HAVING A LONG TONGUE
Posted on September 6th, 2019

RANJITH SOYSA

US Ambassador spoke  with her tongue in her cheek at an interview recently on the subject of her earlier statement expressing her concerns about the appointment of Lt Gen Shavendra de Silva .She said; “My obligation is to share the policies and decisions of the U.S. That is what we have done in this statement. We have expressed our concern for Sri Lanka’s reputation, the government’s commitment to its people regarding justice and accountability. We are not asking the government to appoint this person or that person. We are only articulating our position on this matter. There is a fundamental difference in telling a country what to do and expressing our position on a country’s actions.
You are right that people may misinterpret it in a way that we are telling the Sri Lankan government what to do. We are not telling Sri Lanka what to do. People here and the government can decide what they are going to do about it. I certainly hope that they take our concerns and those of other nations into consideration.  When she was questioned on the fact that he was facing “allegations” she added “Yes, I think that is one of the challenges right now. One of the commitments made by the government is to truth, reconciliation and accountability. So, there needs to be a process to address them fully. There are credible allegations in the case of Gen. Silva. There will be a good outcome.
They can go before court. Then, court can make a decision accordingly.
But, that has not happened. At this moment, we have all the allegations.
Whether they are serious, credible or not are different issues. But, there is a lot of documentation in this case. That has been put together by the UN and other organizations. During the 30-year war, terrible things happened – perpetrated by both sides to the conflict. There is a need to get to the bottom of them.”
Her responses remind one of the now forgotten story of the Cherokees, a native Indian tribe and their negotiations with the states governments in the USA under infamous Andrew Jackson.
“The state governments did little to discourage them, ignoring federal treaties and even abetting the taking of Indian land through bribery, fraud and coercion. When the tribes turned to Washington for redress, federal officials proved ineffectual or hostile, depending on the administration. One by one the other major Southern tribes—the Chickasaws, the Choctaws, the Creeks and the Seminoles—signed treaties that required them to uproot to the far side of the Mississippi River.
But the Cherokees held out.
They finally succumbed in 1838, when they were marched 800 miles into an extremely bitter winter. The survivors of the journey to what is now Oklahoma would call it the Trail of Tears. The exodus was a communal tragedy, as it had been for the other tribes” (Smithsonian Magazine)” While Andrew Jackson was negotiating with a forked tongue he unleashed a barbaric attack on the native Indians . The Indian Removal Act displaced thousands of Native Indian. Andrew Jackson became the father of Native American genocide.It was during such appalling, one sided negotiations that the native Indians coined the term speaking with a forked tongue.

This piece of history prompts us to look the Ambassador in the face who was expressing her concerns about Lt Gen Shavendra De Silva’s record while mentioning that ” they could go to court”!. She was speaking indeed with a forked tongue. She was hypocritical to express their conclusions while requesting the issues be settled in a court of law.
Why should Sri Lanka proceed to the courts if the government the has solid evidence that the war was conducted with the intention of minimizing the numbers killed ? What actually happened was nearly 300,000 Tamils were saved from the LTTE ‘s grip and many thousands of Tamil fighters were rehabilitated.

Or, the Ambassador’s remarks have to be taken with a pinch of salt as she was referring to the papers put together by the UN which has been the butt end of bitter criticism of the USA .

RANJITH SOYSA

One Response to “HAVING A LONG TONGUE”

  1. Ratanapala Says:

    When the US comes pontificating to other countries about rights and wrongs, they must take a look at how they ended up wars and similar conflicts in the past and what they are doing all over, especially the Middle East, even as we speak.

    The war in Europe ended up with the carpet/fire bombing of Dresden and Hamburg and the killing of Germans, the old, the young and the infirm through starvation and other means continued well after the immediate aftermath of the war. In the East as if the fire/carpet bombing was not enough, it ended up with the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – all ostensibly for reducing the American casualties in a long-drawn-out tail end of the war.

    Whereas in Sri Lanka nearly 30,000 soldiers sacrificed their life and limb to see that the casualties among the Tamil Civilians were kept to a minimum, by the use of only small arms.

    Ambassador, your slip is showing!

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