The mess-up in Geneva
Posted on December 16th, 2016

U. Pethiyagoda Courtesy The Island

The predicament of Sri Lanka in Geneva is that of a snake swallowing its own tail. Following on domestic experiences, we have been inconsistent, contradictory and dilatory. A good brief has been lost. Alarmingly, there are no indications of serious preparations to meet the deadline of next year, which will soon be on us. We are immersed in various petty irrelevancies and political games instead.

Sri Lanka has adopted an inconsistent and puzzling position. At first, as expected efforts were directed towards preventing the damaging Resolutions, and member countries were canvassed to vote against. Having failed, there was an inexplicable reversal and Sri became a joint signatory! At first glance, this seems insane, but the trouble is that several glances later, it still remains insane! Two questions need to be addressed: What were efforts aimed at and how better could we have approached the problem?. A sub-issue is, who should be blamed for the mess? Unquestionably, the Foreign Ministry under both administrations have a major share.

First an inconclusive series of “Peace Talks, in various salubrious climates was a predictable and expensive failure. Both parties were in it for the ride. Then came Geneva. A number of people figured in the delegations. Their joint efforts were a failure. What precise arguments were presented in support of our case, are at best obscure. Was enough homework done to promote our cause? We shall never know, other than that they were ineffective and eventually resulted in a peculiar reversal. We joined the US, who until then was the devil incarnate, became our buddy and co-signatory! Why? This will never be acceptably explained.

The more important question is: How could we have approached our problem better? The major issue seems to be that our forces are accused of being guilty of excesses, indiscriminate slaughter of civilians and Genocide aimed at the Tamils. This is patently untrue. There was agreement that the LTTE were a bunch of criminals who had to be subdued. They had by their brutality and savagery, richly qualified to be exterminated. Regarding civilian deaths, there is much controversy about numbers. Although even a single death is one too many, there have never been violent uprisings or wars ever, where no non-combatants were sadly killed. Ours was special as aptly summed up by an Indian journalist, who said that “where an armed group resorted to violence while in disguise, and among civilians, they forfeit the right to subsequently whimper about “civilian casualties” If such occurred, they and only they are to be blamed. Well said, our delegations would not have placed before the UNHRC, the barbarity of the attacks on the Central Bank, Sri Maha Bodhi, the Kattankudy mosque, Dalada Maligawa, Aranthalawa, the slaughter of over 600 unarmed policemen ordered to surrender by stupid superiors, and countless other actions of incredible brutality and destruction, detailed in scores of publications as in the writings of S.L.Gunasekera, Shamindra Ferdinando, M.Iqbal, by active participants like Retd General Kamal Gunaratne in his Nandikadal, and several others who were able to portray the sheer horror that the troops had to face: Material that would have convinced, even the most committed supporter to understand the mood of soldiers who had braved indescribable deprivation and trauma when they finally faced their targeted enemy. Surely, even a fraction of the atrocities committed by the LTTE , would have kindled the natural impulse of vengeance.

Also, with the extermination of the LTTE leadership, there are none to answer the long litany of terror. The possible exceptions of Karuna, Pillayan and Kumaran Ratnam have been embraced and mollycoddled by Governments rewarding them with Ministerships, Diplomatic Passports,Office Bearerships in Political Parties, Chief Ministerships and heaven knows what else. Craftily, the proponents of the truly inimical Resolutions proclaim grandly that “both sides” stand accused. Idiocy fails to recognize that one team – a bunch of criminals – is now off the field!

U. Pethiyagoda

One Response to “The mess-up in Geneva”

  1. Christie Says:

    The Sinhala Army wiped out the Indian terrorist arm but not the Indian Empire. India will do what ever it wants at Geneva. Geneva is not going to talk about what is happening Indian occupied Kashmir.

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