An Appeal to the Visiting US Secretary of State
Posted on June 20th, 2019

Dr D. Chandraratna

Dear Mr Secretary of State.

As a peace-loving citizen of Sri Lanka I would like to place before you the following facts as a precursor to the dialogue that you intend to conduct with the powers that be in my country. International cooperation loses its legitimacy if the transactions between states are not executed transparently. We welcome you as our nation’s guest.  Coming from US, the fiercest exponent of democracy as well as the leader in the second modernity of the capitalist world, we are confident of your honest intentions about our well being. The following facts should be uppermost in making social compacts and contracts between modem nations not only from the angle of the foreign partner but also from the point of view of Sri Lankan national politics. In dealing with the United states I am always an incorrigible optimist in the conviction that you will not lose sight of the interests of our national polity as well as the legality and legitimacy of the compact that you sign.  Your good name should not be associated with the political agendas proposed by our incompetent leaders for ulterior motives of staying in power. We like to treat US as our friend forever.

In the proposed compacts with the MCC, the organization headed by you, to develop the infrastructural facilities, namely under-used land and under developed transport we earnestly beg of you to give your utmost consideration to the nation’s history, culture, literature and frontier controls alongside the economic and other material advantages that you intend  to deliver. Please note that this architecture of thinking and acting within our Sri Lankan space and identity comes foremost to a civilization that is more than tenfold your history and while we are aware that it has to accommodate the course of political, cultural and biographical globalization modernity, the former is also of equal if not greater value in our lives.

We appreciate your solidarity with our people on the eve of the attacks by ISIS, a power not openly identifiable, but please do not make it the primary focus in advancing your military objectives of supremacy in the INDOPACIFIC region. As we do not aspire to join in the power plays in the Indo Pacific we determinedly are committed to remain non-aligned. Our inclusive nation’s Buddhist philosophy dictates our foreign relations, ‘to be friends of all and enemies to none’.  Please do not forget our nation’s contribution to the world dialogue at the end of the Second World War, which is the essence of our pacifist non-alignment. You can be assured that in the unlikely event of a confrontation between you and the other world power, we will be steadfastly no one’s pawn and if our incompetent leaders have told you otherwise our people are of a different view. Sri Lanka would not like to be part of any Empire, western or eastern.  

Today our democracy is a failure, not due to the ignorance of our masses but more due to the corruption of the leaders, who cannot be easily thrown out owing to the traditional loyalties to the grand old parties, -he pillars of our democracy. We still believe that when our PM remarked (21/01/19) in relation to a question by the opposition that he was against establishing a US military logistics hub in Sri Lanka, he was truthfully stating the will of the people.

You might wish to refer to the 1987 Indo Lankan Accord of 29, July 1987, wherein both countries emphatically signed off, and I quote, ‘ Conscious of the friendship between our two countries stretching over two millennia and more, and recognizing the importance of nurturing this traditional friendship, it is imperative that both Sri Lanka and India reaffirm the decision not to allow our respective territories to be used for activities prejudicial to each others unity, territorial integrity and security'(end quote). United States being the country that wishes to promote pristine democracy in the world I am sure that you will respect the sovereignty enshrined in those words until any change is acceded to by the will of our people. Just as much as you respect the constitution of the US, with hand to your heart, we expect you to respect those core values enshrined in our constitution regarding the inalienable rights of our people. They cannot be over ridden by our leaders however ignorant they may be.

In your battle with China we have no wish to be a logistics hub for either party. You are assured that Sri Lanka will remain totally neutral leaving these struggles to major powers. Your envoy in Colombo said (23/01/19) that Sri Lankan leaders have outlined their vision for the country that reflects its geo strategic position but please be aware that the Sri Lankan people have never been given the opportunity to express what their stance on these matters are. It may be of value to our ailing economy to earn dividends through a military logistics hub but the possible loss to our nation will be manifold, even to outweigh the assault on the Mauritians by the Colonialists, from which they still suffer. The human costs are another matter that colonialists refuse even to debate and hence the value of the recent ICJ judgement.

Honourable Sir. We would like to state our concerns briefly with regard to the MCC compact on economic corridors and the attempt to open up land for the open market. Majority of our people are engaged in agriculture and the proposed land reforms will only turn them into a landless peasantry similar to what happened to the emancipated slaves in your country. They will sell off the land at the earliest whim and migrate to the urban towns to form ghettoes and end up in utter destituteness, drug use and criminality. It will be the death knell of the rural majority. What happened in the rust belt towns of America, after emancipation, will be their plight. Our leaders have not even read or heard of the, ’40 acre and the mule’ metaphor.

None of the amendments to the Physical Plan have gone through the due process and therefore we appeal to you, being the champion of the voice of people for which you have assisted many a rainbow revolution, to honour that strong commitment and hear our voice. Your noble intention to eradicate poverty should be directed to where poverty exists and definitely not where the 2.1 hectares are likely to be offered to you. We do not like parts of our country being ruled by laws of the US, just like you will not allow your marines be subject to our laws, for it will create international conflicts as in the case of the Okinawan rape incident in 1995.

We were taken aback in seeing the Physical plan in Sri Lanka in the year 2050. Who would like to experience a situation as in the Demilitarized Zone in the 38 th parallel. Our precious metals in that ‘tradable’ land will be lost for the future generations and since the people have not volunteered the lands, metaphorically you have been offered stolen goods.  Please do not accept because they are illegally sold to you (caveat emptor). The money that you offered to us will be nothing different from black money laundered and offered by illegal arms dealers and drug lords. Mr Secretary of State. Please discuss these and other issues with all parties including the opposition. Our precious friendship for over many decades is more valuable than this divisive and devious offer.  Let our historic friendship not be maligned by the corrupt leaders that lead our nation today.

One Response to “An Appeal to the Visiting US Secretary of State”

  1. Vaisrawana Says:

    Thank you, Dr Chandraratna for this very valuable document.

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