Mullivaikal 2009 has left an indelible scar on the minds of Tamils who are still reeling in coming to terms with the loss of their loved ones. They also feel summarily abandoned by the world, particularly by those who are supposed to be the guardians of human rights, law and order and the International Conventions on War and Human Rights.
It seemed satisfactory for the super powers to turn a blind eye when the journalists were kicked out of Sri Lanka, when essential food and medicine were withheld for the innocent victims to starve and when the 'no fire zones' were ruthlessly target bombed.
More than 300,000 Internally Displaced People were herded into detention camps and were compelled to live in inhumane conditions. Some of them are still living under the trees. It was a perfect storm of Sri Lankan government bombing and starving its own citizens under the guise of fighting international terrorism and the world leaders' dereliction of their duty. Frances Harrison in her book 'Still Counting the Dead' said 'all the western leaders knew what was going on is not right but decided to maintain silence'.
The human rights violations and the wanton neglect of the Geneva conventions should be sound reason enough to boycott the Commonwealth Conference in Colombo (November 2013).
Even at the stage when a UN Report was presented, a significant chunk of material and photographs were left out in order not to upset the authorities.
The way forward for the Tamils is to continue their legitimate claim for justice and accountability. From 1948, if not before, the Sri Lankan government played down the Tamil question and deceived the international community with skilled and articulated diplomacy. The truth, however suppressed or delayed, will have to emerge to justify the thousands of people who perished in the conflict.
Tamils and their traditional lands in the north east are not appealing to the western governments. If they are going to wait for anyone to come to their rescue, they will not achieve anything. They have to stand on their own feet to be counted to claim for justice and accountability. Failing this will lead to a real risk of not only a flagrant denial of justice but more importantly, a sure fire recipe for the Sri Lankan regime to hasten its economic and cultural genocidal policies against the Tamils.
Tamil Writers Guild Editorial Board, UK
Source: Tamil Writers Guild
Date: 27 May 2013