Part 3 of the UTHR(J) Special Report No 34: Mattalan: Escape invites Death and Staying is Worse (continued fromPart 2)
Use of Bombs, Cluster Munitions and White Phosphorous; and Curtailment of Medical Aid
The first public reports on the use of cluster munitions appeared in the international media in early February 2009. On 4th February AFP’s Ravi Nessman reported citing the Colombo UN Spokesman Gordon Weiss that 52 civilians had been killed in intense fighting over the past day and that cluster munitions were fired outside the Puthukkudiyiruppu Hospital, which too had been struck by artillery killing 12 persons. The Government immediately denied it. Mr. Weiss as quoted by AFP said that cluster munitions had been used at least once earlier in recent weeks. The same report also quoted him saying, ‘the UN accepted the government’s assurance that they did not have the weapons’. It appears the UN took a political decision not to pursue the matter.
Our sources have assured us that cluster shells, known locally as kotthu kundu, were regularly fired from 21st January. They were then noticed by the Oxfam staff at Thevipuram and subsequently by the OCHA, which had its office near Puthukkudiyiruppu Hospital. Both observations were reflected in the UN statement. Continue reading
As the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam grinds inexorably towards certain defeat for the self-proclaimed representatives of the Tamil nation, there seems to be no great fanfare, no glorious last stands. This revolution dies not with a bang, but with whimpers and cowardice. And lies.
For a year the Tamil diaspora, spread from Tamil Nadu to Toronto, watched open-mouthed with disbelief as the iron fist of the Sri Lankan infantry divisions cut the Tiger formations to pieces, hammering them back into a tiny pocket close to Mullaitivu on the island’s northeastern coast. Now, as the world watches, a mortally wounded Tiger cowers behind the very people it claims to defend, mauling them as it dies.
As the pace of the offensive slows down in the heavily populated Mullaitivu District, the Tamil diaspora has finally found its voice, and a cause worthy of its outrage – the Tamil population of the Wanni, trapped in the fighting and suffering horribly. They lack everything human beings have a right to expect – food, shelter, clothing, security, life itself. If anything in the northeast is worthy of our attention, it is these people, held hostage by their proclaimed protectors, forced to face the guns and tanks of the SL Army in the cynical hope that if enough of them are killed or maimed, the world might step in and save the LTTE.
The diaspora, organized and spurred by LTTE front organizations, chants its mantra of concentration camps and Sri Lankan government genocide of the Tamils, ignoring the fact that it is the LTTE, and not the government, that is holding the Wanni Tamils in these inhuman conditions. And like all human catastrophies, this one too, has spawned its celebrity hangers-on. First, Sri Lankan-born British rapper MIA, and now at the eleventh hour, Booker Prize-winning Indian author Arundhati Roy. These two individuals more or less represent the two strongest tones of voice we hear calling for a cessation of the Sri Lankan military offensive against the Tigers. Continue reading