Reacting to Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) combining forces against the GoSL, Sri Lanka’s war time External Affairs Minister, Rohitha Bogollagama emphasized that none of those shedding crocodile tears for Tamil civilians caught in the cross-fire dared to pressure the LTTE over despicable use of human shields on the Vanni East front.
Those involved in the GTF, TGTE et al remained silent as long as they felt the LTTE could halt the multi-pronged army advance and launch a counter-offensive of its own, Bogollagama told The Sunday Island in a brief interview yesterday. Responding to a query, Bogollagama said that those spearheading the GTF and TEGE had turned a blind eye to LTTE terrorists using children as cannon fodder, though they now demanded accountability on the part of the GoSL.
Alleging that the GTF and TGTE had formed a common front on the eve of Sri Lanka celebrating third anniversary of its war victory over the LTTE, the Chief SLFP organizer for Kotte said that whatever those LTTE followers said Tamil speaking people were free today. The bottom line was that Sri Lanka’s children were safe today, the former minister said, expressing confidence Sri Lankan Tamils whatever their political convictions appreciated measures taken by the government to provide them relief.
Bogollagama recalled how those critical of GoSL today remained silent when the LTTE quit the negotiating table in April 2003 during the tenure of the then Prime Minister, Ranil Wickeremesinghe and rejected every effort made by the Norwegian government and the Peace Co-Chairs to resume direct talks.
In fact, they also turned a Nelsonian eye when the LTTE rejected President Rajapaksa’s offer for talks in 2006 because they felt the LTTE was on the right track to overwhelm the Sri Lankan military, he said.
Bogollagama challenge Diaspora organizations to prove just one instance when they put pressure on the LTTE not to resume hostilities or employ civilians and children in war strategy.
Once fighting broke out, President Rajapaksa gave resolute political leadership required to sustain the offensive amidst heavy international pressure triggered by influential Tamil Diaspora.
"During protracted armed conflict, the LTTE employed brutal terror tactics, including the massacre of thousands of innocent civilians and deadly bombings of key economic targets, such as the Central Bank, the oil storage facilities of the Petroleum Corporation and the destruction of half the fleet of the national carrier at the Bandaranaike International Airport."
Bogollagama said: "It is fitting to take stock of the situation in the country as we commemorate the third anniversary of the defeat of terrorism in Sri Lanka. Today, the people of Sri Lanka are able to once again breathe the air of freedom and get about their day to day affairs, without the fear of being caught up in a suicide bombing in a crowded public place.
``It is said that the Sri Lankan people have short memories and indeed it is true that today, many of the outward signs of the armed conflict have all but disappeared-no longer do we find the security check points and main roads closed or restricted to the public, due to the threat of bombings. The fear psychosis that gripped the entire nation is gone and I believe this has brought about a perceptible change in the mindset of the people- a renewed air of optimism and hope for the future."
Bogollagama urged diaspora groups to end their enmity and work towards national reconciliation in the wake of post-war recovery process reaching a crucial stage, with the rehabilitation of LTTE cadres in custody and resettlement of war displaced nearing completion. They could easily provide a mega boost to economic revival of the war-torn provinces if they challenged a part of the funds currently used to demonize the GoSL abroad.
Commenting on Labour Leader Ed Miliband’s call for international war crimes inquiry and review of UK’s participation at the Commonwealth Heads of State Government in Colombo next year, Bogollagama said that the current Labour leader’s brother, David, during his tenure as the UK Foreign Secretary threw his weight behind the LTTE strategy. "The Wiki Leaks revealed his involvement as well how he exploited the SL Tamil issue for his political advantage. The rest is history."
~ www.island.lk ~ By Shamindra Ferdinando