Following a successful side event at the Palais des Nations, where “The Last Phase”, a documentary based on the lives of two former LTTE combatants and told from the point of view of Jeyawadani, a former female combatant, who grew up with the doctrine of the said terrorists group in ‘Sencholai’ and spent her youth in the medical wing of the same group, participating in many of battles launched by this group.
Married to a former Sea combatant, they both take turns sharing the story of their childhood, youth, their marriage, the birth of their three children and the years leading to the final phase of the conflict and its aftermath. The film very succinctly conveys the tale of the couple, who having spent a majority of their lives with this group gradually become disillusioned and finally renounced violence to lead a quiet, civilian life, was screened by International Buddhist Foundation (IBF) together with the Committee for a United Sri Lanka (CUSL), the members of the Committee met Mr. Callum Macrae.
The CUSL members had formally introduced themselves and had asked Mr. Macrae about the “selective journalism”, which consequently lead to a constructive discussion between these two groups. The representatives were then asked by Mr. Jonathan Miller to give an interview to express their opinion on the proposed resolution against Sri Lanka.
During the interview CUSL members expressed that Sri Lankans expatriates strongly believe that it is time to stop pointing fingers at each other but rather for the Sri Lankans and international community to work together and support Sri Lankans. They explained that there is a need to find a home grown solution to the problems, one that would ensure that all Sri Lankans irrespective of their ethnic and religious backgrounds will find a way to reconcile and live together.
They had added that a HRC resolution against Sri Lanka would have a negative impact on the reconciliation efforts, as it would result in further divisions between the two communities. They had also pointed out that the resolution, if adopted would be sending a wrong message to individuals and groups that expect a divided country and that they would be encouraged to start devising mechanisms that would lead to hatred between the two communities. This would then be beyond repair.
The CUSL members had also pointed out that, although the conflict in Sri Lanka has been a multidimensional one, the international community has only seen the two sides of it. This is simply due to refusal of Pro LTTE individuals and groups to recognise the very existence or right to exist of the other dimensions or individuals and groups representing a moderate opinion. They have been implementing many approaches to suppress the moderate view in order to mislead the international community over the years, since such recognition of existence of another side of the story would have changed the whole picture and if that had happened, these cunning ones would have lost the momentum, as their true identity would have been revealed. They had further pointed out that the following facts have to be studied with regards to the 30 year armed conflict that was ended in 2009, to see the true picture that the international community has not seen fully.
-What the people of the North and East had experienced for almost 30 years, regardless of the fact whether they had been pro “armed struggle” neutral or against it.
-How the rest of the country had to suffer and experience the conflict, especially the men and women who were in the field, protecting the civilians and making sure that the rest of the country did not have to have sleepless nights.
-How the by-standers experienced it, including those who have been searching for the ultimate truth about situations when the two sides were in conflict.
They had also made a point that the international community failed to see the true picture of the conflict in Sri Lanka for over a period of 26 years and that the proposed solutions may worsen the damage. The team pointed out that the end of the war provided a golden opportunity for all Sri Lankans to work as a united nation to find home grown solutions to iron out the differences and problems.
They posed the question of where international journalists, such as the Channel 4 reporters were, when countless inhuman acts occurred as a result of the actions of the LTTE. These events which if exposed could have bought about intervention and assistance that would have prevented the destructions the Sri Lankans have witnessed all those years.
One of the members further mentioned that on seeing the “Killing Fields”, created by Mr. Callum Macrae, at an international film festival held in Zurich was saddened that it depicted, on the whole, a one sided story. They had further added that they were very upset to witness the extent of dramatization in the documentary, which later lead to support for the proposed Resolution.
The CUSL representatives commented that if the time spent on this resolution had been spent to encourage Sri Lankans to find a home grown solution, the Sri Lankans could have gained greater momentum to start their reconciliation process on a positive note.
The members of CUSL had ended on a note that represented the view of the majority of Sri Lankans. They had said that they believe that their small Island have the courage and ability to rise as one of the best examples in Asia, where all Sri Lankans would live in peace and harmony in a multicultural society.