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Truth, Retribution, Reconciliation


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What is the end game?

Seeking the truth, seeking retribution, and seeking reconciliation are processes, like winding roads, that will twist and turn and lead to somewhere. The question is, where? Will they take you to an end game that is good for Sri Lanka?

The best end game is to create a country where all racial and religious groups can live with freedom, without fear, in any part of the country. Where there is equal freedom of opportunity to every citizen to do business, to till the land, to fish, and to participate in any other economic activity.

Where the rule of law prevails, there is justice, no harrassment, no corruption, and no nepotism.

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The question?

Will pursuing the processes of truth, retribution and reconciliation take us to the desired end game? Or will it tumble us into an abyss of chaos?

 



Truth

War is dirty. From ancient times there has been war. And war has always been dirty. The end game in a war is to kill one’s opponents. If you don’t kill you will be killed. Trying to make war like a boxing match with rules, on what one can and cannot do is a joke. 

Witness what is now going on in the Middle East. Where are the rules? There are none. Civilians are routinely killed when the combatants kill each other.

Harrison wrote a hostile book on Sri Lanka with the focus of saying there were large civilian casualties. Even she had to acknowledge some facts. “Rebels were ruthless – willing to obliterate any challengers, even from their own side, and kill innocent Sinhalese civilians.”

The Tigers were willing to let civilians be killed to save their soldiers. “The Tigers had no choice but to retreat and they forced the civilians to move with them using them as human shields…” “The Tigers were shooting at groups of civilians trying to flee the war zone.”

As the theatre of war was in the area controlled by the LTTE, Tamil civilians used as shields got killed when the armed forces were trying to kill the LTTEers. Death is common. We all die. When it happens, nothing stops. Life has to go on and it will.

It serves no useful purpose to regurgitate it all to create a great montage of the war. That will not in any way help to take us to the optimum end game.

 



Retribution and the diaspora

The voice for retribution has been the foreign diaspora. They are largely those who went to foreign countries on the refugee and dole ticket. They believed that Prabakaran would create a new country and collected funds and arms for him. 

When their hero was defeated life was empty, so they took up the drum of retribution. This gave these people who are nobodies in the society they live in a little spot of attention. They could meet politicians, the press, and NGOs, and feel important.

If they were seriously concerned about their Tamil brethren back in Sri Lanka, they should have made a strenuous effort to collect funds to help those affected by the war. That did not largely happen. Instead they pursued their self-centred interests by playing the drum of retribution. Enquiries, trials, punishment was the theme that kept them occupied. 

What should have occupied anyone genuinely concerned about the northern Tamil population was to help to create a society where they could live with dignity in peace. Seeking retribution may have the opposite effect and start the fires of hate.

 



Reconciliation

One simple definition that captures it all is “become friendly after estrangement by being resigned to what has happened”.

As the LTTE is no more who is there left, to “become friendly with after the estrangement” due to the war. A calm reflection will reveal that the whole concept of reconciliation which has a nice ring to it is empty and hollow as now there are no two parties to be brought together in reconciliation. The Sri Lankans outside the former LTTE areas were and are continuing to live happily together and need no reconciliation.

 



The international brouhaha

Civilian deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and killing ISIL, do not spark even a whimper of protests. The self-appointed guardians of humanitarian law are silent. The UK and the US cannot create a rumpus about what they are doing themselves! 

To satisfy their narrow political ends internally and to create an image for themselves as champions of human rights, they will bully small countries like Sri Lanka. Sadly we cannot give them the two finger salute, as we need their help to pursue our economic interests. Therefore, one has to respond with the wisdom of Solomon to the brouhaha, in a manner that will not destroy our journey to the end game that is best for Sri Lanka.

If that cannot be achieved, then we must, if we have to, give them the two finger salute, and not disrupt our pursuit of the best end game for Sri Lanka.


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