Saturday May 25, 2013
The Questionable Effectiveness of Lighting Yourself on FireTim King Salem-News.com
Indian journalist's self-immolation was an attempt to prevent Sri Lanka's Tamil Genocide.
(SALEM) - The day Mohamed Bouazizi set himself ablaze in Tunisia, the fire sparked an historic revolution known as the Arab Spring.
Our writer, Kourosh Ziabari in Tehran, wrote that Bouazizi's painful self-immolation, "... sparked the rage and irritation of the Arab nations in the Middle East and North Africa and somehow invited them to rise up and stand against their corrupt, authoritarian governments..."
The truth is that repressive Middle east governments of Tunisia, Bahrain, Syria and other countries have serious problems, but they weren't facing charges of ethnic cleansing- actual genocide.
K. Muthukumar, who self-immolated on the campus of the government of India in January 2009, dying later that same day at Kilpauk hospital, sacrificed his life in an attempt to raise public awareness, and prevent the Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.
It absolutely didn't work.
Tens of thousands of civilians were brutally massacred by the iron hand of state terrorism at the time of his death, and over the next several months in Sri Lanka things got worse, much worse.
40,000 to possibly more than 100,000 human beings were mass-murdered, directed into "safe zones" and then bombed- repeatedly. According to the salvageable records, more than 160,000 people ceased to exist after this brutal civil war carried out by the government against its own citizens.
There are terrible counts of rape and sex abuse, some of which was recorded on video cameras and later recovered and published on YouTube. The still frame on the right is of a truckload of women and girls, all in varying states of nudity, who were loaded onto the truck by smiling, gawking Sri Lankan soldiers who laughed about having raped them. At least one of the women in the video on her way to a mass grave is still alive. This is just a snapshot of the horror that was called for and carried out in an island nation that relies on tourism, and is a 'friend' of the U.S.
Fiery Death of a Vietnamese Monk
The death of a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection on 11 June 1963, left a searing impression on both the American and world public. Thích Quảng Đức's self-immolation- over the persecution of Buddhists by South Vietnam's Roman Catholic government, left millions shocked and horrified.
An exceedingly naive public was both moved and repulsed by the image and the very idea of a person sacrificing their own life in such an agonizing way over a political cause. It happened at a critical time in history, the year before the U.S. officially began its military campaign against North Vietnam.
While the promises Vietnam's President Ngô Đình Diệm made at the time in reaction to the event were not honored, this human sacrifice led to both a violent military crackdown on Buddhist temples, and the eventual arrest and assassination of Diệm.
This monk's self-immolation left a blazing impression in Vietnam that is lasting, and both the car he drove to the spot in Saigon, and the remains of his heart, which did not burn and were placed in a glass chalice, were taken to Xá Lợi pagoda where they remain today.
Knowing this history of attention brought about by self-lit human fires, and that a genocide of epic proportions hung in the delicate balance at this time, it leaves the burning question...
Why didn't a world-scale revolution kick into gear when this 26-year old journalist, K. Muthukumar, self immolated at Sastri Bhavan, Chennai, India on the 29th of January 2009? Before his death, he distributed a four page statement in the Tamil language calling attention to the peril Sri Lankan Tamils faced from their own government.
In his statement, K. Muthukumar wrote:
The north of Sri Lanka is still a war zone and while some Tamils regained some semblance of what they had, they live with martial law, an ongoing military occupation and many other problems and challenges that result from a war conducted on civilians without the slightest hint of decency or adherence to international law.
The Genocide carried out by Sri Lankan Sinhalese Buddhist government forces swept over Sri Lanka's Tamil population of Hindus and Christians like a terrible nightmare that was all too real. The number of Tamil dead from the government attacks are unprecedented and actually began in 2005 with the election of President Majinda Rajapaksa- an ally of both George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
The United States was well aware of what was taking place, and by 2009, when Muthukumar suffered a painful fiery death, the population's entire existence was threatened with extinction.
Then something happened in Sri Lanka that would bond K Muthukumar's life and death even more closely with the Tamil Genocide; that was a massive program carried out by Rajapaksa's henchmen to rid Sri Lanka of all journalists who were sympathetic toward the suffering of the Tamils.
They were tortured, murdered, newspapers and Internet news groups were closed and censored, (as they are today) and many journalists and editors and other media employees disappeared in the famous 'white van' incidents which still take place.
K Muthukumar's death anniversary was observed in Chennai last week, reports Guest Writer Sidharth gautham Sunder in a TruthDive article titled: Muthukumar’s Fire burns Sinhala Flags. The story cites how the continuing campaign against Sri Lanka has gathered momentum in Tamil Nadu. Quite obviously by its name alone Tamil Nadu, India has a vast population of Tamils, unlike Sri Lanka where the population is estimated at only about 15%. However Tamils have lived on the Island now called Sri Lanka for thousands of years.
Regarding K. Muthukumar's death, Wikipedia states:
A report written by William Baptist, at Now Public contains an excellent compilation of data regarding the self-immolation of this young man. It is titled: Last statement of Muthukumar (Burnt himself for Eela Tamils)
Support in Chennai
After conducting a memorial meeting for K. Muthukumar last week, the group of activists, friends and supporters, rallied in a show of support for his legacy.
They also set out to remind the public that Tamil Nadu, in spite of politics that have paved such a rocky road, and the lack of support from the government, has absolutely not forgotten Tamil Eelam or its people, those who are left.
The assembled group took their cause of mourning and celebrating the life and sacrifice of this journalist and real-time activist for the Tamil people, who also suffered so horribly, to the street.
This led to a confrontation with a sight they did not believe was appropriate or well-placed in Tamil Nadu, India. Objections rang out and then things began to heat up as these Tamil activists requested the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to remove the Sri Lankan Flag hoisted in Chennai Trade Centre.
On this day, 2 Februry 2012, as the cadres of the political party Viduthalai Siruththaihal* gathered in large numbers in Chennai Trade centre, they actually took the Sri Lankan Flags flying in the venue and burned them. Needless to say, there is no clearer message that can be sent when flags are lit ablaze, it is not a meager or half-hearted expression.
They were detained by police, however there was no further information about the status of those arrested.
A petition was also posted, the language is included below, you can sign it by visiting this link: http://www.change.org/petitions/the-director-close-down-sri-lanka-business-shop-at-chennai-trade-centre
It is hard to watch the United States, after its war against Iraq- leaving a million or more innocent people dead over bad (contrived) intelligence, have such sway over the futures of other countries. This truly should be the last country on earth that does or does not determine what countries have this awful designation.
Terrorist is the label reserved for groups that offer resistance to corrupt western business and military exploitation and violation of international law. It is also used liberally on any country that objects to Israel's ethnic cleansing of Palestine and also Israel's apartheid politics where both laws and roads are different for those who are Jewish, and those who are not.
The reason the Tamils were targeted so severely by the Sri Lanka government is because many years ago, in order to preserve their distinctly different culture and language, Tamil people formed the breakaway state of Tamil Eelam. For the first 30-years of independence from British colonization, until the late 1970's, the Tamils avoided violence and practiced a Gandhi-style peaceful, passive resistance.
But during those thirty years they suffered government violence and political subjugation. There was an actual program within the Sinhala government to eliminate the Tamil language from all school books and material.
Eventually the Tamils formed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) which were known as the Tamil Tigers. In the years preceding the Rajapaksa regime, the LTTE signed alliances and treaties that had reduced violence to almost zero, but then in 2005 it was Rajapaksa's first order of business to attain a declaration of 'terrorist' for the Tigers and with the help of George W. Bush, he specifically achieved this goal, thus eliminating the Tamils from the world's political bargaining table.
This was a crushing defeat to years of progress, the LTTE had even abandoned plans for a separatist state when the war against them began increasing.
In his article from Australia, published by Salem-News.com, Sri Lanka has gone down the dangerous path of ethnic fratricide Dr. Brian Senewiratne, who is Sinhalese Sri Lankan, describes in painful detail the real face of the country' so-called war on terrorism against the Tamil Tigers:
I have reported on this at great length, and will continue to for as long as it takes for the matter to finally be dealt with by a world court. The recent 'Lessons Learnt Reconciliation Commission' report has led to little real progress and as this takes place, one of the top war crime suspects in the Sri Lankan military, Major General Shavendra Silva has been selected for the "UN Secretary General's special Advisory group on Peace Keeping Operations."
This, when acts of Shavendra Silva's battalion in 2009 are described in the UN's own Panel of Experts report on Sri Lanka, and lawsuits have been filed against Silva for war crimes. It doesn't make sense but then little does in this case of dark months of slaughter and mayhem, all committed out of sight and excused because the victims were "terrorists". This is the logic of the western world of labeling, committed in a tropical island nation.
I find the Genocide scenario in northern Sri Lanka especially troubling because I was raised to believe that when evil, bigoted regimes took power and committed egregious bloody acts against human beings on their own soil, that we did something about it.
Of course that is not the case and we can only hope that when Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero, and Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O. Blake, Jr., travel to South Asia in the coming days, that they bring up the Tamil question and ask to tour the ravaged areas where so many thousands died.
Most importantly, Blake and Otero need to talk to the Tamil people and take notes, without the supervision and watchful eye of Sri Lankan government agents, police or soldiers. If they fail to do this then it is shameful and utterly unforgivable.
Americans are supposed to care about these things. As human beings, these politicians, in charge of law and humanity's call, owe it to K. Muthukumar. No matter what it is they do, their sacrifice will be small next to his.
* (Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi is a dravidian political party in Tamilnadu. It's chairman is Thol. Thirumavalavan,a leading lawyer from Chennai. The party's main principle relies upon the upliftment of Scheduled castes and scheduled tribes and Other Backward Class and minorities such as Christian, Muslim of Tamilnadu. - Courtesy: Wikipedia)
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