Slaughter in Sri Lanka and M.I.A

MIA.jpgMonths ago, my fellow langa(w)r-iter asked a question On Whose Watch? when Russian tanks retaliated against Georgian incursions. However, and almost all of us here at TLH, I believe, fall into the trap of having an American filter in terms of the news we discuss and dont discuss have certainly left out a human rights travesty much closer to South Asia that of Sri Lanka.

Another Sikh writer, Amardeep of Sepiamutiny, recently wrote about the ongoing humanitarian crisis, but as most in the media, in his subsequent comments, takes a statist approach. I believe that many Sikhs, from their own perspectives on state-violence against non-state actors, take a more even-handed view.

The humanitarian crisis is on epic proportions. A recent article by Gareth Evans, president of the International Crisis Group, writes:

As the Sri Lankan army continues its assault on what is left of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped inside a shrinking conflict zone, at risk not only from the fighting but from starvation and lack of water and medical attention. Despite the government’s April 27 announcement that the military had been ordered to cease using air attacks, artillery, and other heavy weapons against remaining LTTE-held areas, such attacks have carried on with increased intensity.

The trapped civilians are not the only ones at risk. More than 170,000 who have managed to escape the worst of the fighting remain imprisoned in desperately overcrowded camps and medical centers. Scores are reported to have died after fleeing the conflict zone, and the military has been overwhelmed by the number of civilians flooding into reception areas.

Regardless of ones opinion of the LTTE and their horrific tactics, I would hardly condone a terrorist state, whose own violence and discriminatory practices led many Tamils into the arms of Prabhakaran and others of the LTTE. The LTTE does/did represent the voice of many Tamils.

The Tamil diaspora in Canada and in the UK have been extremely vocal and mobilized protests of over 100,000 in trying to bring the worlds attention to this ongoing humanitarian crisis, although with seemingly little success. Many nations issue statements, but statements will not help the displaced sections of society and the terrible conditions they will face by a hostile army and populace, whose own nationalist sentiments have been stoked. In India, it seems to have become an election issue in Tamil Nadu. One may recall that it was Indira Gandhi and the RAW agency (created to infiltrate Sikh groups initially) that helped to set up the LTTE as the dominant insurgent force in Sri Lanka. In fact I was recently pointed to an academic article that compares the struggle for Tamil Eelam with the Sikhs own struggle for a nation-state (pagh salute Mewa Singh).

One point of special note for me has been the reaction of the famed-musician M.I.A, recently named as Time Magazine’s 100 People of the Year. Although she had already received critical acclaim before Slumdog Millionaire and its featuring of her Paper Planes, M.I.A has never shirked away from her family background and her allegiance to the plight in her homeland. In fact many of the symbols of the Tamil Tigers have featured as part of her counterculture iconography and fashion. Even in the face of the ongoing slaughter, she continues to be an advocate for her people and try to highlight their case. However, her actions are not limited to just being an advocate for her community, but rather as a champion that has lent her financial resources as well:

In late March, M.I.A. apparently lent her support to the Mercy Mission to Vanni, a British campaign to send supplies to civilians trapped in the fighting between the Tamil Tigers, who seek independence from the country at large, and the Sri Lankan Army. Now, a representative for the Sri Lankan Navy has made statements to a Sri Lankan newspaper about how these supplies may in fact be intended for the Tigers themselves and how the country’s Navy will fire on any unauthorized vessel entering the country’s waters.[link]

Despite the views of those in Columbo, I think M.I.A should be lauded for her stand for her people. As a member of “Genocidees Anonymous“, I will often support nationalist non-state actors that are the victims of state-sponsored violence. Although many brave dhadhi jathas (most famously Nabhevale Bibian) risked their own lives, with in fact dhadhi jathas being specifically targeted by the Indian state, M.I.A.s actions stand in direct contrast to the jokers and sycophants of mainstream Punjabi music. For me, Gurdas Mann may be talented, but he is no M.I.A.


bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark bookmark
tabs-top


12 Responses to “Slaughter in Sri Lanka and M.I.A”

  1. Tamil says:

    Just pointing out that the academic article referred to, "DIASPORA INVOLVEMENT IN INSURGENCIES: INSIGHTS FROM THE KHALISTAN AND TAMIL EELAM MOVEMENTS" by C. CHRISTINE FAIR, is with regard to Lanka NOT accurate either concerning the historical factors (pre and post colonial) that have led to the conflict nor concerning the Tamil diaspora involvement and expectations. Christine Fair has only it seems a superficial grasp of the issues around the Lankan conflict.

    Thanks for your article.

  2. Tamil says:

    Just pointing out that the academic article referred to, “DIASPORA INVOLVEMENT IN INSURGENCIES: INSIGHTS FROM THE KHALISTAN AND TAMIL EELAM MOVEMENTS” by C. CHRISTINE FAIR, is with regard to Lanka NOT accurate either concerning the historical factors (pre and post colonial) that have led to the conflict nor concerning the Tamil diaspora involvement and expectations. Christine Fair has only it seems a superficial grasp of the issues around the Lankan conflict.

    Thanks for your article.

  3. rocco says:

    Jodha thank you for the article. It is a shame that the world has turned away from the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka and not acknowledging the Tamils right to self-determination. Alot of aid was sent to the Sri Lankan Government post-tsunami and rather than going to helping victims/recreating institutions, it has been diverted to fight this dirty war.

  4. rocco says:

    Jodha thank you for the article. It is a shame that the world has turned away from the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka and not acknowledging the Tamils right to self-determination. Alot of aid was sent to the Sri Lankan Government post-tsunami and rather than going to helping victims/recreating institutions, it has been diverted to fight this dirty war.

  5. http://newsblaze.com/story/20090503105912zzzz.nb/
    State Terrorism – LTTE Tigers and Khalistanis

    By Balbir Singh Sooch, Advocate, Ludhiana

    The similarities and differences

    1. In both cases, let me first bow my head before the warriors who sacrificed wittingly or unwittingly for the cause, though their sacrifices were/are cashed by the Indian government sponsored and named militants. The people acted under the garb of different names like parties, committees, associations, organisations, intelligentsia etc of either form submitted to follow the dictates of central agencies especially trained and meant for achieving the desired results.

    2. The LTTE Tigers used their own Tamils i.e. the civilians – as human shields in Sri Lanka as breaking news show this is still true, whereas Sikh militants never did so.

    3. Indian security forces used civilians, especially villagers as human shields but the Sikh warriors died or escaped unharmed bravely after proving their skill in such encounters which is a matter of record and they (Sikhs militants as warriors) will always be remembered in history.

    4. But, the Sikh Vichar Manch could not restrain and appealed, "Please don't inhumanly treat 'LTTE Tigers' in custody as were Sikhs treated and eliminated in India and the maltreatment to Sikhs continues, though tactically. Presently, the civilians and 'LTTE Tigers' including Sri Lanka forces involved are facing very hard situation in the specific field area and they need all humanitarian help. Please all concerned must intervene for help, peace and justice." UN actively provided the same and continuing to do so.

    5. The LTTE Tigers were prepared to fight for the liberation of their people in order to control and disintegrate the other country i.e. Sri Lanka, whereas the Sikh struggle planned to weaken the Akalis and degrade Sikhs religiously for the political reasons and also for the illusion of Sikh Sovereignty in connivance with the traitors.

    7. The surrender of LTTE Tigers is real, but the Sikh fighters were always first captured then shown surrendering in stage managed dramas.

    8. At the end, the LTTE leadership no longer has the option of fleeing to another country whereas the remaining Sikh militants named most-wanted, black listed and Cats made to flee to other countries with an understanding and, they and their associates-supporters were/are being supported and rewarded out of Gurdwara offerings – Khalistan funds by the central agencies.

    9. The LTTE Tigers and so named Sikh militants misbehaved with the civilians and both kept the respective population terrorised at the instance of their masters.

    10. Both were taught to adopt undemocratic means and kill opponents and innocents whenever instructed or directed to do so.

    11. LTTE Tigers are in process to be destroyed by the government of Sri Lanka, making them incapable of revival for the nefarious designs and the future of their survivors is uncertain. But, so named Sikh militants fallen in lap of central agencies and are kept in reserve.

    12. Prabhakaran and his comrades were prepared only to continue the war and they never stood for peace. On the other hand, the main functionaries of "Sikh movement of Khalistan" were assigned specific tasks to do, for a specified period then surrender as posing 'Sikh Heroes' now being identified as most-wanted, black listed and Cats within and outside India.

    13. LTTE tigers would always be used as the Tamil card in the democratic process in Tamil Nadu. The main functionaries of "Sikh movement of Khalistan" as existing today will never participate in democratic process to harm the main central parties as presently congress as a ruling party is being considered the only genuine national party for them or they would be asked to be away from the democratic process for fear of their exposure. However, they will or some individuals out of them may be kept in the field harming Sikh interests and showing them supporting democratic process if they appear to be an effective alternative to the Akali party and the SGPC.

    14. LTTE tigers were trained initially to be sincere and sympathetic with their people i.e. Tamils. The surviving named Sikh militants including most-wanted, black-listed and cats among modern Sikhs "true Sikhs", as they are directly or indirectly dealing with 'Guru's Golak' i.e. 'Guru's Charity Box' and were asked to carry on grinning but must look like militants in behavior and actions especially with the Sikhs as I personally interacted with such militants and experienced.

    16. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal's party, Akali Dal shall never or may occasionally project its fundamentalist and unpatriotic face for political bargaining only. The Chief Minister will only say the "Khalistan" movement was also the creation of the Congress (may not be ready and willing to name and blame Indian central agencies in this case and thus shall always suppress the truth and similar is the case of 'The Great Sikh Hope' men like Dr Manmohan Singh within Sikhs) which had specially invited Ganga Singh Dhillon etc from the US to launch the movement to defame the Akalis and CM shall always stress more on communal harmony in Punjab to influence the voters without naming insiders, so named Sikh militants with the idea, to bring them in main Sikh mainstream. That's why they, (Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Dr Manmohan Singh), would always be known as wonderful personalities.

    17. The militants, who survived have a shameful future in the eyes of law abiding people and the people who appreciate the democratic process of their respective communities/state. However, the Indian State can misuse them anytime as they will never have independent living and the decision makes power.

    18. In both cases, the control was centralized, the LTTE tigers seem to be functioning directly under the centralized command of expert intelligentsia (generalists) whereas the Sikh struggle was centrally supervised to achieve fatal results, functioning under the specialists as modern Sikhs "true Sikhs" as stated, not generalists. They also include some illiterates along with trained imported intellectuals from other states to Punjab in the garb of Sikhi and the administration was/is mainly controlled by all means by Non-Sikhs with a different mask.

    19. LTTE Tigers communication network was more effective as they were fighting to disintegrate the other country. But, on the other hand, after the warriors, the dummy protests were allowed by Sikh named militants who participated openly and silently in the genocide of Sikhs in India. Why are they being projected so deceptively and by whom?

    20. After LTTE Tigers defeat, the role of surviving LTTE cadre is yet to be seen but the protests by surviving named Sikh militants are not being taken seriously by government for the maltreatment of Sikhs in India. The Indian state has provided the elements a space to function, issue pamphlets, organise seminars etc. In fact, it is generally known that many of these so called panthic organisations are routinely used by the police to issue statements… In many cases, the press hand-outs are prepared by the police and merely distributed to the selected media in their name for glorifying them. They are taught to observe teachings of Sikh religion more in breach than in practice.

    21. For many reasons, it is rightly said, "The thieves, bad characters, rascals, rogues, ruffians and gangsters are headmen of communities (Chor Uchakke Te Chaudhary Gunde Ne Pardhan) said by Daler Mehandi, the prominent singer who faced police brutality for refusing to pay a heavy bribe to the police in bargain for not involving him in criminal case(s)".

    22. It seems the whole world knew and India realized in particular that it was wrong and deceptive to kill and wipe out Sikhs inhumanly on one side, for the elusion of their Sikh sovereignty, and on the other hand, encouraging and supporting the liberation movements in neighboring countries and within by all means to cause unrest and disturb peace there always as per choice and option. For example, as India acted so far in the case of LTTE tigers in Sri Lanka etc. Was India not exposed and isolated in the world for the reasons of her deceptive and inhuman policies? Now, Indian coastal security agencies are on high alert. What for?

    23. Now, the war in Sri Lanka is coming to an end after the hardships the armed forces and the country faced. Double standard politics is at its peak. The LTTE Tiger faced defeat after a 26-year fight for a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka and had only small number of fighters holding out in a strip of land on the northeast coast at the end but Sikhs were and are facing defeat daily in India.

    24. Is it a well known fact that at one time Europe in general and Sweden in particular were instrumental in supplying arms to LTTE as India did. It is unknown as to who was supplying arms to Sikh militants.

    25. There is no dearth of good people on 'Earth'. But, we expect always more than geology and divinity like scientists and theologians. After the ceasefire, the political situation in Sri Lanka and elsewhere should prove better than India.

    Link to Related Articles: The maltreatment of Sikhs, Politics in India and more…:

    The illusion Of Sikh Sovereignty

    State Repression

    Slow poisoning in Punjab

    Is Indian Politics Getting Dirtier?

    Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India

    PRAYER:

    Will UN, US, UK and other powerful countries take notice of all these highlights including the similarities and differences to bring peace and provide true justice in the world?

  6. Mewa Singh says:

    Tamil,

    Just pointing out that the academic article referred to, “DIASPORA INVOLVEMENT IN INSURGENCIES: INSIGHTS FROM THE KHALISTAN AND TAMIL EELAM MOVEMENTS” by C. CHRISTINE FAIR, is with regard to Lanka NOT accurate either concerning the historical factors (pre and post colonial) that have led to the conflict nor concerning the Tamil diaspora involvement and expectations. Christine Fair has only it seems a superficial grasp of the issues around the Lankan conflict.

    I must admit my knowledge of the struggle for Tamil Eelam is not vast, but I do support self-determination struggles. What are some of your corrections to Fair's article? I would be interested to learn.

  7. http://newsblaze.com/story/20090503105912zzzz.nb/topstory.html
    State Terrorism – LTTE Tigers and Khalistanis
    By Balbir Singh Sooch, Advocate, Ludhiana

    The similarities and differences
    1. In both cases, let me first bow my head before the warriors who sacrificed wittingly or unwittingly for the cause, though their sacrifices were/are cashed by the Indian government sponsored and named militants. The people acted under the garb of different names like parties, committees, associations, organisations, intelligentsia etc of either form submitted to follow the dictates of central agencies especially trained and meant for achieving the desired results.
    2. The LTTE Tigers used their own Tamils i.e. the civilians – as human shields in Sri Lanka as breaking news show this is still true, whereas Sikh militants never did so.
    3. Indian security forces used civilians, especially villagers as human shields but the Sikh warriors died or escaped unharmed bravely after proving their skill in such encounters which is a matter of record and they (Sikhs militants as warriors) will always be remembered in history.
    4. But, the Sikh Vichar Manch could not restrain and appealed, “Please don’t inhumanly treat ‘LTTE Tigers’ in custody as were Sikhs treated and eliminated in India and the maltreatment to Sikhs continues, though tactically. Presently, the civilians and ‘LTTE Tigers’ including Sri Lanka forces involved are facing very hard situation in the specific field area and they need all humanitarian help. Please all concerned must intervene for help, peace and justice.” UN actively provided the same and continuing to do so.
    5. The LTTE Tigers were prepared to fight for the liberation of their people in order to control and disintegrate the other country i.e. Sri Lanka, whereas the Sikh struggle planned to weaken the Akalis and degrade Sikhs religiously for the political reasons and also for the illusion of Sikh Sovereignty in connivance with the traitors.
    7. The surrender of LTTE Tigers is real, but the Sikh fighters were always first captured then shown surrendering in stage managed dramas.
    8. At the end, the LTTE leadership no longer has the option of fleeing to another country whereas the remaining Sikh militants named most-wanted, black listed and Cats made to flee to other countries with an understanding and, they and their associates-supporters were/are being supported and rewarded out of Gurdwara offerings – Khalistan funds by the central agencies.
    9. The LTTE Tigers and so named Sikh militants misbehaved with the civilians and both kept the respective population terrorised at the instance of their masters.
    10. Both were taught to adopt undemocratic means and kill opponents and innocents whenever instructed or directed to do so.
    11. LTTE Tigers are in process to be destroyed by the government of Sri Lanka, making them incapable of revival for the nefarious designs and the future of their survivors is uncertain. But, so named Sikh militants fallen in lap of central agencies and are kept in reserve.
    12. Prabhakaran and his comrades were prepared only to continue the war and they never stood for peace. On the other hand, the main functionaries of “Sikh movement of Khalistan” were assigned specific tasks to do, for a specified period then surrender as posing ‘Sikh Heroes’ now being identified as most-wanted, black listed and Cats within and outside India.
    13. LTTE tigers would always be used as the Tamil card in the democratic process in Tamil Nadu. The main functionaries of “Sikh movement of Khalistan” as existing today will never participate in democratic process to harm the main central parties as presently congress as a ruling party is being considered the only genuine national party for them or they would be asked to be away from the democratic process for fear of their exposure. However, they will or some individuals out of them may be kept in the field harming Sikh interests and showing them supporting democratic process if they appear to be an effective alternative to the Akali party and the SGPC.
    14. LTTE tigers were trained initially to be sincere and sympathetic with their people i.e. Tamils. The surviving named Sikh militants including most-wanted, black-listed and cats among modern Sikhs “true Sikhs”, as they are directly or indirectly dealing with ‘Guru’s Golak’ i.e. ‘Guru’s Charity Box’ and were asked to carry on grinning but must look like militants in behavior and actions especially with the Sikhs as I personally interacted with such militants and experienced.
    16. Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s party, Akali Dal shall never or may occasionally project its fundamentalist and unpatriotic face for political bargaining only. The Chief Minister will only say the “Khalistan” movement was also the creation of the Congress (may not be ready and willing to name and blame Indian central agencies in this case and thus shall always suppress the truth and similar is the case of ‘The Great Sikh Hope’ men like Dr Manmohan Singh within Sikhs) which had specially invited Ganga Singh Dhillon etc from the US to launch the movement to defame the Akalis and CM shall always stress more on communal harmony in Punjab to influence the voters without naming insiders, so named Sikh militants with the idea, to bring them in main Sikh mainstream. That’s why they, (Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and Dr Manmohan Singh), would always be known as wonderful personalities.
    17. The militants, who survived have a shameful future in the eyes of law abiding people and the people who appreciate the democratic process of their respective communities/state. However, the Indian State can misuse them anytime as they will never have independent living and the decision makes power.
    18. In both cases, the control was centralized, the LTTE tigers seem to be functioning directly under the centralized command of expert intelligentsia (generalists) whereas the Sikh struggle was centrally supervised to achieve fatal results, functioning under the specialists as modern Sikhs “true Sikhs” as stated, not generalists. They also include some illiterates along with trained imported intellectuals from other states to Punjab in the garb of Sikhi and the administration was/is mainly controlled by all means by Non-Sikhs with a different mask.
    19. LTTE Tigers communication network was more effective as they were fighting to disintegrate the other country. But, on the other hand, after the warriors, the dummy protests were allowed by Sikh named militants who participated openly and silently in the genocide of Sikhs in India. Why are they being projected so deceptively and by whom?
    20. After LTTE Tigers defeat, the role of surviving LTTE cadre is yet to be seen but the protests by surviving named Sikh militants are not being taken seriously by government for the maltreatment of Sikhs in India. The Indian state has provided the elements a space to function, issue pamphlets, organise seminars etc. In fact, it is generally known that many of these so called panthic organisations are routinely used by the police to issue statements… In many cases, the press hand-outs are prepared by the police and merely distributed to the selected media in their name for glorifying them. They are taught to observe teachings of Sikh religion more in breach than in practice.
    21. For many reasons, it is rightly said, “The thieves, bad characters, rascals, rogues, ruffians and gangsters are headmen of communities (Chor Uchakke Te Chaudhary Gunde Ne Pardhan) said by Daler Mehandi, the prominent singer who faced police brutality for refusing to pay a heavy bribe to the police in bargain for not involving him in criminal case(s)”.
    22. It seems the whole world knew and India realized in particular that it was wrong and deceptive to kill and wipe out Sikhs inhumanly on one side, for the elusion of their Sikh sovereignty, and on the other hand, encouraging and supporting the liberation movements in neighboring countries and within by all means to cause unrest and disturb peace there always as per choice and option. For example, as India acted so far in the case of LTTE tigers in Sri Lanka etc. Was India not exposed and isolated in the world for the reasons of her deceptive and inhuman policies? Now, Indian coastal security agencies are on high alert. What for?
    23. Now, the war in Sri Lanka is coming to an end after the hardships the armed forces and the country faced. Double standard politics is at its peak. The LTTE Tiger faced defeat after a 26-year fight for a separate Tamil homeland in Sri Lanka and had only small number of fighters holding out in a strip of land on the northeast coast at the end but Sikhs were and are facing defeat daily in India.
    24. Is it a well known fact that at one time Europe in general and Sweden in particular were instrumental in supplying arms to LTTE as India did. It is unknown as to who was supplying arms to Sikh militants.
    25. There is no dearth of good people on ‘Earth’. But, we expect always more than geology and divinity like scientists and theologians. After the ceasefire, the political situation in Sri Lanka and elsewhere should prove better than India.
    Link to Related Articles: The maltreatment of Sikhs, Politics in India and more…:
    The illusion Of Sikh Sovereignty
    State Repression
    Slow poisoning in Punjab
    Is Indian Politics Getting Dirtier?
    Dr Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India
    PRAYER:
    Will UN, US, UK and other powerful countries take notice of all these highlights including the similarities and differences to bring peace and provide true justice in the world?

  8. Mewa Singh says:

    Tamil,

    Just pointing out that the academic article referred to, DIASPORA INVOLVEMENT IN INSURGENCIES: INSIGHTS FROM THE KHALISTAN AND TAMIL EELAM MOVEMENTS by C. CHRISTINE FAIR, is with regard to Lanka NOT accurate either concerning the historical factors (pre and post colonial) that have led to the conflict nor concerning the Tamil diaspora involvement and expectations. Christine Fair has only it seems a superficial grasp of the issues around the Lankan conflict.

    I must admit my knowledge of the struggle for Tamil Eelam is not vast, but I do support self-determination struggles. What are some of your corrections to Fair’s article? I would be interested to learn.

  9. sonny says:

    fantastic post jodha, thanks for this. there is virtually no (decent) media coverage on the situation in sri lanka…the silence is harrowing. here's a great source of information: http://lines-magazine.org/

  10. sonny says:

    fantastic post jodha, thanks for this. there is virtually no (decent) media coverage on the situation in sri lanka…the silence is harrowing. here’s a great source of information: http://lines-magazine.org/

  11. Submission before the terrorists of the World

    “Terrorism has always an end but the State Terrorism never ends. If terrorists don’t wish to be humans then it is better for them to be with the State.” Submission by Balbir Singh Sooch

    “That the abuse of detainees in our custody is prohibited and will not be tolerated.” Said US President Mr. Barack Obama

  12. Submission before the terrorists of the World

    Terrorism has always an end but the State Terrorism never ends. If terrorists dont wish to be humans then it is better for them to be with the State. Submission by Balbir Singh Sooch

    That the abuse of detainees in our custody is prohibited and will not be tolerated. Said US President Mr. Barack Obama