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Shining Light on Sri Lanka's Dirty Secret: the Disappearance of Prageeth EknaligodaTim King Salem-News.com
Land of 'white van' disappearances and murder keeps its lips sealed over fate of missing journalist.
(SALEM) - Exactly one year ago today, we brought our readers the story, Everyone's asking 'Where's Prageeth?' Sadly over this last year, nothing has been learned to bring this important Sri Lankan media figure, Prageeth Eknaligoda, back to his family.
His story has remarkable ties to many other similar occurrences that left behind widows, fatherless children and unanswered questions.
His wife, Sandya Eknaligoda, is featured in a new video which is included below. She offers her thoughts on the disappearance of her husband and how the voice of the international community could make a difference if it were to be projected. I also asked Sri Lanka Journalist Sonali Samarasinghe, the widow of Lasantha Wickrematunge, a journalist in Sri Lanka who 'predicted his own death' according to Jonathan Steele with The Guardian, to share her thoughts about Sandya, ongoing solidarity, comfort and encouragement for people in her position.
Background on State Sponsored Media Murders & Disappearances
In the article from May 2011, Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide: Killing the Messenger, I detail many of these disappearances and killings of journalists and media employees while explaining how all of those who suffered this fate had one thing in common: they were willing to tell the truth about the Sri Lanka government's campaign to ethnically cleanse the Tamil minority from the North where they had a breakaway state called Tamil Eelam and a formidable resistance, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) or Tamil Tigers. With the Tamil Tigers in place, the ethnic extinction of Tamils was not possible. The LTTE scared the government troops, and in a fair fight the Tigers dominated.
So the government decided to exempt itself from the international laws that govern war and humanity and they waged a full-scale Genocide against all Tamils in the northern part of the country when a cease fire was in place It is Sri Lanka's president and military who broke that treaty.
In fact Sri Lanka committed 'Total War' against the Tamils and this is the very crime that the Geneva Accord was designed to protect human beings against in the first place; where there is no distinction between civilian non-combatants and and military personnel. Another practice that falls under 'Total War' involves murdering Prisoners of War (POW) and this is another subject I have indulged at length. The links to all of these stories are listed below.
While many media sources place the number of dead from this civil war conflict at 40,000, sources with solid information tell me the number of people who could not be accounted for when the smoke finally cleared in May 2009, was approximately 160,000.
Supporters of Sri Lanka and the government in particular, deny any and all involvement in this pogrom against Tamils yet it was all heavily documented with video, photos and first-hand accounts from the Tamils, who recorded their own demise; and then begins the video and photo evidence from the Sri Lankan soldiers who committed or were present for these heinous war crimes against the Tamil civilians and the Tamil Tigers. In particular, we have revealed how the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) staged a dead body to make it appear to be that of a combatant. The woman, a journalist with the LTTE, was photographed early on with her hands tied behind her back. It was clear that this young mother, whose name was Isaipriya, like so many other Tamil girls and women, was a victim of sexual violence before being murdered.
In the end, the government of Sri Lanka's (GoSL) decision to slaughter journalists did not work, and even here in the U.S. we are increasingly dialing into what happened. Every person who first discovers the bloody story from this island nation in a modern age seems horrified. Americans live with media that is ignorant as to what is taking place in the world and the small element that knows, fails to influence coverage. Even while 160k people are massacred. The saddest part is that we in the U.S. are isolated from this same threat of death journalists in Sri Lanka face.
The Channel 4 documentaries, Sri Lanka's Killing Fields by Jon Snow in London, put these images into perspective and shocked the western world with the harsh reality of what happened. As far as I know, neither edition of this two-part series have ever aired in the United States, however they are available on YouTube and anyone who needs a copy can write to me at the email below and I will see that you receive one. In Great Britain they were received with much acclaim.
The New Video
Sandya Eknaligoda conveys the painful suffering that she and her two sons have experienced with the sudden loss of their father. The truth of Sri Lanka is that many Tamils are kept in hidden camps in the jungle. There are as always, more questions than answers. It remains possible that Prageeth could be alive, it isn't likely but it is possible. This must only increase the agony for a family, yet it leaves a glimmer of hope that others, who know definitively that their loved ones were murdered, do not have. It certainly would be proper for this government to end these practices that create so much hardship and determination.
These are the translated words of the video in English. As she holds the picture up, Sandya Eknaligoda says:
I am Sandya Eknaligoda. Prageeth Eknaligoda is my husband.
In 2010 on January 24th he disappeared."
But what happened to Prageeth Eknaligoda?
Who did it?
"My journey to find Prageeth is a big challenge! I have to face an irresponsible Government with no respect for the law. This is the kind of situation and the challenge I have to face in trying to find justice. No one takes it seriously!"
Yolanda Foster in the UK joins Sandya in the video, saying:
Who is Prageeth?
Prageeth has been missing for more than two years, Sandya points out.
When the government of Sri Lanka made the regrettable mistake of targeting, disappearing and murdering the reporters of this country who dared raise a voice of truth for the Tamil minority culture, it gained a whole new set of enemies; every other journalist alive on this planet. I have never met a single one who approved of government terrorism campaigns to silence political opposition.
Sonali Samarasinghe has an incredible past; but her life was shattered when her husband Lasantha Wickrematunge who wrote:
"When finally I am killed, it will be the government that kills me."
Addressing Sri Lanka's president, Mahinda Rajapakse in a discussion with a close friend - he spoke of a cold government bent on eliminating those who call its illegal and immoral practices into question. As a political cartoonist, Lasantha knew he was on the radar and being targeted when he wrote:
"In the wake of my death I know you will make all the usual sanctimonious noises and call upon the police to hold a swift and thorough inquiry. But like all the inquiries you have ordered in the past, nothing will come of this one, too. For truth be told, we both know who will be behind my death."
Currently a Writer in Residence in Ithaca, NY, Sonali Samarasinghe continues to keep these stories and their impacts alive and pronounced. In the past Sonali has been a Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, Editor-in-Chief of Lankastandard.com, an Attorney-at-Law, Commissioner for Oaths, Editor in Chief of The Morning Leader, Sri Lanka, and Consultant Editor for The Sunday Leader, Sri Lanka.
With regard to Sandya Eknaligoda, Sonali Samarasinghe said today:
Sonali Samarasinghe brings up another significant point; as war crimes and ethnic cleansing continues around the world in places like Burma, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Balochistan and Palestine, even the journalists who do follow Sri Lanka take their eye off the ball.
People in Sri Lanka live in fear every day. Not the Sinhalese Buddhist majority culture; they rule this place with a deadly fist. The threat remains only toward Tamils and their supporters. They are all the victims of a war against them that really began in 1948, when the British finally pulled their colonial claws out of this place. The northern Tamils have lived in this place for hundreds and hundreds of years. The earliest western explorers noted that Sri Lanka was comprised of two distinctly different cultures hundreds of years ago.
But the government wants an exclusively Sinhala Buddhist nation and they have gone to great length to achieve this Nazi-like dream of exclusivity that does not belong to them. I have discussed the 'white vanning' issue with many people; from the strongest representatives for Tamils in this country, to a high-ranking GoSL official. Nobody denies that it takes place. Only the blame for the origin of these attacks is in question. Of course the GoSL maintains that these Tamil supporters are targeted by 'terrorist' elements, all government culpability is denied.
Sonali Samarasinghe commented on this terrifying part of life facing Tamils at this very moment:
Indeed, until the international community takes off its soft soul sneakers and straps on the combat boots of justice, political wankers in their jaded rationale will kill and deny; torture and abscond. I remind everyone of the saying, "First they came for the Jews..."
You know the rest. There are no rewards in this life or the next for complacency. Help raise awareness, please repost this article on Facebook, Twitter, other social media and Websites and blogs. Make it happen, enough awareness will force Sri Lanka to the tables of justice and accountability.
Please read the articles below, they represent thousands of hours of research. Learn what happened to the liberation movement of Tamils of Sri Lanka and how the govt. became determined to help end it.
For God's sake, the world community should intervene to help families determine the fate of their loved ones. The 'secret' will die with increased media focus.
Past reports about Prageeth Eknaligoda:
Tim King's previous Salem-News.com reports on Sri Lanka:
Jul-30-2012 Blindness Sweeps Large Parts of Sri Lanka
Jul-20-2012: Why Are Buddhists Committing Genocide Again?
Jul-01-2012: Did a Ghost Crawl Inside My Laptop?
May-07-2012: Sri Lankan Buddhist Mobs Call for Mosque Demolition
Apr-10-2012: Sri Lanka: Genocide and Poor Toilet Training
Mar-18-2012: Is Google Earth Hiding Sri Lanka's Ghosts?
Mar-11-2012: War Crime Court and its Conflicting Interests
Mar-08-2012: Sex Abuse and Murder in Sri Lanka- New Photos Emerge
Feb-28-2012: Tweets from Tamil Eelam
Feb-24-2012: Two of Sri Lanka's Foulest War Crimes
Nov-24-2011: Fear, Genocide and Torture in Sri Lanka
Oct-15-2011: Genocide 101: World and Media Apathy
Oct-05-2011: War and its Aftermath... a Real Killer for Tourism
Oct-01-2011: Sri Lanka in the Crosshairs of Canadian Parliament
Sep-13-2011: Sri Lanka Recalls Diplomat Accused of War Crimes
Jun-20-2011: Sri Lanka's Violence Toward Tamil Minority Continues
Jun-02-2011: UN Experts: Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide Video is Real
May-31-2011: Sri Lanka Tamil Genocide: Killing the Messenger
May-03-2011: Confronting the Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka
Apr-27-2011: Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka Emerges Into Public View
Tim King: Salem-News.com Editor and Writer
Tim King has more than twenty years of experience on the west coast as a television news producer, photojournalist, reporter and assignment editor. Tim is Salem-News.com's Executive News Editor. His background includes covering the war in Afghanistan in 2006 and 2007, and reporting from the Iraq war in 2008. Tim is a former U.S. Marine who follows stories of Marines and Marine Veterans; he's covered British Royal Marines and in Iraq, Tim embedded with the same unit he served with in the 1980's.
Tim holds awards for reporting, photography, writing and editing from traditional mainstream news agencies like The Associated Press and Electronic Media Association; he also holds awards from the National Coalition of Motorcyclists, the Oregon Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs; and was presented with a 'Good Neighbor Award' for his reporting, by the The Red Cross.
Tim's years as a Human Rights reporter have taken on many dimensions; he has rallied for a long list of cultures and populations and continues to every day, with a strong and direct concentration on the 2009 Genocide of Tamil Hindus and Christians in Sri Lanka. As a result of his long list of reports exposing war crimes against Tamil people, Tim was invited to be the keynote speaker at the FeTNA (Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America) Conference in Baltimore, in July 2012. This is the largest annual gathering of North American Tamils; Tim addressed more than 3000 people and was presented with a traditional Sri Lanka ‘blessed garland’ and a shawl as per the tradition and custom of Tamil Nadu
In a personal capacity, Tim has written 2,026 articles as of March 2012 for Salem-News.com since the new format designed. Serving readers with news from all over the globe, Tim's life is literally encircled by the endless news flow published by Salem-News.com, where more than 100 writers contribute stories from 23+ countries and regions.
Tim specializes in writing about political and military developments worldwide; and maintains that the label 'terrorist' is ill placed in many cases; specifically with the LTTE Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, where it was used as an excuse to slaughter people by the tense of thousands; and in Gaza, where a trapped population lives at the mercy of Israel's destructive military war crime grinder. At the center of all of this, Tim pays extremely close attention to the safety and welfare of journalists worldwide. You can write to Tim at this address: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit Tim's Facebook page (facebook.com/TimKing.Reporter)
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