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Dozens of unarmed Tamils, including several senior Tiger political leaders and their families, were also shot dead by soldiers as they walked out of the kill zone carrying white flags. One of his brothers, Gotabaya, is his defense minister; another, Basil, is his chief of staff and minister for economic development; and a third, Chamal, is Speaker of Parliament.
“All we could see was dead people, people crying for food and for water, and burning vehicles everywhere.”On May 16th, Army troops took the last coastal positions, and, as they pursued the remaining Tigers, the Army commander, General Sarath Fonseka, declared victory. “We found food packets—meat, chocolates,” the pastor said, and they took as much as they could carry, dodging incoming fire.Images were released of his body lying at the feet of Army troops, a handkerchief over his forehead to conceal a yawning wound. Prabhakaran’s eldest child, Charles Anthony, was killed the day before, along with other fighters who launched a final assault on Army lines. “Our intention was to save the Tamil people from the cruel grip of the L. Rajapaksa is the son of a well-known politician, but his family comes from a village in the deep south of the country, rather than from Colombo’s Western-educated élite; in Sri Lanka’s highly stratified society, they are considered nouveau-riche upstarts.Soon after, the Army said it had also recovered the bodies of Prabhakaran’s wife, their daughter, and their youngest child, a boy, all of them dead of gunshot wounds. He has made his rusticity a political asset, however, and he enjoys a huge following among rural Sinhalese.N.’s special envoy to Sri Lanka and Marie Colvin, a correspondent for the Sunday of London, whom the Tamil leaders had asked to be their intermediary. In an address to Parliament on May 19th, Rajapaksa declared a national holiday. After the war, Rajapaksa’s government adopted a posture of triumphalism at home and defensive resentment of the outrage that the carnage had caused abroad. Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in London complained to me that his country was being unfairly singled out: “Colombia has been contaminating the world for years with its cocaine, and now Somalia is with its piracy. In military circles around the world, the “Sri Lanka option” for counter-insurgency was discussed with admiration.Its basic tenets were: deny access to the media, the United Nations, and human-rights groups; isolate your opponents, and kill them as quickly as possible; and segregate and terrify the survivors—or, ideally, leave no witnesses at all.