A few words to the self-loathing Sri Lankans
Posted on May 9th, 2009
By Sesha Samarajiwa
Of late people who made a living out of Sri Lanka-bashing have been changing their tune a bit, ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â but obviously itÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s not easy for them to get off their habitual groove.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
Let me illustrate by taking the case of Jehan Perera,ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â whose career, like those of his ilk,ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â I have been following with increasing disgust.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Perera is the head honcho of the highly lucrative National Peace Council.
From giving a subtle nod to “its [US] proposal, which could include safe passage abroad for the LTTE leadership ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â¦” and his glowing tributes to the LTTE after he visited Prabhakaran’s now lost kingdom some years ago [at the TigerÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s invitation], Perera isÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â now compelled to grant, crestfallen, that it is the citizens of Sri Lanka who have the final say in matters that affect us and that would impact on unborn generations.
See for example, his interview with Groundviews ( http://www.groundviews.org/2009/04/26/have-ngos-failed-in-peacebuilding-an-interview-with-jehan-perera/)ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â in which he admits the ineffectiveness of NGOs in peace building, while taking the opportunity to fire a few barbs at the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL), and his article in the Daily Mirror of May 5 2009 in which he bemoans the inability of the International Community (IC) —ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â a euphemismÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â for a cabal of Western nations with high concentrations of Sri Lanka Tamils who have been supporting the separatist project — ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â to strong-arm the GOSL to effect a ceasefire in their efforts to eliminateÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â the LTTE which has terrorized the country for three decades ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ a move which would undoubtedlyÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â be exploited by the Tigers to run to fight another day. (http://www.dailymirror.lk/DM_BLOG/Sections/frmNewsDetailView.aspx?ARTID=47940)
Perera is inÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â obvious awe of the IC and Civil Society, a euphemism for his kind of entrepreneur.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â But theyÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ll be making a mistake if they think we are all in equal awe ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â of the people whom they genuflect to.
ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â My question is: did/do the powers that demonstrated ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œshock-and-aweÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ in Iraq and are doing so now in Afghanistan, allow free access into their theatres of conflict the legion of agenciesÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â and representatives of the IC clamoring to interfere in Sri Lanka?ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â They do not.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â In fact, the UK recently brought the full weight of their law to penalize a British soldier who had been active in Afghanistan for revealing classified information to a journalist.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â If found guilty, he faces life imprisonment in Her MajestyÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s jail.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
But they take umbrage at our well-founded anxiety about their sinister agendas which could very possibly spell ill for our country and throw a lifeline to her existential enemy ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ those here and abroad whose avowed goal is to carve out another country on this island.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Methinks they protest too much.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
What people like Perera must understand is thatÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â this country is blessed with many patriots who will resist all efforts to make Sri Lanka an ugly stub, wedged by the horseshoe-shaped pincer in the form of an expansionary, enemy state called Eelam.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â At one time, Perera thought it might not be such a bad idea.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
But all one needs to do is to visit the hospitals where wounded Sri Lanka soldiers urge their doctors to fix them fast so that they can rush to the battlefield and finish off our ravagers.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Then they will see the grit and spirit that safeguarded this beloved country from ravagers of the past, most of them of the identical lineage as the Tamil Tigers.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
Have these Lanka bashers seen the pictures of forcesÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â personnel — men and women, soldiers and doctors — ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â helping the victims of the monstrous tyrant in the Vanni?ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Have they seen the human chains ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ made up of the humble citizens in the south — preparing aid for the victims of tyranny in the Vanni?ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Have they seen the Sri Lanka Army and Navy saving them from the barbarians who hold them as human shields and who shoot them dead and chop off their legs when they try to escape?ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Have they seen pictures of the Sri Lanka Air Force airlifting essentials to them? If they have, why turn aÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â blind eye to their deeds, to their benevolent efforts — round the clock at great personal sacrifice — on behalf of the miserable Tamils who have suffered under PrabhakaranÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s jackboot?ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
Why do they persist in painting the government of Sri Lanka as the villain of the piece?ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Anyone whoÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â steps out of the bunker constructed out of their biases must surely ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â sense the essential goodness of the much demonized Sinhala people?ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
At times when countries face existential threats, even so called ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œcivilizedÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ nations ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ the UK, the USA , Australia, for example ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œ are compelled to enact Prevention of Terrorism Acts,ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Patriot Acts, Homeland Security Acts, ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â and they tend to turn draconian.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â At a time when this nation faces an existential threat, it cannot afford to uphold all the norms of democracy.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Unfortunately, circumstances dictate their temporary shelving.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â It is also prudent to go by the mounting hard evidence of the partiality for the Tigers by many powerful Civil Society agencies and so-called mediators such as the Norwegian state, in cahoots with the separatist lobby both here and abroad, to be wary of Trojan horses disguising very probable ÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒâ€¹Ã…â€œSave-the-TigersÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢ maneuvers.ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â
I understand how hard it must be for people like Perera to shift their position, to grant their devil (GOSL) its due. ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â But give us a break!ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â At least now stop your inane, biased pontification and, worse, subtle and not-so-subtle demonization of the Government of Sri Lanka and, by extension, the long-suffering people of Sri Lanka.