Swiping at Sri Lanka’s progress

I protest the inaccuracies of the March 4 AFP article “Film accuses Sri Lanka of war crimes.” Tamil Tiger rebels were responsible for massacring Sinhala and Muslim villagers with axes, in some cases, and with machine guns in hundreds of incidents in temples, villages and mosques, spanning the 1980s and ’90s.

The rebels blasted civilians to pieces, using improvised explosive devices and bombs, in the capital and elsewhere. Entire populations of Sinhalese and Muslims in the north of the country were driven out by ethnic cleansing.

The rebels recruited thousands of child soldiers. They killed many prisoners of war and had no qualms about killing Tamil critics and moderate Tamil leaders. Suicide bombers killed national politicians. The international airport, the oil refinery, hotels, the central bank, buses and shops were hit, often with truck bombs.

I agree that the civil war would have ended in the ’80s if not for the mindless atrocities committed by the rebels and the support given to them by some in the Tamil diaspora in Western countries. Today the so-called human rights groups that offered indirect tacit support to the rebels seem to have forgotten the atrocities. Now some groups seek to tarnish the image of Sri Lanka by presenting suspicious material and speculating about civilian casualties during the last stage of the conflict (which ended in May 2009).

A massive government program has removed land mines in much of the north, but more work needs to be done in this area so that people can go back home and restart farming activities.

Many businesses in the south have branched out to the north, and there is brisk trade between north and south including exchange programs involving students, athletes and business people. Some of the massive development of the north has been due to Japanese funding, and the Sri Lankan people are very grateful for that. I hope the Japanese will see the real Sri Lanka (and not the distorted one presented in the documentary “No Fire Zone — The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka”).

wijesena de silva
kandy, sri lanka

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.