In Defence of Dayan Jayatilleke.
Posted on July 28th, 2009

By Charles.S.Perera

Of course Dayan Jayatileke needs no one to defend him.

 Least of all me, as I do not know Dayan Jayatilleke, I have seen him only in media images and heard him on video clips. But I have read some of his articles on various subjects appearing in the websites.

 I like his style of writing. I like his intelligent approach to the subjects he treats, and his great scholarship. That is the only closeness I have to Dayan Jayatilleke.

 I was keenly following the terrorism in Sri Lanka, for about 14 years until its end in May,2009. I observed how various governments of Sri Lanka approached the vexed problem and the methods they adopted in their attempts to see an end to it.

 I also watched the pragmatic plan adopted by the President Mahinda Rajapakse to end terrorism in Sri Lanka. First by attempting a direct approach with the terrorist leadership for a possible political settlement, and failing that planning out and putting into action with great determination a military offensive against terrorists, demanding the Armed Forces from the beginning to avoid causing death or injury to the civil population.

 I was profoundly imbued with pride and happiness when the government continued its determined military operations without interruption despite the attempts of a hostile , an ambiguous, and an evidently hypocrite International Community to derail the effective offensive of the Government Armed Forces to terminate terrorism in Sri Lanka.

 The West played a dubious role in Sri Lanka making statements of their commitment to fight terrorism where ever it exists, and at the same time conniving with the terrorists in Sri Lanka helping them behind scene to form a separate State. Their honesty, their opinionated transparency of international relations were compromised in their most blameworthy attitude adopted in the last phase of the military operations of the Armed Forces to eliminate terrorism in Sri Lanka, demanding a pause in the military offensive to allow them entry into the conflict zone.

 The demand to enter the conflict zone was obviously with the intention of rescuing the terrorists leadership before they were to be eliminated by the Government Forces. This fact is being confirmed in the continuing furore after the successful military offensive against terrorism, and the attempt that was made interposing, their willing “recruit” Navy Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, to pass a resolution accusing the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka for war crimes.

 This latter attempt was completely and definitely thwarted, thanks to the undaunted courage and rhetoric of the able diplomat that was Dayan Jayatilleke . That part he played in the defeat of the resolution in the UNHRC opened the eyes of the World to the hypocrisy of the West and their fallacy of the publicised generosity to assist the development of the third world countries.

 The world of today exist in groups. There is the European Group, the American and Latin American Groups, Asian Groups, Oceanic Group , the African Group and so on. Therefore, it is in the ability to influence the groups that would give strength to a country in International Forums. In seeking support for a countries projects and activities a representative should be able to convince the members not only with facts and figures but also in presenting the case with an appropriate language, turn of phrase, and force and conviction.

 In that respect Dayan Jayatilleke turned out to be a great asset to Sri Lanka. The role played by Dayan Jayatilleke to ward off the vengeful manoeuvres of a determined hypocrite West to make the victory over terrorism a National shame, rather than a triumph over evil, was enormous and significant, and should not be underestimated.

 The “heroic” stance taken by a dedicated son of the soil should not be over shadowed by his past. The yeoman service he rendered to his motherland in the “Davidian” battle against the “Goliathian” might of the West should not be belittled as he did not allow his past political convictions interfere in the defence of the cause of his country?

 What has to be taken into account before passing hasty judgement over him is his contribution to outmanoeuvre the Western Superpowers and their acolytes who were determined to discredit the Government of Sri Lanka, and pay severely for its victory over terrorism- in which “exercise” the Western Super powers are inextricably enmeshed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 What matters as far as we are concerned is what Dayan Jayatilleke is to-day and the part he plays in defence of his country against the powerful West, and not what he was in the past and what he will be in the future.

 We all have our personal views , ideas , and ideologies acquired through reading, listening and hero worship of politicians, teachers, thinkers and intellectuals, which have shaped our lives one way or another, will always remain a distant echoes. But if in spite of that in whatever call we are to serve , we remain loyal to the cause and defend it without allowing ourselves to be distracted by distant ideologies, it is indeed remarkable. And that is how we should evaluate Dayan Jayatilleke to-day in the immediate aftermath of a military triumph over evil.

 Now what I disagree with Dayan Jayatilleke, is his intellectual fundamentalism . The fanatic attachment to theories, phrases, quotes, references to writers, authors and philosophers, without projecting his ideas of his own using his commonsense, without a pragmatic approach to political situations.

 But yet he has a right to his views, and being a diplomat does not mean that he should be a prisoner of his Official call. His pronouncements in diplomatic circles may not necessarily be his personal views. That is why he rightly mentions when he rights on matters which have no direct relation to his diplomatic mission, that those are his personal views.

 He is an intellectual, a scholar, a thinker and a writer. He cannot sacrifice that aspect of his person to be servile and a yes man even to his equals or inferiors. Dayan Jayatilleke has a sound intellectual background, and uses it as he pleases , and at the same time to enhance his position to embellish the position in which he serves his country.

 He has been able to win friends in different countries of the world and won their respect. He had been selected by them to lead them in international Forums. He has won laurels for our country therefore we should first give him credit for what he is, without condemning him for what he was, and what he may be in the future.

 There are those who support the 13 Amendment, and there are those who do not. There is Douglas Devananda a Ministers of the President Mahinda Rajapakse, who openly demand the implementation of the 13 Amendment, knowing very well that there is a growing opposition to it. Why has he not been asked to resign from his Ministerial post, when Dayan Jayatilleke who has contributed for the credit of our country in the international Forums is recalled from his post for expressing his personal views, like any other citizen and like Douglan Devananda, on the 13 Amendment.

 I therefore see no rhyme or reason for criticising Dayan Jayatilleke or recalling him from his Diplomatic Mission for expressing his personal views on the 13 Amendment.

One Response to “In Defence of Dayan Jayatilleke.”

  1. Priyantha Abeywickrama Says:

    I appreciate this article by CSP on an issue that is of interest to me. I am someone who believes that I belong to the Sinhala community. I also take the pride of Sinhala way of life, language and values that are very near and dear to me on the basis that they are a collection of knowledge by my fore-parents, relatives and their extended families who nurtured and transferred them from one generation to the next. As a beneficiary of this wealth of knowledge, I take pride in standing by my heritage and any act or omission that affects my heritage has a personal bearing on me. I hope Lankaweb editor will extend generosity to offer prominence to my comments concerning Sinhala interests.

    Terrorism in Lanka and hypocrisy of the west

    Lanka is going through one of the worst times in its very long history and terrorism was unleashed on my people by many invaders, their collaborators and even those misguided outfits faithful to alien political and religious ideologies who were fed by our people during this long history. As you rightly said, our people faced a horrible situation under Tamil separatists who sought undue powers and privileges that later materialised as organised terror during the last three decades. As you know, Tamil speaking invaders have made many attempts to grab our land (that my people lived from the time we walked out of the jungle life quite contrary to alienated versions of the history) during the last two millennia and committed heinous crimes against my people, similar to those you saw during the recent terror campaign. Every time, these threats were eliminated by resorting to the kind of response they understood, though there were many failures and even futile attempts made by weaklings who became our leaders during the known history.

    As you intimate in your article, the westerners have shared the same historic profile with these terrorists, and their actions speak louder than their words on their intentions. Their hypocrisy is their trademark and has used it very effectively to subjugate all kinds of nations, big and small, ably supported by the hypocrites living among these oppressed nations. Being exposed to their hypocritical nature, as you say, we need to be very tactful in handling them who happen to be also armed to the teeth as well with a proven record of unleashing barbarity against innocent and peace loving people of all sorts.

    Was there any option other than military response to Terror?

    Having tried all the options available to the politicians who shouldered the power gained through back-door style transfer after 1948, including disastrous recipes offered by their masters in the west, I hope you agree that lately there was no option left to pursue. Given the upper hand displayed by the Tamil separatists who decided the direction of this conflict, I believe that the latest round of separatist war that left to their defeat was of their own design. I think the newly elected leadership at the time was dragged by their legs deep into it, if said in satirical terms. So there was no other options and as famously said, politicians remained outside the decision making process of the war to the very end. If not, what would be the outcome is purely guess work, though I could say that it could have been disastrous to the current leadership who were virtually humiliated and taken for a ride by these terrorists.

    Pragmatic plan adopted by Rajapaksa regime

    Obviously I like to refer to a “regime” to describe what the current leadership does and am still wondering about the kind of pragmatic plans of their design though the war ended defeating terrorist leadership with different issues taking its place. Whether there were other pragmatic plans is left to those who keep track of historical significance of events. Some parts of plan in the public domain are good enough to make a judgement that there are members in this regime who are capable of making this the worst regime that we had in our country. Specifically, I note the destruction of public land and alienation that carries common ownership of our people and preserved from the time we lived in the forests, as a kind of state owned property and selling out to foreigners as bananas through BOI. It is true that the buck will rest with Rajapaksas at the end and those alien owners will be gone just like the Scots and Brits who got the land under British imperial occupation.

    International community

    The so-called International community that you refer to sounds more like a collection of the Rump English Empire with likeminded failed Empires. Habitually they do exactly what one would expect them to behave. This time, there is a marked difference displayed by the lack of soul mates among other nations to champion their cause though they could manage to fool many powerful nations in their previous campaigns carrying their trademark hypocrisy. Why that happened is an interesting point to note to complement my comments. Is there a seismic shift in the way the world is managed or was it an act achieved by our representatives in Geneva or UN? Only time well tell that.

    Defeat of the resolution in the UNHRC & Approval of IMF loan

    These were two significant victories (are these victories?) achieved by Rajapaksa regime in its ongoing campaign to develop Lanka. As you claim, the defeat of the resolution in the UNHRC was completely and definitely thwarted, thanks to the undaunted courage and rhetoric of the able diplomat that was Dayan Jayatilleke. So, who helped realised the approval of IMF loan? But, I notice that there were the same nations who stood by Lanka with the west (or International community) abstaining this time, better than last time. Is it telling something else than an individual contribution? I believe that it could be the non-negotiable interests that are held by many nations, I mean it is war if threatened kind, that were linked to the fate of Lanka, which played a major role on recent events that matter to us most. For reasons better known to me, I can tell you that our destiny will affect the whole humanity as the base civilisation that powered all the later offshoots.

    Individual contributions to the nation

    I can understand your high praise of the individual concerned. You claim that Dayan Jayatilleke (DJ) as a great asset to Sri Lanka and that the “Heroic” stance taken by dedicated son of the soil (DJ) brought victory to the nation. I believe that there are many others who could match him among our people. As well you go on to admire his Intellectual prominence and support his right to publicly express his “personal views” on matters of greater significance to the nation. I am an onlooker and have no direct or indirect interests in what DJ or any other person says or does, except when it affects Sinhala people or me personally. Sadly, you have not mentioned some personal views that had very important public significance, specifically those tied up with another nation, representing our neighbour, who created the monster that sapped our blood for a long time.

    Having read many of the articles of DJ until recently, I did not have much interest in later writings that even lacked the ordinary standard expected of a western-educated and western-styled intellectual. When I say western educated, it is that entire illusive presentation format with all the facts and fiction that matters to the westerners most. When I say western-styled intellectual, I meant, those self-promoting erudite westerners who borrow phrases from famous and beautiful to add decorum to their own text. As an easterner, I must admit that my general feeling towards western-styled intellectuals is very different. In fact, I see such writing as something that lacks originality, reaching the margins of plagiarism, intellectually corrupt and short own individual intellect. This kind of my comment is important to my people as there are many western-style intellectuals/professionals in Lanka who practically have a very narrow field of engagement in knowledge (?), publicly trespassing on to other’s areas of expertise (?) by going against their own professional undertakings, pretending to be kind of the eastern-styled intellectual who has mastered all the fields that matter.

    Given the public interests shown on removal of DJ, I believe, it is important to make a public statement by those who took such a decision on the grounds of the national interests, as it could be a more serious or dreaded reason when his recent comments are analysed with historical records in the public domain. I believe that there is nothing called “personal views” when some one utters things that affect other people under whatever circumstances. As western-styled intellectuals and professionals, I hope, many people who might read my comment are fully aware that personal things are personal and there is little room to claim excuses behind “personal views” for matters that affect the public in the west. Let me finish my comments by saying to those holding public office and canvassing public views that they will be personally responsible for their public commissions and omissions that affect the public, under do it now and pay it later politics.

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