Western Diplomats overstepping their mandate
Posted on December 27th, 2017

By Shivanthi Ranasinghe Courtesy Ceylon Today

The Western diplomatic community in Sri Lanka leaves a lot to be desired. ConspiracyTalk.info accuses US Ambassador Atul Keshap of carrying out a liberal globalist agenda in South Asia. He is accused of following an agenda contravening Trump’s non-interventionist foreign policy, or just of violating the first principle of diplomatic privileges by participating in Tamil National Alliance organized protests.

The British High Commissioner, James Dauris has his head so high in the cocktail circles that he is barely grounded to reality.

Sometime ago, he argued passionately, in an English daily, for LGBT rights in Sri Lanka. Recognizing these rights is the way he saw for us to move forward. He laboured on the arduous moral journey Britain too made before it became the inclusive society it is today. We too are happy (and relieved) that Britain is becoming tolerant on diversity. However, drawing from our own experience with the British, that spans from early 1800s to date, we believe the UK needs further reform in how they view the world.

Dauris has not perceived that laws notwithstanding, we are really not bothered by others’ sexuality. One celebrated chef used to adorn his restaurants with large, framed photos of himself in ladies attire. That did not dissuade Sri Lankans from patronizing his places. We had another lass, who insisted on being a lad, but the stage plays s/he directed and acted as the main character were a huge hit.

Recently, Dauris had made another passionate plea and that is not to let numbers distract and distort the truth. The numbers he was referring to was of course the discrepancy that Lord Naseby had highlighted between the Darusman’s report and the dispatches that originated from the very British High Commission (BHC) that Dauris is now heading.

Nuisance

What a nuisance Lord Naseby has become to the British establishment as well as the incumbent Sri Lankan Government. For geopolitical reasons, it is in West’s interest to keep Sri Lanka in a State of flux and confusion. For political reasons, it is in the interest of incumbent Sri Lankan politicians in power to belittle the war victory – the greatest achievement in post independent Sri Lanka, to which they unfortunately did not become a partner.

Sans the Sri Lanka Freedom Party sector that is in the government, the other entities put their weight behind theanti-war front.

The TNA functioned as the political proxy of a terrorist organization that was proscribed almost worldwide. They continued in their role while the terrorists were forcibly conscripting Tamil children and indiscriminately endangering Tamil civilian lives. The United National Party was convinced that Sri Lankan forces can never achieve what the Americans were (and still are) struggling to achieve and that is to militarily defeat terrorism. Thus they not only ridiculed the war efforts, but also pledged that if they come to power, they will not honour the loans taken to pay the war bill.

Having won the war, which led to stability, infrastructural growth with the fastest growing economy in the region and moving up the ease of doing business index, the geopolitical and political agendas of these two went astray. The West quickly rebounded and began to engineer a ‘regime change’. Since World War II, the US has a history of dislodging 70 odd governments, which is cheaper than warfare and releases them from justification and accountability. Premier Wickremesinghe is on record that he had tutelage from America on how to shake the then Government. The lesson he learnt was to scream “thief”. From the other side, the West launched the “war crimes” allegations – even before the war fully drew to its successful conclusion.

The previous Government was overconfident that people’s gratitude would be unshakable and hence their tenure in power. Thus, they issued a blanket denial instead of challenging these adverse allegations, which became only more vociferous. Their failure has returned to haunt them, the whole country and most tragically our war heroes, who made the most contribution to both the warfront and the reconciliation process.

Darusmans PoE

It is in this regard that the UN was used as an appendage. The then UNSG shamelessly abused his position and violating the UN principles appointed the so-called Panel of Experts (PoE) headed by Marzuki Darusman. This despite the Sri Lanka Government already setting up the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. Though the PoE sought evidence against Sri Lankan forces via the UN website, they failed.

Lord Naseby has detailed the procedure he followed that convinced him the death toll, during the last phase, could not be more than 8,000. On the other hand, the PoE is secretive as to how they arrived at the estimate of 40,000 civilians been killed. It is indeed interesting when the report by the UN mission in Colombo itself estimates the number of deaths at 7,721 and the wounded as 18,479 between August 2008 and 13 May 2009. Darusman’s Report does not even define the time span of the ‘final phase’.

Lord Naseby has not stopped at bringing his conclusions to the UK Parliament’s attention. He had now taken the matter up with the incumbent UNSG Antonio Guterres along with the controversial Geneva Resolution 30/1 that is based on the dubious Darusman’s Report. Luckily for David Cameron, he is no longer in the public eye for Lord Naseby’s actions have left egg on his face. Cameron as the then British premier would have known the undistorted truth that Lord Naseby uncovered with much difficulty. Yet, when he was in Sri Lanka he behaved in the most unbecoming manner for a Head of State.

At first, the BHC tried to dismiss their own dispatches as that of Lord Naseby’s personal views and not that of the British Government. Obviously, the ludicrous response has been inadequate and hence Dauris’ plea not to get distracted with numbers.

He states, “while a single death is a tragedy, a large number of deaths is a statistic.”

Just as with the LGBT issue, Dauris has not understood that our thinking is very different to the British. For us, one death is a tragedy; death of 40,000 is 40,000 times the tragedy. That is why, according to Chilcot’s Report, 150,000 Iraqis, mostly civilians, were killed (and dismissed as collateral damage) because of the illegal invasion that the UK co-partnered. In Sri Lanka, we saved twice that number who were held hostage by the terrorists, absorbing greater casualties to our own troops. This invasion, as Obama confessed, “had no plan for day after” displaced a million Iraqis. Our forces worked overtime to de-mine so our internally displaced could return home within three years – a feat respective NGOs estimated a 12-year timeframe.

Immature

In his statement, Dauris recalls visiting Sri Lanka as an 18-year old and witnessing the aftermath of ’83 riots. Judging by the looks of it, he had not matured a day over his 18 years. A seeker of truth, a diplomat at that, would have read the Sansoni Report and have heard courageous accounts of Sinhalese saving their Tamil brethren. In the subsequent 28 years the situation deteriorated, but not between Sinhalese and Tamils. Henceforth the Sinhalese were targeted, but so were the Muslims, falsifying theories of majority-minority conflict. The worst affected however was the Tamils. They were dehumanized by the terrorists, who their political representatives acknowledged as their sole representative.

Dauris, who insists on undistorted truth, must examine the role Britain played in this mess. At least in 1983, Britain should have identified the threat India posed to Sri Lanka by arming, training and funding terrorists to destabilize Sri Lanka. Having used an elite group of a minority community to overload on Sri Lankan citizens for 133 years, Britain had no moral right to wash its hands off the matter when that group was resorting to terrorism to retain its colonial status. Had they exerted diplomatic pressure — if not in 1983, but at least in 1987, this whole issue of numbers distorting the truth would have not arisen now.

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