The Economist takes a look at the response from the state and political parties et al, following the defeat of the LTTE: the speeches, the parades, the hailing of Mahinda Rajapakse as a king.
In the third of his big set-piece victory speeches early this month, Mr Rajapaksa asserted that the war had been fought to liberate the Tamil people. Unaccountably, he made no reference to the sufferings of Sri Lankan Tamils even though nearly 300,000 of them have been displaced from their homes and are now miserably interned in camps. The president also harked back to ancient Sinhalese martial heroes. Marking victory with plans to build stupas all over the mainly Buddhist country, and relishing songs, posters and newspaper articles hailing him as a “king”, Mr Rajapaksa seems to be cultivating the image of an elected monarch. In particular, he likes to recall Dutugemunu, a famous warrior-king of the second century BC, who defeated Elara, a Tamil usurper from India.
This foolish oratorical provocation has been matched by increasing intolerance of dissent, suspicion of many Tamils and threats against those seen as Tiger “collaborators”. The government refuses to bow to calls for an independent investigation into the final weeks of the war, in which thousands are believed to have been killed by government shelling. It blames nearly all the civilian deaths on the Tigers. But in the absence of any inquiry a decades-old culture of impunity will persist, as will Tamil grievances and a sense of injustice.
Read the entire article here.
In an interesting addendum, ICT4Peace reports that “This week’s Economist has apparently (as per Vijitha Yapa – to whom I pay a bloody 11,000 bucks for the magazine) been “held up” at Customs.”
Reuters has a report. In summary,
- More than 6,200 soldiers killed and nearly 30,000 wounded (Source: Defence Secretary interview with ITN)
- More than 15,000 LTTE cardres killed according to the Military several months ago.
No final tally.
- Around 7,000 civilians killed since January according to unverified, unofficial U.N. estimates. Around 280,000 displaced according to aid agencies.
- Overall, according to the UN, the conflict has killed from about 80,000 -100,000 people.
Update (23/05/2009): According to Army Chief speaking to NDTV, a total of 22,000 LTTE cardres were killed by the Army alone. He also puts the casualty figures of the Sri Lanka troops lower.
Newsy.com provides multiple perspectives from the international media.
Confirming earlier rumors, MoD website and state media confirms the death of LTTE cheif Prabhakarn’s death along with his confidants Soosai and Pottu Amman. from MoD,
The latest reports from battlefront reveal that LTTE leader V. Prabhakran, has been killed this morning (May 18). The sources further say that LTTE’s intelligence wing leader Pottu Amman and Sea Tiger wing leader Soosai were also killed.
As usual, fireworks going off in the streets everywhere in the country. State media is playing patriotic songs and profiling the three decades of terror perpetrated by the LTTE and it’s leadership. The entire Tiger leadership has now been eliminated.
Rajiva Wijesinghe speaks to Sanchia Brown on the pressure put in by the International community on Sri Lanka.
First, the official statement by the Security Council President, Vitaly Churkin (Russian Federation). Video is below, UN has the full statement.
Miliband other European delegates from the UN Security Council made their own statements. The video for that too, is included below.
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Tagged Colombo, Conflict, David Miliband, Humanitarian, LTTE, Mahinda, Security Council, Sri Lanka, Statement, United Nations
The U.N. has consistently warned against the bloodbath scenario as we’ve watched the steady increase in civilian deaths over the last few months
Gordon Weiss, the U.N. spokesman in Sri Lanka is quoted in the New York Times on Monday. Weiss adds,
The large-scale killing of civilians over the weekend, including the deaths of more than 100 children, shows that that bloodbath has become a reality.
The AP story continues,
A government doctor said at least 378 civilians — and perhaps as many as 1,000 — had been killed and more than 1,100 wounded on Saturday and Sunday during intensive shelling of the combat zone on Sri Lanka’s northeastern coast, a boggy sliver of beachfront where Sri Lankan troops have surrounded Tamil separatist fighters.
“There were many who died without medical attention,” the doctor, V. Shanmugarajah , told The Associated Press. “Seeing the number of wounded and from what the people tell me, I estimate the death toll to be around 1,000.”
Concern for civilians trapped in the zone has grown in recent weeks. The area of fighting, which at one time had been set aside by the government as a “no-fire zone,” has shrunk to about 7 square kilometers, or about 2.5 square miles. An estimated 50,000 civilians, mostly Tamils, are thought to be caught there, along with a holdout force of between 200 and 500 fighters.
Some relief groups and the government have assailed the rebels for holding the civilians as human shields. Many of the same agencies and some foreign governments have accused the government of shelling the area — along with the civilians inside — despite pledges to no longer use heavy weapons, artillery or air strikes.
Read the entire article here.