On May 18, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau condemned what he referred to as loss of life during the final days of the war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the armed forces of the state. According to differing reports, around 40,000 people died during that battle. The then government put the figure at zero civilian casualties.
The truth lies somewhere in-between. What is clear is that civilians were unnecessarily killed and killing of civilians stands condemned. Those responsible need to be held accountable. Similarly, the attack on peaceful protestors in Borella, commemorating the death of civilians at Mullivaikkal also stands condemned.
We have to also realize in any war, civilians are the first casualties. During the so-called World Wars (in reality wars between Europe’s imperial powers to divide the world’s resources), thousands of civilians were brutally killed by both parties who engaged in the war.
For example, allied bombing raids on February 13–15, 1945, almost completely destroyed the German city of Dresden. Britannica reveals that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill had called for increased British air raids against Germany’s population centres.
In Japan, the US killed hundreds of thousands of civilians during the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The US has still not apologized for that heinous crime against humanity or for the fire bombing of Tokyo.
The nights of 9 -10 March 1945, is referred to as the single most destructive bombing raid in human history. Sixteen square miles of central Tokyo were destroyed, leaving an estimated 100,000 civilians dead and over one million homeless. In comparison, the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in August 1945 resulted in instantaneous death of between 70,000 and 150,000 people.
Post-war analysts have called the raid a war crime.
In post independence India, during a protest at Jallianwala Bagh in the state of Punjab, British troops opened fire on unarmed protestors killing several hundreds and wounding hundreds more. In the aftermath of the massacre, the commander of the troops – Brigadier General R.E.H. Dyer - was asked to resign! But Britain’s House of Lords praised Dyer and gave him a sword inscribed with the motto “Saviour of the Punjab.” In addition, a large fund was raised by Dyer’s sympathizers and presented to him.
All of these despicable acts were committed by the self-styled protectors of democracy and human rights. However, killing of civilians by whomsoever, needs be condemned and the perpetrators need to face justice for their crimes. What is wrong however, is the difference in which perpetrators of injustice are treated. During World War II, thousands of Korean and Chinese women were forced into sexual slavery by Japan as ‘comfort women’ (a euphemism for brothels that forced the women to service Japanese soldiers). But Japan still refuses to take responsibility for its crimes.
In our own country during the Wellassa rebellion, the British killed civilian men and boys, devastated orchards and laid waste the irrigation channels in the Uva region to quell the rebellion. The damage to the tanks and channels in those areas gave rise to malaria epidemics which killed thousands.
These too are crimes against humanity; however, Britain still does not accept responsibility for these crimes. It has paid no reparations to the country for the damage it has caused or for the numbers of civilians killed during the Uva uprising. Sadly, the so-called defenders of human rights do not prosecute these countries. In most cases, countries who blindly support the US and its NATO partners, are held up as paragons of virtue and world leaders of stature.
Coming back to Canada and its PM Trudeau, Wikipedia records that Canada as being one of the few countries in the international community, alongside the United States, Israel, and the Compact of Free Association states, to consistently vote against anti-Israel resolutions in the UN. This despite the continuing crimes Israel commits against state of Palestine and its people.
According to the UNRWA Israeli attacks on Palestinians has resulted in over 5.9 million Palestinians being made refugees. However, Trudeau the self-styled defender of rights in Sri Lanka refuses to condemn ongoing massacres of Palestinians by Israel. In 2017 Trudeau appeared on a Khalistan (Sikh separatist) platform in Toronto.
On his first visit to India in 2018, Trudeau was snubbed by the Indian PM who did not meet with him until the last days of his visit.
At the ‘Daily Mirror’ we condemn human rights violations by whomsoever. We demand justice be meted out even - handedly and ask Premier Trudeau to correct the historic wrongs his own people committed against indigenous people of Canada, before pointing his fingers at others.
Sokrates Monday, 22 May 2023 09:38 AM
It's always the same when Sri Lankans philosophize about war crimes. In very rare cases, as in this article, the war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan forces against the civilian Tamil minority are also mentioned in a few words. Otherwise, as is the case here also, 90% of the article reports on crimes against humanity committed by other countries. (However, strangely enough, the crimes of China and Russia are always left out.) The articles almost always mention crimes that date back generations, if not centuries. The only thing missing is that the war crimes of the Middle Ages are denounced. But what matters is: YOUR OWN CRIMES CANNOT BE OFFSET AGAINST THE CRIMES OF OTHERS. Although Canada's history is not white, Trudeau is right when he denounces the genocide in Sri Lanka, which has failed to bring its war criminals to justice in the past 14 years.
Sangaralingham Tuesday, 23 May 2023 04:20 AM
What is all fuss about.damage done.wisemen wisewomen shake hands try to improve social political nature with honest intentions and carry on. Nobody they we you are guilty or not
Punchi Monday, 22 May 2023 09:41 AM
The author of this opinion piece doesn’t understand they difference between deaths in Dresden and Tokyo which is acknowledged by the perpetrators and the end of the war in muliyavaikal where we deny that civilians were killed. The Nazis committed massacres in Soviet Russia and Japs in Nanking and other places.
Peri Casinathen Monday, 22 May 2023 09:45 AM
Since ww2 was mentioned US introduced the Marshall plan to develop Western Europe and Japan but strict laws for the occupying forces and the Nuremberg trial and similar trial in Japan The Tamils are still waiting for a political solution Which was the reason for war
Kumara Monday, 22 May 2023 11:28 PM
All Sri Lankan citizens want is justice to victims of the war; we did not want justification of other countries' actions or non actions for continued denial in our country of justice and reconciliation.
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