Murder Most Foul

By Sesha Samarajiwa

Here are extracts from an article titled Was Sooriyamoorthy killing a warning to Anandasangaree? in Sri Lanka's Sunday Leader by veteran Tamil journalist D. B. S. Jeyaraj. (Please see box below.)

The dastardly killing of former Trincomalee Urban Council Chairman, Periyappodi Sooriyamoorthy by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is an unmistakable warning signal to Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) President, Veerasingham Anandasangaree."

Deaf and dumb

Why is it then that the 'Tamil world' goes 'deaf, dumb and blind' when Tigers kill people, particularly innocent civilians ruthlessly? Why is it that the Tamil community is incapable of condemning the Tigers as cowardly killers? Why is it that there is no outcry seeking investigation of the murder? This silence itself is a powerful indictment of the LTTE.

What offence did Sooriyamoorthy commit to deserve such a death? Can Velupillai Pirapaharan justify this murder in any way? Have the Tigers and the Tamil people advanced at least an inch on the road to Tamil Eelam through the cowardly killing of Periyapodi Sooriyamoorthy? That members of all Tamil political parties could attend this man's funeral itself speaks volumes about the man."[/quote]

Read the article here. [url][/url]

Sooriyamoorthy's killing is the latest in a bloody catalogue of slaughter of Tamils by the LTTE. He is not the first and he certainly will not be the last Tamil to be murdered by Tiger killers.

Soori was a courageous Tamil leader respected in the North and the South. He cared for his people and worked to uplift them. He was non-violent. He was a father of five who had gone to Trinco to sell his house to raise dowry money for his daughter. Two young Tigers dragged him out of his house and killed him in cold blood in the presence of his horrified relatives. Soori will not be giving away his daughter.

Why did warlord Prabhakaran order the killing of Soory? Because he was afraid Soori could pose a challenge to the LTTE and to send a warning to Anandasangaree in whose cause Soori lost his life.

But killing Tamils is nothing new for the Tigers. In the early days, the LTTE consolidated its power by massacring their rivals in the form of PLOTE, TELO, EPLF, EPRLF, and so on. Before they started fighting the Sri Lanka and Indian armed forces, they gained killing practice by slaughtering members of their rival groups both in Sri Lanka and in India.

In the 1980's and early 1990s, the people of Madras (now Chennai) watched in helpless horror the terror unleashed in their city by the Tigers. But those incidents of inter-rebel rivalry were nothing compared to the spectacular killing of then Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi by a suicide Tigress who blew up herself, Gandhi and 20 innocent Madrasee bystanders. It was a big bang. Rajiv's grimacing head was found 20 yards away from where his body had fallen. Photographs show him a moment before with his palms together in Namaste and a smile of greeting for his killer.

More recently, the citizens of Canada also watched in horror as Sri Lankan Tamil factions turned their once-peaceful cities into bloody battlefields. Canadian journalists investigating Tiger activities and fake fronts received threats followed up by letter bombs.

Let's not forget that the Tigers systematically killed off the leaders of all democratic Tamil political parties, including all the stalwarts of the TULF, such as A. Amirthalingam, S. Sivasithamparam, et al. Of course, they killed many Sinhala and Muslim leaders as well, including former prime minister Ranasingha Preamadasa. The present president Chandrika Kumaratunga escaped a Tiger assassination attempt by an eye-ball. The only Tamil leaders left are those protected by the Sri Lanka armed forces. But for how long and how well they can be protected is anybody's guess. I doubt whether any Tamil leader opposed to the Tigers enjoys a peaceful slumber; more likely, their sleep must be filled with terrifying nightmares of being tortured and slaughtered by bloodthirsty Tigers.

Two weeks ago, the New York based Human Rights Watch on Monday held the international community accountable for its continuing silence despite the killing of over 200 Tamils and the abduction of over 900 children for war by the LTTE, since the inception of the ceasefire agreement in February 2001.

The Asia Director, Human Rights Watch, Brad Adams said it like it is:

The only way to end this campaign of violence and impunity is to refuse to ignore it. These killings are a part of a concerted campaign to destroy opposition voices. The silence on the killings simply fuels more killings and leads to more impunity.

Having rampaged their way to supremacy, the Tigers maintain their power by annihilating every Tamil they see as a present or future threat to their dictatorship. The Tiger warlord has ensured that the voices of the Tamil people living under his tyranny remain silenced. No Tamil dare protest when their children are forcibly taken to be brainwashed and used as canon fodder. No Tamil in Sri Lanka or abroad dare protest when Tiger agents come collecting [i]kappan [/i](forced tax or protection money). They have carried out ethnic cleansing of the Muslim and Sinhala populations who lived in the North and the East by massacring entire villages of these communities. Ironically, they have killed almost as many Tamils as they have killed members of the other two ethnic groups.

Pol Pot and Ieng Sary turned once-peaceful Cambodia into a hellish killing field: they killed one-third of their countrymen in the name of their insane struggle. Murder, mayhem, terror. As they were for Pol Pot and his barbarians, these are the calling cards distributed by the power-hungry megalomaniac that is Prabhakharan. Let us see how many skulls we'll find in mass graves (assuming the bodies are not burnt or doused in acid) at the end of the bloody career of Sri Lanka's very own headhunter, Velupillai Prabhakaran.

DBS Jeyaraj and I were cub reporters 25 years ago. We have covered events together, travelled to Jaffna and other places together, frequented watering holes together, and once even fought a duel. I can tell you the big man packs a punch!

During the early days of the Tigers, he achieved fame writing a column called 'Behind the Cadjun Curtain' for Sri Lanka's The Island newspaper. He then joined the Sunday Leader where he continued his good work. Jeyaraj is now the victim of a vilification campaign; he is being accused of being on the Sri Lanka government payroll. Let me assure you that he never worked for any government media and, when the occasion warranted, he has been a very harsh critic of the Sri Lankan and other governments, including India. He also has the guts to be a harsh critic of the Tigers or any other person or group who deserves criticism and who deserve to be exposed. He is one the most perceptive analysts of the Sri Lankan crisis, respected by his peers in Sri Lanka and abroad.

But too many brave, free voices have been silenced by the bullets of the people who could not bear the revelation of the bitter truth, for the truth can derail their sordid missions. I do not know whether he is Canada now, but if he is, good for him. After many years living under highly stressful conditions, never knowing when a hitman might put a bullet in him, DBSJ may have found refuge in Canada. But even there, his security is not assured: there are too many Tigers prowling Canadian cities.

Since they have been unable to kill him, Tigers do the next best thing: they try to murder the reputation of a brave, clever journalist who has dedicated his life to his profession.




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