Britain’s moral high ground : ‘War crimes’ allegations against Sri Lanka
Posted on November 1st, 2010

The Third Eye- courtesyThe Daily News

British Prime Minister David Cameron has made a fresh call in the British Parliament for “ƒ”¹…”investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka’. However, since this call was made in response to agitations by his own Parliamentarians, there is a shadow of doubt as to the earnestness of this call for it could well be a political ploy to assuage his Parliamentarians in an effort to win over the Tamil vote from the Labour in a likely future election. But whatever the case is, Sri Lanka may not wish its internal issues to become a political football in the Legislator of another country and further given Britain’s horrendous record of war crimes in the international theatre and especially in Iraq, we may well have to question Cameron as to his moral right to make this statement.


British Prime Minister
David Cameron

According to British Nobel laureate Harold Pinter, “The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant State terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law. It was an arbitrary military action inspired by a series of lies upon lies and gross manipulation of the media and therefore of the public; an act intended to consolidate the West’s military and economic control of the Middle East masquerading as “ƒ”¹…”liberation’; a formidable assertion of military force responsible for the death and mutilation of thousands and thousands of innocent people.”

This reminds the world about the period where imperial powers sailed across the globe looking for riches and ended up invading and exploiting less powerful nations. These avaricious expeditions lead to the two World Wars that cost the world millions of lives and destroyed billions worth of property.

It is this reality that made the world powers conjure up what is called the United Nations and establish some order in the international arena in warfare between States.

Britain’s crime records
* Cameron trying to win over Tamil vote
* Invasion of Iraq
* Imperial powers invading less powerful nations
* Criminal colonial record
* US and Britain responsible for millions of war crimes in Iraq
* British “ƒ”¹…”divide and rule’ on Lanka caused communal unrest

Less powerful nations

Thus to invade another country with not even the formal sanction of the UN is an act that pushes the world civilization to mediaeval times where the law was the survival of the fittest; the law of the jungle. Thus with every single death in Iraq becoming “ƒ”¹…”a war crime’ in the eyes of the international law, US and Britain today stands responsible for millions of war crimes, a legacy even more horrendous than Britain’s own criminal colonial record.

Internal strife

On the other hand the Sri Lankan Government had been fighting a set of terrorist within its own territory for 34 years. It had caused immense misery to the country’s civilian population, irreparable damage to its democratic institutions, costing the country 100,000 lives and billions worth of collateral.

The Government negotiated with the arms bearing terrorist for 26 years and fought them finally when it became clear that the option before the country was “ƒ”¹…”either to destroy them or be destroyed by them’. The fact however is that it was wholly an internal matter that does not warrant international interference as every Government of the UN member state is expected to ensure maintenance of law and order within its territory and protect civilians from terror. It is in that context that the calls for “ƒ”¹…”war crimes’ become superfluous in the Sri Lankan context as there never was a “ƒ”¹…”war’ in Sri Lanka, in the conventional sense, but only internal strife.


British troops in Iraq. Pic.courtesy: Google

Although terrorism in the world today is made to appear as “ƒ”¹…”grievance based’ the reality is that it is “ƒ”¹…”inspiration based’ as instances of global terrorism throughout the world will bear testimony to. Terrorism in Sri Lanka would never have gone this far, if not for the inspiration it received within British soil, by way of fund collections, arms procurement and propaganda for the past 34 years. Thus Britain by its act of harbouring a terrorist organization that is responsible for causing 100,000 deaths in another friendly country stands morally decrepit, losing its right to demand “ƒ”¹…”war crimes investigations’ on whatever hues.

Global terrorism

Further, all these calls of “ƒ”¹…”investigations against war crimes’ by Britain against one of its former colonies become so petulant when you view such charges against the record of colonial crimes Britain has perpetrated in its colonies. Britain, after having failed to conquer the whole of Ceylon for 19 years acceded to power through an agreement signed with the Chieftains of Ceylon in 1815.

The British reneged on this very agreement in 1818 plunging the whole country into a rebellion and the eyewitness account of how Britain quelled this riot speaks volumes of its own disregard for human decency and moral obligations. The London Times of 1818 reported, “The plan of destroying all the grain and fruit trees in the neighbourhood of Badulla seem to have been completely carried out into affect, a dreadful measure”. Justice Lawrie, Senior Puisne Judge of colonial Ceylon in The Gazetteer wrote, “The role of English rule in the Kandyan country during 1817 and 1818, where all civilians between the age groups of 14 to 30 years were exterminated, cannot be related without shame!” Thus the full account of the war crimes of Britain in the island of Ceylon is beyond the scope of an article of this nature.

Communal war

The biggest indictment against Britain however is the fact that this present communal unrest in Sri Lanka is evidently the result of Britain 150-year reign of “ƒ”¹…”divide and rule’ as no historian, Portuguese, Dutch or British, has recorded a raging communal war in the island at the time of colonial invasion in the 16th Century.

Thus Britain, of all the people, has the least moral right to point a finger of crimes against humanity in its former colony, Sri Lanka.

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4 Responses to “Britain’s moral high ground : ‘War crimes’ allegations against Sri Lanka”

  1. Sarath W Says:

    In England, Canada the USA and in some other western countries the parliamentarians, congressmen and other politicians regularly talk about human right violations and war crimes in Sri Lanka. But I have never heard the members of our parliament discuss the war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan committed by the Americans, British and the other invaders of those countries.It is time our parliamentarians bring these criminal acts to the UN security council

  2. Nihal Fernando Says:

    “The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do – Samuel P. Huntington (Governor of Connecticut 1731 – 1817)

  3. Siri Says:

    Britain is a failed state on it’s way downhill. It has a lot of investments in the USA which are losing money. They have no more colonies to rob to support their way of life. It is a sad day for the British when they have to beg for Tamil votes to remain in power. Cameron is playing to the gallery when he talks of war crimes. The UN is a useless organization unless more members participate in the activities. All major UN decisions, to be valid and acceptable to the world body should be ratified by the general membership. The practice of having the Security council members make policy decisions on behalf of the membership is unacceptable as they are a bunch of criminal states watching each other’s back. They are the one’s who caused all the trouble in the world through their greed. The Iran issue should be put to the general membership for discussion if a solution is required. Why is the Israel’s nuclear bombs not been discussed in the UN. The real problem is that the USA is trying to keep down the progress of countries like Iran, Cuba, Venezuela etc. that it cannot control, by bringing bogus charges and getting them accepted by arm twisting their buddies in the Security Council to approve santions. These sanctions also hurt the countries that pass them as they lose money and business. Very soon the European countries will rebel against the USA and refuse to go along with it as they realise that the USA is only using them to get revenge at the countries they hate. President Obama appeared to be a man of peace and justice when he assumed office. He has not shown any signs of rectifying the wrongs of past administrations yet. Soon it will be too late for him as his term in office is coming to an end.

  4. Fran Diaz Says:

    Here are some points to consider :

    (1) America had to go to war with Britain to gain independence, just the same as most British colonies did !

    (2) America joined the WW I only after Germany attacked the US ship “Lusitania”. Till then America refused to involve itself in WW I. Therefore, it appears, historically speaking, America has been continually dragged into European wars, WW II also because of Europe’s war with Germany. It is ironical that Germany today is a strong European country, thanks to the Marshall Plan & laws laid down by none other than President Harry Truman of USA. He insisted that worker representation be allowed into each Board in industries all over Germany, among other progressive ideas. Thus the stability in the German industrial field, with the German govt. actually paying industrial workers’ wages during times of recession or threatened recession, thereby keeping employment high and people having money to purchase goods off the market place.

    (3) It appears to us that America became a Super Power due to helping Europe out with its wars. America started playing policeman to the world during the Cold War. All the wars with smaller countries which earned America a ‘bad name’ were due to wars on political ideology, Communism vs Capitalism.

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