Trudeau’s “genocide”, JVP’s “separatist war” and Netanyahu’s Israel

Saturday, 1 June 2024 00:01 –      – 24

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What does “genocide” mean to Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada? His special statement issued on 18 May last introduced as “Statement by the Prime Minister on Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day” begins with the sentence, “Fifteen years ago, the quarter-century-long armed conflict in Sri Lanka came to an end.” So, he knows it. Yes, it came to an end 15 years ago with the LTTE proscribed in 33 countries as a “terrorist organisation” including in Canada, was completely annihilated.

Let me remind PM Trudeau that all UNHRC Resolutions thereafter on Sri Lanka that Canada also agreed to, had no mention of a “genocidal war”. UNHRC Resolution 51/1 on Sri Lanka adopted on 6 October 2022, said, it “Recognizes the importance of preserving and analysing evidence relating to violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes in Sri Lanka with a view to advancing accountability ….”. Where is genocide in it that PM Trudeau is concerned about? The Resolution went on to say it welcomes “the continued commitment of the Government of Sri Lanka to remain engaged with the United Nations and its agencies,… to achieve sustainable peace” (No.08/p-03). Mind you, every UNHRC Resolution supported by Canada was backed by Tamil Diaspora groups too. They never campaigned to include “accusation of genocide” in them.

Most interestingly, there had been no “genocide” in Sri Lanka four months before on 21 January 2024, when PM Trudeau addressed a “Tamil Heritage Day” event in Ontario. Addressing the Tamil audience with few Liberal Party MPs on stage with him, Trudeau said, “There seems there are challenging situations in Sri Lanka. That is why Canada will continue to stand with the international community including the United Nations Human Rights Commission and call for accountability, call for justice, call for reconciliation. It was important Canada called for sanctions against leading individuals as well, to demonstrate that nowhere around the world we would see these atrocities.” Did anyone hear him at this event saying there was “genocide in Sri Lanka”?

Where does Canada now stand on allegations against Israel for genocide in Palestine?

Four months ago, he was calling for accountability, for justice and calling for reconciliation. His term “atrocities” in Sri Lanka and stressed Canada would stand for “sanctions” against “leading individuals”, so the world would not see “these atrocities” again. It is therefore necessary to ask, where does Canada now stand on serious allegations against Israel for genocide in Palestine? Has Trudeau backed the South African allegation of genocide by Israel before the International Court of Justice (ICJ)? On numerous occasions when asked to clarify his stand on “Israeli genocide against Palestinians”, PM Trudeau has eluded giving a direct and a clear answer. His claims supporting the ICJ, does not say he supports the South African allegation on genocide by Israel.

During the seven months beginning October 2023 after Hamas attacked Southern Israel, retaliatory Israeli attacks were against Palestinian civilians and accounted for over 35,000 fatalities, 70% said to be women and children. UN later reduced that percentage to 52% on the explanation the Ministry of Health in Gaza has identified only 24,000 plus dead bodies and they are now quoting numbers from identified figures. Of them, 496 are said to be medical personnel. Sources from inside Gaza say, thousands of deaths in uncleared debris of large apartments and homes and bodies hastily buried in mass graves and in side streets go unaccounted. The total dead, or rather killed by Israeli forces with callous disregard for humanity by end April, could be nearly or more than 50,000 claim informed sources including volunteer relief workers.

Meanwhile Trudeau with a few billion dollars offered as aid to starving Palestinian refugees, calls for a ceasefire, with no immediate measures to save Palestinian lives and to effectively enforce the ICJ ruling on halting Israeli attacks on Rafah. Within just two days, after the ICJ ruled Israel should immediately halt all attacks on Rafah, 35 were reported killed and some burnt to death in air raids on a refugee encampment. Would Trudeau demand sanctions against Netanyahu to stop his genocidal attacks on Palestinians and honour the ICJ ruling on Rafah, not to see “these atrocities” again? What we here from Ontario is that Canada was “horrified” by the Israeli airstrike and now offers 5,000 visas for the affected in Gaza.

Sri Lankan Tamil influence in Canadian electoral politics

What was so important for PM Trudeau to say he and his government is concerned about a “genocidal war” in Sri Lanka concluded 15 years ago and pretend wholly ignorant about allegations on ongoing genocidal war by Israel against Palestinians? It’s definitely about the Sri Lankan Tamil influence in Canadian electoral politics. He said at the Tamil Heritage Day event, under his father’s government in 1983, Canada invited 180,000 Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to Canada and the trend grew. Thus, there are provincial electoral constituencies where Tamil vote plays a decisive role in all elections.

With Tamil incursions into Canadian politics, at national elections in 2011 Rathika Sitsabaiesan was elected to the federal parliament with over 40% from her constituency in Scarborough, the first Sri Lankan Tamil to be elected as an MP. It is not only Garry Sangaree being elected to the parliament since 2015 as a Liberal Party MP that is important but also the fact Trudeau made Sangaree a cabinet minister of the federal government in July 2023 to reach out to the Sri Lankan Tamil vote.

Why should he? With a string of local and provincial elections listed to be held before the next national election in October 2025, and the Abacus Data poll concluded on 21 May 2024 indicating “41% of committed voters would vote Conservatives with the Liberals at 25%, the NDP at 18% and the Greens at 4% … if an election is held today”, Trudeau needs a majority of the minority votes. He is therefore on a populist campaign in establishing a stronger presence among the 26.5% minorities, Sri Lankan Tamils included. Sadly for the Canadians, their Head of Government is playing racial politics to appease extremist Tamil sentiments, though not relevant to or valid in Sri Lanka anytime.

Trudeau’s politics no different to that of JVP

Sadly too, after Trump next door, Trudeau’s politics is no different to that of the Sri Lankan Sinhala-Buddhist petty bourgeoisie politics of the JVP. The difference being, while the JVP is reaching out to the majority ethno-religious vote to gain an electoral majority, Trudeau is reaching out to minorities to gain a majority among them. Both by playing politics with the same racial rhetoric. With elections this year, expecting to reach a double-digit percentage from their eternal limit of 3 to 5 percent votes polled at every election, the JVP is now courting the SLPP Rajapaksa vote bank that had always been around 40% or more in the Sinhala South alone.

The crazy Sinhala-Buddhist competition to own credit for winning the war against Tamil Tigers, now has three contenders. First it was President Rajapaksa and still in the lead, for his unwavering “political leadership” as Head of State. Next comes Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, then as Army Commander who claims it was he who “strategised” and led the forces that won the war. Former JVP MP Lal Kantha trying to elbow out the Rajapaksas, now brings in a third factor, the “ideology” of the war against “Tamil separatism” the JVP wants to own.

This leaves two major issues to be politically understood. First is that, it was not a genocidal war, but one against “Tamil separatist” armed struggle. For that purpose, pushing their Sinhala racist ideology against the Tamil concept of a “North-East homeland”, the JVP appealed for a de-merger of the merged North-East Province on a FR petition filed with the Supreme Court and the provinces were de-merged. But no Sri Lankan Tamil political party has spoken about a “merged N-E as their Tamil homeland” thereafter. TNA campaigned for a Federal State at the 2015 August and 2020 August elections. That tells me, no genocidal State would allow elections in N-E for Tamil political parties to canvass the demand for a federal State.

The second political issue that needs attention is, when the JVP credits security forces for eliminating “Tamil insurgency” in North-East in May 2009, they forget it is the same State security forces that eliminated their own savage “Southern insurgency” 20 years before in 1989 November. One would not call the Sri Lankan State that eliminated without bias both Sinhala insurgency and Tamil separatism, as a genocidal State.

I would therefore appeal to Justin Trudeau, the Prime Minister of Canada to convene a “World Coalition Against Genocide” and demand the UN impose a total arms, ammunition and cultural embargo immediately against Israel. Call for immediate halt to attacks on Gaza including Rafah. Support South African allegation against genocide by Israel and then announce as did Ireland, Spain and Norway did on 22 May, 2024, that Canada too accept Palestine as an independent nation State. Wish you would, instead of issuing petty, irrelevant statements on genocide.