Ananthi Sasitharan has reasons to grieve. So have her three daughters. Ananthi’s husband is ‘missing’. Her daughters have lost their father. They all want to know what happened to Velayutham Sasitharan. Ananthi needs to know what happened to her husband. She believes that this knowledge can only be obtained through the intervention of powerful sections of the international community.
If that is the only pathway she sees, then it is understandable that she has to do her best to make a case for such intervention. To this end, she has made a long list and shaken it many times. Naturally too, she doesn’t seem to worry too much that the words she uses, the terms she utters and the claims she makes do not stand up to any kind of reasonable scrutiny. Vilification works, she probably thinks, and is correct. Truth does not amount to much in these situations and therefore there’s no contradiction in uttering a lot of untruths to obtain the truth of her husband’s fate.
There’s something missing here. Ananthi Sasitharan is alive. So are her three daughters. May they all live long, healthy lives devoid of uncertainty of any kind. What’s missing is the considerable narrative pertaining to the missing person. Velayutham Sasitharan, she claims, was apprehended by the Army and therefore him going missing points to foul play. That’s a claim. It ought to be investigated. What she’s not saying is that Velayutham Sasitharan had another and better known name: Ezhilan.
Ezhilan was not some innocent Tamil civilian who got short-changed in the chaos of hostage taking, hostages fleeing from captors and hostage rescue operations. Ezhilan was the political chief of the LTTE in Trincomalee
Ezhilan was not some innocent Tamil civilian who got short-changed in the chaos of hostage taking, hostages fleeing from captors and hostage rescue operations. Ezhilan was the political chief of the LTTE in Trincomalee. He was a decision-maker of a brutal terrorist organisation. Ananthi of all people ought to feel empathy for all those mothers, daughters, sons, fathers, lovers and friends of people who deliberately ‘disappeared’ courtesy of decisions taken by her husband, who like all members of the LTTE was empowered by weapons-training and had embraced terrorism as their chosen vocation.
Where’s the ‘I understand’?
Where’s the ‘sorry’?
Terrorist or not, any extra-judicial killing ought to be investigated and perpetrators brought to book, whether or not such niceties are maintained with respect to the terrorists handled by the people from whom Ananthi is seeking help. At the same time, it is rather odd that Ananthi has not reflected on the realities of the brutality her husband was an integral part of.
What would have happened, for example, if the Sri Lankan security forces had not moved to save the hundreds of thousands of civilians taken hostage by her husband’s organisation? Has she asked herself whether she, along with her daughters, might have perished of ‘structured’ hunger because the LTTE kept food and medicine provided by the Government and relief agencies? Would she, along with her daughters, have been shot by LTTE gunmen when acute hunger forced them to flee into Government-controlled areas, has she wondered?
If, on the other hand, had the Government succumbed to international pressure let off the LTTE leadership and Sri Lanka continued to be engulfed by the inevitable horrors that such let-offs engender, would the LTTE have conscripted her daughters and put them in the line of fire? Has she thought, ‘I should be thankful’?
Ananthi Sasitharan has said ‘hello’ to the international community. When is she going to say ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’?