Part of an enviable lineup in Team Sri Lanka
Posted on September 26th, 2011

By Nimal Fernando

 Let all persons of goodwill and proponents of truth and justice pause to salute Mohan Peiris, former Attorney General, for affirming to the world at large, in general, and [some] western peddlars of selectivity, in particular, that Sri Lanka has at its command an intelligentsia willing and able to defend the national interest.

 Peiris, who has done his country and profession proud during a distinguished career, had lambasted American Ambassadress A. Donahue, who had threatened Sri Lanka with “growing pressure from the international community” over its principled stand in blocking any move to devalue the LLRC.

 The incident, a side-event at the UN Human Rights Council earlier this month, was reported by veteran journalist H. L.D. Mahindapala, who is part of a small, celebrated band of world class newspapermen produced by Sri Lanka in the generation following independence.

 Sri Lankans can take comfort in the knowledge that professionals of such calibre are ever watchful about the national interest. Such vigilance is the need of the hour, given the array of vested interests using every subterfuge imaginable to discredit Sri Lanka.

 This latest in a series of moves spearheaded by the West was, as usual, at odds with the stance of leading members of the Human Rights Council, backing Sri Lanka’s sustained efforts towards reconciliation and rehabilitation. Quite apart from Sri Lankan patriots of every ethnicity and religious persuation (or not), even independent observers of world and regional issues will probably conclude that, given the even-handed support for Sri Lanka by China, Russia, Pakistan, Iran, Cuba and many other nations, the threat of “pressure from the international community” sounds, well, overambitious .

 Mahindapala’s report also mentioned the presence of observers of the Church at the same meeting. The Church’s considerable role in the resolution of the ethnic issue/Tamil grievances/minority demands (call it what you will) has probably been grapsed by independent observers by now …. Could it be that independent observers have also concluded that this is part of the baggage — excess or otherwise — of the Church from its ties to the Tamil community from colonial times?

 They are also probably aware of the inconvenient truth that the missionaries from the West, sharing wholeheartedly the values of the colonial administration, had been frustrated by the pushback they received from an overwhelmingly Buddhist populace. And that, in a surgical exercise of divide and rule, they spread their largesse among a Tamil minority eager to embrace Christianity … and reap the benefits of a quality English education. Every thinking person will have also concluded that Sri Lanka continues to be served by the quality of that education to this day .

 Still, the main beneficiaries of that English education were the Tamils. And with time, they found it easy to identify with the ‘outsider’. And the outsider had no problem in accepting this minority as ‘our people’. It is pretty much this same logic that drove the Norwegians to focus on the economic upliftment of the Tamils in the north (in the early 70s) and later, progress to becoming the champions of the LTTE. But that is an old story, already told.

 Independent observers could also be confused over the refusal by the standard bearers of democracy to accept the will of the majority — and their elected representatives — in a unitary nation with a Constitution that guarantees universal human rights. It is in this light that it should also be obvious that no ‘solution’ imposed from outside, under whatever kind of legal garb, will work without majority acceptance.

 What is also not mentioned in polite conversation today is that the anti-Sri Lankan stand by [some] manipulators of western policy stems from their dislike for a Buddhist nation — an affirmation of the ‘us’ against ‘them’ attitude.

 It could be argued that some in this minority among western policymakers are ill-advised about the Sri Lankan situation, not without a little help from those with an obvious bias.

 Then there are also those (a la David Milliband) who are miffed by the refusal of a former colony to bow to the demands of a, by now, tired, old, hasbeen.

 Another uncomfortable fact is that the ample war chest of the Tamil diaspora, when used as campaign contributions, has a magical effect on the policy positions of a few elected representatives in western democracies. It should be a cause for concern that their actions could trigger new alliances in a rapidly changing geopolitical scene, and have a huge negative impact on their nations’ long-term goals.

 It has been said that the price of eternal vigilance is indifference. This simply must not apply to Sri Lanka, both in the near and long-term, in the face of continual threats. Sri Lankans can sleep better at night because, by all accounts, the Rajapaksa administration can never be accused of taking its collective eye off the ball .

 

2 Responses to “Part of an enviable lineup in Team Sri Lanka”

  1. Siri Says:

    Excellent article Mr. Nimal Fernando. You have done a good analysis of the Christian Buddhist situation. I am a Christian and a US Citizen of Sri lankan origin. I still consider myself a Sri Lankan first and a Christian second. I had my education in Sri Lanka in a Christian School and am well aware of what you are talking. Most Christians should realize that our Sri Lankan Culture, Traditions and Customs are based on Buddhist Principles and Sri Lankan Christians expect the clergy to be in clerical clothes like the Buddhist Monks all the time and live a life of Poverty or frugality. However a few have broken away from these traditions after coming to America to study and live lives of luxury even after returning to Sri Lanka. In the USA Christian Priests behave like it is another job. They go about in society in civils, live in private housing and have their own cars to get about. Very soon they will adultrate the Sri Lankan Christian clergy and bring the downfall of Christianity in Sri Lanka. The next thing will be that these priests will want to get married. Actually there have been a few Sri Lankan priests who came to the USA after getting married in Sri Lanka, studying free at the Christian Universities while working in a church and then returning to their wives on their return. Sri Lankans need not worry about Christianity taking over. It is falling apart even now. Our ancestors were Buddhists a few generations ago. We can always return to Buddhism.

  2. Raj Says:

    siris is absolutely right. We were all Buddhists before the West converted our recent ancesters. Most Sri Lankan Christians, I believe, have same views as siri and I.

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