Friday, June 17, 2011

My Views On The Killing Fields

I watched it on Wednesday, the day after the evening it was first broadcast. By then there were already a multitude of Facebook statii, blog posts and emails between friends and foes doing the rounds. I knew I'd be horrified by its contents, I knew it wouldn't change my opinions, perhaps only making them stronger.

I knew that it would polarise some opinions even more, that the chances are it would have no real effect and that my fundamental faith in the British media would underpin many of my thoughts.

I was right in most of my knowledge, some is yet to be proved.

But yes, I do hold the British media in high regard. That doesn't mean I believe everything I read, no way. I think much of the media is biased, many of the journalists and reporters also. But, I believe that, here in the UK, our media, journalists and reporters have far more freedom of speech than their counterparts in many other countries.

That freedom of speech means that there's the ability to attempt to investigate things, miscarriages of justice. It means that, when I'm in a restaurant or pub talking to people about politics, I don't have to worry about keeping my voice down because there's a minister sitting at the next table.

I've read many people's reports of the Killing Fields, saying that it presented a biased view, a one sided argument and that it glorified the LTTE, failing to present a balanced picture. In one way those reports are correct.

There was little or no alleged footage of attrocities committed by the LTTE, though I thought the narrative, with phrases like "one of the most ruthless terrorist organisations in the world, which pioneered suicide bombing" (with my apologies if that's not quoted perfectly), would have left the previously uninformed viewer in no doubt of what the LTTE was.

Yes, there seems to be no irrefutable proof that the footage shown was genuine, that it actually did depict one side doing those terrible things to the other.

But I don't understand the argument that the LTTE violated Human rights, international law and what have you and that therefore it was okay for these things to be done by the forces in order to defeat the enemy. The enemy was a terrorist organisation. It's what terrorists do. And, for the record, I think it's wrong.

People complain about the ineffectiveness of the UN. Fair point? Maybe. But the UN was made to leave the North East and, even if it wanted to take action, prevented from seeing for itself what was going on.

Some people complain about a lack of action by the UN and also moan when other bodies try to do something. They want interest from the international community but they only want the right sort of interest; that of patting poor little Sri Lanka on the back for doing such a great job in defeating terrorism.

Things like the Killing Fields inform the global community at large of things that took place. People all over the virtual and perhaps the real world are talking about it. That's not bad, that's not keeping old embers alight. That's good, that the way things are actually dealt with.

First you have to acknowledge there's a problem, only then can you solve it.

All the people who say that the civilian casualties were a price worth paying in order to finish the conflict need to remember what the official line is; that it was ended with no civilian casualties.

As long as that is the line there'll be questions that will need to be answered.


Anonymous said...

Small point but how did you know it wouldnt change your mind. Did you watch it with an open mind?

I believe there are many things at play here, many puppeteers and many puppets.

I am not at all sure what "the truth" is or even if there is "one truth". These are all perspectives. Some more horrific than others.

Confab said...

I agree with you that there were a lot of atrocities committed by the GOSL troops at the end of the war. And I agree with you that they should be held to account for the crimes committed.

However, the thorn that pricks me is, the west and its media should be picking out and highlighting the atrocities committed by themselves before publicizing atrocities committed by other countries. What right do they have to ignore what the British and American troops have been doing in the Middle East, only to then highlight what is going on in Sri Lanka?

It was irony indeed when I saw David Miliband's article in the NYT yesterday. Irony because he calls for accountability, but forgets that nothing has been done by him to hold the UK and its leaders accountable for the illegal invasion of Iraq, the killing of innocent civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, etc etc etc all of which surely must amount to war crimes.

I agree with you, accountability in Sri Lanka must be had. But when the calls for accountability come from the West, I find it difficult to side with hypocrites.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Confab - I agree with you enitirely, if the west has committed war crimes then the west should be punished as well.