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Sri Lankan Oppression


                                ~ PASLO~

          People Against Sri Lankan Oppression.

                                                       P. O. Box 5581,
                                                     Benoni South. 1502
                                             Gauteng. Rep of South Africa.
                                              Tel/Fax No: (011) 421-3235

              1st March 1999

                                   Press Release.

              Sri Lankan Government's propaganda machine reaches out to
              South African Parliamentarians and Journalist.

              Parliamentarian group led by Mr Ebrahim I. Ebrahim -
              Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee of Foreign Affairs.

              In December 1998 a group of 7 Parliamentarians and in February 1999
              a group of 10 South African Journalists were invited by the Sri Lankan
government to visit Sri Lanka and see for themselves what the situations in Sri Lanka was like. From reports and newspaper articles in South
              Africa, the parliamentary group gave a balanced view of the conflict in
              Sri Lanka between the Tamil Eelam forces and the Sri Lankan Armed
              forces. They group did say that their report would be incomplete,
              unless they speak directly to the LTTE. 

              The journalist are yet to publish something of substance other then
              details of their fully paid holiday to Sri Lanka, and forecasting that
              country as a future destination for holiday makers. 

              The Sri Lankan government refused to allow the delegations to meet
              the LTTE, which represents the Tamil Nation. Instead they only
              allowed them to speak to their puppets who collaborate with the
              government in oppressing the Tamil people. These groups are in the
              same category as the collaborators we had here in South Africa in the
              House of Delegates, House of Representatives and the local
              Councilors. Just as we had in South Africa, these people do not
              represent the majority of Tamil people, and were elected into their
              position by only a handful of friends and family. They are there as part
              of the Sri Lankan government's propaganda machine, to show the
              world that some Tamils are in government. We in South Africa should
              know from our experiences how destructive these collaborators could
              be. In South Africa these collaborators could not be trusted, how could
              these collaborators be trusted or believed. 

              The groups were taken to the Temple of the Tooth, which was
              damaged in an attack by the LTTE, but were not shown or told about
              the number of Temples, Churches, and Mosques destroyed by the Sri
              Lankan Army in the Tamil Provinces. They were not shown how the Sri
              Lankan Army bulldozed the graves of the fallen LTTE fighters in the
              Tamil Provinces. They were not told how the Sri Lankan army
              destroyed the Library in Jaffna, destroying valuable Tamil Literature
              that have been collected for thousands of years.

              The groups were shown the refugee camp of 15,000 Tamil Muslims
              (playing on the emotions of the Muslim MP of the parliamentary group)
              who were asked to leave Jaffna, but were not shown the refugee camps
              of 500,000 Tamils in the Vanni district. They were not shown the
              devastation and misery that the Sri Lankan army has inflicted on the
              Tamil Nation. They refuse to allow them to see the effects of the
              embargo they have placed on the Tamil Provinces. They did not show
              them how they use Food and Medicine as Weapons of War. They
              were not told of the number of mass grave of Tamils that were in the
              Tamil provinces. The groups were given statistics by the government,
              which has not been verified by any NGO in Sri Lanka stating the
              number of detainees, but were not allowed to speak to them and see
              the conditions under which they were kept. They were not told of the
              number of detainees who were tortured and killed in the Sri Lankan

              Getting the full picture. 
              The parliamentary group did say that they wish to meet the LTTE to get
              their view on the conflict, and have a better understanding of the
              situation, however, the group has made no attempt thus far to make
              contact with the LTTE. Is there a reason for the delay? We sincerely
              hope that they have not fallen victims to the Sri Lankan government's

              It is sad when some of our professional journalists do not rely on their
              investigative skills, but rather on propaganda fed to them by their hosts.
              From my conversations with a few of these journalists, I get the feeling
              that they were there on holiday and having a good time, and as the Sri
              Lankan government has instructed them, they are to promote tourism to
              Sri Lanka and convince the South African public that everything was
              normal there, even if they lie. One journalist mentioned that the trip was
              worth it, obviously, if everything is paid for, and you don't have to do
              anything but publish propaganda, it has to be worth it. Did any of these
              professional journalist question their hosts why they are being so
              generous and paying for their holiday and only showing them what the
              LTTE has done? Did they ask about the mass graves detention without
              trial, and torture of Tamils?. Did they ask about the starving Tamils who
              were made refugees in their own land? It is really sad when some
              professional journalists could be bought over with a free holiday. 

              We often wonder why the world and the UN are dragging their heels in
              trying to find a peaceful solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka. We see the
              world and the UN reacting very quickly to resolve the conflicts in
              Europe and elsewhere in the world, why not Sri Lanka? Did the Sri
              Lankan government ask the world and the UN for time to wipe out the
              Tamil Nation before the world and the UN could get permission from
              the Sri Lankan government to act?, or has the Sri Lankan government's
              propaganda machine managed to make the world blind to the atrocities
              and human right violations it commits. It is strange how the world is
              fooled by the Sri Lankan propaganda machine to turn a blind eye to
              what it is doing, even getting some governments to fund the atrocities
              and human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

              We appeal to all governments to stop helping the Sri Lankan
              government to wipe out the Tamil Nation. As they are trying to assist
              the people of Kosovo in finding peace and justice, they should also
              assist the Tamil people to find peace and justice. If the world could use
              force against the Serbs, why can't the world use force against the Sri
              Lankans. If the Sri Lankan government believe that they can use
              embargo's to force the Tamil Nation into submission, why can't the
              world use sanctions and embargo's to force the Sri Lankan government
              into submission. It is about time that the world and the UN treat all
              nations alike and stop assisting the Sri Lankan government. It is the Sri
              Lankan government and not the LTTE who don't want peace. The
              LTTE has said that it is prepared to negotiate with third party
              mediations. The Sri Lankan government is refusing to negotiate. The
              world and the UN should force the Sri Lankan government to

              Tommy M. Padotan
              Paslo News Desk.

National Co-Ordinator -Mr. T. M. Padotan: Secretary -Mr. M. T. Pillay: Treasurer - Mr. Y. Chetty: PRO
              - Mr. N. Pillay.


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