Of those sick physicians
Posted on March 25th, 2013

The Island Editorial-25/03/2013

March 24, 2013, 8:32 pm
Sri Lanka continues to be America’s burden. Following the adoption by the UNHRC of last week’s US-sponsored resolution, State Department Spokesperson Victoria Nuland has told the media that Sri Lanka should listen to the “ƒ”¹…”words of the international community’. What does she mean by the term, international community? Is it the entire global community or only a section thereof led by the US? We presume she means the western bloc which has taken upon itself the task of exporting democracy to the rest of the world. However, whether it is urged by any foreign country or not, Sri Lanka is duty bound to honour its human rights commitments and obligations, and on grounds could it justify the selective implementation of the LLRC recommendations.

Interestingly, the pro-LTTE Tamil Nadu politicians, too, have refused to accept the US resolution against Sri Lanka albeit for a different reason. They claim it is not strong enough! Will Nuland tell them, too, to respect the “ƒ”¹…”words of the international community’?

What Nuland has chosen to leave unsaid is that there have been several instances where Sri Lanka listened to the “ƒ”¹…”international community’ and the price it had to pay for doing so was enormous. Several failed peace processes which led to the protraction of war may serve as examples. Sri Lanka, it may be recalled, obeyed the diktats of the US-led international community to the letter from 2001/2002 to 2006 (August) in a desperate bid to make peace with the LTTE. Egged on by the so-called Tokyo Co-chairs (the US, the EU, Japan and Norway), it even risked the country’s territorial integrity and national security, to appease the LTTE, which was given parity of status in all but name. Prabhakaran went from strength to strength, exploiting as he did a flawed CFA favourable to him and acquired a crude air capability on the pretext of making peace. The international community did precious little to restrain the LTTE, which flouted a fragile truce over 3,000 times and carried out political assassinations and attacks on civilians with the Co-chairs looking the other way. Among those killed in terror strikes was Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar. Pampered by the Co-chairs, Prabhakaran became so cocky that he went so far as to take over and close a minor irrigation project (Mavil Aru) thus plunging the country into a bloody war in 2006. The rest is history.

Had Sri Lanka listened to the international community while the final war was on, Prabhakaran would still have been alive, unleashing barbaric terror and harming innocent men, women and children. Today, this country is free from terrorism, as it was wise enough not to listen to the US-led western governments which were all out to throw a lifeline to the beleaguered Tigers.

Is it only Sri Lanka that should act in deference to world opinion? What about the US, which is no respecter of international opinion where its war on terror is concerned? It carries out deadly drone attacks indiscriminately in spite of mounting civilian deaths in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Abductions, illegal transfer and abuse of prisoners, torture and killings sanctioned by US President himself go on unabated and, worse, the surviving suspects are denied justice on US soil. The victims of US chemical attacks in Vietnam have been demanding compensation for decades with little success. Over 10,000 natives forcibly evicted in the early 1970s for the construction of a military base in Diego Garcia have been denied their right to return to their homes. Mum’s the word on the part of the US and the UK as regards the killing of about one million people in Iraq in an illegal war prosecuted on the basis of falsified intelligence dossiers. Sadly, Nuland is never asked to comment on these issues.

Vain attempts are being made in some quarters here to have us believe that last week’s Geneva vote was a victory and not a defeat for Sri Lanka. Nothing could be more ludicrous than this claim! Sri Lanka has lost and the US has won. The US resolution received 25 votes for and 13 against with eight abstentions and hence, the State Department spokesperson’s much-publicised demand that Sri Lanka respect the “ƒ”¹…”words of the international community’. But, the US acted in a totally different manner when UN cultural and educational agency, UNESCO, approved full membership for Palestine in a stunning vote of 107-14 with 52 abstentions in Oct. 2011. Only 81 votes were required for the passage of that resolution! Of the 58 countries represented on the UNESCO executive board, only four (the US, Romania, Latvia and Germany) voted against the resolution while Italy, France and Spain abstained despite US pressure. In spite of respecting the UNESCO decision””‚”ƒ”¹…”the words of the international community'””‚the US threatened to stop funding UNESCO!

Double standards of the US or any other country for that matter cannot be cited in extenuation of human rights violations in Sri Lanka, but the fact remains that the self-appointed physicians should heal themselves before proffering advice to others if they are not to be taken as a bunch of hypocrites.


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