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Channel four and the ‘Broken Palmyrah’


The mass hysteria aroused by Channel Four among foreigners ill disposed towards Sri Lanka and even some treacherous Sri Lankans who are ill disposed towards Mahinda Rajapakse, and care not whom else they hurt (including their Motherland) provided they manage to hurt one or more Rajapaksas, shows no signs of abating. Channel Four has now put out a second video clip supposedly depicting some further alleged information about the alleged conduct of our forces in the last days of the `war’ and said to contain the depositions of two alleged eye witnesses. As admitted by the presenter [one Snow] himself, the so called witnesses themselves have their faces so depicted in such a way that they are unrecognizable and their voices have been deleted and dubbed so as to deliberately conceal their identities! Thus, if one is to believe the contents of the Videos one must believe Snow implicitly. Yet, would anyone, including CB Kumaratunga and her two erstwhile ‘poodles’ Mervyn and SN Silva or any other at home or abroad, trust or act on the word of Snow in any matter affecting their personal interests?

The first video which started the hounds barking at Sri Lanka depicts pictures of some persons [with most their facial features so concealed from view as to be unidentifiable] in fatigues [which have no `unit badges’ visible] who could be Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Burgers, Americans, Somalians, Frenchmen, Rwandans, British or people of any other race or country in the world shooting some naked fair skinned persons. We have only the word of the highly presumptuous and equally unknown Snow for the alleged fact that they are Sri Lankan Soldiers of the Sinhalese Race. The fair complexions of those naked persons who are alleged by this unknown Snow to have been Tamils and victims of the alleged villainy of such unidentifiable persons in fatigues without unit badges were such as to make them appear to be by-products of the Plantations during the British Raj or Caucasians rather than Tamils. Indeed the complexions of those alleged victims bear a stark contrast to those of the alleged civilians depicted as being from Mullaitivu, Putumathalan etc. The unidentified site of the so called murders appears to be a clearing in a jungle where there is a patch of water with no features/characteristics to make its geographical location identifiable . That place could have been anywhere in the world except perhaps a desert or snow bound place like Alaska or the Himalayas. Yet, those barking for Sri Lanka’s blood and the enemy within have no qualms about barking louder and louder calling for an investigation.

To these voices have been added the highly devalued two cents worth of C B Kumarathunga and Sarath N Silva. Would either of them have attached even a minute semblance of significance to such monstrous trash or asked for an investigation whether national or international had allegations been made against them on such flimsy material, with no identifiable witnesses or victims, no mention of the date on which or place where anything is said to have occurred? Would S N Silva, for example, have wanted an investigation had there been a similar video depicting scenes from the banks of the Diywanna Oya? Would C B Kumaratunga’s children whom she extols for having disgraced themselves for all time by jumping to the conclusion that these videos depict the truth about the conduct of our Armed Forces without closer examination [that is if Kumaratunga was speaking the truth about them, which, to my mind is more than a big "IF"] have done the same thing had the videos related to their own mother and her conduct ?

The newest voice to be added to this raucous cacophony is India, which has also indicated its purported view that an international investigation is called for, or made noises indicating that they too favoured such an investigation. These `pearls’ came from the lips of the outgoing Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao who also appears to be following in the footsteps of the two old `ladies’ of America and India, Clinton and Jayalalitha who, as old ladies are wont to do, had indulged in some gossip recently.

It would be interesting if Rao [who is said to be both literate and intelligent] could enlighten us as to where such an investigation could start in view of the facts that the alleged victims as well as the alleged perpetrators of the alleged crime are unidentified; the alleged place of the alleged crime is unidentified; the alleged date of the alleged crime is not given; and not one alleged eye-witness is identified.

I make particular reference to India because during the time the North of Sri Lanka was under the military occupation of the Indian Army euphemistically called the Indian Peace Keeping Force, they committed innumerable atrocities, many of which were documented in a book entitled "The Broken Palmyra" written by a group of named and identified teachers of the Jaffna University one of whom, Dr. Rajini Thiranagama was murdered by the LTTE.

One of the biggest atrocities described by them in their book was an outrage against humanity where ‘intrepid’ soldiers of the occupying Indian Army entered premises of Jaffna hospital and with consummate ‘valour’, murdered patients in their beds, doctors, nurses, attendants and even ambulance drivers. The identities of the victims were specified, the date, time and place of the atrocity, the identities of the witnesses were all disclosed and disclosed fully in the book, not by some unknown clown from several thousand miles away who calls himself "Snow", but by a group of identified teachers of the Jaffna University. Every one of those authors was a Tamil who had `lived’ in Jaffna during the dark days of Indian occupation. Yet, the world took no notice; no country in the world and neither Kumaratunga nor Silva called for an investigation; India herself which could not have been unaware of this book or the contents of it or the allegations made against its forces conducted any investigation into any of the atrocities mentioned in that book. As regards the press, when Sri Lanka conducted operations against the LTTE there was some representation by the Press. When the Indian Army occupied the Northern Province and perhaps the Eastern Province no pressmen of any institution race, colour, cast or nationality was allowed anywhere near those Provinces. Yet, none of the so-called `champions of democracy’ complained.

Why were the revelations of crimes against humanity reported by known Tamil academics of Jaffna ignored so wholly while the wild allegations made by the unknown Caucasian Snow from thousands of miles away gave rise to an ever increasing uproar? Is it perchance because those known Tamil Academics were ‘Blacks’ or ‘Wogs’ and the unknown Snow a ‘White’?

It is nice, no doubt, to talk of humanitarian issues, humanitarian law and so on, but what have humanitarian issues got to do with so manifest a work of fiction as that contained in the Channel Four videos ? Would any of those western countries positively thirsting for our blood such as the United States, Britain or France have sought an international investigation on such trash as has been put out by Channel Four had the allegations therein been against them?

~ ~ By S. L. Gunasekara


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