiers.

He also stated that Tamil paramilitary groups working with the Sri Lankan army were doing the same thing, conscripting child soldiers in the eastern province.

 

 

A December 2 report by the US-based Human Rights Watch stated that the leaders of the Tamil paramilitary groups working with the Sri Lankan regime, one of them recently appointed a member of parliament by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, “have been implicated in serious human rights abuses …

 

 

 

The abuses included abducting large numbers of children and forcing them to serve as soldiers … Escapees often must go into hiding to prevent being abducted again. In some instances, their families have faced pressure to give a ‘replacement’ child soldier to the group.”

 

 

International interests

 

Violations of human rights can no longer be considered an “internal affair” of that country. That is why the world got involved in the issue of apartheid in South Africa (indisputably an “internal affair” of that country).

 

Sri Lanka cannot say it is not our business. It is.

These “internal affairs” cause refugees that seek safe havens in other countries such as Australia. Tamil civilians brutilised by the Sri Lankan regime contact “people smugglers”, are put into leaking boats that sink off the Australian coast, or arrive here to be locked up as criminals.

 

Rather than creating inhumane ways of dealing with these people, the source of the problem, the human rights violations in Sri Lanka, must be addressed.

 

What is more, all conflicts come to an end. The conflict in East Timor did come to an end, as has the conflict in Ireland and so many others. The Sri Lankan conflict will come to an end in five years, 10, or longer. It might do so with Sri Lanka reduced to a shell, as East Timor was.

 

The rebuilding of Sri Lanka when the conflict is over will fall on the “international community” (as it did with East Timor). To prevent this catastrophe, action must be taken.

 

It is not appreciated that there are two conflicts in Sri Lanka.

 

First, between the Sri Lankan regime and the Tamil people to force the Tamil people to accept Sri Lanka as a Sinhala-Buddhist nation.

 

Second, between the US, India and China for control of the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean is not the largest ocean on this planet, but by far, the busiest. Forty per cent of the world’s population is in countries around the Indian Ocean.

 

Seventy percent of the world’s oil shipments, and 50% of the world’s container cargo, travel across this ocean.

As US admiral Alfred Maher commented 100 years ago, “Whoever controls the Indian Ocean, dominates Asia”.

 

This international “war” is a peculiar one. These interests compete with each other to control the Indian Ocean, and cooperate with each other to prevent a solution to the problem in Sri Lanka. Just as oil is the problem in the Middle East, the geographical position of Sri Lanka, astride the Indian Ocean, is the problem in Sri Lanka.

 

The “prize” is Trincomalee, the fourth largest natural harbour in the world, in the Tamil north-east. Trincomalee remaining in the hands of a corrupt Sinhalese regime in Colombo is a better option to it falling into the hands of an independent Tamil state.

 

To negotiate with a corrupt regime is a far easier task than negotiating with the much more disciplined Tamils.

 

China has a special interest in safeguarding its crucial oil supply from the Middle East, which passes just below Sri Lanka.

 

India has a special interest in preventing any other power from “interfering” (even if this means solving a problem) in its “area of control”.

 

For India to get a foothold in Sri Lanka is crucial. That would be easier to achieve with a corrupt, disorganised, despotic regime in Colombo, than with an independent Tamil state.

 

What has to be done

 

International human rights monitors must be admitted into Sri Lanka, now. Tomorrow might be too late for the Tamils.

 

Sri Lankan disinformation that the problem is “Tamil terrorism” must be exposed. The problem is Sinhala-Buddhist ethno-religious chauvinism and state terrorism aimed at turning Sri Lanka into a Sinhala-Buddhist nation.

 

I have DVDs that set this out in detail, which I have donated to the Socialist Alliance in Australia.

Sri Lanka must be isolated, as was apartheid South Africa. Economic sanctions should be imposed. We should stop buying Sri Lankan goods. A boycott should target tourism and point to the blood-stained beaches of Sri Lanka. Trade union action to stop handling goods, to and from Sri Lanka, should be implemented.

Public protests need to be organised internationally.

 

We should pressure our governments to force Sri Lanka to the negotiating table and to make clear that a military “solution” to the Tamil question is not acceptable.

 

[This article first appeared in Australia’s Green Left Weekly, in two parts on January 23 and February 4. Brian Senewiratne is a member of the Socialist Alliance in Brisbane, Australia. Many of his articles on the Tamil question can be found at http://www.tamilcanadian.com.]

Double face of BBC

 பிபிசியின் நிஜ முகம்

 
வியாழன், 29 ஜனவரி 2009
கடந்த 27 டிஸம்பர் முதல் கஸ்ஸா மீது இஸ்ரேல் கட்டவிழ்த்துவிட்ட 22 நாள் பயங்கரவாதத்தின்போது ஆயிரக்கணக்கான அப்பாவிப் பொதுமக்கள் உயிர், உடைமை இழந்ததோடு, பல்லாயிரக்கணக்கானோர் பெரும் காயமடைந்து வீடுகளையும் இழந்து கடும் அவதிக்குள்ளாயினர். அவர்களுக்கு உதவி கோரி சர்வதேசச் செஞ்சிலுவைச் சங்கம், ஆக்ஸ்ஃபாம் போன்ற பல்வேறு தொண்டு நிறுவனங்கள் உலகெங்கும் நிதி திரட்டி வருகின்றன. 

 

இவற்றுள் ஒன்றான பேரிடர் அவசர உதவிக் குழு (Disaster Emergency Committee – DEC) என்ற நிறுவனம் கஸ்ஸா மக்கள் மறுவாழ்வுக்கென நிதியுதவி கோரி குறும்படம் ஒன்றைத் தயாரித்து, அதை ஒளிபரப்புவதற்கும் விளம்பரம் செய்வதற்கும் பிபிசி உள்பட பல்வேறு ஊடக நிறுவனங்களைக் கேட்டுக் கொண்டது.  ஆனால் இக்குறும்பட விளம்பரத்தை ஒளிபரப்ப பிபிசி மறுத்துவிட்டது. இதை ஒளிபரப்புவது பிபிசி பேணிவரும் நடுநிலையைப் பாதிக்கும் எனக் கருதியதால் ஒளிபரப்ப மறுத்ததாக பிபிசியின் தலைவர் மார்க் தாம்ஸன் கூறியுள்ளார்.

 

பிபிசியின் இந்த முடிவை பிரிட்டிஷ் பிரதமர் கார்டன் பிரவுன் உள்பட பல்வேறு தரப்பினர் குறை கூறி விமர்சித்துள்ளனர்.

“நடந்திருக்கும் கொடுமையின் அளவைப் பார்த்தபின், மனித நேயத்திற்கான ஆதரவுக்கும் நடுநிலை பேணுவதற்காக அக்கொடுமைக்கான உதவியை மறைப்பதற்கும் உள்ள வேறுபாட்டைப் பிரித்தறியும் அளவுக்கு பிரிட்டிஷ் மக்கள் பகுத்தறிவு உடையவர்கள்” என்று பிரிட்டனின் பன்னாட்டு வளர்ச்சிக்கான அமைச்சர் டக்ளஸ் அலெக்சாண்டர் காட்டமாக விமர்சித்துள்ளார். “மக்கள் பணத்தில் உதவி பெறும் பிபிசி, தன் கடமையை ஒழுங்காகச் செய்ய வேண்டும்” என்றும் அவர் கூறினார்.

பிரிட்டனின் முஸ்லிம் குழுமத்தின் (Muslim Council of Britain)  செயலர் முஹம்மது அப்துல் பாரி, “இதனை ஒளிபரப்ப மறுத்ததன் மூலம் பிபிசி தன் கடமையை நிறைவேற்றத் தவறிவிட்டது; சரிசெய்ய இயலா அளவுக்கு அதன் பிம்பம் சிதையும் முன் பிபிசி தன் தவறைத் திருத்திக் கொள்ள முன்வர வேண்டும்” எனக் கூறினார்.

பிரிட்டன் முழுவதும் பிபிசி அலுவலகங்கள் முன்பு முஸ்லிம் அமைப்புகள் உள்படப் பல்வேறு தொண்டு நிறுவனங்களும் பொதுமக்களும் ஆர்ப்பாட்டம் நடத்தி “பிபிசியே, உன் மீது இழிவே” என்று கோஷங்கள் இட்டனர்.

பிபிசி ஒளிபரப்ப மறுத்த இக்குறும்படத்தை அதன் போட்டி நிறுவனங்களான ITV, சேனல் ஃபோர் ஆகியன ஒளிபரப்ப முன்வந்துள்ளன.

இதற்கு முன் 2006-ல் அரசு நியமித்த உண்மை அறியும் குழு ஒன்று “இஸ்ரேல்-பாலஸ்தீன பிரச்னையில் பிபிசி நடுநிலை தவறியதாகக் கருதாவிட்டாலும், பிபிசி தவறான ஒரு செய்தி பரவ வழிவகுக்கும் வகையில் தனது செய்தித் தொகுப்புகளை அளிக்கிறது” என்றும், “அடக்குமுறைக்கு ஆளாகும் பாலஸ்தீனர்களின் நிலையையும் அடக்குமுறையைக் கையாளும் இஸ்ரேலிய அரசின் நிலையையும் மனித நேயமுள்ள எவரும் நடுநிலை என்ற போர்வையில் ஒரே மாதிரியாகக் காணமாட்டார்கள்” என்றும் கூறியிருந்தது குறிப்பிடத்தக்கது.

 

 

 

PRESIDENT-ELECT BARACK OBAMA

barack_obamaIf there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer.

Its the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.

Its the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled – Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.

Its the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.

Its been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.

I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and hes fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nations promise in the months ahead.

I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.

I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nations next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy thats coming with us to the White House. And while shes no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.

To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics – you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what youve sacrificed to get it done.

But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to – it belongs to you.

I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didnt start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington – it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.

It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generations apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.

I know you didnt do this just to win an election and I know you didnt do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime – two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how theyll make the mortgage, or pay their doctors bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.

The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America – I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you – we as a people will get there.

There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who wont agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government cant solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way its been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years – block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.

What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.

So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, its that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers – in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.

Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House – a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, We are not enemies, but friends…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn – I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.

And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world – our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down – we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security – we support you. And to all those who have wondered if Americas beacon still burns as bright – tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.

For that is the true genius of America – that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one thats on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. Shes a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing – Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.

She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldnt vote for two reasons – because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.

And tonight, I think about all that shes seen throughout her century in America – the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we cant, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.

At a time when womens voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.

When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.

When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.

She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that We Shall Overcome. Yes we can.

A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.

America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves – if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?

This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time – to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth – that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we cant, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:

Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America.

 

Signs of Weak Iman and How to Increase It

Signs of weak Faith:

*

Committing sins and not feeling any guilt.
*

Having a hard heart and no desire to read the Quran.
*

Feeling too lazy to do good deeds, e.g. being late for salat
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Neglecting the Sunnah.
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Having mood swings, for instance being upset about petty things and bothered and irritated most of the time.
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Not feeling anything when hearing verses from the Quran, for example when Allah warns us of punishments and His promise of glad tidings.
*

Finding difficulty in remembering Allah and making dhikr.
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Not feeling bad when things are done against the Shariah.
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Desiring status and wealth.
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Being mean and miserly, i.e. not wanting to part with wealth.
*

Ordering others to do good deeds when not practising them ourselves.
*

Feeling pleased when things are not progressing for others.
*

Being concerned with whether something is haram or halal only; and not avoiding makroo (not recommended) things.
*

Making fun of people who do simple good deeds, like cleaning the mosque.
*

Not feeling concerned about the situation of Muslims.
*

Not feeling the responsibility to do something to promote Islam.
*

Liking to argue just for the sake of arguing without any proof.
*

Becoming engrossed and very involved with dunya, worldly things, i.e. feeling bad only when losing something in terms of material wealth.
*

Becoming engrossed and obsessive about ourselves.

Okay, how to increase our faith then ?

* Recite and ponder on the meanings of the Quran. Tranquility then descends and our hearts become soft. To get optimum benefit, remind yourself that Allah is speaking to you. People are described in different categories in the Quran; think of which one you find yourself in.
* Realize the greatness of Allah. Everything is under His control. There are signs in everything we see that points us to His greatness. Everything happens according to His permission. Allah keeps track and looks after everything, even a black ant on a black rock on a black moonless night.
* Make an effort to gain knowledge, for at least the basic things in daily life e.g. how to make wudu properly. Know the meanings behind Allah’s names and attributes. People who have taqwa are those who have knowledge.
* Attend gatherings where Allah is remembered. In such gatherings we are surrounded by angels.
* We have to increase our good deeds. One good deed leads to another good deed. Allah will make the way easy for someone who gives charity and also make it easy for him or her to do good deeds. Good deeds must be done continuously, not in spurts.
* We must fear the miserable end to our lives; the remembrance of death is the destroyer of pleasures.
* Remember the different levels of akhirah, for instance when we are put in our graves, when we are judged, whether we will be in paradise or hell.
* Make dua, realize that we need Allah. Be humble. Don’t covet material things in this life.
* Our love for Subhana Wa Ta’Ala must be shown in actions. We must hope Allah will accept our prayers, and be in constant fear that we do wrong. At night before going to sleep, we must think about what good we did during that day.
* Realize the effects of sins and disobedience- one’s faith is increased with good deeds and our faith is decreased by bad deeds. Everything that happens is because Allah wanted it. When calamity befalls us- it is also from Allah. It is a direct result of our disobedience to Allah.

by: Abu Banan