Photo of graves in Vavuniya, January 2009. Via NYTimes. Presumably natural causes.
Major General Shavendra Silva recently said that ‘not a single LTTE cadre or civilian was killed during the Vanni humanitarian operation’ (government run Daily News). This is a lie, and a somewhat obvious one. Off the top of my head, Nadesan the LTTE police chief was killed, and er, everybody in between? Then Army Commander Sarath Fonseka said that 12,000 LTTE cadres were killed (Government news portal). I also personally saw a bunch of people without limbs and spoke to IDPs who had lost family members. I say this not as a political judgment, but simply to say that Major General Silva is not really telling the truth here. Cadres and civilians did die. That’s how the war finally ended.
The media in Sri Lanka is like a battered wife that now justifies her husband to somehow keep the marriage together. They went crazy over Frederica Jansz’s testimony over what Sarath Fonseka told her but pay zero attention to the actual issues at hand. (Note: Frederica Jansz is my Editor at The Sunday Leader). This is not to say that the reporting of the facts was stellar or that Fonseka’s information is necessarily accurate, but the Sunday Times ran a big headline saying ‘Editor made mistake‘ when she got a random reporters last name wrong. I wonder what they’re going to run on this testimony which unburies thousands of people I’m pretty sure are dead?
This trial of Sarath Fonseka is essentially a way of involving the entire country in a conspiracy to say that no actual war happened during the war like, you know, killing. But it did happen. This is not to say that it didn’t happen for the greater good, or that those deaths were not in vain. But those deaths were. People did die and the least we can do is acknowledge their existence. That is the real issue at hand here, not the contents of a reporters notebook, not who told what to who. People did die. I’ve met their relatives, I’ve seen the casualties and we all followed plenty of reports on the news.