Injured kid, Vavuniya Hospital, April 4th 2009
There’s a lot of discussion on the UN Report on Sri Lanka. Short version: there may be blood. Most of the discussion, however, is academic. Malinda talks about the realistic effect of the panel and its jurisdiction. Lahiru talks about the legal pointlessness (though he does later get around to the point). That point being, the government did bad stuff and people died. And we should probably at least think about it. Instead everyone’s talking about bureaucratic niceties.
As the war was ending it was obvious that shit was going down. I went to Lady Ridgeway Hospital in Colombo because I’d heard that some war wounded were there. And there were. There was one little kid that was a double amputee. He couldn’t have been more than four. Another kid was covered in burns and just shivering. Downstairs there was a father outside an operating theatre, covered in his daughter’s blood. Later when I went up to Vavuniya Hospital, I saw a lot of kids that were amputees, a lot of kids that were orphans.
When Mahinda says that no civilian blood was shed, it’s a fucking joke. Civilian blood was shed. I’ve seen it. You can say that it wasn’t shed in vain, but to say that nobody was hurt or died is just a lie.
Within Sri Lanka, all the UN Report has stirred is a meta-discussion. We don’t talk about the truth, we just talk about the various strategy and tactics involved in the lie. Will the lie hold in International Court? How can you point at our lie when the UN is full of lies? We also talk about the basic bureaucracy involved in talking about the issue. How dare the SecGen appoint an ad hoc panel or, how dare Mahinda not allow inspectors in. It’s a fucking joke. There’s a major issue here. People did die, innocent people did die and it was a bad scene.
That the credible truth comes from the UN is not helpful because it comes with a heavy payload of diaspora Tamil vengeance in tow. In bits of the report you see that they think that the Tamil separatist cause is somehow legitimate and that the bad guys won. I don’t think it’s legitimate and I think the gooder guys won, but regardless, a bit off-scope and off-putting to anybody here.
But… whatever. If Sri Lankans were somewhat secure in their identity and in the world we could accept this sort of thing but we’re not, kinda for good reason. The international community was actually not insanely helpful and a lot of people that do get involved did support or ignore the LTTE and its atrocities and fundamental ethical vacuity. But that’s all besides the bloody point.
I saw a kid with no legs and he’s growing up in a country where that didn’t happen. He’s growing and politicians are telling him ‘you have legs, everything is fine’, but it’s fucking not, he still doesn’t have legs. Civilian blood was shed. Perhaps not in vain, but certainly in pain and we should at least acknowledge that.
And also, even though Mahinda and co won the war, they did it by doing a lot of shitty stuff and we should maybe acknowledge that too. And also, the UN and LTTE supporters abroad suck too, while we’re on the subject. So basically, everyone involved in the war is compromised
and sucks (myself included), just to get that out of the way.
It would be nice if we had a safe space to talk about this war beyond the “It was a success LET US NEVER TALK OF IT AGAIN” (government) or “It should have never happened LET US TALK ABOUT IT FOREVER” (international community) but we kinda don’t. I mean, you can comment here but, really, I don’t think it’s going to come out until that kid is bigger and can be like, “Hey, still no legs.”