Meditation Focus #156
Birthing the New Era on Earth
What follows is the 156th Meditation Focus suggested for the next 3 (THREE) weeks beginning Sunday, August 27, 2006.
BIRTHING THE NEW ERA ON EARTH
2. Meditation times
3. More information related to this Meditation Focus
4. Peace Vigil for Sri Lanka
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ASSISTANCE IN PASSING THIS ON TO OTHERS
As the world approaches the fifth anniversary of the September 11 tragedy which has left indelible marks in the psyche of most humans and as the global elite, still bent on asserting its domination over the lands and people of this world, is trying as usual to raise the level of fear so as to better control those who might otherwise balk at the growing encroachment over their rights and freedoms, the forming world spiritual community, composed of all Light servers abiding to their higher guidance in contributing to serve their fellow humans and the Will of the Universal Source of Life and Love, is now responsible for heading the way into the emerging new era of Peace, Love and harmony of Earth. The choices repeatedly outlined through various channels are clear. Those who have eyes to see and are willing to open up to their soul's intuitive promptings know perfectly well what to do in their moment to moment contributions to global awakening and spiritual healing of all human beings.
Grasping the sheer importance of this cosmic moment, when seemingly modest actions initiated in response to a higher calling will almost inevitably end up in seemingly miraculous happenings with vast, far-reaching repercussions, is of immense value to those who wish to be part of the most vital endeavor ever conceived. The shift from one dimension to another is a rare occurrence in the multiple lifetimes of a soul and is not to be missed because of "poor timing" and futile resistance to what is innerly felt as the necessary next step. Continuous dedication to one's own unique mission, as part of the grand scheme designed to facilitate this transitional period, is the litmus test to those who wish to be part of the next wave of spiritual pioneers ascending along with Mother Gaia into the higher dimension of Love.
Please dedicate your prayers and meditations, as guided by Spirit, in the coming three weeks, and especially in synchronous attunement at the usual time this Sunday and the following two Sundays to contribute in birthing the new era on Earth through anchoring the ever higher vibrations of Light, Love and Oneness with All That is within the innermost confines of one's soul, and through radiating from there the Omniversal Force of Good which is the natural expression of Who We Are. May we all join as One to assist in channeling Light to all realms of Nature, to all human beings all over the world, and to all aspects of our own divine being so as to heal, expand awareness and manifest Love in all its wondrous manifestations, for the Highest Good of All.
This whole Meditation Focus has been archived for your convenience at
Here is a comment from Matthew which I solicited and received on August 25:
"With loving greetings, dear soul Jean, and my thanks for asking me to comment on the phrase "work as a community of light to birth the new" in the context of a meditation focus. Quite some time back I mentioned that when prayers from one or thousands or millions are directed not at a specific area, but rather are sent forth for the highest good of Earth, the universe spreads that light energy directly where it is most needed. I believe we have arrived at this optimum mass prayer with a "community of light" birthing the world of peace, love and harmony. I would say that it is abundantly clear what must go before the birthing can come, so let all of that leave your thoughts -- the work of the dark ones has lingered longer than its time because thoughts have kept it close and sustained its force. As a world community, turn your thoughts to the light of this birthing and hold steady that vision in your hearts and minds -- that is the key to co-creating the world you want. Know that myriad light warriors in physical and in spirit are with you, and in our unified light for all of Earth, we are triumphant."
You may also want to review the following August 23 compilation:
Veracity Series #14: Time for a Renewed Commitment to Peace and Truth
2. MEDITATION TIMES
i) Global Meditation Day: Sunday at 16:00 Universal Time (GMT) or at noon local time. Suggested duration: 30 minutes. Please dedicate the last few minutes of your Sunday meditation to the healing of the Earth as a whole. See the Earth as healthy and vibrant with life, and experience the healing of all relations as we awaken globally to the sacredness of all Life and to our underlying unity with All That Is.
ii) Golden Moment of At-Onement: Daily, at the top of any hour, or whenever it better suits you.
These times below correspond to 16:00 Universal Time/GMT:
Honolulu 6:00 AM -- Anchorage 7:00 AM -- Los Angeles 8:00 AM -- Denver 9:00 AM -- San Salvador, Mexico City, Houston & Chicago 10:00 AM -- New York, Toronto & Montreal 11:00 AM -- Halifax, Santo Domingo, La Paz & Caracas 12:00 PM -- Montevideo, Asuncion * & Santiago * 1:00 PM -- Rio de Janeiro * 2:00 PM -- London, Dublin, Lisbon, Reykjavik & Casablanca 4:00 PM -- Lagos, Algiers, Geneva, Rome, Berlin, Paris & Madrid 5:00 PM -- Ankara, Jerusalem, Johannesburg, Athens, Helsinki & Istanbul 6:00 PM -- Baghdad, Moscow & Nairobi 7:00 PM -- Tehran 7:30 PM -- Islamabad 9:00 PM -- Calcutta & New Delhi 9:30 PM -- Dhaka 10:00 PM -- Rangoon 10:30 PM -- Hanoi, Bangkok & Jakarta 11:00 PM -- Hong Kong, Perth, Beijing & Kuala Lumpur +12:00 AM -- Seoul & Tokyo +1:00 AM -- Brisbane, Canberra & Melbourne +2:00 AM -- Wellington * +5:00 AM
You may also check at http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/fixedtime.html?day=28&month=08&year=2006&hour=16&min=0&sec=0&p1=0 to find your corresponding local time if a nearby city is not listed above.
3. MORE INFORMATION RELATED TO THIS MEDITATION FOCUS
This complement of information may help you to better understand the various aspects pertaining to the summary description of the subject of this Meditation Focus.
1. Atmos 25-August-06
2. SaLuSa 24-August-06
GOP Candidate Says 9/11 Attacks Were a Hoax
A Republican candidate for the 2nd District congressional seat in New Hampshire said Wednesday that the US government was complicit in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. In an editorial board interview with the Telegraph on Wednesday, Mary Maxwell said the US government had a role in killing nearly 3,000 people at the World Trade Center and Pentagon, so it could make Americans hate Arabs and allow the military to bomb Muslim nations like Iraq.
Airline Insanity Merely A Beta Test For Police State Caste System (August 25 2006)
Draconian surveillance, identification, behavior modification measures being implemented right outside your door - Escalating security measures, body scans, lie detector tests and behavior analysis now being forced upon unwitting human livestock passing through airports are the first stage of an agenda to create a two tier caste system whereby only government authorized citizens will be able to travel and everyone will be subject to intense airport style harassment on city streets. Recent incidents that caused delays and diversions on airliners - including the latest example where a flight was turned back due to a group of men using mobile phones - underscore the unmitigated hysteria created by the politically timed release of the alleged foiled plot announcement two weeks ago. CLIP
I greet you on behalf of the Galactic Federation, and come at a time when you are aware that we are active in much that is taking place. You look for proof of it, but the difficulty is that the dark gain most of the publicity, and the media are so controlled that you are fed only what they wish you to know. Very few are truly independent, and you are more reliant on your Internet sources for the truth. Even there, information is not always as it seems, but with care you can get a feel as to what is reliable. Much that you believe has to be accepted on face value, and often requires that you have total faith in the writers.
One factor above all else should provide proof of the times you are in, and that is the manner in which time is speeding up. Many people that are not even aware that this phenomenon is connected with the changes, are sensing its effect. That apart you are left with our word for what is happening, and we try to keep you up to date with our plans. Of necessity you cannot be given too much information, that is unless you are one of our many allies. Some of you are part of that team without realizing it, and you respond to our guidance.
Anyone that wishes to help the Light is gladly accepted, and you may be sure that they will be enabled to make a contribution. It is very much like any other event in your life, where providing you are awake to the opportunity you will be used. Over a long period of time, many of you have been primed ready for this very period upon Earth. There are greater powers than ours that preside over the plan for Humanity, and carefully ensure that it is played out as necessary. It is for this reason that the end times are predictable. However, it is not so rigid as to override changes brought about by your freedom of choice.
Within the whole plan is sufficient flexibility to allow for variables, which will not necessarily alter it sufficiently to make any difference to the outcome. You must marvel at times as to how your seers could look into the future. There have been many, and Nostradamus and Edgar Cayce are such examples. Now you can see how accurate they have been, but have to remember that by your actions and thoughts you have altered the outcome of some predictions. The period leading up to the Millennium is one such time, when the level of your consciousness rose sufficiently to move your path into another direction.
Now you are still influencing events, and unbeknown to most of you are raising the levels of consciousness even further. This has the effect of curtailing the power of the dark forces, as you are bringing stability into areas that are otherwise very unstable. I refer here to the Middle East, where the emotions are high and fed by those who desire to see the unrest continue. Through your dedication and intent to bring peace to Earth, you are defusing such situations that are the most volatile. This is how the Light works, yet you cannot actually prove that it has been responsible for the changes.
We encourage you to keep up your good work, and focus on the outcome that will bring peace and happiness back to Earth. Clearly the war mentality must eventually be replaced, and we perceive that people in general are ready to back any moves in this direction. This is something that is prevalent all over the world, and certainly not just confined to the West.
You may wonder what we are doing when you see our craft in your skies. The sightings have become more numerous, and unless they are exceptional are not considered newsworthy anymore. There is also the ongoing attempt to dilute such news, in the futile attempt to cover up such matters relating to our existence. We carry out ongoing checks of your atmosphere, and do not need to necessarily land on Earth to monitor your land and seas.
The ecosystem is of particular concern, and we lessen the effects of pollution through the usage of advanced technologies. Radiation is particularly lethal, and again we limit its scope to cause injury or death to life. We find it incredible that your military use weapons that spread radiation that will affect areas for many years to come. Also the fact that it causes illness amongst your own kind is conveniently overlooked. As usual it is the civilians that feel the brunt of what happens in wars and suffer the repercussions. Your scientists know that radiation damages your genes and will affect many generations to come, but little regard is given to this fact.
In your wars human life has always been expendable, but never more so than now when such sophisticated and devastating weaponry is being used. Now there is a growing feeling among vast numbers of people, that it is time to put this barbaric way of life behind you, but stopping the war lords is not easy. Particularly as there is a lucrative business in the Arms Industry with vested interests that wishes to keep it going. There are massive problems confronting those who try to change your war mentality. This is why it is necessary for our eventual intervention which will put a stop to it once and for all time.
We are ready to fulfill our obligations to you, and it will be with the full authority of the higher powers that direct events upon Earth. We are not a military force, but a true company of different Star Nation members that carry out peaceful operations in the name of the Light. Whilst we have the most advanced technologies, these are only used as a last resort for self-defense. Our creeds do not allow for the destruction of life, and we will first remove people if that possibility confronts us. Our way is the prevention of warlike actions, and we can disable any weaponry that you have without getting involved in battles.
As all of the warlike countries face each other, we work with those who would broker peace agreements. However, it is always difficult because there are others who have a totally different agenda. The dark scheme and work behind the scenes, and manipulate people and events to reach their desired goal for world control. Greed for money is often a factor, as the loyalty of some people can be bought. Others have their own ideology and will side with anyone who will support them. So you have a curious mixture of people that are all trying to assert themselves to be successful.
It does not matter what attempts are made to circumvent the higher plan for these end times, the victory will be handed to the people. There is a whole bright future that is waiting to be claimed, and we shall ensure you reach it. Ascension or not, you are ready to take a major step forward away from the old patterns of existence that served only those in power.
True freedom and equality are to return so that all may share in the bounties of Earth. All matters will be conducted honestly and with the highest concepts so as to return your sovereignty. This will take place against a background of loving cooperation, and in the knowledge that Humanity is due a great lifting up. Your godliness will be given a chance to manifest, and in short time a new era will unfold. Your destiny is assured as this cycle ends and another begins, that brings Light and Love into your lives, so take heart as you are nearly there.
Thank you Atmos.
We sense your ongoing feeling of frustration, and that is understandable in view of the time you have been waiting for the final chapter in your lives to unravel. From different spiritual sources much encouragement has been given, and messages from us and other Beings have projected possible events that have not always materialised. That is the nature of the period you are in, with a number of paths having been opened up that have thrown up numerous possibilities.
The main features for these end-times remain unaltered, and with little alteration to our plans we see the major events waiting to enter your realm. You need much re-assurance of the positive aspects, particularly while you are seemingly surrounded by news of the darks activities. We ask that you weigh this up with the plan you are aware of that will ensure the return of your freedom, sovereignty and justice. Without doubt, the clearing of old karma has thrown up situations that are extremely unpleasant to bear witness to, but negative energies must be removed.
It is usual for people to be warned about the changes that accompany the completion of a cycle. It is also normal for the old to be cleansed and removed. You are allowed your time to create your own version of life, and all of its responsibilities travel with you. As with Lemuria and Atlantis, although those civilisations ended with calamity, some souls who had reached a point of readiness to ascend left before the grand finale. With the end of each civilisation came the necessary cleansing, so as to allow for what you might call a clean start for a new beginning.
As many of you are now aware, you are going through a similar cleansing period, except this time a major cycle is concluding that sees the end of duality. It is quite a momentous time to be on Earth, and be assured you are privileged to be here by choice. The end times are always very active, and you move within the energies of both the dark and Light. You participate in the experiences of those who have no desire to lift out of the lower vibrations. You also do this whilst enjoying the relative calm and promise of being one who will achieve Ascension. The energies are pulling you one way and then the other, and it is to say the least an extremely testing time.
You knew that the end times would push you hard, but believe it or not it was welcomed by you and seen as a wonderful opportunity to further your evolution. Bear in mind that you came with a plan that allowed for certain challenges to come into your life, taking this final chance to experience the outcome of Mans use of freewill. This is to give you a more expansive view of the result of using such freedom, and how it has affected Humanity. There is no other place in this Universe where you can learn your lessons so thoroughly, or so quickly.
The last challenge and the hardest one to handle concerns your emotions. At this time they are sorely tested, as there are those of you who feel every dark deed through your heart centre. You feel the hurt and distress that war is causing, and anger is not very far away. If you must release your tension and pent up emotions, look for an outlet that allows those energies to dissipate without bringing your vibrations down. If you can stay centred your response will be one of a controlled reaction. Lightworkers will know it is possible to send out positive energies to lift the vibrations where they have fallen. They will also see confrontations as opportunities where they can equally send love to all souls involved in them. Consider that perhaps those who are consumed by the dark energies need your love more than anyone else.
Universal Love does not pick or choose, it is there for everyone. To be able to give without discrimination is your ultimate goal. It is your final test and what better place is there at this time other than Earth. Give thanks that there are those who lack the Light who have been prepared to accept the roles of the dark, so that you may evolve. It may sound a strange concept, but in so doing they provide the playground where all manner of lessons can be learnt.
Your reality is of your own making, and Mother Earth has carried you along and allowed you to share her resources. Often you have abused that privilege, and with unbridled ambitions the dark have reached a new level of destruction. You could not possibly carry on for much longer without a major catastrophe, and you are well aware of matters such as pollution. It is debilitating the Earth and poisoning everything around. It has entered your food chain and illness and disease are on the increase. You no longer treat the Earth with respect, and it must be clear to you that it cannot go on this way much longer.
The answer comes with the end of this cycle that has a mere 6 years left. Indeed, it will come well before the end, because the cleansing and restoration of Earth has to commence very soon. The Galactic Federation is charged with ensuring the plan is carried out, resulting in major changes all round that will overcome the many problems that assail you. You know what is required and that your world government has no intention of addressing the problems. To some extent they are now incapable of doing so, as matters have been allowed to deteriorate for too long.
Many Beings are ready to openly greet you, who will come with the love and goodwill that is largely lacking at present. You will see Universal Love in action as never seen before, and the resources of the Federation members are to be made available to you. The task to restore Earth is formidable, yet presents no problem, and this includes helping you with your personal problems. You are also to be prepared for the changes to self, and there is no doubt that you will be ready to take up your new path in good time.
I am SaLuSa and bring greetings from your friends of the Sirius Constellation. We observe your actions, and know of your desire to meet us. That time beckons, and it will not be too long before we can come together in great celebrations. May the great Light of our Creator enrich your life.
Than you SaLuSa
4. PEACE VIGIL FOR SRI LANKA
Please dedicate a portion of your meditations to assist in creating the conditions for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Sri Lanka and for a complete restoration of peace with justice and dignity for all parties involved.
The following information is for those who wish to understand in more details the situation briefly outlined above. It is recommended to view this information from a positive perspective, and not allow the details to tinge the positive vision we wish to hold in meditation. Since what we focus on grows, the more positive our mind-set, the more successful we will be in manifesting a vision of peace and healing. This complementary information is provided so that a greater knowledge of what needs healing and peace-nurturing vibrations may assist us to have an in-depth understanding of what is at stake and thus achieve a greater collective effectiveness.
1. 200,000 forced from homes in Sri Lanka
2. OLD ANIMOSITY, NEW PAIN: Civil War Returns to Sri Lanka
J. Sri Raman | Children Die as Sri Lankan Dialogue Awaits Revival
J. Sri Raman writes, "The most pertinent of points to be made about the massacre in Mullaitivu is that so very few seem to be talking about the dead as children, and not merely as Tamils."
Full Coverage on Sri Lanka
200,000 forced from homes in Sri Lanka
COLOMBO, Sri Lanka (AP) Fighting between Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels and security forces has forced at least 204,000 people from their homes in the eastern and northern parts of the country, the U.N. food agency said Friday.
The figure rose from about 182,000 to 204,000 in just a week and the numbers are still increasing, Jeff Taft-Dick, country director of the World Food Program, told reporters. He cited the most recent figures from the U.N.'s refugee agency.
The announcement came as an aid ship carrying 1,500 tons of food docked in Jaffna, where it was expected to take several days to unload. It was the first outside source of food to reach the besieged peninsula in nearly two weeks.
U.N agencies have put together an emergency contingency plan that predicts another 200,000 people will flee the fighting by the end of the year, Taft-Dick said.
Small scale skirmishes between Tamil Tiger separatists and security forces have been on the rise since December, but in June the military launched its first ground offensive since a 2002 cease-fire and the country was put back on a war footing.
Much of the fighting has revolved around the eastern port of Trincomalee and the Jaffna Peninsula, which the country's 3.2 million ethnic minority Tamils consider the heart of their culture, but which is controlled by the government.
Taft-Dick said there were still many areas controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels but cut off by the government that aid agencies have not been able to reach.
"We still don't know how many internally displaced people there really are," he said.
The government has said that it restricts access to conflict zones because it cannot guarantee the security of anyone who enters them, whether or not they represent aid agencies or commercial traders.
Since Aug. 11, the government has restricted access to the Vanni, a wide swath of Tiger territory in the north where about 37,000 people are living in temporary shelters after fleeing fighting in the northern Jaffna Peninsula.
Taft-Dick said the food situation there is becoming "critical" and aid agencies are unable to move relief supplies into the area because of government road blocks. He said besides the area's population of 350,000 there are now an additional 37,000 displaced in need of aid.
"The Vanni region has been cut off," he said. "Only a few vehicles and staff have been able to get in, but no food, no fuel, no food supplies."
He said there also was no access to Tiger-held areas north of Batticaloa, an eastern stretch of coast that was hard hit by the 2004 tsunami.
Several WFP programs had been suspended or scaled down to allow food stocks to be diverted to feeding the displaced. But in some areas, these would only last "a couple of days," Taft-Dick said.
The International Committee of the Red Cross only recently has been able to reach people in places like rebel-controlled parts of the Trincomalee district on the east coast, agency spokeswoman Carla Haddad said in Geneva.
August 23, 2006
OLD ANIMOSITY, NEW PAIN: Civil War Returns to Sri Lanka
By Rüdiger Falksohn and Padma Rao
Still recovering from the December 2004 tsunami, Sri Lanka is once again enmeshed in a civil war. With the world's major powers choosing to look the other way, the victims of the island's latest round of violent clashes have only international aid organizations to turn to for help.
On a rainy evening in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, Kethesh Loganathan hears a knock on his front door. It's late and he isn't expecting visitors. Nevertheless, Sri Lanka's acting peace coordinator gets up and opens the door.
He peers out into the dark, and perhaps he even notices a minibus nearby with its engine idling, but what he doesn't notice is a group of shadowy figures who seem to emerge out of the earth in front of his house. The men are his murderers, the last people Loganathan, a Tamil intellectual who sought to achieve reconciliation between the island nation's warring factions, will see before he dies. The killers fire five rounds into Loganathan's body, jump into their minibus and speed away into the night.
Violence flares up again two days later on a busy shopping street in downtown Colombo, not far from Liberty Plaza. Although his Mercedes is guarded by a military escort in a white Land Rover, this doesn't stop Pakistani Ambassador Bashir Wali Mohammed's would-be assassins, who have rigged one of the city's ubiquitous covered moped taxis with explosives and parked it inconspicuously between trash bags set out on the curb. When the ambassador's small convoy passes the moped taxi at 1:25 p.m., his killers detonate two Claymore mines by remote control.
The diplomat remains uninjured, but his bodyguards are not as lucky. The full force of the exploding three-wheeled vehicle throws their SUV against a nearby wall, killing four bodyguards and three bystanders. The 15 injured on this gloomy Monday include young schoolchildren who, still in a state of shock from the explosions, are rushed to a nearby emergency room.
The attack was apparently the work of the Tamil Tigers, or Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), separatists who, as the self-appointed representatives of Sri Lanka's 3.5 million Tamil minority, have been waging a war to establish their own state for more than two decades. The Tigers launched their armed resistance movement in 1983, when suppression and persecution of the Tamils by the ruling Singhalese became unbearable and began escalating into pogroms against the minority group.
Tsunami and civil war
The LTTE has controlled the north and the eastern edge of this tropical paradise for some time. And although the group signed a peace treaty with the Sri Lankan government in February 2002, that agreement is now worth less than the paper on which it was written. The latest round of violence began when the country's foreign minister was assassinated -- exactly one year before Loganathan was shot to death two weekends ago. Since then, old animosities between the two rival ethnic groups have flared up again in the form of political murders in Colombo and government military reprisals on the fringes of the Tiger belt. "We must respond in a language they understand," barked government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella in the wake of the most recent Tamil Tiger attacks. "Attack is our best defense!"
Rambukwella's threats were apparently serious. A short time later, a handful of the Sri Lankan air force's Kfir jets took off for the Tigers' strongholds in the north, where they promptly flattened a building in the town of Vallipunam. According to government sources in Colombo, the target was a barracks building where they claimed the LTTE was training child soldiers who, in the government's eyes, are just as culpable as their adult counterparts. The Tigers promptly retorted that the building was a school for orphans, and that the children were in the midst of a first aid course when the bomb struck. But United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) observers who quickly arrived on the scene corroborated the Tigers' story.
One of the basic truths about this civil war, a conflict characterized by its brutality and by the two sides' ongoing reciprocal assignments of guilt, is that both sides play dirty. It's also true that 16 bombs rained down on Vallipunam last Monday at 7 a.m. local time. At least 51 girls were killed and 155 wounded. The air attacks became yet more intense on Thursday. Perhaps the saddest of truths facing the island nation is that those who have been forced to bear the brunt of this vicious conflict -- in which neither the LTTE nor the government's army, the SLA, has managed to gain the upper hand in more than two decades of fighting -- are ordinary Sri Lankans, still reeling in the aftermath of the deadly 2004 tsunami.
The suffering being visited on this spice island and popular holiday destination, where ongoing flare-ups of terror form a jarring contrast to the Sri Lankans' famously broad smiles, hasn't attracted much international attention. Far from stepping in to help resolve the conflict, the world's major powers have instead chosen to witness the slaughter from afar, content to periodically issue boilerplate statements of consternation.
While China and Pakistan supply weapons to the SLA (which explains the attack on the Pakistani ambassador), the country's powerful neighbor to the north, India, concerned about a possible arms buildup in its backyard, limits itself to providing logistical support, including the delivery of radar systems. US President George W. Bush has shown no interest whatsoever in this small island nation. Germany, for its part, threatened last week to cut off development aid if the violence continues.
Northern European mediators have been working for years to help bring peace to the region, either in the form of autonomy for Tamil-controlled areas or at least an interim solution both sides can accept. But after the European Union banned the Tigers as a terrorist organization in May 2006, furious LTTE officials demanded the withdrawal of EU observers by Sept. 1. The Europeans have been quick to comply, fearing retribution from rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his rival Karuna, who controls the eastern portion of the island. The EU contingent, which consists of Finns, Swedes and Danes, is expected to leave Sri Lanka by the end of this month.
The only international officials who will remain on the island after Sept. 1 to help minimize the damage are the non-governmental aid organizations, or NGOs, that have been active in Sri Lanka since the December 2004 tsunami, and a handful of about 20 Norwegian and Icelandic "observers." Since both Norway and Iceland are not members of the EU, the Tigers consider them -- and their observers -- neutral.
"The international community was ultimately a total failure here," says Norwegian chief mediator Jon Hanssen-Bauer, staring gloomily from behind his thick glasses. Hanssen-Bauer is visibly exhausted from a job that is both hectic and stressful. He negotiated unrelentingly with the Tigers when they recently sealed off and then mined a small group of canal locks in the east of the island. The effects of the Tigers' move were devastating.
Fifteen thousand farmers were cut off from their water supply for weeks, and some lost their harvests. The campaign was so spectacular that even the global press took notice, highlighting the LTTE's reputation for perfidious ingenuity. Although Colombo sent a force of 3,000 troops to the region, it remained ineffective, as is so often the case in Sri Lanka, and ultimately resorted to shelling the locks on the Maavilaru canal.
President Mahinda Rajapakse had to do something, and bombing the locks was ultimately little more than a PR campaign to show the public that he was in fact doing something against the Tigers. Ulf Henricsson, the Swedish head of the observer mission, was almost killed by artillery fire while accompanying the Tigers to the locks on August 6. Two days later, after almost three long weeks, the rebels finally opened the locks and released the water.
The battle for Trincomalee
The east is Sri Lanka's trouble spot. Although the government still controls the city of Trincomalee, no one knows how much longer it can hold out. The Tigers are intent on capturing "Trinco" as a crown jewel and as the capital of a state they would call Tamil Eelam -- or at least an autonomous region with practically full sovereignty.
Hanssen-Bauer compares the region -- populated in almost equal parts by Muslims, the Buddhist Singhalese and the mostly Hindu Tamils -- to a spotted leopard skin in which the government and LTTE struggle for territorial dominance. Holding or capturing Trinco is a matter of prestige for both sides, while being forced to abandon it would be deeply humiliating. Caught between the poorly delineated fronts in recent days and weeks, tens of thousands have already fled to camps run by the NGOs. At least 800 rebels and government soldiers were killed in the space of only one week.
Merely driving into the crisis zone is a highly dangerous endeavor. Two-thirds of the 280-kilometer (174-mile) route, up to the city of Habarana, are still relatively safe and well traveled, but then the road crosses into new terrain and a critical dividing line. The jungle gives way to a charred, bush-like topography. SLA roadblocks -- many of them little more than rudimentary barbed wire barriers nailed to branches, interspersed with impromptu corrugated metal checkposts that are reinforced with sandbags -- become increasingly frequent on what is now a lightly traveled road. As nervous travelers hand over their documents, uniformed soldiers patrol open stretches of road between the checkpoints. The A6, the east coast's main highway, is dotted with observation posts perched like sore thumbs on earthen mounds.
The army's rickety reconnaissance vehicles, some clad with corrugated metal as armor, look as if they could barely withstand an overly enthusiastic elk, not to mention enemy fire. Like the naïve young faces emerging from a wide range of uniforms, these vehicles merely highlight the SLA's fundamental inadequacies.
Like rebels the world over, the supposedly liberating Tigers recruit their human cannon fodder from within the very population for which they claim to be fighting. With no support from any foreign government, the guerillas buy their weapons on the world's black markets, partly with contributions from overseas Tamil exiles. In an effort to put a legal plug on this flow of cash, the EU placed the separatists on its list of terrorist organizations at the end of May.
Though LTTE has only a handful of aircraft in its arsenal, the "Sea Tigers" operating off the coast of Trincomalee are highly effective. They already appear to have made up for the destruction the 2004 tsunami inflicted on their fleet, as evidenced by the thousands of east coast residents who have now fled from their attacks.
A growing refugee crisis
The scene behind a railroad embankment in Kantalai, where the area's largest refugee camp stretches along a canal, reveals the full scale of the region's misery. Camp Perathuvelee, where 7,334 newcomers were registered last Tuesday, is populated exclusively by Muslims. Less than a week earlier, the camp was home to as many as 13,000 IDPs, the aid workers' acronym for "internally displaced persons."
According to the official count, by last Tuesday 52,501 Sri Lankans had chosen to endure the hardships of life in a refugee camp, the jostling for food and the lack of privacy, over the prospect of returning to their homes on the coast. Although refugees have been given the option of returning home, and some have done so, aid officials are reluctant to send anyone home and possibly into harm's way.
Those who choose often do so to escape the madness of camp life, where three to four families share crude tents fashioned from blue or gray tarps and the entire camp must make do with a dozen latrines.
Forty-year-old Fatima stands in front of her tent watching her children. The youngest play with dark red stones on a sheet of cardboard spread out on the ground in front of the tent flap -- their only toy. Inside the tent, the grandfather dozes on a grass mat, surrounded by cardboard boxes, tin bowls and a plate of five tomatoes -- a meal for the family of seven.
This isn't the first time the war has driven Fatima from her town, Muttur, where her husband runs a small pharmacy. But in the past Fatima and her family sought shelter in SLA camps. This time Muttur came under fire from both warring parties, prompting the family to flee inland. "The government would prefer to load us onto buses and send us home now," says Fatima in a deep, raspy voice, "because they claim it's quiet there now. But no one believes them."
Indeed, "Samadhanam," the Tamil word for peace, is a long way off for Sri Lanka. On Aug. 6 Muttur, on the southern edge of the large bay surrounding Trincomalee, became the scene of an outrageous act of bloody violence and the epitome of the horrors of the Sri Lankan civil war. Fifteen local employees of French aid organization Action Against Hunger (Action Contre la Faim) were found lying face-down on the ground, executed with shots to the head. Two others were found dead in a nearby car. All but one were Tamils.
No one has claimed responsibility for this taboo-breaking massacre, with each side claiming it was the work of the other. The lack of a plausible motive made the incident all the more shocking.
"If the SLA loses Muttur, it will lose the war," says Amjad Mohamed-Saleem, head of the British organization Muslim Aid's Sri Lankan operation. Judging by the amount of effort the government has put into holding on to little Muttur and larger Trinco, he may be right. Trinco, where soldiers almost outnumber civilians, has the air of a ghost town. Two soccer fields on the seashore are deserted and the adjacent playground is empty. "Club Oceanic," a resort, is offering a 15 percent discount "on everything" and, in an effort to shield its guests, prefers not to tune its TV sets to the news.
Only a year ago, the hotel was booked solid and the remains of a 40-foot dugout canoe lying off the hotel's beachside deck, ripped apart by the tsunami, were practically a tourist attraction. Today the shattered canoe is testimony to the double burden that's been hoisted on the Sri Lankan people, both by the devastating force of the giant wave and one of the world's longest-lasting civil wars. A hotel employee nicely sums up this double whammy against Sri Lanka when he says: "I hate myself for having been born in this part of the world."
In the evening, heavy clouds hang over the Bay of Trincomalee. The good people from the NGOs and the UN gather around a large table for supper in the dining room at the Club Oceanic. This evening they're discussing a warning that has just arrived by text message. The LTTE announced its first-ever attack on the city and encouraged everyone to leave Trinco by no later than the next morning.
The news hasn't stopped Katey, a cheerful employee of the UN's Trincomalee mission, from spreading her good spirits. Sullen Damian, who works for an NGO in Kantalai, pensively rotates his wine glass back and forth. Lars, a German who runs a medicine project, constantly harps on the bad luck that brought him to this place and the even worse luck that will take him to Sudan next year. The assembled aid workers talk and fiddle with their electronic organizers and mobile phones, as if communication technology were the only salvation in their current, difficult situation.
The power suddenly fails at 9 p.m., bringing conversation to an abrupt end. It's pitch-black inside the hotel, as black as the night over the bay. And it's silent, so silent that everyone in the room hears the Tigers setting of an explosion in Trinco.
Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
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