Tamil Tigers target public transportation in the heart of Colombo, 16th September 2008. Photo courtesy Ministry of Defence - Sri Lanka.
I recently wrote about a secret report published by Canada's Integrated Threat Assessment Centre (ITAC) which was later acquired by the National Post under the Access to Information Act. The report revealed that the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) raised a million dollars a month ($12M/year) from Canadian Tamils to wage a brutal and bloody war in Sri Lanka.
Under the Liberal party of Canada (pre-2006) the Tamil Tigers had free movement on Canadian soil. For years the Liberal party and it's unscrupulous MPs cared not for the innocent blood they helped shed. Yet, they were quick to come out in support of a ceasefire to free the cornered Tamil Tiger leadership early this year.
Much of the funding raising for the terror movement was carried out on Canadian, Australian, and British soil. For years we Sri Lankans looked to these 'shining democracies' which harboured and funded such extremism in utter disbelief.
Were these countries intentionally supporting these Tamil extremist? We wondered for years why nations who were great advocates of democracy were aiding a group of extremist who continued to massacre the innocent on this island.
Thankfully, under the Conservative party of Canada, in 2006, the Tamil Tigers were added to the list of groups considered terrorist. Stephen Harper's Conservatives gave the law enforcement authorities the ability to finally enforce the law against the Tamil extremists' activities in Canada.
Minister Stockwell Day said in 2006 that decision to ban the Tigers was "long overdue," and that it was "something the previous government [Liberals] did not take seriously enough to act upon."
At the time the ban was placed, Minister Peter MacKay went on record saying, Canada wanted to help find a resolution to the conflict. The banning of the Tigers in 2006 helped resolve the conflict just 3 years later.
A hard hitting piece on the National Post published July 22, 2009 calls it as it is.
The money that the Canadian Tamil diaspora remitted to the Tigers, as we now know, comprised a large portion of the LTTE's budget.To understand the kind of carnage the Tamil Tigers caused on the island, one must be prepared to spend hours searching through archives, being careful to avoid the countless pieces of self published Tamil Tiger propaganda.
It therefore has become difficult to deny that the protection and sympathy extended to the cause of Tamil militancy until 2006 -- most notably, by Liberal politicians -- prolonged Sri Lanka's civil war, and increased the scale of the bloodshed.
Which throws a rather startling new light on recent history. The Conservatives have been much criticized, in a wouldacoulda counter-factual way, for having at one time been willing to commit Canada to a multinational invasion of Iraq. Some of the criticisms are fair; but if Canada had gone to war, it would at least have been Canadians doing the fighting and, no doubt, some of the dying. How much worse was it for the Liberal political leaders who were actually in power to look the other way -- for years -- while terrorism and destruction, in a country where we have no discernible foreign-policy interests, were bankrolled through extortion and fanaticism on our own streets?
When a large portion of the island remained lawless and under the control of a terrorist group. The world was made to think that all murders, assassinations, abductions, and rapes in these areas were committed by the Sri Lankan forces. And as such Sri Lanka was labelled a Human Rights disaster. Not for a moment did the critics of Sri Lanka realise that their sympathy for the terrorist stretched a 3rd world government beyond any reasonable means of enforcing law and order.
In September of 2005 the European Union banned the Tamil Tigers for killing Lakshman Kadirgamar. Foreign Minister Kadirgamar was an oxford educated, moderate, Tamil MP who was making swift progress up the political ranks in Sri Lanka.
Some even say he was likely to be Sri Lanka's first Tamil Prime Minister. He was a huge threat to the Tamil Tiger movement who had successfully convinced the world that the Tamils were being discriminated against and persecuted in Sri Lanka. Only the Tigers were the 'liberators.'
The assassinations of many moderate Tamils has left an irreplaceable void in Tamil society. The Tigers also forcibly recruited children as young as 10. The 'one child per household' law meant that every mother was forced to sacrifice a child. Sent off to wage war and kill.
The Sri Lankan government is now left with 10,000 former combatants with no social skills, or an education. Most trained to kill from an early age. The task of rehabilitating and reintegrating these youth back into society is also the burden of the state.
That doesn't even remotely compare to the destruction the Tigers inflicted on Tamil society as a whole. Three decades of child recruitment has done some irreversible damage.
Tamil children pictured above in school uniform receiving weapons training in Tamil tiger controlled territory. Photo courtesy Ministry of Defence - Sri Lanka.
I've said this before, you don't have to be Sinhalese to hate the Tigers. They terrorised us all.
Below is just a short list of the number of innocent lives lost due to Tamil Tiger suicide bombs.
-Tamil Tiger suicide bomber kills Sri Lankan Minister at a peace rally. - June 2000
-9 year old girl killed in Tamil Tiger suicide attack - August 2000
-Sri Lanka suicide bomber kills 19 at poll rally - October 2000
-Tamil Tiger suicide bomber kills dozens in northern Sri Lanka - October 2008
-Suicide Bomber Kills 28 at Sri Lanka Camp - February 2009
-Tamil Tiger suicide bomber kills 17 refugees - April 2009
-Tamil Tigers kill 28 with bus bomb - January 2009
Click here for a list of bombings carried out between 1987 - 2001. Pay attention to the spike in attacks during the time the Liberal government was in power in Canada. The Sri Lankan Ministry of Defence website has a more comprehensive list and an image gallery.
The Sri Lankan military in recent clearing operations continues to unearth several tonnes of explosives. Large caches of arms continues to be unearthed on a daily basis.
The detection of arms caches sheds light on Prabhakaran's failed strategy of thwarting the army's advance. He did not offer stiff resistance initially in the Vanni and retreated hiding as he did arms, ammunition, explosives and fuel in various places in the hope of making a comeback. Within weeks of the Vanni offensive, he summoned a group TNA MPs and asked them to bring international pressure to bear on the Rajapaksa government to stop war and promised to hold out until then.The locations of the hidden weapons dumps came from Tamil Tiger combatants who were identified at the camps for the displaced. The screening process has help identify several combatants who if released hastily could take Sri Lanka back into several more years of war utilising these hidden arms caches and the cover of the jungles.
On the battlefield, Prabhakaran’s plan was to infiltrate the cleared areas and attack the army from behind with the hidden arms. But, it went awry as the government had prudently provided for such an eventuality. Unfortunately for him, international assistance was not forthcoming and he became too dependent on the forcibly evicted civilians for survival. After the fall of Kilinochchi, the capture of which, he had said, was a daydream of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, he was compelled to induct cadres in large numbers to curb the army's march and lost, in the process, many of them.
Those who contributed and turned a blind eye to the blood shed on this island have no moral right to pressure Sri Lanka into rushing the return of the displaced. Until former Tiger controlled territory is de-mined, cleared of hidden arms caches, and former combatants are weeded out from the displaced, Sri Lanka should not rush into the resettlement process blindly, due to pressure from those who care not for the long term prosperity of all of the island's people.
For 30 long years politicians from Great Britain and Canada contributed to the bloodshed on this island. They should take a back seat now. The aid groups in Sri Lanka who oppose the camps and the detention of the displaced have no understanding of the unique situation Sri Lanka is faced with.
None of the critics can boast of being in a similar situation before. It's not everyday a guerrilla movement is defeated, and it's not everyday that combatants take refuge amongst 300,000 displaced. It's not everyday a government is faced with such a crisis.
Sri Lanka does not need criticism, pressure, or political statements to be made by those who helped cause much of these problems to begin with.