Posts Tagged ‘Sri Lanka’

Foot-in-mouth disease

June 5, 2010

Lately I have been thinking about the growing number of international thugs, organizers of genocide, terrorists, and autocrats who have taken hypocrisy to an almost unimaginable level. Well, its getting worse. Over on Michael J. Totten’s blog, I told some of my fellow commentators that Sri Lanka — the emerging dictatorship that literally blasted its way through refugee camps to kill its enemies — would probably join the anti-Israel chorus. Well, here it is…

A propaganda poster for Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, seen shortly after the military crushed the Tamil rebellion in the north (photo/Corey Hunt).

Colombo, 03 June, (Asiantribune.com):

The Sri Lankan government today (June 2) condemned Israel’s attack on an aid flotilla which was carrying supplies for Palestinian people on Monday.

On Monday’s predawn operation carried out by the Israeli defence forces at least ten civilians who were in the boats which were carrying, food, medicine and essential items were killed.

The attack had taken place off the coast of Gaza in international waters in a bid to thwart a blockade in Gaza.

Sri Lanka today joined hands with several other counties that brought international condemnation to Israel’s barbaric act.

The reports of attacks during the Israeli military operation on boats carrying supplies for Palestinian people in international waters off the coast of Gaza have caused grave distress to the Government and the people of Sri Lanka, states the Ministry of External Affairs.

“Sri Lanka deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries resulting from this operation. Indiscriminate use of force to prevent the carriage of supplies for people under occupation is condemned,” it stated.

“The attack has caused grave distress to the government and the people of Sri Lanka,” the statement said.

Sri Lanka needs to appoint a minister in the department of hypocrisy and propaganda affairs — its surprising they have time to condemn Israel since they have been so busy defending the “heroic” actions of their soldiers during last years’ final conflict with the Tamil Tigers. You know, like when Sri Lankan commandos lobbed mortars into a makeshift hospital and incinerated almost 50 already-injured people. Or maybe the biggest accomplishment of the Sri Lankan State is that fact that the final operations of its civil war killed about 10 times as many civilians as the Israeli attack on Gaza last year. Yes, commanders from the Israeli Defense Forces should be sent to Sri Lanka to learn about how officers and their soldiers should properly conduct themselves when fighting a guerrilla force.

Then again, maybe the Government of Sri Lanka and its power-usurping president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, should just shut their mouths and lead by example — perhaps they could begin treating their Tamil citizens like humans and apologize for killing wounded civilians at hospitals. After that, they should accept an international probe into atrocities committed by its military — like the one that is being demanded for Israel. As the embers left behind from Sri Lanka’s civil war continue to smolder in the scorched-earth northern parts of the country, international hypocrisy is exploding at the seams.

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A place where miracles happen

November 24, 2009

11 days ago I returned home from a 3 and a half month trip to South Asia that took me to three different countries–Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka.

Colombo, Sri Lanka

A view from my hotel of Delhi, India

The spectacular Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque

Marina Beach, Chennai. India's Tamil Nadu Province

Waves crashing against Marina Beach

One of Chennai's largest Islamic Centers

The Himalayas rising above Pokhara, Nepal

View from the lake in Pokhara

A temple in Kathmandu

Thai Temple in Lumbini, Buddha's birthplace

In spite of all the trouble that this region of the world faces–poverty, hunger, armed conflict–I say that miracles happen here because it changed my outlook on life and introduced me to the most amazing experience I have ever had. I’ll let the photos explain.

What has communism achieved?

July 26, 2009

What has communism helped us achieve? I think this is a good question. I’ve been hearing a lot about communism lately. From middle-aged veterans, like the ones you can find across Berkeley, to college students who have been indoctrinated into believing that the genocidal wisdom of Lenin, Marx, and Mao somehow has something positive to offer the world, communism and socialism are being put forward by some as the solution to the world’s financial difficulties.

A Maoist rebel prepares to attack in Bihar, India (photo from Topnews, India)

A Maoist rebel prepares to attack in Bihar, India (photo from Topnews, India)

When I get into debates about the subject, I always start by asking “What has communism done to benefit society? ” The answer to this question is an elusive one, because unless you consider re-education camps, Stalin’s Purges, or Kim Jong Il’s cult-like dictatorship a benefit to society you have few examples to provide. Capitalism has provided us with much of what we take for granted today—automobiles, railroads, airplanes, internet access, computers, toilet paper—the list goes on. However,  a lot of pro-leftist/communist sorts will talk about Fidel Castro and Cuba—its health care system, its infrastructure, its emergency-preparation—and how that system has helped the people of Cuba. Well then, if Cuba is such a stunning success story, why is it that so many people on the island are willing to attach themselves to floating objects that are far from seaworthy and paddle their way to America?

Even if it’s conceded that Cuba has built a successful communist system (which it has not), it has come at the expense of human rights and liberties that Castro’s defenders on US soil take for granted. After all, it doesn’t take more than mild criticism of the brothers’ Castro to end up rotting in some jail. Ironically, American leftists who defend Castro often rant about the evils committed by the US Government in Guantanamo Bay, which, compared to Castro’s prison system, would probably be a luxury retreat to the thousands of prisoners being held in Cuba. I’m not advocating or supporting the things that have happened down in Gitmo, but 3 square meals a day, regular health checkups, freedom to pray, and a clean cell are hard to come by if you get picked up by Cuba’s State Security Forces. Perhaps it’s no surprise that several Guantanamo inmates linked to the Uighur separatist movement  have made very clear they would rather remain in prison than be deported back to Communist China, a country that has all but silenced the Muslim population of their native Xinjiang Province.

Enough about Cuba though…I’d like to talk more about what communism has offered society, both in the past and today, that has been of benefit. Unless you are moved by death, destruction, and dismemberment, this list of latest accomplishments by communists and their sympathizers will not impress you.

Communism’s role in today’s society:

July  24th, 2009: The “Democratic People’s Republic of Korea” executes a woman for distributing bibles and spreading the Christian Faith. She was executed last month despite a claim by the North Korean Government that the state guarantees freedom of religion.

July 20th, 2009: FARC rebels attack a town in southeastern Columbia, injuring dozens of people and killing three others, including two teenagers.

July, 2009: Maoist bombers take down 36 policemen in India’s remote East with multiple landmine blasts and a ferocious gunbattle.  A dozen more officers are seriously injured and several others remain missing. The assailants—the feared Naxalite rebels, are inspired by the communist teachings of “Revolutionary” Mao Zedong and Lenin

Meanwhile, the Naxalites have issued a threat against Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, vowing that he will meet the “same fate” as former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated in Sri Lanka by a female suicide bomber dispatched by the Tamil Tigers (LTTE). Considering that the Naxalites have begun to imitate the LTTE in other tactics, does this mean that they are ready to strap themselves in explosives and go after Indian politicians? The answer remains to be seen, but communists attacking world leaders with suicide vests is one of the last things this world needs right now.

So does this type of system offer us hope in a challenging economic climate? You be the judge, my friends.

Sri Lanka’s bitter civil war comes to a close

May 18, 2009

I felt a strong sense of emotion when I heard that Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, was killed in a gunbattle with Sri Lankan soldiers along with his son, several of his top aides, and scores of his dedicated fighters. Its clear that Sri Lanka’s military conflict has drawn to a close, although I have doubts that the insurgency is over for good. Sri Lanka is full of lush jungles and the rebels are masters at guerrilla warfare. Nevertheless, the Sri Lankan Army deserves praise for being able to defeat such a vicious insurgency after so many years of warfare that have shaken the island.

Anyway, the reason I say I have such strong emotions is because, first off, I think that Prabhakaran is (was) a megalomaniac and a mass murderer. He perfected the use of suicide bombings–including the invention of the explosive-belt that has brought so much carnage to cities all over the world, whether it be Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, Middle Eastern cities like Tel Aviv and  Baghdad, or cities as far off as Moscow. This monster, Sri Lanka’s version of Osama Bin Laden, will not be missed by all those who condemn terrorism in all its brutal forms. Prabhakaran’s organization is going to be remembered as one of the most fearsome terrorist groups the world has ever seen and the only one that has succeeded in assassinating a sitting world leader, two in fact: Indian President Rajiv Gandhiin 1991 and Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadassa in ’91.

At the same time, we cannot forget about what the Sri Lankan government did to achieve this…it seems it took a stunning scorched-earth policy to break through Tamil Eelam and get to rebel leader Prabhakaran. I can’t help but feel a sense of horror when I think about the hundreds of civilians who were killed in shelling last week, many of whom were injured and lying in hospital beds before mortar rounds and other artillery slammed into their place of refuge, according to doctors working on site. Some of the claims made by the LTTE about civilian casualties should be met with skepticism, much like the fabrications made by Hamas during the 22-day war in Gaza at the beginning of the year. There is no doubt that the rebels used civilians as human shields, but at the same time, the Sri Lankan government bars all journalists from the war zone.  It is not possible to confirm what actually happened the jungles of northern Sri Lanka in the last months of its bloody and violent civil war. Maybe the Sri Lankan government would prefer to keep it that way.

Aside from these criticisms, I wholeheartedly congragulate Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his victory over terrorism…I think that the United States could even learn a thing or two from Sri Lanka’s war. Judging by the jubilation in the streets, its very clear that the island has had enough of war and the Sri Lankan Army knew that a strong push was necessary.  Despite everything that has happened these last few weeks and months, I have no doubt that many more people would have died if Vellupillai Prabhkaran was still plotting acts of violence from the safety of the countryside.

Sri Lankans are celebrating and they deserve it. After so many years of bombings and shoot-outs, many Sri Lankans in Colombo and all across the country must feel a sense of hope that it is over for good. Unfortunately, the only way that this can be guaranteed is if the government can do something to help the Tamil people, many of whom are feeling angry, humiliated, and threatened in the war-ravaged northeast of the country. Tens of thousands are barely getting by in refugee camps. It seems to me that these are the perfect conditions to create another Prabhkaran who can could re-ignite more political and military tension somewhere down the road. After all, the LTTE has always viewed their leader almost as a God…now he has given his own life and will be seen as a martyr throughout the Tamil community.

Before President Rajapaksa declares the war over, his government should assure the Tamil people that it will commit to helping them build new homes and lives where they will be a represented part in a unified country diverse with many ethnicities and religions, but one that puts being a Sri Lankan citizen first.