Tamil genocide continues, Sirisena shows no desire for change, says Grant
[TamilNet, Sunday, 15 November 2015, 22:04 GMT]
Australian journalist and an advocate for Tamils rights, Trevor Grant, who has also written widely on the Sri Lankan State's genocide against Eezham Tamils and on the complicity of the Western governments in the genocide, in an interview with TamilNet this week opined that the Sirisena government's policies on critical Tamil issues are substantively not different from those of the predecessor Rajapakse government. Commenting on the recent prisoner issue where Tamil prisoners in several jails have resumed hunger strike after Sirisena failed to release the prisoners on Nov 7th as promised, Grant said that "if there was a genuine desire for change [in Srisena government], all prisoners would have been released within days of the election result in January." Grant added that Tamil Naadu has the capacity to turn India as a force supporting the cause of Eelam Tamils.
Full text of the interview follows:TamilNet:
The Current Regime in Colombo, has refused to release Tamil political prisoners and Prisoners of War who are on indefinite hunger strike, demanding their release. What are your comments and observations of the situation and the Sri Lanka government's approach?Grant:
This is always the approach of a new authoritarian regime publicly pretending to be different from its predecessor but, in essence, determined to maintain the same policies. These token releases are meant to fool the international community into swallowing the idea that Sirisena is the man who will bring justice and freedom to the Eelam Tamils. If there was a genuine desire for change, all prisoners would have been released within days of the election result in January.TamilNet:
What would you recommend to the international community, including the governments, grass roots organisations and civic society in the west when approaching the situation of the Tamil political prisoners and the plight of the Tamil nation in general?Trevor Grant:
The section of the international community that says it cares about human rights etc -- e.g. Amnesty, Human Rights Watch and those few governments that recognise the Tamil struggle -- needs to stop pussy-footing around and recognize there is genocide happening right now, today, in a small island in south Asia. What are they waiting for? For another 100,000 Tamils to be slaughtered, or another million to be deported or deprived of the very basics of life? I say stop shying away from the word 'genocide' and do something. The former UN Human Rights commissioner, Navi Pillay, said in a public meeting in London a few years ago that the lessons of Rwanda had not been learned in Sri Lanka. What do you think she meant by that? Only one thing. Genocide, of course.TamilNet:
What would you urge the Tamil diaspora and the people of Tamil Nadu do for the situation of the Tamil political prisoners in particular, and the Tamil nation in general?Grant:
Tamil Nadu represents an untapped resource for the Tamil struggle. I have visited there and spoken to many groups who are behind the cause. They could become a very prominent voice around the world by exerting grassroots pressure upon the Tamil Nadu government to become a more genuine force behind Eelam Tamils. Right now, severe pressure should be upon the [government about the release of the political prisoners in Sri Lanka, and those desperate former freedom fighters held in secret prisons in Tamil Nadu for decades. Rather than having tea and scones with politicians, which does nothing but make you fat, the diaspora needs to become more organized, more together and more outspoken. My belief is that politicians are not leaders. They are followers. And the objective is to make them follow you.TamilNet:
The Current [Sri Lanka] regime stepped into power with the backing of many world and regional establishments, including Australia's Abbot government. What does Srisena's claim of policy of good governance mean for Tamils?Grant:
Let's go back to the start. Where does Sirisena come from? He spent 10 years in the Rajapaksa cabinet, cheering on every evil policy Rajapaksa brought in. Worse, Sirisena boasted at the election how he had been acting defence minister during the final days of the war. In other words, he was claiming responsibility for the murder of tens of thousands of innocent Tamils. In effect, he was announcing himself as a war criminal. So, from the point of view of a Tamil hoping for change, how can you possibly put your faith in a man with this hanging over his head? Certainly, given he was hand-picked by the US and India to replace Rajapaksa, we will continue to see a vast amount of propaganda about this new caring, freedom-loving president. We will also see the continued manipulation of our supposed cherished institutions, such at the UN, where the US exerted enough pressure to get the UN report on war crimes shelved.
The idea of good governance is laughable. How can it be any other way when this same freedom-loving president insists that he will maintain the vicious military occupation of the north and east as well as the Prevention of Terrorism Act? When he abolishes these two pillars of the genocide, I'll begin to think he's serious about change. Until then, he's just another in the conga line of Sinhalese chauvinist leaders convinced the island belongs only to them.TamilNet:
There is a discourse in which the crimes against the Tamils was pointed solely as attaching to the Rajapakse Regime, and that Srisena regime represented hope. How should the world understand such a discourse?Grant:
This is the great falsehood, perpetrated for years by the western media. It's Rajapaksa, or its another leader who is at fault (J.R.Jayawardene during Black July). Get rid of them and all will be OK for the Tamils, they say.
What the media refuses to do is put all the facts, all the incidents, all the crimes together over the past 60 years and come to the obvious conclusion that a genocide is happening here. That's all too hard for the west, which views the island only through its own geo-political perspective -- e.g. Australia and the need to keep Tamil asylum-seekers at bay.TamilNet:
Is there thus an need for the Australian people and the peoples of western liberal democracy to critically understand their governments relationship with the Sri lankan state, as responsible and alleged international crimes against the Tamil people?Grant:
The Un charter on genocide makes it perfectly clear that complicity in a genocide makes you just as guilty as if you perpetrated the genocide. So Australia, the UK, the US and all the other countries who have supported the Sinhalese governments over the years are as guilty of genocide as Rajapaksa, Sirisena and their predecessors. TamilNet:
The current approach to reconciliation seen in the UNHRC process and the LRRC, does not address the root cause of conflict, nor does it address the continuing systemic crimes against the Tamils. Why does this approach have international community's support? Grant:
You cannot have reconciliation without truth and justice preceding it. No respected international jurist would ever contemplate it. By refusing to deal with the truth of the slaughter of 70,000, the disappearance of 146,000, all the other crimes that preceded the war and the on-going crimes that have continued in the six years since the end of the war, the Sri Lankan government and its supporters in the west are attempting the impossible. They are asking the Tamil people to reconcile with those who continue to jail, murder and rape them. It's simply ridiculous.