The choice the US faces, cause it has the bombs I guess, is whether to punish Bashar Al-Assad for using chemical weapons against his own people, as he almost surely did. They’re not invading Syria like they did Iraq and they seem to have no intention of ending the years long civil war there, if they even could. The attacks don’t seem intended to depose Assad, nor are they aiming to overthrow the murderous regime. America is basically deciding whether to give the dictator a slap.
Archive for the 'war' Category
Years ago we saw the picture of young Balachandran Prabhakaran executed and it was clear that he was, well, executed. It’s somehow more chilling now, seeing him in the moments before his death, having a snack. He was killed shortly thereafter. All of Prabhakaran’s children seem to have been killed. Even this 12 year old. Mahavamsa style familicide was how it was back then, but it shouldn’t be the way it’s done now. Prabhakaran was a terrible man, but feeding and then executing his child is well beyond the pale.
KP (Selvarasa Pathmanathan) was the last leader and, briefly, chief blogger for the LTTE. Before Prabhakaran was killed he designated KP, the chief arms smuggler, the head of the LTTE, though that was hotly contested by the rump. He was then promptly caught by Sri Lanka in Malaysia and put under a comfortable enough house arrest. In time, he quite thoroughly turned.
I’ve been to Menik Farm a few times, when it housed 300,000 people and when it had almost none. Now it has actually none. Menik Farm is officially closed today. What is Menik Farm? It’s where many refugees lived after the war.
During the war (ie, my lifetime) I never really thought I’d be able to go north. The road was closed, mad security, terrorist occupation, it wasn’t easy. With the end of war, however, local tourists thronged the north, as they continue to do, often to visit sites related to the war itself. Charlie of the BBC has posted a video about war tourism on, well, I said it, on the Beeb. It’s pretty good.
Gota’s War is a deeply biased book on a fascinating subject – Sri Lanka’s civil war. It mixes compelling detail (how the LTTE used lightbulbs to trigger underwater mines, for example) with absolutely biased and generally misleading opinion (Tamil leaders were to blame for almost everything, including riots). As such I found it only half readable. I could skim it for the war detail parts, but G.A. Chandraprema’s analysis itself was so narrowly biased (towards political conditions right now) as to be completely useless as a history.
David Blacker has a great long read on the Parama Weera Vibushanaya – Sri Lanka’s highest honor for military valor. This is a military award but it’s really about personal bravery, something that transcends any sides or even war. It is very powerful to see the eyes of these men, young boys some of them, and to hear of how they fought and died for honor, their fellow soldiers and country.
I picked up Gota’s War, a book by G.A. Chandraprema. I heard that it was less biased than it’s title, but so far it’s not. I’m skipping parts because I don’t want my head to melt, but it gets pretty bad. The author quite directly blames peaceful satyagrahis for the beating of protesting Parliamentarians in 1956 and more indirectly fudges on the shameful riots of 1983. There is a line which say, essentially, that Tamils brought the war upon themselves. While I also think Tamil leaders inflamed tensions, this book goes way too far for me. So, so far I’ve skipped the historical recaps.
This is another story by Brigadier (Retd) LC Perera. Here, he is talking to wounded officers and soldiers and the resonance that reconciliation has with them. For more please check out the #heallanka tag.
This is the story of the writing in the wall on the Jaffna campus, during the raging war. It shows the natural hope and determination towards reconciliation among average Sri Lankans. That is ultimately where reconciliation has to come from, not from the government or UN. It has to be between people, by people, and then politics and reports will follow. I think it can happen, and that it is happening.