The moral imperative of quitting the Commonwealth – Gambia leads the way
Posted on October 5th, 2013

Shenali D. Waduge

A moral imperative is a principle originating inside a person-â„¢s mind that compels that person to act. It is similar to categorical imperative as expounded by German Philosopher Immanuel Kant who took the imperative to be a dictate of pure reason, in its practical aspect. Not following the moral, Kant postulated is self-defeating and thus contrary to reason.

It is in this context that we take the announcement by the President of Gambia at the UN General Assembly a few days ago as someone acting on the basis of moral imperatives.

“The government has withdrawn its membership of the British Commonwealth and decided that Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism.”.. going on to say that ‚ -Present day Africans cannot be hoodwinked anymore and we are determined to defend our independence and dignity, and take control of our natural resources at any cost and by any means necessary-

Gambia -” victim of transatlantic slave trade

Gambia has every right to feel wronged by western colonial countries.‚  Since the mid-fifteenth century, the Portuguese, French, and British empires competed for colonial supremacy in Gambia. It is estimated that well over three million people from the Gambia area were sold into slavery during the transatlantic slave trade. Most of those taken were sold by other Africans to Europeans; others were prisoners of inter-tribal wars; some were victims sold because of unpaid debts; and others were simply victims of kidnapping.

River Gambia is the most navigable river in West Africa. The British bought River Gambia from the French to transport slaves along the river during colonization.

Gambia is located in Western Africa, enveloped on all sides by Senegal. Present Gambian boundaries were formed in 1889 as the area became a British Crown Colony known as British Gambia. Gambia formed its own executive and legislative councils in 1901, and on February 18, 1965, Gambia gained independence as a constitutional monarchy within the Commonwealth of Nations.

The book titled Roots: The Saga of An American Family (Doubleday: 1976) written by the Pulitzer Prize winning author Alex Haley is roughly based on his family’s oral history starting with the capture of his slave ancestor, Kunta Kinte,‚  in the village of Juffureh ( Juffure) located in Gambia, in the 1767.

In 1977 the book was adapted into a television mini-series -ËœRoots: The Next Generation-â„¢.

The film exposed the brutality of the slave trade that millions were yet unaware of or would even imagine the horrific aspect of their-â„¢s country-â„¢s and the British governments close involvement in the transatlantic slave trade -” human smuggling today is just a newer version of the old! The majority of slaves were sold through African middlemen such as the Juffure example shows of the ordeals, humiliation, dehumanizing injustices suffered by hundreds of thousands of black Africans under European Christian colonial domination.

Under international law Anglo-American conduct in the black African slave trade was tantamount to genocide and crimes against humanity. These White colonial crimes are yet to be heard or punished.

Admirable stand of Gambia

Given this historical context the news of Gambia walking out of the Commonwealth becomes important. Gambia is in no economic condition to be taking the stand it has. On every UN and world index it is right at the bottom of the scale but the principled stand Gambia-â„¢s President has taken speaks volumes of what other world leaders of the Third World should also be doing.

Gambia has been quite outspoken about its status quo. It has not coiled for any of the West-â„¢s accusations on human rights, media freedom, corruption etc. In 2012 the Gambian President warned foreign diplomats that his country would not be -Ëœbribed-â„¢ with aid to accept homosexuality. -If you are to give us aid for men and men or for women and women to marry, leave it. We don-â„¢t need your aid because as far as I am the President of the Gambia, you will never see that happen in this country-.

We the people of Sri Lanka must applaud the courage of the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh and his stand on behalf of his people. In fact the western accusations of abuse of “human rights, media rights, and corruption” can well apply to the British government or any other government for that matter, depending on the reporting media’s perspective. It is time for not only Africa but all other former European colonies to stand on their own feet and oppose Western economic oppression and free themselves from the yoke of colonialism (and neo -” colonialism) that continues to this day.

It is also time for all African, Asian and Latin heads of government to stop being sycophants chained to their former white supremacist colonial oppressors. We must stop licking the boots of the western bully nations. Our national conscience, national self -” respect and moral imperatives tell us to refuse to integrate with our colonial masters at least until they are prepared to apologise for their repressive conduct and pay reparations.

It is western colonialism that has created much of the mess found to this day in third world countries and it can easily be ascertained by example after example. A close look at Canada, United States of America and Australia show how the indigenous people i.e. Native Americans and Australian Aborigines have suffered and now become alcoholics and drug addicts. The British and other Colonial Empires stripped and robbed every country they forcibly invaded no different to the R2P military humanitarian interventions taking place now.

There should be restitution of all wealth plundered by France, Britain, Holland, Portugal Spain to the third world countries. It is time for us i.e. the decolonized countries to dictate the terms of agreement and restore the plundered wealth to the vaults of our treasuries.

For these engagements Sri Lanka must have as our chief representatives in the international arena people who can fight the good fight, people with backbone and track record of unflinching loyalty to the preservation and indivisibility of the nation state. The lack of such individuals at the helm of our external affairs with no real pride in the achievements of our pre-colonial rulers, our historical links to Buddhist Asian countries and the need to persevere and develop such relations to new heights, and sense that our country-â„¢s manifest destiny lies in looking towards the East and becoming part of Asia-â„¢s political and economic resurgence, is indeed demoralizing to say the least.

The term -ËœCommonwealth-â„¢ is a misnomer. The ‘wealth’ was never shared for it to be ‘common’- the concept was a ruse or concoction to loot other people-â„¢s natural resources.

Time line of Commonwealth of Nations History

Burma upon independence in January 1948 never joined the Commonwealth displaying how much it valued its sovereignty and total freedom without links to its former colonial master.

ƒ”°ire left the Commonwealth on April 18, 1948 upon becoming a Republic, after the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 came into effect.

India became a Republic on January 26, 1950 nearly 2 ‚½ years after grant of independence thus becoming the first non-Commonwealth Realm member of the Commonwealth.

It took Sri Lanka well over 24 years after independence to decide to become a Republic in 1972 and this translates to mean the reluctance on the part of our immediate post -” independence rulers to shed the colonial legacy.

The Third World today is what it is because a handful of nations plundered lands, destroyed native vegetation, murdered and slaughtered millions, enslaved them and transported them to all corners of the world, destroyed their ancient cultures and humiliated their lifestyles, created divisions and demarcated lands and territories so that people would remain forever in turmoil and this lasted 500 years and the legacies of these treacherous rule exists still because the education system the conversion of natives and the manner that the colonials brainwashed the mindsets of the natives that chose to betray their native culture and nation still lingers on. It is these cloned natives that continue to administer on behalf of the former colonial masters their formula for continued dissent and divide and it is not difficult for us to pinpoint who these locals are. The manner they dress, their actions, their behaviors speak volumes of who they are, their agendas‚  ‚ and what they have been outsourced to do.

In such a scenario what calls to mind is how the Asian mentality had succumbed far more than the African for still the warrior in the African remains to challenge the status quo. Sadly, a few like Aung San (Burma), Subash Chandra Bose(India), Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) and General Vo Nguyen Giap (Vietnam) are no more and the rest of the present day -Ëœcard board heroes-â„¢ are simply copy cat versions of the colonial masters attempting to think and behave like the white man and not carving out their own niche.

It is such imitative, unreflective and unimaginative conduct on the part of Asian leaders that have led to the publication of books like for example, Can Asians Think? by Kishore Mahbubani.

The thesis of this book is that the world’s largest continent stretches from Japan and Indonesia across central Asia to the Arab world.‚ ‚ It is the spiritual focus of such great religions as Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism and Hinduism and home to nearly 60 percent of the earth’s population.‚ ‚ Asia’s economies are poised to surpass those of Europe and North America within the next fifty years, and yet Westerners have done little to adjust their attitudes in light of present-day realities.

Can Asians think? Is Western civilisation universal? Does the West promote human rights for altruistic reasons? These are some questions that Kishore Mahbubani has addressed in this book.

The moral imperative is to be on the right side of history

We owe to posterity and our future generations to engage in principled conduct internationally and to be on the right side of history. Posterity will remember Gambia for the stand it has taken and place Gambia-â„¢s President in the pantheon of African heroes which include heroes like Patrice Lumumba, the first Prime Minister of Independent Congo, who was killed by a well planned US, UK and Belgian combined operation. It is at this juncture that we need to remind ourselves that independence to Asia came primarily because Britain and other western countries e.g. France, Netherlands could not afford to maintain forces in the light of the military defeats sustained at the hands of the Japanese in the second world war and thereafter the wars of liberation launched by Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam) and Sukarno (Indonesia).

Our fellow Asians i.e. Japanese, Vietnamese, Indians (Subash Chandra Bose), Burmese and Indonesians fought the aggressor from the west and won a hard fought victory. We were the beneficiaries of that Pan -“Asian struggle for freedom. We must be alert to efforts of neo – liberals who have found their way into key strategic areas like education to dilute the history of Sri Lanka, white wash colonial repression and undermine even the contributions of Anagarika Dharmapala towards the cultural emancipation of our people from shameful imitative conduct.

It is these very same people who are now trying to introduce new concepts to demilitarize and denationalize the heroic armed forces who defended the nation by sacrificing their lives and patriotic national -” minded people who are always trying to show the country-â„¢s leadership that they are being led up the garden path simply to be made a laughing stock. It is leaders who are caught between and standing without knowing where their allegiance lies that find themselves becoming fooled by the advisors they are keeping simply because of an ill – conceived notion that delivering eloquent speeches and ability to write well in English equates to mean the person loves the nation, indigenous culture and the leaders. That is far from so.

Gambia has become the child who pointed at the Emperor walking naked -” showcasing the hypocrisies of Britain accusing nations of human rights violations when it has yet to apologize for its heinous crimes or compensate for hundreds of years of mass criminal offences and these crimes are far graver than what the UK is accusing other countries of.

Britain loses no opportunity today wherever possible in targeting and denigrating Sri Lanka in international fora. When Britain points the accusing finger at Sri Lanka our response has always been weak and timid. We tend to give an account of our conduct more like a sub -” ordinate rather than as a co- equal. The notion of counter -” attack does not exist in the minds or vocabulary of our foreign ministry or diplomats, despite overwhelming evidence to take Britain to the cleaners in respect of its indefensible conduct and double standards in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and even Syria. ‚ ‚ It is time that we move away from such submissive posture largely stemming from innate apathy towards standing up to others and severe inferiority complex.

Gambia has created history when rest of the member countries in the Commonwealth have simply chosen the docile way of celebrating being enslaved or behaving like the proverbial ostrich of having the head buried in the sand and not wanting to look around to see the true reality.

Gambia is to be admired and cheered for doing what no other nation in the last 60 years has had the pluck to do and Gambia deserves the applause of all former colonies and their people for giving utterance to our common cry for justice, apology and reparations.

 

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11 Responses to “The moral imperative of quitting the Commonwealth – Gambia leads the way”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    We support the USSA killings in Libya and Somalia against Islamic terrorists.

    Now a new wound has been created – AL SHABAAB. Now the terrorists will retaliate (as the fools always do).

    Let the fun unfold. If the west-AQ alliance can be broken, all the best for the world.

  2. AnuD Says:

    When Myanmar got independence, it asked the british to take away their tamil slaves too. Some of them came to Sri Lanka, got educated, migrated to Britain and became LTTE – financiers too.

  3. Mr. Bernard Wijeyasingha Says:

    Western powers have risen and fallen in quick succession since the last few centuries. The Napoleon Empire met its fate at Waterloo, The Austrian Empire, the 19th century Russian Empire, The Portuguese, Dutch empires rose and fell and in the early 20th century the Ottoman and the British Empires fell. The Soviet Empire was formed but had a gestation period of a few decades before it too fell. These powers created the League of Nations to run the world without the strapping of an Empire and it to imploded. The American age has now fizzled in a heap of debt and the ineptitude of her leaders. The UN is just a paper Tiger and the Commonwealth is redundant as regional powers do more business than the commonwealth nations put together.

    In this light Sri Lanka is better off shedding these derelict powers such as the Commonwealth and the UN especially the latter who has used her power to denigrate Sri Lanka than be a positive force. The world has changed to the degree that the Asia Pacific region is now the center of a rising economic zone. Singapore has recently surpassed Switzerland as one of the financial capitals of the world and China is rising to take the place of the US in many spheres. The Security Council once dominated by the US, France and Great Britain has been rendered impotent by the joint veto power of Russia and China.

    Even in the areas of “soft power” where Hollywood once reigned Queen of the movie screen is hardly producing any movie of worth except movies with special effects. While the West is coming to terms with a rising population of Buddhist to Sikh Converts. The days of the hegemony of the West are numbered and like the derelict UN has lost her anchoring while the Asian region is finding her place again. Sri Lanka’s economy will thrive without the UN or the Commonwealth of nations. If Sri Lanka becomes the first to exit these bodies she would lay a path for other developing nations who are routinely treated in the most disrespective manner by the UN to exit that biased body.

  4. Ananda-USA Says:

    My latest broadside in the debate with the Unqualified Critic at Economist.com article “Harder Lines”:

    ………………………..
    Unqualified Critic in reply to Ananda-Sinha Oct 4th, 18:14

    If I’m just unqualified, what does that amount your false logic to? Also, if the Tamils are NAZI’s (to which I stick to my guns in that that analogy is about as tired as your logic must be in coming up with random nouns for a “comparison”), then the Sinhalese aren’t exactly exuding themselves as much better. Unfortunately, in the context of history, people are not judged by their ancestor’s full resume, but rather what they last did. Example being Germany.

    For history will judge the Sri Lanken Sinhalese not by their victory, but by how they treated the Tamils afterwards.

    The cap is decent, but personally I always preferred; if the shoe fits, wear it.

    ……………………….
    Ananda-Sinha in reply to Unqualified Critic

    Unqualified Critic,

    You still have not logically explained where my logic is false; Just repeating the assertion does not make it so.

    The Sinhalese have acquitted themselves very well in the Eelam war. Even the 1983 riots for which the Eelamists pillory the Sinhalese came after years of hit-and-run attacks against the Sinhala community and was triggered when the bodies of 13 soldiers killed by the LTTE Eelamists was brought from Jaffna to Colombo. Since then, there has not been ONE riot against the Tamils in Sri Lanka despite 30 years of murder and mayhem inflicted by the Tamil Eelamists after that 1983 riot.

    During those 30 years, buses and trains were bombed blasting hundreds at a time to shreds; entire villages of people were sliced and diced in the dark of the night to inflict maximum terror in their ethnic cleansing program; the World Trade Center was bombed in Colombo killing and maiming hundreds of people … well before the terror of 9/11 in New York; the Central Bank was truck-bombed killing and maiming thousands as in the the Oklahoma City bombing; Mumbai style attacks were launched against places of religious worship to kill as many people as possible, including Buddhist priests; political leaders … moderate Tamils and Sinhalese … were assassinated routinely to terrorize the political leadership of Sri Lanka into impotence; car bombs became commonplace until the citizens of Sri Lanka could not expect to return home on any given day; and blood ran in the streets until over 150,000 of Sri Lanka’s innocent citizens were sacrificed on the altar of the Racist Apartheid Tamil Eelam. But yet, the Sinhala people gritted their teeth, abided by the law and did not attack Tamil citizens.

    Furthermore, when the LTTE terrorist army was skilfully cornered after a sustained 3 year military offensive and decisively crushed by leaf, branch, trunk and root along the banks of the Nanthikandal lagoon in May, 2009, the human shield of 300,000 Tamil captives they sought to hide behind were skillfully rescued by the Sri Lanka Army in the worlds largest hostage rescue operation. These people were housed, fed, medically treated, their children educated, given funds to rebuild the houses the LTTE destroyed, and were restored to their livelihoods by the Sinhala-majority Govt of Sri Lanka at largely Sinhala taxpayer expense. No other rehabilitation program in the world comes close to the rapidity of execution, and quality of care, and level of the rehabilitation of these war affected Tamil people of Sri Lanka.

    These then, are some the reasons why your left-handed swipe at the Sinhala people of Sri Lanka smacks of ignorance and bias. It is that display of ignorance that makes you truly “unqualified”. Sticking to your guns on indefensible ignorant and false statements neither excuses you, nor redeems you.

    The people of Sri Lanka are committed to equal rights for all of its citizens, but will not give additional benefits to any community that is unavailable other communities in Sri Lanka in the name of “diversity” that will ultimately pit its citizens against each other, as in India. Sri Lanka … which remained only one of two real democracies committed to equal rights for all citizens through 30 years of unremitting terrorist conflict … does not need the self-serving advice of foreign nations and Eelamist surrogates still plying their time honored agenda of divide-and-rule. Sri Lanka is committed to achieving its own native vision as ONE Indivisible Nation, of ONE Inseparable people, sharing ONE National Destiny on its way to transforming itself into the next Wonder of Asia.

  5. Ananda-USA Says:

    India, which INITIATED and FOSTERED Tamil Eelamist terrorism in Sri Lanka, then INVADED and FORCED the 13th Amendment down UNWILLING Sri Lanka’s throat, NOW PUSHES to Complete the JOB of DISINTEGRATING Sri Lanka into a patchwork Communal Fiefdoms, even as India itself unravels piece by piece!

    If President Mahinda Rajapaksa thought the PC Elections was going to REDUCE the PRESSURE …. he will be severely disappointed.

    The PC Elections has only ENCOURAGED Sri Lanka’s Tormentors into thinking that Sri Lanka is NOW SUSCEPTIBLE to MORE BLACKMAIL … and the PRESSURE will GROW into a veritable STORM!

    The GOSL has forgotten the ancient DICTUM that WEAKNESS BEGETS AGGRESSION!

    AT LEAST NOW, Dear Mr. President …. REVOKE the 13th Amendment & DISMANTLE the Provincial Councils! Summon the Courage to Stand Fast on your native wit, or our Motherland will eventually belong to foreigners!

    …………………….
    India calls for a political solution in Sri Lanka based on full implementation of 13th Amendment

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Oct 07, Colombo: India today said that it looks forward to an early resumption of the dialogue process to reach a political settlement in Sri Lanka based on the full implementation of 13th Amendment to the Constitution in a timely manner.

    Issuing a media statement following a meeting with his Sri Lankan counterpart Prof. G.L. Peiris, the visiting External Affairs Minister of India, Salman Khurshid said India is committed to the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka and ready to offer its assistance to take the process forward.

    “It is our hope that the vision and leadership that resulted in an end to armed conflict and holding of elections to the Northern Province, will now be employed to work for genuine reconciliation,” Khurshid said.

    “We will continue to work with the Government of Sri Lanka, and help in whatever way we can, to take this process forward, in a spirit of partnership and cooperation.”

    The Indian Minister, who arrived in Colombo this morning on a two-day official visit, held discussions with Minister Peiris this afternoon on all issues of bilateral, regional and international concern and reviewed the progress in various areas, including trade, investment, development cooperation, culture and education.

    The two ministers have reviewed the progress made in implementation of the Indian assisted projects for IDPs, particularly the Housing Project, as well as projects relating to the development of railway infrastructure in the North and the South.

    They also have discussed the fishermen’s issue and agreed on the need to deal with it in a humane manner without resorting to violence under any circumstances.

    The two ministers have agreed to encourage fishermen’s associations on both sides, which had met in the past and reached some understandings, to meet again to work on resolving the issue.

    Minister Khurshid said the India-funded development cooperation projects, including the housing and railway projects are progressing well and are expected to be completed on schedule.

    The two sides are to ink 8 agreements related to the Sampur Thermal Power Project and a MoU for Technical Assistance in support of the 10-year National Plan for a Trilingual Sri Lanka later today at the Presidential Secretariat.

    With the signing of the agreements, the work on the power plant will commence promptly and will be sped up to complete the project by 2016, Khurshid said.

    The visiting Minister said he is hopeful that, through the MoU for implementation of the Trilingual Plan, India will be able to contribute to this important initiative to aid national reconciliation and promote harmony among the various linguistic communities in Sri Lanka.

    Khurshid said he was pleased with the significant expansion of bilateral trade in goods which is aimed at reaching US$ 5 billion mark.

    Noting India’s significant contribution in the area of investments and tourist arrivals, Minister Khurshid pointed out the need to finalize a more comprehensive framework of economic cooperation to sustain the positive momentum in the bilateral trade and economic relations.

    The visiting Minister is scheduled to meet the President Mahinda Rajapaksa tomorrow. He will also visit Jaffna to review India-funded development assistance projects and will meet the Governor and the Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council.

    He expressed hope that “successful culmination of elections to the Northern Province will usher a new beginning towards a better future for the people in the North.”

    “India has been consistent in calling for an early political settlement and national reconciliation through meaningful devolution of powers, so to ensure that all citizens of Sri Lanka, including the Sri Lankan Tamil community, would lead a life marked by equality, justice, dignity and self-respect,” Khurshid said.

  6. Ananda-USA Says:

    WEAKNESS BEGETS SECESSION …. Onwards to Secession for “Self Determination” for less than 10% of Sri Lanka’s people!

    I say AGAIN: WEAKNESS BEGETS AGGRESSION: May I have a wee bit more …. as OLiver Twist said …. AGAIN & AGAIN until there not ONE country but many countries in minute Sri Lanka!

    ……………………
    Tamil Voters Demand Real Change, But Can TNA Deliver?

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Oct 07 (Diplomat) The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which won a handsome majority at Sri Lanka�s Northern Provincial Council elections on September 21, says it will use its mandate to demand greater self-governance.

    But with the Sri Lanka government resisting self-governance by simplistically labeling it as secession, it is important to know what exactly the TNA is going to do to deliver on its promises to the Tamil people.

    The election to the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) is its first, although legislation for the establishment of provincial councils was introduced in 1988 following a treaty between India and Sri Lanka, the Indo-Lanka Accord. The councils became law through the 13th Amendment to the constitution, designed to devolve power to the provinces for sharing political power.

    With the rebel LTTE’s military defeat in May 2009, but hardly any letup in human rights violations or discrimination against the Tamils, Sri Lankans and the international community upped their call for the Sinhala ruling class to share power with the Tamils through the provincial councils.

    But the TNA, and the Tamils that support it, have been unequivocal that devolution to provincial councils is grossly inadequate for real power sharing. They say the root of the problem lies in Sri Lanka’s unitary constitution. Unitary constitutional structures ensure that central governments enjoy tight control on the extent of power devolved to units such as the councils.

    This view was confirmed when the Sinhala-dominated Colombo government began tightening control over devolution before the election. For one, the government moved to block the use of land and police powers already devolved to the councils. Second, it manipulated legislation so that it did not require the consent of all provincial councils for Colombo to introduce legislation that affected the councils.

    It was in this contentious atmosphere that C. V. Wigneswaran, TNA’s chief minister candidate for the election, came out with a curious statement. In an interview on July 17 with Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror he was asked with the government trying to curtail police and land powers, how the TNA was planning to respond. Wigneswaran, while admitting to shortcomings in devolution under the 13th Amendment said, “My point is, there has been no democratic institution for the Northern Province so far, so let us at least establish it under the [13th Amendment]. Thereafter, like Oliver Twist we could ask for a little more.”

    But the question is: what Northern Province Tamils in particular, and other Tamils in general, expect from the TNA and whether “asking for a little more,” hat in hand, is going to yield results.

    If anything, government-Tamil relations between Wigneswaran’s statement on July 17 and today have become more polarized. For instance, the Supreme Court ruling on September 27 said control over land is vested in the central government and not in the provincial councils. This means the government’s reckless land-grabbing in the North, which could have been restricted to a point if the NPC had power over land distribution, will go on unchecked.

    But more important, the TNA’s election manifesto was an open acknowledgement that power sharing with Colombo under a unitary constitution is inadequate. It lays down categorically that the resolution of the Tamil question has to be based on shared sovereignty and federal structures, which recognize the Tamils’ right to self determination.

    Third, the Tamils are fed up with the political oppression in the North, spearheaded by the military terrorizing the population despite the end of armed combat. The restiveness of the Tamils has reached a point of desperation. A recent example of public outrage was in August when families of disappeared persons were prevented from meeting UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillai. YouTubevideos show the public challenging the police, unafraid of imminent physical danger because their need to be heard was greater.

    Therefore, it is a sullen, restive Tamil public with which NPC councilors have to deal. On the one hand, the public will demand from their elected representatives answers about the repression by military and government officials. The TNA has to provide substantive, credible answers that might allay public outrage.

    At the same time, if the TNA is serious about self determination and shared sovereignty as the basis of a political settlement, the obduracy of the government and the Sinhala ruling class will have to be overcome to achieve it. That will require the TNA to mobilize the public through protests, strikes and civil disobedience. It also needs the support of the international community and coordination with political forces in India’s Tamil Nadu and the Tamil diaspora.

    All in all, voters in the Northern Province have declared that the time for substantive change has arrived by electing the TNA. The question is whether the TNA can provide the leadership to channel these energies to productive ends. It appears to require more than playing Oliver Twist.

  7. Ananda-USA Says:

    What Boloney … India is NO FRIEND of Sri Lanka!

    Don’t give the Sampur Power Plant Project to India … HALT it NOW & find alternative FUNDING!

    REDUCE, not INCREASE, India’s FOOTPRINT in Sri Lanka …. this is a DEADLY, SUFFOCATING, Embrace!

    ………………………….
    Strategic ties vs domestic pressure: Khurshid’s tricky Mission Lanka

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Oct 07 (FP) When Salman Khurshid undertakes his first official visit to Sri Lanka (7-8 October) since becoming External Affairs Minister, he will be doing a tightrope walk in balancing India’s domestic political compulsions with strategic and foreign policy imperatives.

    This will be a challenging diplomatic assignment for Khurshid as well as for the Congress-led UPA coalition at a time when the general elections are drawing nigh and the UPA government would not like to do anything that alienates or infuriates the Tamil parties. After all, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry send 40 MPs to the 543-member Lok Sabha.

    On top of Khurshid’s agenda for his Mission Lanka must be the Thirteenth Amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution aimed at devolution of power equitably at the provincial level in Sri Lanka. India has been pressing Colombo to implement, and even improve, the amendment as soon as possible but the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa has been dragging its feet. The Thirteenth Amendment is important for India as it flows from the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987.

    This is what Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur had to say in parliament on 14 August 2013 about the Thirteenth Amendment:

    “There have been recent reports of plans by the Government of Sri Lanka to amend certain provisions of the Sri Lankan Constitution relating to the functioning of Provincial Councils. India has long advocated the creation of an environment in Sri Lanka in which all communities, particularly the Sri Lankan Tamils, are masters of their own destiny within the framework of a united Sri Lanka. Our objective continues to remain the achievement of a future for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka that is marked by equality, dignity, justice and self-respect. In this context, India has been engaged with the Government of Sri Lanka at the highest levels on its stated commitment to implement the 13th amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution and to go beyond, so as to achieve meaningful devolution of powers.”

    Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which recently registered a landslide win in the Northern Provincial elections, has also been demanding further improvement in the Thirteenth Amendment and a re-merger of Sri Lanka’s northern and eastern provinces which were de-merged seven years ago following a Supreme Court order. For their part, Indian Tamil parties have been vying with one another in their efforts to exert pressure on the UPA government to nudge the Rajapakse government into giving the Sri Lankan Tamils their due as soon as possible.

    It was because of such immense domestic pressure that the UPA government voted against Sri Lanka and supported a United States-sponsored resolution on human rights violations in the island nation before the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva in March this year.

    The Indian move proved to be neither politically correct nor diplomatically wise as neither of the two sides India was trying to play a balancing act with Indian Tamil parties and the Sri Lanka government was happy with the Indian decision.

    The DMK promptly announced it would pull out from the UPA government for doing a grave injustice to the Tamils by watering down the resolution and helping the Sri Lankan government by pushing new elements in the resolution.

    The Sri Lankan government, which indeed was helped by India at the UNHRC, did not take India’s covert help in the spirit India had hoped. Instead, Colombo squirmed and fumed at New Delhi.

    To make matters worse for India from a larger strategic point of view, Pakistan voted in support of Sri Lanka and against the US-sponsored India-supported resolution. Though the resolution was eventually carried with 25 countries in the 47-nation UNHRC, Pakistan managed to walk away with crucial brownie points.

    It is against this backdrop that Khurshid would be in Colombo on Monday for talks with his counterpart GL Peiris on the entire gamut of bilateral relations.

    Sources in the Ministry of External Affairs, said issues relating to fishermen would likely be a major focus of discussions as the number of Indian fishermen arrested so far in 2013 exceeds the total number of fishermen arrested the whole of last year. India has been attaching high priority to the welfare, safety and security of fishermen and has been emphasizing on the need to address the issue in a humanitarian manner.

    The discussions between the two ministers are also likely to encompass trade, investment and development cooperation. They will also address issues relating to the Sampur Thermal Power Project and aspects of Indian technical assistance to Sri Lanka.

    Khurshid will also meet President Rajapaksa as well as leaders from across the spectrum of the Sri Lankan polity. He will visit Jaffna and review the ongoing development projects being undertaken there with Indian assistance, including a flagship project to provide 50,000 housing units to people displaced in the war. The housing project is being undertaken with full grant assistance of the Indian government with a total outlay of Rs 1372 crore (about $ 225 million at current exchange rates).

    Khurshid’s visit also comes close on the heels of the successful culmination of elections to the Northern Provincial Council last month. India has noted the positive statements made by the TNA and the Sri Lankan government and expressed satisfaction that they had expressed willingness to work with each other for the progress of the people of the Northern Province.

    During his visit to the Northern Province, Khurshid wil meet with the Governor and the Chief Minister. He will stress on meaningful political reconciliation with all the political stakeholders he will be interacting with.

    India has much at stake, diplomatically and strategically, in its bilateral relations with Sri Lanka. Close ties between the countries go back to 2500 years.

    In the recent past, India has deepened its strategic engagement with the island nation. India’s National Security Advisor Shivshankar Menon was in Colombo in July this year to attend the second NSA-level Meeting on Trilateral Cooperation on Maritime Security between India, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

  8. Ananda-USA Says:

    In effect, these Tamil Lawyers are disputing the UNITARY status of Sri Lanka and the authority of the Central Government over the Provinces.

    That is, they are advocating SECESSION.

    Bloody TRAITORS …. PROSECUTE them & FLING them into Prison to contemplate their follies and their navels!

    …………………..
    Tamil lawyers condemn Wigneswaran’s decision

    By Dinasena Rathugamage
    Island.lk
    October 6, 2013, 9:44 pm

    The TNA’s Norther Province Chief Minister elect, C.V. Wigneswaran, opting to be sworn in before President Mahinda Rajapaksa was an unjust decision, Tamil lawyers said yesterday.

    Secretary to the Sri Lanka Tamil Lawyers’ Association R. Ratnavel said the Wigneswaran’s decision to take oath before President Rajapaksa would be detrimental to the cause of Tamils in Sri Lanka. The association issued a statement on Saturday (05) taking exception to the former Supreme Court Justice cum TNA chief minister elect, Wigneswaran’s swearing in scheduled for today (07).

    When contacted for comment, Ratnavel said that Tamils had complained to the UN Human Rights Council against President Rajapaksa over atrocities against civilians during the war.

    Ratnavel said the TNA had no moral right to take oaths before the President. The Tamils of the country had given a mandate to the TNA and the TNA should not go behind the government, he stressed.

    The TNA, on the one hand, demanded for a federal solution and, on the other, struck deals with the President, Ratnavel said.

  9. Ananda-USA Says:

    Don’t give NORWAY any ACCESS to INTERFERE in Sri Lanka again!

    Have we already forgotten their support for the creation of an Eelam in Sri Lanka?

    These are the vipers helping to orchestrate the UN assault on Sri Lanka. Don’t bless them with official sanction to revive their Eelamist activities in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.

    Kick them OUT, and keep them OUT! … PERMANENTLY!

    ………………………
    Norway to continue assistance for Northern development

    By Nadira Gunatilleke
    DailyNews.lk
    October 7, 2013

    Norwegian Ambassador Grete Lochen and Second Secretary Marte Torskenaes met Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva recently.

    Norwegian government is happy about the peace achieved by Sri Lanka and it will continue to assist the development process taking place in the North, Norwegian Ambassador Grete Lochen said.

    She expressed these views when she met Irrigation and Water Resources Management Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva recently.

    She inquired about the continuation of development process in the Northern Province after TNA’s PC election victory.

    Minister de Silva explained her that the government considers Northern PC as a part of the unitary state, Sri Lanka and continue to carry out all development work as usual without any difference. Same treatment will be given to both the South and the North.

    It is the responsibility of the TNA to work with the government.

    Minister de Silva pointed out that the International community has already accepted that the Northern PC election was a free and fair one.

    He requested the support of the Norwegian government to carry out development work in the North.

  10. Ananda-USA Says:

    Sri Lanka to show evidence to Indian Minister on extensive poaching by Indian fishermen

    ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

    Oct 07, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government says that it would show evidence of extensive poaching by Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan waters to visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid.

    External Affairs Ministry Secretary Karunatilaka Amunugama said that the Indian Minister would be shown evidence of the extensive poaching by thousands of Indian boats in Sri Lankan waters.

    He noted that the issue of Indian fishermen poaching in Sri Lankan waters is nothing new, but it remains a matter to be discussed again.

    Amunugama has explained that Sri Lanka would look at getting a reduction in the number of boats poaching in Sri Lankan waters.

    Sri Lankan naval officials annually arrest hundreds of Indian fishermen who poach in Sri Lankan waters.

    Sri Lanka recently changed its policy on the Indian fishermen invading country’s waters. Instead of the earlier method of ‘catch and release’ now the poaching fishermen will be detained and produced in court. The fishermen will be released after they plead guilty and their boats will be confiscated.

  11. Fran Diaz Says:

    The 1983 Riots were Tamil-Tamil inspired (even the J.N. Dixit, the self appointed Vice Roy from India, was a Chennai born Tamil, not a Hindu). No doubt about it. These Riots and any future riots (the rest in Sri Lanka will be stupid to allow any new riots), will be for Tamils to migrate to Canada especially, as ‘refugees’. Once in Canada, bogus Tamil refugees make up FALSE stories of ‘pogroms’ and discrimination in Sri Lanka, after having received free education & health care in Lanka, in order to get sympathy and govt. funding. What hypocrisy !

    Perhaps Canada is really mad with Lanka for not stopping the UK & the Netherlands from bringing Tamil folk (over a Million & half) to Sri Lanka as indentured labor during Colonial times ?

    Canada is in the Commonwealth. One would have thought that this meant a fraternity for mutual help. What does Sri Lanka receive from being in the Commonwealth and what does Sri Lanka have to do in return ?

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