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This website is about Sri-Lankan Americans, who are naturalized citizens of the US, or those born to them in the US Sri-Lankans are a multi-ethnic, diverse group of people-Singhalese, Tamils, Moors (Muslims), Burghers, and other of various religious denominations- Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Christians living together for many centuries.

Vision Statement:
The Unifying voice between President Obama, Sri-Lankan Americans, and the people of Sri- Lanka.

Mission Statement:
The Sri-Lankan Americans for President Obama seeks to foster a spirit of cooperation and harmony among all the people of the United States and the people of Sri-Lanka. We embrace the ideals of love, brotherhood, and non-violence to benefit the US and to free our brothers and sisters in Sri-Lanka from the vicious cycle of hate, bigotry, and extremism. We enlist educational and religious leaders to propagate social justice and peace. Finally, we a factual resource for accurate, unbiased information on the current situation in Sri-Lanka, and dedicated to the principles of the Rule of Law, Transparency, and Accountability.

Monday, March 16, 2009

We thank the Boston Globe

We thank the Boston Globe in accepting this response from me so that you readers can get a true glimpse of Sri Lanka through the eyes of a Sri Lankan American. I write this on behalf of a group of Sri Lankan American citizens who are very distressed at the vilification of a country by an attorney who represents the views of a group of people who are now proscribed in the world democracies – namely, USA, UK, Canada, EU and many other Western Democracies such as India and Japan. The LTTE and its other fronts in the Western countries have been found as terrorist organizations, and known as the World Tamil Movement. Tamil Rehabilitation Organization and the Tamil Foundation are already proscribed and we find that Canada has now used the forfeiture clause of the Anti- terrorism act to seize property owned by a terrorist group. We wonder when the other groups will be proscribed and sued!

The crime of Genocide has to be taken up to the Security Council of the UN and not by you Mr. Fein. At the last meeting of the Security Council, two weeks ago, the under secretary for Humanitarian Affairs, Sir John Holmes, appraised the UN Security Council on matters regarding Sri Lanka and all members were happy with the handling of the war by the government of Sri Lanka against the LTTE terrorist group. They cautioned the LTTE to lay down arms and enter into negotiations with the legitimately elected government of Sri-Lanka. The CPPCG (Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide) was adopted by the UN’s General Assembly on December 1948 and came into effect in January of 1951. (Resolution 260(111), which defines the crime of Genocide; of any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethical, racial, or religious group.

In 2006, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 1674 which “reaffirms the provisions of paragraphs 138 and 139 of the 2005 World Summit Outcome Document regarding the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethical cleansings, and crimes against humanity”.

You now allege that for 61 years that Sinhalese Buddhists are attempting to make Sri Lanka

“Tamil Free”. This is just preposterous!

Let me tell you some home truths. Tamils are a highly respected and loved community in Sri Lanka. They are part and parcel of the fabric of our country. Let’s start with the general population. In 1948 we attained independence from the UK. There were nearly 5,000,000 million Sri Lankans, 82% Sinhalese, 11% Tamils consisting of Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils, and 6% Mooor (Muslims). Now in 2009 according to the latest census (2001 census as reported by the CIA- The World Fact Book), there are 20,926,31people consisting of 73.8% Sinhalese, and 8.6% Tamils both Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils. So Mr. Fein, how much “Tamil Free” is Sri Lanka. We started with about 500,000 Tamils and now there are close to 2,000,000 Tamils! You are completely wrong!

We have many judges, lawyers, doctors, teachers and professors who are Tamils. Once, even the Chief of Police was a Tamil and not many years ago the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court was a Tamil as well. Sri Lanka is a cricket playing nation and a few years ago we were the World Cricket Champions. Cricket is like baseball in the US or even basketball. A very senior player of the Sri Lankan cricket team is Tamil and he has been representing Sri Lanka for at least 12 years or longer. He is a beloved person in Sri Lanka, like Tiger Woods or Michael Jordan is in the US. Finally in the realm of politics, we are a democratic country that has governments changed by the ballot, but the terrorist group who has never contested any parliamentary seat wants to win the elections by the bullet. There are 33 Tamil members of Parliament and 3-4 Ministers of State who are part of the cabinet. The last Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka, Hon. Lushman Kardiragama was a Tamil Patriot who was well known in the world capitals and a few years ago was gunned down by the terrorist group, the LTTE. With him many Tamil leaders and Sinhalese leaders including a President of Sri Lanka and the Prime Minster of India, Rajiv Gandhi was killed by the LTTE. Now, Mr. Fein what are you talking about. You should represent the Sri Lankan Government and not the terrorist group under another name.

Finally, 54% of all Tamils live in areas outside the Northern and Eastern Provinces, which the LTTE claims belong to them. These Tamil folk, I am sure are mad with the LTTE for making their life miserable.

On December 14, 2008, the Human Rights report stated “Trapped and Mistreated; LTTE Abuses Against Civilians in the Vanni”. The LTTE claims to be fighting for the Tamil people, but it is responsible for much of the suffering of civilians in the Vanni. Having long used a coercive pass system to prevent civilians from leaving areas under their control, the LTTE has now completely prohibited movement out of the Vanni. Mr. Fein, remember the days when you were Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan. Can you remember how you and your fellow Justice Department attorney’s handled the Sandinistas of Nicaragua? The Contras Attacked bridges, electric generators, but also state owned agricultural cooperatives, and rural health clinics. They mined and bombed the countries major ports and set fire to its largest oil storage depot. Many thousands of Nicaraguans perished. Mr. Fein what were you doing? In 1984, congress cut off aid to the Contras, but the Reagan administration restored to illegal means to aid the Contras. Nicaragua filed action in the International Court of Justice in 1986 and it ruled in favor of Nicaragua and against the US. The court found that the US has violated international law by supporting the Contras in their war against the Nicaraguan government and by mining its harbors. The Reagan Administration waged a low intensity war against the Sandinistas with the avowed purpose of driving them from power. This war was called a total war at the grass roots level. The CIA was ordered to organize the Contras, who are a guerilla force that consisted of former officers of the National Guard and other disaffected civilians. They found that the US has violated international law by supporting the Contras in their war against Nicaraguan government and by mining its harbors. The court also has had 16 final decisions which it was voted upon and in one of them it stated that the US encouraged Human Rights Violations by the Contras

Finally, let me remind your readers that there are no concentration camps in Sri Lanka as alleged by Mr. Fein or mass bombings of innocent Tamil people. In battle even the best soldiers USA AND UK to name a few have killed by accident more than 500,000 innocent civilians in Iraq alone, in spite of their smart bombs and cruise missiles.

Many civilians have died, but the Sri Lankan government is making every effort to minimize the killing of innocent people as they are the people of Sri Lanka. In short, when for once a government is as Time Magazine put it clearly, whilst also urging moderation in seeking a political solution and greater concern for human rights succeeding in a struggle against terror. It is outrageous that Mr. Fein and people of his group seek to subvert this.

I must finally end this note quoting my good friend Hon. A. Anandasangaree, who is Chief of the Tamil United Liberation Front and former Parliamentarian. He said when he met with visiting United Nations Humanitarian Affairs, Chief Sir John Holmes and the 4 co-chair countries which are Japan, Norway, EU, and India he expressed “ the outfit (LTTE) has no respect for civilians. Irrespective of their age, women, children, and the elderly have been kept as human shields by the LTTE”. Mr. Fein, he knows better as he has told me many times, he knows this area too well. He helped build the area for nearly 20 years as the member for Parliament for that area.

Mr. Fein we know all parties are suffering because of this conflict and we as people of goodwill and peace should strive to work together to bring about peace to this beautiful place we call paradise.