Sri Lanka must have a LTTE War Crimes Museum & a Colonial War Crimes Museum
The world watches as statues of colonial criminals vested as heroes by Western governments are being dismantled. It is a mark of anger against the racism people have suffered even after end of colonial rule. So long as people are not given the correct narrative, so long as people are made to believe the heroes are the perpetrators of crimes, so long as these perpetrators get away by changing the narrative in their favor, the world will continue to be in strife. No amount of preaching reconciliation can succeed unless the real perpetrators are identified and the quantum of suffering is presented for people to make their own conclusions. Sri Lanka has suffered 443 years of direct colonial rule and 30 years of terrorism. This needs to be made public for posterity to know how much the country & its people suffered.
In 1505 the first of the western explorers landed in Sri Lanka and the last left partially only in 1948. It was only since 1972 Sri Lanka has had direct local rule. The Portuguese, Dutch and British ruled over the island committing an array of mass crimes no different to the other countries invaded by Western explorers. Mass murder, murder of livestock, killing animals for sport, conversion, destruction of soil, cultural sites & heritage, rape – everything inhuman was committed by them.
We are only made to remember and feel gratitude for the roads, railways and plantations set up with only a handful realizing that these were made not in our interest or for our advantage but to facilitate the looting of our natural resources and other treasures back home. Their museums filled with colonial looted treasures is evidence of this.
These roads, railways etc were made not by them but by the natives who were treated like slaves. The education system they started was not to give us education but to mold our minds to think and act like them. The objective was to create scores of brown sahib’s hero worshipping the tormentors of our people. That they purposefully used social systems and twisted them into their divide and rule policy was the foundation on which present-day racism, minority-majority divide, discrimination etc lies. Give us one example from pre-1505 where Sinhalese & Tamils fought based on ethnicity? You will find none. It was in transporting foreign populace and creating the divide that we are saddled with the problem of ethnicity labeled and created by them.
These historical realities need to be brought out into the open. Often what happens is whenever there is a momentum for the truth to come out there are parties funded to quickly divert the quest into a different angle so that the merit of the objective does not succeed. The calls for colonial crimes museum has been a long one but it has always resulted in sponsored factions giving 101 reasons not to. In so doing, the grand objective has been deterred and delayed. This should not be allowed to continue. Strong leadership and a stern decision is all that is now required.
Similarly, we see a global well-funded effort to present a totally bizarre notion of genocide based on hype and propaganda and involving plenty of foreign politicians who would do anything for votes. No amount of attempts to showcase the wrongs that LTTE has done will succeed against foreign entities swayed by remunerative means for personal and political advantage speaking on behalf of LTTE.
Therefore, we must do what is within our power to nullify the lies being spread. We cannot take the crimes LTTE committed to a world that refuses to believe LTTE terrorism,therefore we should create a home for these crimes and have them made available to the public.
An LTTE War Crimes Museum is one such way to bring to one place every Sinhalese killed by LTTE, every Tamil killed by LTTE, every Muslim killed by LTTE, every foreigner killed by LTTE.
This has been long overdue and sets of advisors have for too long advised wrongly without offering an alternative way to counter LTTE diaspora propaganda against Sri Lanka.
We have a memorial for the armed forces and police who have been slain by the LTTE but what do we have for every villager killed by LTTE? For every Buddhist thero killed by LTTE? For every place of worship destroyed by LTTE? For every public official killed by LTTE? For every world leader killed by LTTE? Nothing. But it is time we did.
Our foreign missions have failed to counter the lies of the LTTE propaganda machines overseas.The amount of foreign MPs speaking for LTTE is absolutely shocking. Therefore, what is our alternative? Do we just sit and wait for Genocide Bills and other lies to be spread globally?
Our generation will fight it out and challenge the lies, but what about the future? Already a brainwashed LTTE youth are crying crocodile tears for LTTE dead and presenting LTTE dead as ‘civilian’ dead and the world is buying these lies because there is no measurable counter propaganda by the government.
The easy way to do so is to create a central museum of LTTE crimes dating from 1970s to even present as LTTE international network of illegalities have not ceased though the ground combatants including Prabakaran have been eliminated.
The LTTE War Crimes Museum together with the Colonial Crimes Museum will help Sri Lanka create its own true narrative. Ironically, the LTTE are championing with the very same countries that occupied us during colonial rule and who dictate modern form of colonialism through neocolonial rule.
These two museums are two simple solutions to presenting the present generation and the future generation with almost 500 years of history that will be forgotten or diluted unless the correct history is not properly documented and made public.
The President of Sri Lanka must approve these two initiatives. The material is all available and we can do so even in digital format as well as physical format.
Shenali D Waduge