II- Focus on Sri Lanka – Canadian Parliamentary Hearings on Human Rights-II Review of the presentation by Amnesty Indetnational, 17- Nov- 2011

February 8th, 2014

Review by: Chandre Dharma-wardana, Ontario, Canada; Dec-2013


canada world map Canadina flag

The separatist conflict in Sri Lanka and the souring of Canada against Sri Lanka.

Document – 2

Sri Lanka's flag Sri Lanka satellite photo


Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International, John Argue Sri Lanka Co-ordinator, Amnesty International, and Roy Samathanam (as an Individual) 17 st Nov. 2011.

The source material used may be accessed from the above link.

Our comments have been updated in Dec.2013, two-years after the meeting, taking advantage of further information obtained subsequently. Our reactions are given in Light Blue shaded text .


Introduction

Here we review the presentations made by two officials of Amnesty International, as well as a presentation made by Roy Samathanam who had been detained in Sri Lankan prisons for three years, under the charge of importing communication equipment (cellphones with GPS) and being linked to the LTTE at a time when the Government was at war with the Tigers. He was fined and freed when he confessed to the importation of GPS telephones. We compare it with the Canadian case of Maher Arrar who had simply been acquainted with some one who had been suspected of exporting communication equipment to al Queda. Arrar was kidnapped and held for nearly one year, and subject to torture by US and Canadian authorities. Although Canada apologized to Arrar and compensated him some 5 years later, no responsible officials were criminally indicted, while the USA has rejected any wrong-doing.

We argue here, within the context of the HR-committee review, that (i) Canada has lost its capacity to influence Sri Lanka because it has been widely viewed, for several decades, as a hostile power by a majority of Sri Lankans. (i) The yardstick of Human-Rights accountability that can be applied to a prosperous, peaceful educated society cannot be blindly applied to societies that have been subject to two generations of war and thereby impoverished both economically and morally. (iii) In many cases, the “facts” as presented by AI and other advocacy agencies prejudge the issue, ignore the rights of the accused, and would not hold water in a judicial setting. (iv) That prosperous, peaceful nations like Canada, Australia and UK have done little to prosecute the LTTE ex-terrorists or fund-raising fellow travelers who live on their own soils. Even UN officials were complicit in money channeled to the UN. Western governments have not implemented accountability recommendations of Royal-commission recommendations to restore the rights of their own depressed peoples, while demanding accountability elsewhere. (v) The calls for accountability vehemently pursued by the Human-Rights NGOs are counterproductive and Shylockian in nature. The pound of flesh is dictated by strict retributive accountability; for instance, it does not ask how much harm and dissension it would create in the aftermath of such interventions, imposition of sanctions etc.


Hon. Scott Reid ais the Chairman of the sessions.

Alex Neve, SC-AI: Secretary General, Amnesty International
Thank you very much, Mr. Reid. And good afternoon, members of the subcommittee. It’s a pleasure to be in front of you again. We very much welcome the fact that we’ll be discussing a part of the world that for Amnesty International has long been a priority concern. I was thinking about the fact that my own involvement with Amnesty International back in the mid eighties was marked by an intense campaign of work on that disappearances that were happening in Sri Lanka. More than 25 years later the human rights situation in the country is still very preoccupying for our organization.

 

Indeed, 25 years prior to this discussion, AI worked by identifying individual prisoners of conscience. AI in its pristine days stood away from government patronage and political advocacy groups. Today the situation is very dubious, with close connections between AI and the US state department. In 2012 an ex-official of the US-state department, Suzanne Nossel who advocates `smart power’ based on ‘military force’ and R2P was executive Director of AI-USA. Madeleine Albright, ex-US secretary of state (who confided to Leslie Stahl that the deaths of many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, including an estimated 500,000 children was a price “worth it” to weaken former U.S. ally, Saddam Hussein), was the lead speaker in an AI ‘shadow-summit’ held in Chicago in May 2012. AI mounted posters justifying NATO’s invasion of Afghanistan. These showed the extent of impairment of AI’s moral judgment by 2012. Suzanne Nossel resigned when protests mounted with Rowley and Right exposing Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars. Amnesty’s current policy towards Sri Lanka is also well-aligned with that of the US-state department.

 

AI’s posters supporting the NATO invasion in the name of women’s rights (click to enlarge)   → John Argue and Alex Neve of AI at a Sri-Lankan Tamil-separatist fund raiser. (click to enlarge) → The U-tube movie establishes that AI has adopted the narrative of the Tamil Eelamists (click to enlarge)   →

In Canada itself, AI had no hesitation of joining with the Canadian Tamil Congress, alleged to be an off-spring of the now-banned World Tamil Movement (WTM), and openly accepting some $50,000 from Sri Lankan Tamil-separatist groups now living in Canada. So today, the original AI, fiercely independent of power blocks and advocacy groups, has now become a very different beast. Nevertheless, we are thankful to AI for its focus on Sri Lanka in the 1980s.
At that time there were two types of terror movements in Sri Lanka creating disappearances, assassinations etc., associated with rapid surge in unemployed youth populations. The first was an armed Sinhalese Marxist-youth insurrection that began in 1971; it was quelled without much bloodshed. But when it re-appeared in the late 1980s, it was put down with great brutality by the pro-Western `United National Party (UNP)’, with the tacit consent of the West, led by Ronald Regan. The other was the armed insurrection of Tamil youth inflamed by Tamil nationalism that developed into the LTTE. Both ideologies (Marxism and Tamil nationalism) exploited the high-demographic hump among youth. The LTTE initially had the support of Indian politicians, but by 1987 they had decided to rein them in and sent an army, the IPKF, into Sri Lanka.

Alex Neve, SC-AI
We welcome the fact that the Canadian government’s views matter when it comes to Sri Lanka, as we have close connections and ties with that country in many respects. A large Sri Lankan expatriate community lives in Canada. We have ties via bodies such as the Commonwealth. So it’s very timely and welcome that the subcommittee is giving some attention to the situation in Sri Lanka.
You’re going to hear briefly from both of us. My colleague, John Argue, is a member of Amnesty International who for years has coordinated and overseen the work done by Amnesty International here in Canada on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka. He is very knowledgeable about the … (timed out).

 

Given AI’s long interest since 1971, since the first JVP (Marxist) youth uprising, it is surprising that AI had very little to say about the human-rights violations by the so-called ‘Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) that arrived in Sri Lanka to dis-arm the Tigers (LLTE) and end the conflict. That was surely a typical example of a failed R2P operation that went horribly wrong. Instead, a brutal affront between the IPKF and the LTTE led to HR-infractions that have been documented by the University Teachers for Human Rights-Jaffna (UTHR-J) , as well as other organizations. Similarly, in the aftermath of the the IPKF leaving Sri Lanka, 600 policemen who surrendered to the LTTE were massacred in cold-blood by the LTTE, thus triggering the Eelam war-II in 1990. However, many Human Rights NGOs (including HRW and AI) began to demand an investigation into these crimes after Karuna, the Eastern LTTE commander broke ranks and later jointed the government. Similarly, at that time the ICRC also pushed for a demilitarized zone in Jaffna and justified its silence regarding LTTE atrocities in the name of getting an accord!

John Argue Sri Lanka Co-ordinator, Amnesty International

Thank you, Mr. Reid, and members of the committee. I’m very pleased to be here. As Alex said, I’m a volunteer coordinator with Amnesty and am focused on Sri Lanka. I’ve been to the country ten times. It’s been a fascinating and pleasurable experience for me to be there, notwithstanding the horrible things that have been occurring there for the last 30 years or so. I’ve been there as a tourist, actually, just visiting out of interest. On each occasion I’ve been there, I have looked up the Canadian High Commissioner to get her or his advice about where to go in the country and where it is safe, but also to discuss the human rights situation, as I became active within Amnesty.

Clearly, during his ten visits as a tourist, John has not been “followed” by the police – has he? He went about freely, and associated closely with people from the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), and other Western-funded “civil-society” activists who are looked at with great suspicion by the state because of their well-documented support of “peace at any cost” with the LTTE. He has, of course, not seen any of the horrible things that have been occurring there for the last 30 years. But people have told him these things rather freely. So is there no free speech compared to other countries at war or in civil turmoil (say, taking the yardstick of Egypt today) ?

John Argue On two instances I was part of the election monitoring team organized locally in Sri Lanka, called PAFFREL. It’s the official election monitoring group within Sri Lanka. It is fascinating organizing about 10,000 people to monitor an election. On one occasion, it was a national election in 2004. Most recently I was part of the monitoring team in Batticaloa, the city on the east coast of Sri Lanka that had its first election in 14 years in 2008. Being there as part of the election monitoring team and traveling in the northern part of the country during the national election and then in the east in Batticaloa, as well as my own trips, of course, I’ve had a fascinating experience. It’s obviously been educational.

There was a parliamentary national election in Sri lanka in 2004. John should mention the continued guerillas activity by the Tigers, and how The LTTE did not allow any opposition to the candidates of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) who where their political proxies, and election monitors reported this as a a serious infringement. The same TNA, strongly supported by the Tamil diaspora in Canada that ran the walk-a-thon for AI is again in power in the Northern province. In fact, the same land-owning class (and caste) has been continuously in power in the North since the 19th century. (So, the victory of the TNA in the 2013 provincial elections shows that voting in the North is still largely controlled by the same land-owning castes).

John Argue I’m so glad to be here because, frankly, it’s frustrating to deal with the situation in Sri Lanka right now. Amnesty clearly is promoting human rights there and elsewhere in the world. Our frustration and challenge-”and it’s not just Amnesty’s challenge, but probably Canada’s challenge too – is to engage the Sri Lankan government.

So, is Canada “engaging” the Sri Lankan government in a fruitful way by boycotting CHOGM? AS we discussed in in our introduction , and as will be clear from Mr. Samathanam’s testimony, the majority of Sri Lankans regard Canada as a hostile country, and have, unfortunately, disengaged themselves from Canada. Even Britain and Australia disagreed with Canada in how to engage with Sri Lanka. When the Lessons-Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) was launched, Alex Neve, John argue and friends refused to even make a token gesture and pick up the challenge of the Sri Lankan government. They cannot really “engage the Sri Lankan government”, since they have closed all avenues except just one mechanism – an invasive international inquiry forced on a regime which has strong support of Sinhalese, the “plantation” Tamils, Muslims as well as many urban Tamils in Colombo.
Read:

  • The statement by Bishop Francis, a Tamil.  The following comment by the Bishop regarding the nature of the Tamil polity should be noted.
    Bishop Francis: There is this myth of a Tamil cause in Sri Lanka. To me there is no such thing because there are four different groups that speak Tamil totally different to one another. There are the Northern Tamils, the Eastern Tamils, and the Upcountry Tamils are different to both the Northern and Eastern Tamils. Then there are the urban Tamil communities and the Tamil speaking Muslim community. If somebody is talking about a Tamil cause, they should consider all these other groups as well. We have suffered enough from division. It is unfortunate that some people have been thinking only of the north. A bishop is a national leader. He must think of the country, not just his territory.
  • Tambimuttu Jr. : Batticaloe political family scion beckons Tamils away from politics of hate; Island Sept 2011 – Part I.
  • Media and the suffering of the Tamil people, by Noel Nadesan, Daily Mirror, 14-July-2011
    Noel Nadesan is a leader of the Tamil community who is the editor of Uthayam, the only Tamil-language newspaper in Australia.

John Argue Over many years we have commented on human rights in Sri Lanka, with 1971, some 40 years ago, being the first time Amnesty commented on incidents in Sri Lanka. Since then, we have regularly had missions to Sri Lanka and, of course, have commented increasingly on the tragedy in the country in the last number of years. Right now, the Sri Lankan government is asserting that it should determine its own future. It does not want interference by organizations like Amnesty, or countries like Canada for that matter. In other words, it’s asserting strongly its own sovereignty. It wants to determine what it wants to do on its own. On a broad level, Amnesty is sympathetic to people in their own countries standing up for their human rights and deciding their own future. Our problem, however, is that human rights are just not being respected in Sri Lanka.

Aboriginal people of Canada have been agitating for their rights, over the years, even before WWII (click to enlarge) Here again we ask John what is the yardstick? Let us take Canada, which has NOT been facing a 30-year war that has seen the rise of two generations of youth violence where all human-rights have been violated. In such situations, there is simply no `public opinion’ about human rights as civil society itself has been fractured. The flow of arms, rampant terrorism etc., creates a gun culture and rule by strong-arm tactics. Yo see it in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and in the middle east. How long will Iraq taken to settle down since the “mission was declared accomplished” by the Bush administration?
But countries like Canada or Australia have no excuse. Canada, just emerging from the Oka crisis, appointed a Canadian Royal commission to look into the infringements of aboriginal human rights, treaty rights etc, with a sweeping mandate. But even today, little has been done and there is a ground-swell of an Idle no more movement. If we take the yardstick of Australia, the Royal commission into deaths of Australian aboriginals in custody (see Macquarie Law Journal), appointed under pressure from the UN, is claimed to have achieved nothing even after 10 years. John Pilger is testimony to this in his documentary films. So, what is the yardstick that John Argue, AI, and other “human-rights” NGOs use?
The Idle-no-more Aboriginal movement claiming fundamental rights in Canada 2013 (click to enlarge)

John Argue I want to be clear in the few minutes I have. The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission was appointed by the Sri Lankan government in May 2010 at the end of the conflict in May 2009 in an attempt to foster discussion among people in the country and reconciliation, as the name of the group implies. However, Amnesty has had great trouble with that commission, because we just don’t believe that the mandate or the process by which the Lessons Learnt committee is proceeding is going to establish the truth and justice. This conclusion is derived in part from a report by Amnesty, `Twenty Years of Make Believe’, published in June 2009, a month after the end of the conflict in May 2009. The simple argument in `Twenty Years of Make Believe’ is that every one of the commissions or investigations and inquiries established by the Sri Lankan government to examine human rights violations or establish what happened around particular incidents did not result in justice for any of the victims. There was nothing there.
Granted, there was the problem of the war but the legal process was just not followed through. Amnesty argued strongly in June 2009 that a domestic or national evaluation of what’s going on in Sri Lanka was just not credible and concluded, based on 20 years of experience, that the government just could not handle such an evaluation. Various other organizations agreed with us.

Amnesty talks of Twenty Years of Make Believe’, while ‘granting’ that ‘there was the problem of the war’, as if it was the least of problems!. These twenty-years were a time when most Sri Lankans, kids included, were not certain that they would come home alive by evening, as even southern rural towns were targeted by Tiger suicide squads. It is a wonder that they even appointed commissions of inquiry under such dire circumstances. It is a wonder that they did not call up compulsory military service, take the draconian measures that Pierre Trudeau unleashed against the very first terrorist act by the FLQ, or introduce the universal surveillance that came into place in the US after 9/11. In fact, this ’20 year period’ was one where Canadian politicians allowed the Canadian Tiger organizations like the World Tamil Movement (WTM) or the Tamil Rehabilitation organization (TRO) to collect funds to support terrorism in Sri Lanka, breeding the same culture of impunity and irresponsibility that Canada displayed in regard to Sikh terrorism. In fact, the National Post fittingly carried the article Sri Lankan blood on Liberal hands – National Post 22-July-09. No investigation of the human rights abuses in Sri Lanka would be meaningful if the Cnandian funding sources were not investigated. This can be done in Canada. It is not just Canadian politicians, even the UN Knew that its money went to the LTTE but kept it hushed up.
John Argue’s statement every one of the commissions or investigations and inquiries established by the Sri Lankan government to examine human rights violations or establish what happened around particular incidents did not result in justice is even more forcefully applicable to the commissions of inquiry or redress in Canada, with respect to disappearances of aboriginal men and women, as well as women driven to prostitution and menial work, notably in BC, Alberta and Manitoba. We already pointed out that even Royal commissions remain academic exercises in Canada and Australia, even during times of peace and prosperity to the ruling classes. This ruling class has the luxury of pointing fingers at poor countries that are struggling with terrorism funded by `refugees’ harboured by these very same countries.
When has AI, HRW, and other NGO organizations called for sanctions against Canada for more than a century of repression of the rights of Native and depressed people? A mild, rare statement from time to time is perhaps the best they can muster? If AI could write “twenty years of make believe”, it should also have a document like “A century of make believe” against Canada or Australia. Does AI know the consequences of this? A majority of these depressed people (living in native reserves or in urban hovels) suffer from mental health, chronic kidney disease, tuberculosis, chronic criminality and alcoholism. These are families broken, lives wasted and killed. If you integrated the sum total over the last century, the numbers killed, and the level of torture is well beyond everything that AI has highlighted since its early efforts directed to the cold-war objective of attacking the soviet union’s treatment of dissidents.

John Argue With the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, Amnesty joined with Human Rights Watch and the International Crisis Group-”headed by a Canadian, Louise Arbour, as I presume you know. It is a fascinating group that does excellent human rights work internationally. All three international human rights-oriented groups, through our research contacts and visits to Sri Lanka, reached a similar conclusion to that in the Amnesty brief. Therefore, all three organizations declined to participate in the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission.
A letter was sent to the commission in October 2010, the same year it was established. It suggested that there was nothing in the LLRC mandate that required it to investigate the many credible allegations of violations of humanitarian law and human rights law by both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Sri Lankan government, particularly in the last months of the war. The last months of the war were just horrendous in 2009, and yet the LLRC did not have a mandate to look into those problems.

AI, ICG,HRW etc., are made up of the same family of people, and indeed, they `come to similar conclusions’ as they depend on the information fed to them from the Colombo-based advocacy NGOs like the CPA, funded from outside the country. However, other more scholarly voices (e.g., John Thompson, President of the Mackenzie Institute in Ottawa , or Michael Roberts of Adelaide University paint a different picture . But AI, ICS, HRW etc had accepted the Tamil Diaspora narrative. They had already stated that nothing short of an `international investigation’ with their own inserts doing the job would satisfy them. If they could not even estimate the number of people held hostage by the Tigers in the Vanni, and if they could come out believing figures ranging from 40,000 to 100,000 as the casualty numbers in the last stages of the war, surely their judgment is questionable, and their inputs would be misleading in any inquiry. Darusman, and Sooka are examples of this, as they had already made statements giving their pre-dispositions, even before they were appointed to the UN Secy. General’s advisory panel, on the advise of individuals close to ICS, Campaign for Peace and Justice in Sri Lanka (CPJSL), and other NGOs who were running the Tamil-Diaspora narrative.

Sri Lanka was correct in rapidly appointing a commission for inquiry to lay down a template to guide its post-war program of reconciliation rather than retribution. Even today the government as well as Sri Lankan public opinion is not convinced that the “last months of the war were just horrendous in 2009″. Even Tamil public opinion in the south, and Tamil-Diaspora-dissent opinion in Canada do not buy this NGO picture painted by Gordon Weiss, Callum MacCrea, Darusman and others. The objective evidence (high-resolution satellite imagery, census data, ICRC food-supply figures, reports of witnesses who were in the theater of war at the last stages) etc., all go against the picture painted by the NGOs who have taken up the narrative of the Tamil diaspora, the TNA and proven LTTE-mouthpieces, ignoring the point of view of the southern, Eastern and plantation Tamil-speaking people in Sri Lanka .

John Argue Also, the LLRC did not require any official of the government who came before it to explain government misrepresentation-”and really, that’s what it was-”of the number of civilians who were in the northern part of Sri Lanka in the Vanni area, where the fighting was taking place and which the Tamil Tigers had controlled for a number of years. The government insisted there were 100,000 civilians in early 2009, but months later was forced to admit there were actually 300,000. In other words, the situation was much more serious than the human rights organizations were arguing.
The LLRC has to deal with that problem. The LLRC did not establish that fact while hearing its testimony.

This is misrepresentation. The UN gave a figure of ~70,000 and Panab Mukherjee used that figure in February 2009 when he called for a cease-fire. Mukherjee underscored India’s `grave concern over the humanitarian crisis that is building up with every passing day in Sri Lanka.’ He said that, reportedly, “over 70,000 civilians are trapped in the conflict zone in Sri Lanka and there is acute shortage of food, water and medicines”; the government made similar guesses, going up to 100,000 as time passed.
By early March, Lakdhar Brahmi, an ex-UN official and member of the ICG,spoke of 150,000 people who “are now trapped in a tiny pocket of land between Sri Lankan military forces, whose artillery shells regularly fall among them, and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who shoot at them if they try to escape. Although the UN failed abysmally in dealing with humanitarian catastrophes in the Gaza, Beirut, Darfur and other places, Brahmi suggests UN intervention, but glossed over the unsolved question of how to force the Tigers to release the hostages. Ms. Navi Pillai has also quoted various figures.
Actually, the misrepresentation and hiding of facts came from the NGOs and UN officials. The ICRC, and the UN through their food supply via the WFA had access to LTTE areas not open to the government. The UN/WFP and the ICRC pulled out of the Vanni only on the 15th of May, 2009. The Western agencies knew that the LTTE was holding the population hostage, and it did not want to put too much blame on the LTTE and so they concealed the figures that they knew. Initially, the NGOs claimed that the govt. was trying to discredit the Tigers by giving captive-population figures bigger than the UN figures.
Even on 21st April 2009, ICRC director of operations Pierre Krahenbuhl, in a press Briefing on Sri Lanka stated: “The hostilities are now taking place in a very narrow stretch of land along the eastern coastline of Sri Lanka. And within that narrow stretch, which had been declared a `no-fire zone’ by the government, tens of thousands of civilians remain trapped. At present we put their estimate at 50,000“. It is this sort of statements, made by NGO officials like Weiss that are also used in the reports by Darusman, Soosa and others. And yet, John Argue puts the blame on the government.
At the same time the NGOs and the UN began to talk of an impeding ‘humanitarian catastrophe (which was averted by the army breaching the LTTE earth bund that prevented people from escaping. Although the UN and the ICRC chief gave low figures, the UN/WFP and the ICRC shipped more than enough food for the 300,000 people held in captivity, as we discussed in detail in reviewing the claims of Deputy Director-HRW.

John Argue Another process question that we had was this. The LLRC did not provide any protection for the witnesses who appeared before it, and yet in the context of the discussion and threats going on within the country, that was absolutely crucial. International law requires, in practice, that witnesses for investigations like this be offered some kind of protection for offering testimony.
I would note that the LLRC is due to report this Sunday, that is, to give its report to the president of Sri Lanka. The president has made it clear that the report will go forward to the parliament and presumably be debated. We are assuming that the recommendations or some of the main points coming out of the LLRC will be made public-”or that there will be public speculation about them-”maybe next week. We’ll see.
However, the point we want to make is that the Sri Lankan government is not correct in arguing that Amnesty has pre-judged what they are saying. We are criticizing the mandate, criticizing the process-”the points that I just made. So whatever the LLRC recommends, in fact, is just not credible, based on the whole process of the thing.

As John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute had remarked, the ` Sri Lankan government fended off NGOs it didn’t trust (with reason)’. The impression in Sri Lanka is that the agents of these NGOs come to Colombo, and join up with their link-NGOs in Colombo, and go about the country uncritically amassing ‘material’ they can use to buttress their pre-conceived beliefs. They almost always head North, while ignoring the 75% of the population who may also have equally valid rights-grievances against the government, or other dominant players. But they do not figure in John Argue’s narrative. In out view, it is very unlikely that he could have contributed any useful information to the LLRC commission, in spite of his 10 tourist visits to the country.

John Argue Let me conclude by identifying a few particular problems in Sri Lanka right now. The armed conflict ended in May 2009, but human rights violations are continuing. I see Roy beside us. Roy will explain his own particular case. Just a couple of weeks ago, in its presentation to the committee against torture at the UN in Geneva, Amnesty in fact referred to Roy’s case and the abuse he suffered. Roy can talk about his own case, but it’s one strong indication that there are still ongoing violations concerning people who are in detention.
In that same report, Amnesty cited that ten people had died in police custody during the year 2010, all under suspicious and very similar circumstances, raising clear questions about what kind of police involvement there was.
In sum, Amnesty has serious problems about how the process is continuing or going ahead to resolve the human rights situation in Sri Lanka.

It would be interesting to ask if the public opinion in Europe would have allowed a call by some group of people (say, ex-Nazi Diaspora living in South America) to appoint a commission two years after WWII, reviewing the firebombing of Dresden, the bombing of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the sacrifice of Eastern European nations to Stalin, or whether any useful outcomes would have arisen if Churchill, Truman and others had been tried as war criminals, even in a mock trial.
There is a significant public opinion against the atrocities that happened in Iraq. But Madeline Albright, Bush administration officials etc., are bedfellows of Amnesty International, and the Chilcot report cannot even be published. So what is the moral yardstick used by John Argue? He clearly has no moral yardstick or moral compass in his public stance.

The government says it wants to reconcile with all parts of the country, and it has said literally that it is open to the Tamils, having fought and defeated the Tamil Tigers. Amnesty’s great problem is that it appointed the LLRC without any consultation with the Tamils. Admittedly, they’re in touch now with the Tamil National Alliance and beginning to talk about reconciliation. But this is a little late.
We emphasize that it’s absolutely crucial that the government involve the whole population in Sri Lanka in order to go ahead credibly. Unless they do that, we believe that human rights violations will clearly continue and, in fact, probably be encouraged by the fact of there not being a credible process.
We hope that this committee can lend Canada’s voice…and this is something that Alex will be able to argue ably. Thank you very much.

John Argue says that Amnesty’s great problem is that it appointed the LLRC without any consultation with the Tamils. There are Tamil members in government. Over 50% of the Tamils live in the south, and not in the claimed “exclusive homeland”. It is the remaining Tamil people, less than 5% of the total population that John Argue is referring to as “The Tamils”, ignoring the southern Tamils, plantation Tamils, and the Eastern province Tamils. In 2010 the TNA had no mandate to speak “for the Tamils”, as they had meekly sanctioned every atrocity committed (e.g., killing of the foreign minister Kadirgamar) by the LTTE. They lived in Colombo, in fear of the Tigers, and followed the dicta of the Diaspora!
The LLRC included respected Tamil members, and there were hosts of Tamils who spoke in front of the commission, and brought out their grievances without fear.
However, the separatists and other advocacy NGOs, funded from outside, followed the dicta of the Diaspora and declared from the outset that they will boycott the LLRC. This attitude was underlined by AI, ICG, HRW etc., who are also not interested in a ‘home-made’ LLRC. but have demanded from the out set for an external inquiry.
However, in less than 2 years after the launching of the National plan of action (POA) to implement the LLRC, tangible progress has been made as outlined in a document presented in Geneva, January 2014. In fact, it is far more than was achieved by Canadian, Australian or British Royal commissions in similar time periods and in prosperous no-war conditions. In fact, when it comes to investigations regarding war crimes in Iraq, NOTHING has happened in Britain (e.g., Chilcot commission), USA etc.

The Chair, Scott Reid Unfortunately, he’ll have to do that later, because you’ve used up all of your ten minutes, plus an extra two minutes and 15 seconds.
So we’re going to turn to Mr. Samathanam, whose turn it is to take the floor, please.

Roy Samathanam (As an Individual)
First of all, thanks for giving me the opportunity to be here to share my experience. Basically, I came to Canada in 1990. I’m a Canadian citizen. I went to Sri Lanka in 2005 to get married. My wife was pregnant, so I decided to stay there for a while.

We invite the reader to go to the source document Source documents for Mr. Samathanam’s presentation. He had come to Canada in 1990, (as a refugee, though he did not say it). He returned to Sri Lanka in 2005 to get married, and then waited there due to his new wife’s pregnancy. There he had begun to import mobile phones, equipped with GPSs. He claims that although he was an importer, he didn’t know about there being GPs etc. The security police has considered such goods to be of military value and arrested him. He had access to an embassy official only after about one week. He had been kept in jail without trial for over an year when they had attempted to get a confession from his an an LTTE member from Canada. He mentions about a beating after about 6 months, and the visit of an ICRC officer the next day. He was taken to the prison, but “They didn’t torture me, …, because the ICRC and the Canadian embassy used to visit me”.

Then he was taken to Boose, a detention center in the south, were conditions were worse and prisoners are claimed to be tortured. The Canadian High commission couldn’t do much as it was a domestic-law issue. However, he was returned Colombo, where he signed confession. He was charged with LTTE actvities, plotting to kill VIPs etc, but was let off when he confessed to the crime of importing GPs devices. He was fined ~$5000) and set free, when he flew to Canada. he had been in detention for three years. Then, the Canadian Tamil Congress (TCC) introduced him to the National Post, and Mr. Stewart Bell. This has retaliated on his wife who has been refused local police clearance to immigrate.

It should now be mentioned that on the 13 of November, Mr. Samathanam, in a decidely political move, caught headlines in Canada to coincide with the Commonwealth heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo. That day he declared his intention to take his case to the UN Human-rights committee. He cannot sue any Sri Lankan officials in a Canadian court (even in absentia) as they have ‘state-sector immunity’.
According to the National Psot, documents on Red Cross, Government of Canada and Sri Lankan government letterheads support Mr. Samathanam’s account of detention. They make no mention of torture. After Mr. Samathanam’s case was published, the Sri Lankan high-commission had submitted to the Canadian parliamentary commission Sri lanka’s position, and details about the court case about Mr. Samathanam. However, the Parliamentary sub-committee has not made them available as public documents.

According to the diplomat Richard Colvin, Canadian-held captives in Afghanistan have been handed over to afghan authorities for interrogation and certain torture . It is well established that the Canadian government has incarcerated individuals and acquiesced in torture, kidnapping etc. The Canadian Civil Liberties Association website carries a news item stating that “Canada has transferred detainees to the United States and Afghanistan with full knowledge that the detainees would be in extreme danger of torture and that Canada uses and shares intelligence likely obtained through torture”. John McNamer, an investigative journalist, provides over 250 documents in support of his allegations that he has submitted to the international criminal court (ICC) in November 2013 ”

The out-sourced torture of Abdullah Almalki, Ahmad El Maati, Muayyed Nureddin, and Maher Arar by Canadian Security forces are far better known than the Afghan and other cases.

As Canadians, we need to compare Mr. Samathanam’s case with similar events, e.g., that of Maher Arar, here in Canada. Maher Arar had associated with Abdullah Almalik, who was under suspicion for exporting electronic communication equipment, just as Mr. Samathanam was accused of, by Sri Lanka. Maher Arar was kidnapped from a New York airport when he was in transit, and taken to Syria. Countries like Syria and Libya have colluded with western powers as hosts for out-sourcing interrogation under torture. The extra-ordinary rendition involved collusion between the CIA and Canadian security services. Once the case came to the public, the Canadian Prime minister had to apologize and compensate Mr. Arar handsomely, some 5 years after the event. The US has refused to acknowledge the case, despite its obligation to do so under the UN Convention Against Torture and other human rights treaties. The US supreme court has conveniently declined to hear the case, while Arar remains permanently on US no-fly lists. Amnesty International in the USA has done very little except to issue the usual press release, launch a petition and an `apology button’. It has not effectively hounded the US on accountability. Furthermore, it is well known that the US has refused to provide a `body-count’ of the numbers dead, civilians or combatants (from the Iraqi side, in its war against Iraq and) in its theaters of war.
According to Maher Arrar, CBC news, Sep 08, 2011, “the fact that there is still co-operation between some Western governments and dictatorships, as long as there’s double standards there’s going to be grounds for those groups to recruit people. And I hope that Western governments understand that.”
Arar said when he was deported it changed Canadian public attitudes, reminding them suspicion is not guilt and intelligence services do not tell the whole truth. Today we find that it is not just ‘intelligence services that are gulity of falsifications and half-truths. Human-Rights agencies also do not tell the truth. They tell the narrative” that fits their cause which is most well-funded. They, like the inquisitors of a forgotten age, pick on half-truths and present them as the moral truth justifying their witch hunts. Just as medieval governments worked with the inquisitors, modern HR-agencies work hand in hand with powerful nations who link their state-department officials to high positions in AI, HRW, ICG etc..

The Canadian government apology came some five years after Maher Arar being kidnapped by government agents, and some 4 years after his release from the courts, in a situation where Canada was not at war. Mr. Samathanam was released by Sri Lankan courts very recently. Mr. Samathanam had access to Canadian consular services and claims that, perhaps because of that he was not really tortured. If compared with the Canadian yardstick, Samathanam should result in a Sri Lankan government apology and compensation by the year 2018. However, just as Maher Arar could not get an apology from the US, a foreign state, Sri lanka becomes a foreign state to Mr. Samathanam as he is now a Canadian citizen. Mr. Samathanam’s wife can work for redress in Sri Lanka, just as Maher Arar’s wife did in Canada.

The Chair, Scott Reid
David Sweet (Conservative)Ancaster-Dundas-Flamborough-Westdale, ON
I am hoping to ask a couple of questions, so I would appreciate getting some concise answers. The Hon. David Sweet asked a few short question from Mr. Samathanam to clarify matters. Here the reader may consult the source document of the House of commons.
David Sweet
Mr. Argue, do you have or Amnesty have any second thoughts about not participating in the LLRC?
John Argue No, we don’t.
David Sweet Okay.
You had mentioned the witnesses who came before the LLRC, but who were not provided with any protection. Were no witnesses at all provided protection? Was that right across the board. Correct?
John Argue Correct. That was an absolute rule. There was just no provision in the mandate of the LLRC to provide witness protection.
David Sweet Today, how much freedom of movement does Amnesty International have on the ground in Sri Lanka?
John Argue
Well, it’s a very simple answer: Zero. Nothing. Amnesty has not been officially permitted in Sri Lanka since 2007.

I can say I was actually there in 2008, but as I pointed out, I was there as a tourist. I was clear. I spoke to the Sri Lankan High Commissioner before I went, and so the government certainly knew that I was there. But I was not there as an official Amnesty representative. In fact, as well, I was volunteering as an election monitor with the Sri Lankan process for the election in Batticaloa. But Amnesty has not been permitted to officially return to Sri Lanka since it last was there on a mission in 2007.

When foreign individuals engage in political activities in any country, it is normal that the government takes note. The situation in Sri lanka has been much worse. The government is many-times burnt by NGOs who have surreptitiously aided the Tigers. Even UN officials allowed their funds to fall into the hands of the Tigers. Other NGOs allowed the Tigers to use their vehicles, communication equipment, or earth-moving equipment that they had brought in for “reconstruction”, to fall into the hands of the Tigers. Many officials of Amensty International are known to closely associate with Colombo NGOs like the ‘Center for Policy Alternatives’, ‘National Peace Council’, `Transparency International’ etc. These are justly or unjustly regarded as anti-national un-elected organizations that have always stood for appeasing the Tigers, and down-playing LTTE-political assassinations. So they are viewed as hostile bodies who are to be excluded in the aftermath of the conflict. This is the wish of most people, including many urban Tamils, and politicians have bowed to it by not allowing certain foreign NGOs. Canada also routinely excludes NOGs that it claims are linked to various ‘liberation movements’ from the Middle East.
In contrast, the SL-government is not rigorous enough to exclude individual AI activists like John Argue, as long as they do not appear to be engaged in political activities. John was not harassed by the police or spied upon, although his phone or Wi-Fi linked devices may well be tapped at Canadian airports.

David Sweet
Which totally incapacitates you, I imagine. And I take it that none of your partners have access as well. It incapacitates you from being able to investigate properly some of these instances like Mr. Samathanam’s, right?
John Argue I’ve probably spoken too much, but I’ll just say that it certainly doesn’t incapacitate our main office in London, in the U.K., from being in telephone and email contact. We do maintain contact, but it is inhibited.
David Sweet Yes, that’s the fact I was trying to establish. What the Sri Lankan government is doing is making it impossible for you to get the finer details, through interviews and investigations on the ground, for you to be able to clear them of what they say they’re innocent of. Correct?
John Argue Correct. I spoke to the UN delegate from Sri Lanka, when he attended a meeting here in Toronto two years ago. I argued that, consistent with his remarks to the group at that time, the Sri Lankan government should allow Amnesty in, because we are a balanced human rights organization. We’re not just criticizing the Sri Lankan government, but criticizing the Tamil Tigers as well for the violations they may have committed.

We also explained how AI and other NGOs have seized upon false numbers for the numbers dead in the last phase of the war, never mentioning, e.g., the high-resolution satellite-imagery analysis by the American Physical Society that completely contradict the NGO narrative, census data, and much more that are facts `inconvenient’ to them.

John Argue’s view of a ‘balanced” approach seems to be to say that they have also criticized the “Tigers”. What is needed is to ensure that the criticisms are not based on cherry-picking facts and selecting only those that fit their narrative, while ignoring facts which are inconvenient to them. Furthermore, the use of false images and impressions to push falsehoods or half truths as whole truths happen easily as AI, ICG, HRW etc., have no mechanisms to allow independent scholars to interrogate their claims in a judicial setting. These NGOs, even if they began with seemingly lofty ideals, have now become self-appointed advocacy groups who push the views of those who fund them

To explain what we mean, let us look at some specifics. The CPJSL was one of the NGOs that pushed for the UN-Darusman panel. It, and many NGOs like the ‘Center for Policy Alternatives’ (CPA) in Colombo, (and indeed AI and HRW too) use the barbed wire picture of the IDP-camps in Sri lanka to imply that the IDPs were held in `concentration camps’. Even the UN refugee camps use such barbed wire. And it is needed to protect the IDPs from their enemies, to quarantine the the IDPs who likely carry infectious diseases, and to screen-out terrorists who were pseudo-civilians. In fact, Jim MacDonald’s report (19th Dec. 2011) tagged AI also use the barbed-wire picture in his critique of the LLRC report. It is because of this type of misrepresentations by NGOs that John Thompson of the Mackenzie Institute stated the following:
“Crude, guarded camps were surrounded by barbed wire and the Tigers were quick to declare these as concentration camps and allege that Bergen-Belsen and Dachau had been reborn. The story has failed to resonate in the outside world, partly because the Sri Lankan government fended off NGOs it didn’t trust (with reason), but also because by May 2010 some 74% of the estimated 300,000 persons had already been released“. Unfortunately, AI, ICS, HRW, CPJSL etc., continue such false narratives.

This picture of IDP-camps protected by barbed wire is used even today by various NGOs to discredit Sri Lanka. The ‘Campaign for justice and Peace in Sri Lanka, an NGO where Yasmin Soosa is an advisory member still uses it on its home page (click to enlarge)

David Sweet
(We drop some material here, that the reader can follow in the original documents from the house of commons)
Mr. Neve, you haven’t had a chance to comment, so if you want to go beyond that I would appreciate it.

Alex Neve Secretary General, Amnesty International
Thank you, Mr. Marston.
I would like to make some recommendations that Amnesty International has for the Canadian government, which I think speak to some of the points you’ve just raised. We’re concerned about the long-standing lack of justice and accountability, not just in the final weeks and months of terrible abuses by both sides, but also the previous decades of abuses and violations. We are very much of the view that this time Sri Lanka needs to get it right. There needs to be justice and accountability to ensure that we’re not going to see a repeat of those long-standing, terrible patterns of abuse.

It seems that the Sri Lankan authorities have also stated that, if a review is to be made, then it is meaningless to cover just the final weeks of the conflict. They have repeatedly said that such a review needs to cover the previous decades. The accountability has to also extent to those who funded the war, engaged in the war and immigrated out of Sri Lanka. Even people who have moved out of reach of a given jurisdiction can still be named.

Alex Neve, SC-AI The United Nations has been grappling with that. The Secretary-General signed a joint communiquƒ© with Sri Lanka’s president promising that there was going to be some justice and accountability. The Sri Lankan government convened its Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. The Secretary-General convened his independent panel of experts, which agreed, after extensive work, that there was a need for an independent international investigation into the abuses and that domestic accountability was not going to be enough.
That’s where we stand now. The Sri Lankan government continues to resist that call aggressively. We think there are at least two key forums in which Canada should be working hard to advance the progress towards the needed international investigation. One is the United Nations Human Rights Council. In September, Canada brought forward a resolution-”although it didn’t go ahead-”that would have opened a discussion within the United Nations Human Rights Council on justice and accountability in Sri Lanka. It was very mild; it was not confrontational at all. It followed the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission more than the independent panel’s report. It was a welcome step forward and we very much appreciated the leadership Canada took. But the Sri Lankan government opposed even this. In the end, the Canadian government decided not to pursue it at the September session of the Human Rights Council. We understand they are inclined to do so at the next session of the council, which would be in March 2012. We would strongly endorse that as a step forward and hope that Canada will diligently work towards this initiative between now and March. It will take a lot of effort to find allies, to work across regions within the United Nations system, to ensure that the resolution can go ahead as strongly as possible.
The other front is the Commonwealth. I think you’ve already heard testimony and are aware that the Canadian delegation-”the Prime Minister and Minister Baird-”had some strong things to say about Sri Lanka’s human rights record at the most recent CHOGM, the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. The focus was on the next session, which is going to be in Sri Lanka in 2013. The Canadian government has made it clear that unless there is some meaningful progress on accountability and human rights reform, it’s unlikely that Canada will attend.
It is encouraging that this bar has been set. We urge the government not simply to put this on the back burner and only to come back to it in 2013, but to use these two years and the leverage that has been put on the table to push very much for the accountability agenda to move forward, including an international investigation.
So those two forums are absolutely key. We welcome both the United Nations Human Rights Council and the Commonwealth. We welcome some of what we’ve heard and seen recently from the government, and we think that direction needs to be maintained and strengthened.

While the suggestions of the SC-AI is correct in an idealistic way, we think they are way off the mark. What is the yard-stick of post was behaviour that SC-AI is using? Is he expecting the rule of law, accountability etc., that often do not seem to exist even in peaceful, prosperous western societies to hold in Sri lanka emerging from 30 years of internecine conflict? Britain has refused to even publish the Chilcot report, let alone attempt to implement it or take up accountability. The history of attempts to force accountability on various crimes in the Irish-British, Kal conflict is a saga in itself. Canada too has many cases that the journalist John McNamer wants to submit to the ICC. Even though Canada finally investigated and rendered justice after 5 years to Maher Arrar, the US has refused to even admit the existence of a case.
So, the big nations have made accountability into a joke.
In the case of Sri lanka, we have a society where at least two generations have been brutalized by war, while the ethnic conflict started much earlier, with the first race riot in 1939. A thirty year war produces a society where there are hand grenades, AK47s, Kalashnikovs and other illegal weapons, arm deserters; corrupt politicians and power figures emerge in all war zones. The external intervention approach (preached by the R2P gurus) was shown to be an abysmal failure when the Indian Peace keeping force turned into a colossal error generating more crimes than what it tried to correct. It will also take at least two more generations for the society to sort itself out. Th solutions proposed by the “international community”and Canada in particular are wrong, counterproductive and un-implementable without widespread inhuman consequences.

We request the reader to consult the source document for the remaining part of the brief set of questions posed by members of parliament. We take up the concluding question by the Hon. Irwin Cotler.

The Chair, Scott Reid
Ms. Grewal.

Nina Grewal, Conservative, Fleetwood Port Kells, BC
Thank you, Chair.
Do you think the Tamils are being included in any domestic reform or reconciliation processes?
Roy Samathanam That has just not been happening in the past two or three years. From the day I was born in 1970–I am 40 years old–there have been ethnic riots. Tamils were chased in the 1958 riots, the 1977 riots, and in 1983. Our family was personally affected by all three riots.
So this reconciliation thing is all false. I don’t believe anything about it because they’re not changing. For example, a UN special representative visited our prison and recommended that we should be taken to court, and there should be a judge. Nothing has happened yet.
My house and belongings were burned in the 1983 riots and in the communal riots. In 1977 when I was seven years old, they burned it down, so we went to a refugee camp. We built it again in 1983.
I was not even born ion 1958, but my parents told me that Colombo was totally burned then. I studied in Colombo at S. Thomas’ College. My wife is Sinhalese, and I have nothing against any Sinhalese.
But at that time the opposition party ruled the country. So both parties have ruled after independence and nothing has happened. Both are the same, so something different has to happen.

Including Tamils in domestic reconciliation
Of the four types of Tamil-peaking people in Sri lanka, it is the Northern Tamils, controlled by the Tamil national Alliance (TNA, whose leaders actually live in Colombo), who are hostile to the government.
The Canadian government foreign-policy experts surely know that just after the fall of the Tigers, the government extended a gesture of good will and did not attempt to prosecute the Tamil national Alliance, made of of Elite (high-caste) Tamils who had worked closely with the Tigers and been their mouth-piece. In effect, an extreme view point would be that the TNA were the equivalent of a Nazi-political rump in the context of World-War II. The government held some half-dozen one-to-one consultations with the TNA in the hope of arriving at a political settlement. Instead, the Elitist TNA leaders, representing a mere 4-6% of the population, continued to make demands that seemed unreasonable to most people, especially in the context of a total military defeat of the LTTE, and when the old-Vaddukkoddai demands had no meaning. The aim of the TNA does not seem to be reconciliation, but retribution and vengeance.

Neverrheless, failing the one-to-one approach, the government has appointed an all-party parliamentary commission which is being boycotted by the TNA.
Roy Samathanam’s litany of race riots
While these riots undoubtedly took place, there were always two=-sides to the coin. Nevertheless, we agree that the successive governments failed to establish law and order at each incident and allowed violence to spiral. But separation and the creation of an Eelam would not sole the problem, it would in fact lead to more problems.
Many informed commentators (e.g., K. M. de Silva, Gerald Pieris, Sebastian Rasalingam, Dyan Jayatilleke, D. B. S. Jeyaraj) felt that even if an Eelam were created, it would still lead to explosive border confrontations, battles for fishing rights in the sea, for water which comes from the central hills outside the proposed Eelam, and so on. These sober observations were put aside once India and the West began to support ‘a political solution’ with the Tigers, and dumped large sumps of money to change public opinion to fit the Norwegian stance formulated by Solheim and Balasingham.

The reader is now referred to the
source document from the House of commons for some questions that we will not review here, as some of the material has been already stated.

The Chair, Scott Reid
We’ll turn now to Professor Cotler.

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I want to express appreciation to all the witnesses today; to Mr. Samathanam for his compelling testimony about his personal experience of the situation; and, of course, to representatives of Amnesty International who have been with this issue for a considerable period of time.
I will mention parenthetically that just before coming here, Wayne Marston and I held an urgent press conference on the matter of the imprisoned Egyptian blogger, Maikel Nabil, who’s in the 87th day of a hunger strike. In that press conference, where we called for his immediate release and the dropping of charges, I mentioned that Amnesty International had actually adopted him as a prisoner of conscience in August 2011. He became, in effect, almost the first prisoner of conscience in the post-Mubarak era. So I want to express appreciation for that.

Alex Neve, SC-AI
I express appreciation back to you, then.

Irwin Cotler Mount Royal, QC

I’m now serving as his international legal counsel, so it’s very much appreciated.
Now, on this issue, it seems to me that the generic concern here is to establish an international, independent accountability mechanism to combat the culture of impunity, to ensure that a negative precedent will not be set by failing to do that, and to assist with reconciliation in Sri Lanka. This was the recommendation made by Ban Ki-moon’s own advisory panel. He then said he did not have the authority to do that. I don’t know why, because it seemed to me that he did-”but we’ll leave that aside.
I know that in your report, you recommend that Ban Ki-moon should work together with the UN Security Council, the General Assembly, and the UN Human Rights Council for that purpose. From your testimony today, I think the more specific and direct route might be going to the UN Human Rights Council immediately, and where Canada can play a role is by effectuating the establishment of such an appropriate accountability mechanism and mandate as quickly as possible.
Turning to the last point-”because much of this has been by way of inviting any comment-”you also mention in your report that member states, under the principle of universal jurisdiction, can themselves seek to exercise that principle and hold Sri Lankans responsible with respect to any violations of international humanitarian and criminal law.

We think blanket statements like “Sri Lankans responsible”, or earlier statements by John Argue and others about “without any consultation with the Tamils” need to be revisited with care. Tamils living in Sri lanka are also Sri Lankans, constituting about 12%, while the region claimed to be the “exclusive Tamil homeland” had a population of about 5%. Furthermore, all Tamils are definitely not supporters of the program of action that the International NGO groups and the National Tamil Alliance (TNA) have been advocating. For instance, see (the quote from Bisop Francis). The TNA was the political mouth piece of the Tigers and their narrative has not changed.
Nevertheless, we need to ask (i) if the accusations made against the the rulers of Sri lanka (Not Sri lankans in toto) are actually valid. The sittings of the HR-subcommittee have confined itself to hearing just one side of the story. We have painstakingly attempted to show in these documents how the “facts” used by the presenters are in fact in largely incorrect (ii) if the plan of action will lead to peace in Sri lanka, or simply a Shylockian approach to justice which leads to further violence in Sri Lanka. The hearings so far have failed to recognize this and ask how the aftermath of the exercise would be.

Irwin Cotler
Is it your view that Canada would have a role to play in this? I would think we would, because we are one of the countries that has actually established a universal jurisdiction mechanism through the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act and we are a state party to the ICC.
Alex Neve, SC-AI
That’s a very good point. It’s important to highlight that there are two ways forward in ensuring that justice and accountability advances in Sri Lanka. The first is the need for a large, overarching process of some kind-”an independent international commission or investigation-”but the second is case-specific work.
We strongly endorse the notion that when individuals are found in other countries who may have been in the Sri Lankan military or among the Tamil Tigers-”or either side of the conflict-”and against whom there are credible allegations of their responsibility for serious crimes under international law, such as war crimes and crimes against humanity, then absolutely, countries should act. Canada could and should be a leader there. As you highlight, our law is in order. The Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act gives us the jurisdiction to do so. We have the personnel in place: we have specialized units within the Department of Justice and the RCMP to advance that kind of work. That’s another way in which Canada can demonstrate how serious we are about advancing an international accountability agenda for Sri Lanka.

However, as we well know, Canada has not succeeded in even dealing with many individuals who have hidden their criminal histories and obtained refugee status. The legal process, run by Human-rights lawyers drag on and on over points of law. In the end courts fail to deal with such individuals. It can be documented that many ex-members of the now banned World-Tamil-Movement (WTM) have gone through this process. Some of them have formed Human-Rights fronts and work hand-in-hand with the established HR-NGOs. So, even though we fully endorse the second objective (case-by case action) stated by SG-AI in response to Hon. Irwin Cotler, it does not happen in the real world.
The situation is equally bleak in the UK and many other countries, where ex-LTTE leaders have written autobiographical books where they boast of how they were engaged in training suicide cadre. But there has been no move to proceed in the manner that stated by the SC-AI.

Irwin Cotler
I noted in your report, and I understand the reasons you gave today, why you wouldn’t and didn’t appear before the LLRC. But I think you indicated that if a credible, independent commission were established-”with an appropriate mandate respecting accountability, with witness protection, and with an undertaking to bring those responsible to justice, etc., as set forth in your report-”then Amnesty International might be prepared to appear, under those circumstances.
Alex Neve, SC-AI Absolutely. We want to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to this need for justice and accountability.
We feel we have a lot to contribute and offer in Sri Lanka, whether it be the results of our many years of human rights research in Sri Lanka, or some of the recommendations and thinking we’ve done over the years-”in collaboration with Sri Lankans themselves, of course-”about the kinds of reforms that are necessary to move forward with human rights change in the country. We would welcome the right body and the right process being in place to come forward and share that sort of information. But the LLRC is not it.

Nina Grewal Fleetwood-”Port Kells, BC
[We have removed some metial here, that the reader can look up in the original House of Commons document] In your assessment, have this year’s local government elections been free and fair?

John Argue-AI
As always, there’s discussion and dispute about that. The general comments have been that they were free and fair. The established statements are that, in fact, they were free and fair. But there are qualifications: Individual reports by the organization to which I contributed my time pointed to serious questions. I think, at the least, Amnesty would say there should be improvements to the process. There can certainly be improvements.

Again, what is the yardstick that John Argue is using? Sri Lanka, emerging from a long war, should be compared with neighbouring countries, even though they have had relative peace. But that yardstick, Sri lanka seems to run fair elections with much less violence than India, Bangladesh or Pakistan. Even comparing with Canada, John Argue would know that there are always some claims of computer fixing (“computer jilmart”) by the Marxist party that lost. But unlike the’Robot phone’ scandals here, the ‘computer jilmat proved to be a pure fabrication.

The Chair, Scott Reid
…Mr. Neve …(?) Alex Neve, SC-AI
I had three main recommendations. I think I got two of them in front of you. One is that we certainly look to the Canadian government to remain very active at the UN Human Rights Council, and the March session in particular. We think that’s vital. The other is to really move forward with a two-year Commonwealth agenda, starting now and leading up the summit in 2013.
The third would simply be, in a more general sense, to highlight how important it is that Canada maintain, and we would say even strengthen, the attention given to human rights concerns, in particular justice and accountability issues, in our bilateral relationship with Sri Lanka.

What we have pointed out is that the “bilateral relationship” that Mr. Neve, the SI-AI is talking about, has been fractured for about two decades or more. Since about the mid 1990s, Sri Lankans have begun to believe, rightly or wrongly, that Canada is a hostile nations. If you are regarded with hostility, you are unlikely to he heard. We just have to look back into the testimony of Mr. Samathanam, where he tells us how the other prisoners reacted to him:
After that day, they remanded me to the Welikada prison, the main prison in Sri Lanka, and … put me in with other prisoners, Sinhalese prisoners. I got continuous abuse from them and from the guards who were saying, “You are Canadian…”.
That is, there was group hostility, because he was from Canada, perceived as a hostile country. So, even when Canada wishes to present proposals that seem eminently reasonable to some Canadian parliamentarians, Canada will not be heard. The recent not-so-friendly visits of the Hon. Deepak Oberai, the Hon. Ms. Rathika Sitsabaiesan, the strong rebukes of the Hon. Minister John Baird, and the ‘boycott’ pronouncements of the Hon. Mr. Harper, the Prime minster, will find no reception what so ever in Colombo. Furthermore, they are widely seen as a prelude to Mr. Harper’s intention to cut Cnadian funding to Commonwealth initiatives. Furthermore, just as the Indian prime minster’s absence was understood in terms of Ramil Nadu politics, Mr. Harper’s absence was understood in terms of Tamil-diapora politics translating into Canadian hostility against the Sri Lankan government.
In contrast, when the Hon. Joe Daniels, the Hon. Chungen Leung and Marlene Gallyot (Special Assistant to Hon. Joe Daniel for Sri Lanka) visited Sri Lanka from 8th to 11th January, 2012, they had significant success in reaching the ear of the government.

In our view, it is skilled diplomacy, and not wielding the big stick or behaving like the infamous bull in the china shop, that will work with Sri Lanka. Its government has the support of the majority community and a significant section of the tamil speaking people, especially in those who live in the south. It successfully won a long and difficult battle against terrorism, by ignoring Eric Solheim, David Milbrand, Bernard Kouchner, and Hillary Clinton who demanded a ‘political settlement’ with the Tiger leader even at the last stages of the battle. So is it any wonder that the SL-government would ignore the Canadian thrust delivered through emissaries perceived to be hostile to it?

The Chair, Scott Reid
Thank you very much to all our witnesses. …. The meeting is adjourned.



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Point of View– IF WIGNESWARAN WENT NORTH, PRABHA WOULD HAVE SHOT HIM…

February 8th, 2014

Lakshman I.Keerthisinghe LLB, LLM.MPhil, Attorney-at-Law Courtesy The Daily News

Cease to expect to win men’s gratitude.
To think that human beings can be grateful!Catullus Combat (speaking of gratitude)

Tag-Point-of-View-2013l.jpgIt was recently reported in the media that the United Peoples Freedom Alliance Northern Provincial Councillor Angajan Ramanathan stated that none of the NPC opposition parties voted in favour of an anti-Sri Lankan resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council, while categorically denying and rejecting the claim made by the Northern Provincial Council ruling party TNA’s statement stating that the anti-Sri Lankan resolution targeting the upcoming Geneva sessions against our motherland was unanimously passed on January 27, 2014.

People voting at the recently held Northern Provincial elections. File photo

He said, “In fact, as a mandated representative of the UPFA, we clearly objected the passing of the resolution. We, as the common UPFA Councillors of the Northern Provincial Council were surprised and disappointed to observe the factually incorrect statement that has been going around in the media.” The Northern Province UPFA Councillor continued, “we would also like to take this opportunity to highlight the grave danger this resolution will create for our country Sri Lanka in the international arena at a critical point in time, where all Sri Lankans are struggling to move forward from the past for a better future. We firmly believe that several, anti-Sri Lankan international forces are behind this move. We would like to kindly request TNA and all the forces, who are supporting the anti-Sri Lanka moves to come together as Sri Lankans by setting aside political differences in the name of our motherland. Opportunistic politics and wrong political moves made all of us Sri Lankans to suffer for more than three decades with a bloody civil war and as elected, mandated, members of the prestigious Northern Provincial council; we must all act responsibly to avoid making another historical blunder that would pave the way for international forces with vested interests to take advantage.”

Accountability issues

Angajan Ramanthan in his statement pointed out that, “While taking numerous steps to restore normalcy, develop, integrate and rapidly develop the Northern province, the government of Sri Lanka has already initiated a number of credible, effective processes to address all the issues and concerns of the people, the island wide census of missing persons during the civil war is one of the most important, transparent and responsible actions our government initiated to address accountability issues – a responsible, elected, government can work only based on facts and figures, not based on rumours and hearsay.”

z_p07-IF-WIGNESWARAN-02.jpg z_p07-IF-WIGNESWARAN-03.jpg
Human Rights Special
Envoy and Minister
Mahinda Samarasinghe
Angajan Ramanathan

He added, “In fairness to all parties genuinely concerned, a transparent and a comprehensive process is the right way forward and the government has already made that right decision and initiated action.

Moves and proposals to justify the request for undue international pressure on Sri Lanka are based on prejudice that the current measures taken up by Sri Lankans will not conclude in fairness. We question such prejudice as they undermine and underestimate the resolve of the people of Sri Lanka. Mandate for the Northern Provincial council came from the people of the North and it is the responsibility of all the council members to act in accordance, within their framework. Playing in to the hands of foreign forces, expecting cheers from the gallery in that process, serves only the needs of anti-Sri Lankan elements around the world”.

Patriotic Ramanathan further stated that: “We firmly believe that Sri Lankans are fully capable of resolving all our issues through a home-grown solution that everyone can agree and this is a fact that all Sri Lankan’s can agree on. We as the UPFA members of the Northern Provincial council would like to propose and request all individuals and parties to stop politicizing and internationalizing our home issues for petty gains that will eventually backfire on all of us”.

While concluding his statement Angajan Ramanathan who is one of the Northern Provincial Council Member and also the SLFP Jaffna District Chief Organizer further pointed out that. “The people of Northern Province suffered for over 30 years and with the defeat of terrorism and with proper administration the people of the North are now enjoying peace. The intention of the President is to bring about unity amongst all citizens of Sri Lanka with special focus on youth who are our future generation with the motto of ‘One Country One Nation,’ where all people could live in peace and harmony”.

The resolution seeking an international war crimes investigation, which was amended from the original document before being adopted, rejected domestic investigations into alleged crimes committed against Tamils during the war. A motion submitted by NPC member Ananthi Sasitharan on people reported missing in the North was also adopted on the same day.

LTTE sympathizers

In spite of the determination of most of the members of the council, there appeared to be a difference between the Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, who met some of the NPC members the previous day and urged them not to create a rift in the working relationship between the government and the NPC.

It appears that the TGTE with its massive financial strength generated from the misled diaspora has finally managed to make the TNA their cat’s paw.

The Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran appears to have finally given in to the pressures exerted on him by the LTTE sympathizers of the diaspora. He had noted earlier that the resolution calling for an international probe in Sri Lanka was strongly worded and needed to be diluted objecting to the word ‘genocide’ being used in the resolutiom. As a former judge he did not wish to state untruths according to his own conscience. The resolution submitted before the NPC, also approved a proposal that an NPC member attend the March session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Accordingly, NPC member Ananthi Sasitharan was appointed to attend the Geneva UN Human Rights Council sessions in March. Wigneswaran, Ananathi and other TNA members should appreciate the fact that if the President as the Commander in Chief and the heroic armed forces of Sri Lanka did not terminate the unlawful rebellion of the barbaric LTTE and its diabolical leader Prabhakaran that none of them would have sat at a meeting of the Northern Provincial Council, which would have been non-existent and if Hon.

Wigneswaran as a then Supreme Court judge serving the government of Sri Lanka visited the North while Prabhakaran was in power, he would have undoubtedly been executed by order of the Kangaroo Courts operating under the Tiger Supremo. Hon.Wigneswaran being a former judge should base his actions on tangible evidence and not on hearsay.

TNA leader R. Sampanthan said that the resolution sponsored by the United States is expected to be very critical. He said that the TNA has urged the United States to ensure the resolution brings a solution to the Tamil issue. Sampanthan said this after the TNA Central Committee met in Trincomalee. He said that the TNA will have meetings with UNHRC member countries and seek their support for the resolution.

He said that the government is having talks with some countries, particularly Muslim countries, in order to seek support against the resolution. However, he expressed confidence in the resolution being passed by a majority when it is taken up for a vote in Geneva.

Northern Provincial Council

Meanwhile, the UNP condemned the TNA led Northern Provincial Council’s passing of a resolution calling for an international inquiry into the armed conflict. Speaking to journalists the UNP MP Wijedasa Rajapaksa, said that the NPC’s resolution calling for an international investigation was illegal. Stressing that the UNP was ‘prepared to support the Sri Lankan government in overcoming whatever challenges it may have to face in Geneva in March’. Despite its political difference with the government, the UNP has repeatedly called for a united approach at the UN Human Rights Council in order to ensure that there is no international investigation calling for accountability and justice into the armed conflict.

Human Rights Special Envoy and Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe commenting on the resolution stated that the recent resolution that was passed in the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), weeks ahead of the Geneva Human Rights Council sessions, is part of a broader political conspiracy by international players, coordinated by diaspora groups to destabilise the country.

The Minister said, such conspiracies will not bear fruit as long as President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the government are favoured by the people, a fact proven repeatedly at many elections in the past. “The whole thing is a game that is being played, in the guise of promoting and protecting human rights. I have seen this happening in the past eight years, since the inception of this Council,” the Minister said.

He said initiatives by the so-called champions of human rights have nothing to do with HR. They are playing political games to make countries which have independent foreign policies kneel down. External interferences to overthrow governments using social media or internal groups have been successful only when leaders lacked public support. However, the people here respect President Rajapaksa for eradicating terrorism and developing the country in an unprecedented manner. Passing the resolution soon after the visit of US envoy Stephen Rapp and his meetings with the TNA is indicative of well-coordinated efforts against Sri Lanka. “It is not an isolated move by the TNA. It’s all very well coordinated and this is the challenge that we face today,” the Minister further said.

A few members of the TNA under pressure and coercion from the TGTE out of the entire population of Sri Lanka can not call for an unwarranted international investigation in our motherland. The law of the land must be exercised even at this late stage and action has to be taken to dissolve the Northern Provincial Council forthwith and the members who proposed and ratified such a resolution affecting the sovereignty of our motherland should face prosecution under the law for this traitorous act against Sri Lanka which may result in wanton destruction of our country as was seen in Iraq, Libya, Sudan and presently Syria serving the ends of the foreign nations who wish to have a power base in the Indian Ocean with a puppet regime in place in Sri Lanka.

International forces

As patriot Angajan Ramanathan, who apparently loves his motherland, quite correctly stated “We firmly believe that several, anti-Sri Lankan international forces are behind this move. We would like to kindly request TNA and all the forces, who are supporting the anti-Sri Lanka moves to come together as Sri Lankans by setting aside political differences in the name of our motherland…. Playing in to the hands of foreign forces, expecting cheers from the gallery in that process, serves only the needs of anti-Sri Lankan elements around the world.”

Instead of being grateful to the President as the Commander in Chief and the heroic armed forces of Sri Lanka, who terminated the unlawful rebellion of the barbaric LTTE and its diabolical leader Prabhakaran, against the lawfully elected government of Sri Lanka thereby ushering in peace and tranquility to our country thus enabling the Northern Provincial Council to sit in peace and pass resolutions without the fear of being executed, the actions of members of the TNA bring to mind the stark truth of the saying of Catullus cited at the outset of this piece:

“Cease to expect to win men’s gratitude,

To think that human beings can be grateful!” 

– See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=features/if-wigneswaran-went-north-prabha-would-have-shot-him#sthash.7lYXvvaN.dpuf

Blasphemy Laws in an Islamic Country

February 8th, 2014

by A. Abdul Aziz.

Religious blasphemy laws can be a touchy subject, especially in Pakistan, where just bringing up the subject of the blasphemy laws and whether they are right or wrong is considered, well …blasphemous. This wasn’t always the case.

The sentiment behind most blasphemy laws is easy to understand. No person or group should insult another religion’s beliefs or holy personages, or desecrate their Holy Scriptures, icons, or places of worship. Yet the golden rule is the foundation of many freedoms””from speech to the press to privacy. The right to choose and practice a religion freely, without fear of insult or attack, is usually at or near the top of the list for most people, even those who are not religious. As Jesus said: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (see Luke 6:31).

Article 18 of the United Nations’ 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights1 states, with regard to a person’s beliefs, that “everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Blasphemy laws by their very nature tend to compromise the aforesaid principles. However, they also operate on the premise that offensive speech or actions designed to hurt someone’s feelings or provoke physical harm are usually directed at members of one religion by the members of another separate religion””Muslims against Hindus or Christians against Jews, for example. But religious persecution can and frequently does occur between denominations within the same faith””Catholics against Protestants, or Sunni Muslims against Shia Muslims.

It is, in fact, this element of sectarian animosity and persecution that can turn blasphemy laws into a double-edged sword. This is exactly what is happening and has been happening for nearly 30 years in Pakistan, where Sunni accusations of others desecrating the Holy Qur’an or uttering blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) are routinely used to jail business rivals or personal enemies or members of minority sects, like the Shias and the Ahmadis or members of other religions whose homes or businesses are coveted by blasphemy accusers.

“Proof” of Holy Qur’an desecration is often only eyewitness testimony, or is found to have been done by the accuser to prove their charge. In the matter of “proof” of uttering blasphemy against the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), no evidence is presented, because to do so would require repeating the blasphemous remark. As for legal help against such a charge, most lawyers are reluctant to defend the blasphemy-accused because it implies support for them, which could mean losing business””or worse, your life.

And, in fact, lawyers are rarely needed anyway, because just the accusation of Holy Qur’an desecration or insult to Islam or the Prophet of Islam is enough to generate a mullah-led flash mob of angry Muslims intent on beating or killing the accused. Even police protection in jail isn’t really protection, because those accused of blasphemy are almost guaranteed to be brutally assaulted or murdered in jail by the police or other inmates. As a result of what they know is coming if they are accused of blasphemy, most victims go into hiding or flee their homes or the country itself, if they can afford to. These last are indeed the lucky few.

Because of this sad state of affairs, Pakistan today has a reputation of being one of the most dangerous and religiously intolerant places on earth. And what many people in the West do not appreciate or even understand is that the inferno of religious violence and bigotry that is tearing Pakistan apart is being stoked not just by the anti-Western, Jihadist agendas of al-Qaeda and the Taliban, but by the tacit approval””via legislative and constitutional sanctions””of the government.

This began in 1974 under democratically elected President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who endorsed and signed an amendment to Pakistan’s constitution that declared that Ahmadi Muslims were non-Muslims.

It is vital to understand that Clause 3 of Article 260 was written specifically to legislatively nullify and deny the claims of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908). He founded the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 1889 in Qadian, India, for the purpose of bringing people back to God and restoring Islam to its original purity and spiritual vitality. Ahmad proclaimed that God had appointed him the Imam Mahdi and Promised Messiah whose advent was foretold in the Holy Qur’an and in the Hadith (recorded sayings) of the Prophet Muhammad. What particularly incensed Muslims of his day (and to this day) was that he forbade the Jihad of the sword (to convert people to Islam or wage offensive wars), replacing it instead with the Jihad of the pen. The motto of the community he founded is: “Love for All””Hatred for None.” Despite intense, often violent and deadly persecution by other Muslims, the number of Ahmadis in the world continues to increase.

Most Muslims consider the founder an apostate and his followers “wajibul qatl”””an Arabic slogan referring to Ahmadis, which means “deserving of death.” This expression calling for the murder of Ahmadis is a common sight in Pakistan on government buildings and courthouses, in storefront windows, on banners and signs, in newspapers and magazines, and on religious TV shows hosted by clerics. The question that most non-Muslims would ask is: Why all this hatred against Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the Ahmadis? The answer has to do with what Muslims expect from the Imam Mahdi.

Prior to the twentieth century, Sunni Muslims expected that the Imam Mahdi (lit., divinely guided spiritual leader) would be raised by God sometime during the mid-to-late nineteenth century (the beginning of the Muslim fourteenth century). This corresponded with expectations by several Christian movements of the imminent second coming of Jesus during this same period. Ahmadi Muslims are the only Muslims who believe that both events””the advent of the Imam Mahdi and the second coming of Jesus””are fulfilled in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. All other Muslims believe that Jesus was taken bodily alive to heaven before the Crucifixion and that Jesus will bodily descend from heaven to the earth after the appearance of the Imam Mahdi.

Generally speaking, Muslims believe that what will follow after that won’t be peace and love, but war and bloodshed””the “bloody Imam” concept””to restore the worldly power and material glory of Islam through the conquest and destruction of its enemies (the Christians and Jews, primarily). Because the Ahmadiyya Community founder’s mission was decidedly non-violent, non-political, and focused entirely on spiritual and moral reformation, it’s easy to see why the extremist Muslim clerics and their followers (from the late nineteenth century to the present day) have always been so opposed to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his followers.

The inherent injustices created by Pakistan’s blasphemy laws are laid bare by just one concept, which is central to our understanding and protection of the basic human right to freedom of religion: the blasphemy laws are unjust on more than just legal grounds because no political assembly has any religious authority or right to interfere with anyone’s chosen religious beliefs.

What is sadly ironic””tragic, really””is that in August of 1947 the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, echoed this in his famous statement promising complete religious freedom for all in the newly created country of Pakistan. He declared: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed””that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

Fast-forward a quarter century to the time of the constitutional amendment declaring Ahmadis non-Muslims and one can easily see how ethically bankrupt and blinded by religious fanaticism the lawmakers of Pakistan had become. And to take things to even higher levels of absurdity and moral insanity, this official government stripping of Ahmadis of their God-given right to profess to be Muslim and freely practice their faith of Islam was later criminalized in 1984 under Gen. Zia ul-Haq’s infamous Ordinance XX. This addition and modification to the preexisting British colonial rule-era blasphemy laws of 1860 and 1898 was largely instigated by the same Muslim clerics and political leaders (and their followers) who had demanded only a decade earlier that Ahmadis be declared non-Muslims by the government.

To put the bite of law into that 1974 constitutional amendment, Ordinance XX not only specified by name as its target anyone calling themselves Ahmadi, but also increased the severity of the penalties for acts or statements deemed offensive to Muslims or directed against Islam, the Holy Qur’an, or the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

Here is a brief summation of what life is like for Ahmadis in Pakistan, directly because of their being singled out in the blasphemy laws and the constitution:

*Ahmadis may not say “As-Salaamo Alaikum,” the standard greeting of “Peace be upon you,” which is said between Muslims countless times a day. It is deemed offensive to non-Ahmadis. In addition, they may not call the Azan (the call to prayer made five times a day), nor perform the Islamic prayer in public, nor hold Islamic conventions or gatherings (large or small) for their members in any public or private venue.

* Ahmadis are forbidden from preaching their faith by word, in print, or by any other form of media. The government used to allow Ahmadis to publish newspapers and magazines that were only distributed among themselves, but complaints by mullahs have caused increased harassment of this activity as well. Printing of Ahmadi books is also prohibited in Pakistan as is access to Ahmadi Web sites.

* Ahmadis may not vote as Muslims. If they wish to register as “Muslim” in order to vote, they must sign a statement declaring they consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad an apostate and a liar and a false prophet. No true Ahmadi will do this.

* Ahmadi mosques are often attacked, vandalized, burned, closed, or taken over by Sunnis with no arrests of the perpetrators by the police or help from the police in preventing such attacks. In addition, the police are often called on to remove from the outside of Ahmadi mosques the Kalima””the Arabic declaration of Islamic faith (There is no God but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah). This is almost always being done by people who are themselves Muslims! The irony of this usually escapes them completely. Oh, and Ahmadis are also forbidden to call their places of worship “mosques”””again, it offends non-Ahmadi Muslims.

* Ahmadi students are regularly expelled from schools, colleges and universities only because of their faith. The same goes for Ahmadis in state or government positions, or in banking or the military. Across all levels of society, Ahmadis suffer discrimination. On a family level, people who convert from Sunni Islam to Ahmadiyya Islam are often ostracized by their parents, siblings, and relatives””some are even killed.

* In order to obtain a passport or national ID, a person must sign a statement like the one on the voter registration card, which says they believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was an apostate, a liar, and a false prophet. Again, Ahmadis refuse to sign this, effectively preventing them from leaving Pakistan to perform the hajj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, which is an obligation on all Muslims at least once in their lifetime, if their health and finances permit.

While the purpose of Ordinance XX was to destroy the Ahmadiyya community by jailing its leaders and members for publicly “posing” as Muslims or for otherwise practicing or preaching their “heretical” version of Islam, the larger consequence was that other Muslim minorities””Shias in particular””and the members of other religions were now being re-illuminated in the state sanctioned spotlight of overall religious bigotry, persecution, and legalized vigilantism. The result has been a catastrophic rise in attacks by Sunni Muslims against Shias and Ahmadis primarily, but also between various Sunni denominations as well. In truth, no one is safe.

Equally disturbing is the escalating tide of attacks since the mid-1980s by mainstream Sunni Muslims against Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, and other non-Muslims. A basic review of Pakistan’s history shows that prior to the 1974 amendment to the constitution declaring Ahmadis non-Muslims and before the 1984 enactment of Ordinance XX, there were only sporadic eruptions of violence against Ahmadis, Shias, Christians, Hindus, and others.

In its 2011 annual report, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) stated: “There was a direct link between the rise of the Taliban and the suppression and oppression of the minorities and of all those whose beliefs differed with those of the extremists who dared to expose hatred and violence in the name of religion. . . . It is obvious that the mere charge of blasphemy, however preposterous it may be, is now a conviction in itself.”

Now, as a direct result of these blasphemy laws, hardly a day goes by without another shocking news story from Pakistan about Islamist militants or Muslim vigilantes responsible for stonings, beheadings, attacks on girls’ schools, the burning down of Christian churches and neighborhoods, and the targeted shootings of religious minorities and people like Salmaan Taseer and Shahbaz Bhatti who expressed sympathy or support for them.

The common denominator in all these atrocities and violations of fundamental human rights is twofold: one element stems from the breakdown of the Rule of Law caused by lax, nonexistent or selective enforcement of civil and criminal laws. The other element, ironically, evolves from just the opposite””the sanctioning by the very laws and constitution of Pakistan of vigilantism and religiously motivated hate crimes.

A paraphrase of the famous quote by Nazi-era German Protestant pastor Martin Niemoeller is tragically applicable to the present climate of religious intolerance and persecution in Pakistan:

“First they came for the Ahmadis, but I did not speak up because I was not an Ahmadi. . . Then they came for the Shias, but I did not speak up because I was not a Shia. . . Then they came for the Hindus, but I did not speak up because I was not a Hindu. . . Then they came for the Christians, but I did not speak up because I was not a Christian. . . When they came for me, there was no one left to speak up.”

Source;  Muslim Writers Guild of America.

U.N.Agency, U.S. and Ex-Tigers

February 7th, 2014

Ira de Silva Canada

The Editor,
The Island
Colombo, Sri Lanka
 
Dear Sir:
 
This latest report that the International Organization for Migration has violated it’s mandate by arranging a secret meeting a top level U.S. delegation and  and the Tigers (they can not be considered “ex” as they are still operation as Tigers to achieve their goal of Eelam} is very disturbing. The report states that the U.S. delegation included the U.S. Ambassador, Ms. M. Sison.
 
It seems that almost every day someone from the U.S. Embassy is involved in undiplomatic activity and continuously working with the LTTE to promote  U.S. goals against Sri Lanka. It is baffling to the ordinary Sri Lankan that this administration, that had the courage to defeat the “invincible” LTTE is now acting in this careless and submissive manner and not doing anything to uphold the sovereignty and honour of the country. When are the authorities going to act in a responsible manner and stop this type of subversive activity on the part of diplomatic personnel and other agencies based in Sri Lanka?
 
Is the Government going to accept the explanation that the Colombo office of the IOM was unaware of the meeting of it’s branch in Killinochchi? Is the office in Killinochchi in another country? That seems to be the  attitude of the IOM.  The IOM in Colombo is responsible as it is the main office. In the circumstances, why has the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office not asked for a more plausible explanation and, in the absence of one, not advised the IOM that unless it conforms to the protocol under which it operates, it can shut down and leave? The same applies to the intrusive, undiplomatic activities of almost everyone in the U.S. mission in Colombo. If they are unwilling to behave as diplomats rather than as the “Governing Authority of Sri Lanka”, they too should be held to account. It seems that Ms. Sison is carrying out the same strategy that she had in Lebanon and seems to want to create the same chaos in Sri Lanka which would be beneficial to the U.S. and it’s client the LTTE. 
 
If Sri Lanka is facing international pressure from overseas it is because of the negligence of the personnel in the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Defence who seem to be either unaware of what is happening in the country and overseas or that they are so involved in their petty differences and one-upmanship amongst themselves that they are letting external forces gain the upper hand and dictate what happens in Sri Lanka.
 
To ordinary Sri Lankans it appears that the Government as a whole is facilitating the gradual take-over of the country and that it does not seem to care that all that the country suffered and achieved by defeating the leadership of the LTTE in 2009 is being gradually handed to the LTTE on a platter via the LTTE proxies in the foreign embassies in Colombo. Unless and until the GOSL stops looking at it through the lens of getting so-called aid which is heavily in favour of supporting the LTTE goals and stops the meddling in internal matters by the U.S., and India it will be responsible for helping these unfriendly countries to establish Eelam,
 
Yours truly,
 
Ira de Silva
Canada

UN agency arranged secret meet between US and ex-Tigers ” GoSL

February 7th, 2014

Top American official forcibly enters army camp near Boossa detention facility

by Shamindra Ferdinando Courtesy Island

Commenting on the allegations made by the government, a senior spokesperson for the Office of UN Resident Coordinator told The Island: “On the basis of information the UN Resident Coordinator’s Office received from IOM, the Office understands that IOM was requested to provide information on a meeting between stakeholders (rehabilitated ex-combatants) of a recently completed project with representatives of the concerned project donor. It’s normal practice for donors to interact with project stakeholders/beneficiaries with the purpose of understanding the results that the project has achieved. IOM has informed UN Resident Coordinator’s Office that it has provided the requested information on the event and are available for any further clarification, as needed”

The government has accused the International Organization for Migration (IOM) of violating its mandate by arranging a secret meeting between a group of ex-LTTE terrorists and a top level US delegation led by Ambassador-at-Large Stephen J. Rapp, the head of the Office of Global Criminal Justice, during the second week of January.

article_image
Ambassador J. Rapp

The meeting has taken place at the IOM office in Kilinochchi. The US delegation included US Ambassador in Colombo Michele Sison.

Authoritative government sources told The Island that the meeting had been arranged by the IOM in consultation with the Office of UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka, Subinay Nandy.

The meeting should also be examined against the backdrop of the US offer of rewards of up to USD 5 million to those who could provide information leading to the arrest or conviction in any country, or the transfer to or conviction by any international criminal tribunal, of any foreign national accused of war crimes, crimes against humanity, or genocide, sources said.

The IOM comes under the purview of Nandy in his capacity as UNDP Resident Representative.

Asked whether the US delegation had an opportunity to meet ex-child combatants under the auspices of the UN, a US embassy spokesperson  said the US wouldn’t discuss the particulars of those who had met the delegation. The spokesperson didn’t respond to the query whether the US embassy had secured UN approval to meet ex-terrorists.

Government sources said that soon after the secret meeting had come to light, the Defence Ministry took up the issue with the IOM mission which accused its Kilinochchi office of arranging the meeting without informing Colombo. Sources emphasised that the local office wouldn’t have facilitated such a meeting without the blessings of higher authorities.

Subsequently, Nandy spoke to Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa regarding the IOM abusing its mandate. Defence Secretary Rajapaksa has insisted that action be taken against the IOM for its high handed action.

The US delegation questioned ex-LTTE personnel on the last phase of the Vanni East battles. The army crushed the last LTTE resistance on the banks of the Nanthikadal lagoon on the morning of May 19, 2009.

Army headquarters told The Island that thousands of LTTE cadres including those attached to elite fighting units had benefited through Information, Counseling and Referral Services (ICRS) carried out by the IOM. Those who had been invited to be interviewed by the US delegation were among the beneficiaries of the IOM project, sources said, adding that the US would now try to exploit whatever information elicited from them to justify the proposed US-led resolution.

Having moved two successful resolutions in 2012 and 2013, the US has declared its intention to move another, late next month at the United Nations Human Rights Council.

Asked whether the government had been aware of the IOM having access to LTTE cadres after the conclusion of the conflict, a senior military official said that the IOM had set up its project in Sri Lanka in 2002. “The original project went failed the resumption of hostilities by the LTTE. However, the IOM launched a fresh project to help ex-LTTE combatants even before the conclusion of the conflict. Those who had been rehabilitated received access to the IOM before their release. It was a unique project. Unfortunately, the new IOM leadership seems to be working overtime to undermine Sri Lanka.”

Government sources alleged that the US delegation led by Ambassador Rapp had also forced its way into an army detachment adjoining the Boossa detention facility. The visiting US official had wanted to know whether the detachment was responsible for security at the detention centre, sources said, adding that the GoSL couldn’t comprehend the US attitude. The army detachment had been there for many years, they said.

War Crimes-Public Interest Advocacy Centre

February 7th, 2014

Kanthar P (Nathan) Balanathan Retired Director & Specialist Power Systems Engineer Rowville, Melbourne

Hi Gemma Pearce

With due respect I would like to state that some countries are quite keen in speculating war crimes on GOSL.

Could it be a shortfall on the integrity of such media not to address the crimes committed by Tamils and their associated LTTE over the past 39 years?

Please see video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlyHohNl6DQ

Further I wish to humbly state that why such media are not keen enough to address the war crimes committed by USA and UK in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Please see the following video of an inside story of 9/11

http://topinfopost.com/2013/09/08/911-operation-gladio-e23

Have you observed the way the building came down, as if it was blasted off (additional) for replacement construction of another building?

Please see the following video

How West destroyed Libya

·       http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRQ6uqhLvz8

·       http://tribune-intl.com/?p=3144 / http://www.sriexpress.com/articles/item/761-entities-conspiring-to-deny-peace-in-sri-lanka.html

·       http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?menu=c10400&no=384786&rel_no=1

·       http://www.onlanka.com/news/are-ngos-foreign-funded-philanthropists-or-actors-of-regime-change.html

 Should David Cameron be Prosecuted for Recruiting Brits to Fight in Al Qaeda Ranks in Syria?

http://www.globalresearch.ca/should-david-cameron-be-prosecuted-for-recruiting-brits-to-fight-in-al-qaeda-ranks-in-syria/5367448

·        Indian War Crimes in Sri Lanka: IPKF Massacre of Tamil Doctors and Nurses inside Jaffna Hospital

·        http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2014/02/02/indian-war-crimes-in-sri-lanka-ipkf-massacre-of-tamil-doctors-and-nurses-inside-jaffna-hospital/

·        Investigate Indian War Crimes in Sri Lanka : RAPE of Tamil Women http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items/2014/02/01/investigate-indian-war-crimes-in-sri-lanka-rape-of-tamil-women/

·        Sri Lanka demands War Crimes against LTTE Terrorists and India’s IPKF – http://www.nation.lk/edition/special/item/6329-sri-lanka-demands-war-crimes-against-ltte-terrorists-and-india%E2%80%99s-ipkf.html#sthash.jHHtWMag.dpuf

·       http://bharatabharati.wordpress.com/2013/04/10/no-genocide-of-tamils-in-sri-lanka-mr-yashwant-sinha-shenali-waduge/

Madam,

Historically, assumptions and decisions are made to favour some country who may be neo-colonialists.

Let us fight for justice and bring all to justice.

Why not talk about WMD and the insider job of 9/11 as per RT’s campaign?

I love Australia and a patriotic Australian.

Kind Regards,

Kanthar P (Nathan) Balanathan

DipEE(UK), GradCert(RelEng-Monash), DipBusAdm(Finance-Massey), CEng, MIEE, MIE(Aust), CPEng.

Retired Director & Specialist Power Systems Engineer

Rowville, Melbourne

Australia

Key to Next Elections

February 7th, 2014

Gomin Dayasri Courtesy The Daily Mirror

Colombo District results at the forthcoming Provincial Council elections hold the key to the outcome of the next General or Presidential election scheduled for 2014/2015. Colombo District and Colombo Municipal Council area are two worlds.

UNP has to win the Colombo district or come within striking distance of winning to keep their hopes alive at a future General or Presidential election.Colombo District alone can resurrect the UNP or spell its doom.

Colombo District carries characteristics that make it an ideal turf prepared by a curator for the UNP to score. It includes the populous Colombo Municipal Council that turned green even where the candidates were a set of unknown nondescripts appearing on an independent label substituting for the UNP when its list was rejected.
At the parliamentary elections in 2010 the UNP won all 5 seats with ease in the Colombo Municipality area. [Colombo North (60%-31%), Colombo Central (63%-27%), Borella (48%-39%) Colombo East (49%-37%) and Colombo West  (64%-25%)]. The significance of this result is that it followed the Presidential elections where Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected overwhelmingly but yet the common candidate Sarath Fonseka won all 5 Colombo seats by still larger majorities than at the Parliamentary elections. Residents in the Colombo Municipality live on a different planet away from the rest of Sri Lanka thriving on the UNP culture and with its mindset.

Colombo District can be classified into three zones ”the aforesaid municipal evergreen inner zone. The intermediate zone of the semi urban electoral districts of Kotte, Kollonnawa, Dehiwella, Ratmalana and Moratuwa that turns green whenever a UNP administration is to be elected to office. The rest is the peripheral belt of Colombo, which has a staunch Sinhala Buddhist vote. (Saffron zone- where in 2005 the JHU in some seats pushed UNP to third place). Yet these electorates of Maharagama, Homagama, Kaduwela, Kesbewa and Avissawella were won by the UNP in the time of J.R.Jayewardane,R.Premadasa and at the 2000 general elections when UNP was returned under Ranil Wickremasinghe as the prime minister. After losing the Colombo District, UNP has never formed a government- that makes it a pivotal district. Therefore to pick the momentum UNP has to win the Colombo District in a ‘do or die’ battle at the provincial council elections to show its emergence.

 If Government gains substantial majorities in the outer peripheral electorates in the Colombo District that has a rural outlook, it will configure a trend that will show typical rural Sri Lanka is firmly in the blue corner.  That will make the national elections a mere formality and may make a snap election a distinct possibility. Colombo means more for the UNP and its leader than for the Government! A win will provide a mighty boost to a dented party image while a loss can lead to more defections from the UNP.

In recent elections UNP has not been able to make an impact outside metropolitan Colombo – winning only one other electorate in Dehiwela in 2010 parliamentary elections ”while losing all the other border electorates of Colombo. Nevertheless in the 2005 Presidential Elections where Ranil Wickremasinghe was the candidate, the UNP won the Colombo District (51% – 49%) with overwhelming majorities in the 5 metropolitan Colombo seats and secured wins in the bordering Kotte, Kollonnawa and Dehiwela electorates. In outer periphery of the Colombo District, Mahinda Rajapaksa won the electorates of Kesbewa, Kaduwela, Maharagama, Homagama, Avissawella and Moratuwa handsomely and lost Ratmalana narrowly.

Colombo District -excluding the outer periphery in the Sinhala Buddhist belt- has the traditional base of the UNP vote with an appreciable minority vote, high percentage of commercial and professional interests, middle class voters on whom Colombo opinion makers impact on current issues, urban population that is affected by the rising cost of living and where living standards are higher than in any other part of Sri Lanka and where economic hardships are much felt.

In the Colombo District, government has been scoring heavily in recent elections in the electorates that are traditionally Sinhala Buddhists. It is this vote that often offsets the large majorities that are secured by the UNP in the metropolitan Colombo and enables the government to win the Colombo District. From these electorates, a semi-urban population travels frequently for employment to Colombo and gratefully remembers the victory at war. Many outstation voters are lodged in these outer Colombo electorates for easy travel to the city and often communicate the political message from the village to the town and vice versa. Public opinion in outer Colombo is double barreled and twice valued as it is between town and country, with many eligible to vote,  registered in the outstations.

Ironically since the war victory there is a common plan reached in the aforesaid Buddhist belt and the Catholic/Christian belt from Ja-ela to Chilaw in voting with the Government. This is further reflected in the Bishops Conference distancing themselves from the homilies of their northern brethren. Nevertheless, predominantly Catholic/Christian Colombo North electorate has never moved away from the UNP and delivers a huge majority at every election. It shows a difference in outlook of the urban and rural Christian population.

It is the electorates on either side of the high and low level roads from Maharagama to Avissawella that set trends for the rest of southern Sri Lanka at elections. These five electorates are the pacemakers in Sri Lankan politics for whoever wins them comprehensively forms the government for it has a rural and urban complexion, educated and literate voters, symbolises the newly emerging middle income society and are the recipients of the opinion makers mindsets and yet with sufficient intellect to form an opinion of their own.

Mahinda Rajapaksa won these electorates Kaduwela; (62%-36%) Avissawella (64%-43%) Homagama (66%-32%), Maharagama (62%-36%), Kesbewa (65%-34%) comfortably against another pro-war candidate Sarath Fonseka.  These electorates could be sensitive to the UNP as there are still activists of Sarath Fonseka as candidates. It is possible that Sarath Fonseka may make inroads more into the UNP nationalistic vote than to the disenchanted UPFA vote.

An extraneous factor to reckon is the substantial vote flow from the North. Total number of the Northern vote according to the latest statistics stand at over 700,000 votes though minimal by the standards of the southern vote; much of it is likely to be diverted by the TNA (which extracted 85% of the votes cast in the North) to the UNP. In addition to this bonus the UNP may lead though by a lesser number in the Eastern Province, which is high on the minority vote.

In 2005 when Mahinda Rajapaksa won the Presidential Election by a narrow majority it was primarily due to the prohibition imposed on voting by the LTTE, thereby preventing Ranil Wickremasinghe from building substantial majorities in the North and East. A fear was that Wickremasinghe may attract international support to crush the LTTE and Mahinda Rajapaksa was miscalculated to be the lesser evil; eventually gave leadership to the elimination of the LTTE, on which triumph he is a beneficiary of a large vote bank. Now North is free to exercise the franchise.

This makes it imperative that Rajapaksa builds formidable majorities in the South to offset the lead the UNP is likely to garner from the North and East. If the South fails to deliver a lead to the UPFA it means the Sinhala Buddhist vote is not a monolithic vote but split between the two major parties. The government requires the bulk Sinhala Buddhist vote to be comfortable and safely home. This is bedrock of the SLFP. It is possible that a third candidate might emerge to split the all-important Sinhala Buddhist vote.

For the UNP the most favorable district is Colombo in building up a majority in view of the kept electorates in the city of Colombo. But if it fails to make a dent in the outer peripheral electorates then it is unlikely to make an impact in the rural electorates of Sri Lanka. If Rajapaksa’s majorities are reduced in the strongly Sinhala Buddhist electorates in the Colombo District then it will become infectious to spill over to other less sophisticated electorates in the rural districts. Often Colombo’s outer peripheral migrant workers transmit the message to the rural folk prolific ally by hand phones.

These equations will have to be re-worked if there is an economic upheaval – nothing frightens Colombo more.

Defeat the defeatist attitude

February 7th, 2014

Nalin de Silva Courtesy The Daily News

As Geneva gets closer the so called educated people in Sri Lanka get paranoid. Some of them think of the UNHRC punishing Sri Lanka in one way or the other, and those who are anti-government would claim that UNHRC wants to punish the government and not the country. The anti-government lobby is not homogeneous as it consists of “good governance” people who are against what they call corruption, violation of various freedoms including freedom of speech and independence of the judiciary, and “bheeshanaya” (violence) by the governmen
Cdn-2013-tag--Point-of-view_0.jpg

The list may be extended depending on the degree of anti-government stance of the individual. It is regrettable that none of these ladies and gentlemen were there to protest nay sympathize with me when I was taken to the Intelligence Bureau unit at Gregory’s Road in early nineties at midnight simply because I was against Premadasa’s so called regional university concept. A police battalion of about 15 from Kurunduwatte police station led by an IP came to our home scaling the gate surrounded the house at midnight and wanted me to come to the police station with them to record a statement.

This was after this IP had come the previous day at about 2.00 am and recorded a statement on my stand on this Premadasa concept. When my wife and the eldest son who was about eighteen years then went to the Kurunduwatte police station at about 1.00 am had been told that I was not taken to this police station. It was true as by that time I was in the Gregory’s Road joint waiting for the arrival of a senior cop to question me. My wife had contacted some politicians and she had been told that I was enjoying a discussion on higher education with a senior cop and not to be worried!

“Good governance” people

I was the President of FUTA at that time and the Gregory’s Road people after releasing me wanted me to visit them daily as probably they enjoyed those discussions on higher education of the country. Previously in late eighties I had to flee the country with the family as both the UNP government and the JVP were interested in sending me to heaven without much delay. I cite this example only to remind the “good governance” people of the “bheeshanaya” during the good old days when the good old party ran the affairs of the country. The media in general did not give any publicity to these events and I am happy to note that the immediate past President of FUTA was given a good coverage in the media apparently when he had a few anonymous telephone calls.

The main group interested in Geneva are the dispersed Tamils and some sections of the TNA and the UNP, who are after the violation of human rights of the “civilians” during the last two weeks of the humanitarian operations.

The UNP that was against humanitarian operations with people such as Ranil Wickremesinghe referring to Thoppigala as a mere jungle, Lakshman Kriella claiming that any “gona” can be engaged in war, and Ravi Karunanayake having no idea of where Pamankada and Alimankada are. At least he did not identify Siri Kotha as Alimankada and we should be appreciative of his knowledge.

The UNHRC cannot impose economic sanctions but we will have to expect “indirect” economic sanctions by the Western countries in time to come and also charges on “war crimes” against the President and the Defense Secretary. In fact some anti-government people would welcome these measures as they daydream of a “regime change” with such actions by the Western countries. Then there are others who are scared of economic sanctions and would want the government to take immediate actions to punish those who are involved in “war crimes”.

The list of ‘war crimes’ in the meantime keeps on increasing and the latest being sterilization of Tamil women, after the charges on chemical warfare. The two bishops who talk of chemical warfare and bombing civilians and other “informants” should be forced to come out with witnesses as they are involved in crimes of misinformation against the state. If the country has no laws in this regard to force the ‘informants” to come out with evidence, without just informing visiting foreigners, then the government should take immediate steps to introduce such legislation. It is clear that these charges are invented as the Bishops and others who would have known of them were silent for nearly five years, and it would not have been due to any love for the government.

Catholic Church

The Bishop of Mannar who allowed the LTTE terrorists to take the statue of Holy Mary cannot be a friend or shepherd of Sinhala Catholics. However, ironically the Catholic Church maintains a deafening silence on the informant Bishops and we cannot be satisfied with mere statements to say that the Bishops do not represent the view of the Church. The LTTE on their part also had been silent on “chemical warfare during that time” and it makes one wonder whether the terrorists also did not want to accuse the armed forces for the “love of the country”.

The government should award a prize for the best inventor of “war crime” charges and there will be better “evidence” for Navi Pillais and others who visit Sri Lanka on a periodical basis.

It is unfortunate that the educated in this country as well as in the other Afro Asian countries are misguided by the Western knowledge that has been created in the West during the last five hundred years or so.

It is the Western science that leads this misinformation claiming to possess a so called scientific method that is not found in other systems of knowledge. In Western science abstract theories that are merely stories are invented to explain sensory perceptible phenomena, the stories being non sensory perceptible, as in the case of gravitational theory of Newton. These stories are blatant lies (pattapal boru) as we have shown at a lecture conducted in Mahanuwara recently. The interested reader may listen to the lecture in Sinhala, which is in three parts on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiLHfmfYoS4,http://www.youtube.com/watch?… , http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AMPlnr7LCoI.

The West lies hiding their intentions and objectives, and in the case of Sri Lanka the “war crimes” and charges on violation of human rights are only a bogey as what they are interested is separation of the country and in order to achieve it in a “regime change”.

The England led West wants to punish the Sinhala people (I refer to the ordinary people and not those misguided by Western education) as it was they who fought and continue to fight the Western colonialists.

The English who wanted the Tamil Vellalas to rule the country on their behalf are now using the dispersed Tamils in the West to establish an Eelam.

They want to punish the Sinhala people as well as the government for not listening to them and defeating the LTTE terrorists.

Human rights issue

We should not be misled by the West to believe that they are interested in human rights of the people. They are interested only in propagating their culture and at present use the NGOs, Dispersed Tamils, Liberals, Marxists, Bishops and others to punish the Sinhala people. The UNHRC is only an instrument to dominate the world through the human rights issue and Navi Pillais are only paid servants of the West in this regard. We should identify the intentions and objectives of the West and should not be preoccupied with responding to the so called charges of violation of human rights.

The government should continue with the exercise of exposing the West to the other countries and thus defeating the England USA led resolution at Geneva in March. Even if we fail to do so we should not worried much as we can defeat the intentions and objectives of the West if the vast majority of the people, ignoring the combined opposition and the so called educated people, rally round the country.

The Sri Lankan majority who united to defeat the LTTE terrorists against the wish of the West can defeat the present Western intentions and objections if we identify the problem without being misled by Western knowledge. The defeatist attitude that has been cultivated in the minds of the people has to be defeated and that is the path to victory at the end irrespective of what happens in Geneva.

– See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/features/defeat-defeatist-attitude#sthash.sK7GdzqW.dpuf

Unity is strength

February 7th, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE Sri Lanka High CommissionLondon

 In his address on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day, High Commissioner to the UK, Dr Chris Nonis emphasised that the wealth of the country was in the diversity of its people of varying backgrounds, ethnicities and religions.

 He said it was imperative to make optimum use of that diversity and build a strong and unified Sri Lanka which would then be able to resist those external forces that seek to divide rather than unify Sri Lanka.

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 Dr Nonis was speaking to a large gathering of the British polity including parliamentarians from the House of Lords and the House of Commons, heads of diplomatic missions, members of the Commonwealth Secretariat  including its Secretary-General, members of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the business community, think tanks, international organisations and representatives from HRH Prince Charles’ office and Buckingham Palace, at a reception held at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London to celebrate the 66th Independence Day of Sri Lanka.

 The High Commissioner thanked the 53 London-based Commonwealth high commissioners who, in their capacity as members of the Board of Governors of the Commonwealth Secretariat, played a pivotal role in ensuring that Sri Lanka hosted CHOGM 2013 so successfully. He thanked them for their friendship, cooperation and solidarity with Sri Lanka, especially in not succumbing to the strong pressures from lobby groups in the years leading up to the CHOGM.

 He referred to the value that had accrued to Sri Lanka in hosting CHOGM for it provided an opportunity to a large cross-section of the global community such as governments, business leaders, youth and media to visit Sri Lanka and form their own views of contemporary Sri Lanka without depending on hearsay and jaundiced opinions.

 Dr Nonis invited those present to view the special exhibition at the High Commission premises on CHOGM 2013 and its three parallel fora, the numerous heads of state and government of the Commonwealth with whom President Mahinda Rajapaksa had fruitful bilateral meetings. The exhibition also portrayed the visit of HRH The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, who had endeared themselves so graciously to the Sri Lankan people.

 The exhibition also depicted the comprehensive rehabilitation, reconciliation and reconstruction programmes undertaken in post-conflict Sri Lanka.

 The exhibition was also viewed by a substantial number of the Sri Lankan diaspora who gathered earlier in the day to participate in the traditional ceremonies associated with Independence Day and listen to the prayers of Buddhist, Hindu, Islam and Christian religious dignitaries who bestowed blessings on Sri Lanka and its leaders.

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 Reminding his different audiences of Sri Lanka’s history, Dr Nonis said that universal franchise was granted to both men and women in 1931, 17 years before independence.  Exercising the right of the ballot even before independence helped Sri Lanka build the vibrant democracy that it is today.

 Member of British Parliament Ian Paisley jr spoke from his perspective of Northern Ireland having endured terrorism and said that its post-conflict situation still had many unresolved issues after forty years. Having visited Sri Lanka on several occasions his view was that Sri Lanka had made comparatively far greater progress in four years and should be applauded.

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 Mayoress Frances Stainton, in her address, spoke of her work for “Walking with the wounded” the charity for British soldiers injured during conflict, and stated how remarkable it had been to meet the young Sri Lankan soldier who had won a bronze medal in the Paralympics last year, and the importance of looking after the differently-abled who have fought so valiantly for their countries.

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 High Commissioner Dr Chris Nonis proposed a toast to Her Majesty the Queen and the people of Britain, and Sir Peter Heap KCMG proposed a toast to HE the President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the people of Sri Lanka.

House of Commons Sub-Comm on Int’l HR – Dr. P.Saravanamuttu’s Presentation

February 7th, 2014

Mahinda Gunasekera Agincourt, Ontario Canada

By E-mail

Mr. Scott Reid, MP
Member for Lanark- Frontenac-Lennox  and Addington
Chair of the Sub-Committee on  International Human Rights
Of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and Int’l Dev.
House of Commons
Ottawa

 Dear Mr. Scott Reid,

Resumed Hearings on the Human Rights situation in Sri Lanka : Nov 7 to Dec 10,2013

I have had an opportunity to read some of the presentations made to your sub-committee and found it quite disconcerting to note that you had invited only critics and vociferous accusers of alleged violations by Sri Lanka to make submissions, which needless to say calls into question your bias and impartiality. The presenters have focused their attention only on the latter five months of a military action taken by the Sri Lankan authorities to eliminate three decades of terrorist violence launched by the Tamil Tiger terrorists which was successfully concluded on May 19, 2009, and the period thereafter, based on one sided information looked at from outside the country by persons with an agenda to demonize Sri Lanka and destabilize that country.  What they have presented are just unsubstantiated allegations, and it is a shame that Canada’s Parliamentary Sub-Committee would take such an unbalanced route to decide on a sovereign country which is a fellow member of the Commonwealth.

At the outset, I would like to give some background data for your information.  Sri Lanka made six separate attempts to reach a negotiated peaceful settlement with the militant Tamil groups that sought to carve out a separate mono-ethnic separate state for Tamils by armed force, through direct talks and internationally mediated peace talks using the facilitation by India and Norway.  Some of the Tamil militant groups halted hostile actions following the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord of 1987. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), aka Tamil Tigers, which claimed to be the sole representative of the Tamil people failed to negotiate in good faith and used the ceasefire periods to build up their weapons stockpile and fighting strength made up of child soldiers and other adults many of whom had been abducted and forcibly conscripted.  They blatantly violated the ceasefire agreements and continued to plant bombs in buses, trains, shopping centres, launch claymore mine attacks, unleash 388 suicide bombers, engage in machete attacks at midnight on remote villages, and carry out attacks by land, sea and air targeting members of the security forces, political leaders from all communities including moderate Tamils and civilians, causing wide scale death and destruction of valuable property on a daily basis.    

In December of 2005, the Tamil Tigers which had annual earnings in excess of $300 million raised mainly through illicit means as per the Janes Weekly of UK, with a large chunk of that being contributed by Canada, carried out large scale extortion of their diaspora members to launch their so called final war of liberation; refer Human Rights Watch report of March 15, 2006. Canada proscribed the LTTE effective April 6, 2006 joining 31 other nations including the USA, India, Uk and EU. The Tigers commenced numerous attacks on military installations and the civilian population, and thrust a war on Sri Lanka by shutting off drinking and irrigation water to 30,000 farming families at Mahavil Oya (Mavilaru)in August 2006, forcing the government to take retaliatory action.  Sri Lanka’s military succeeded in defeating the armed Tamil Tigers within a space of 33 months and rescuing the 300,000 Tamil civilians living under LTTE control who were forced to move with the retreating Tiger forces to be exploited for their labour, conscripted to replace fallen cadres and other combat duties and finally to form a human shield in the last redoubt in Putumatalan , where they held out in the hope of western intervention and asylum overseas. 

Two ceasefires were arranged unilaterally by the Sri Lankan authorities in February and April 2009 to enable the Tamil IDPs to cross over to safety but the Tamil Tigers used their guns to prevent a single civilian from leaving their control.  The LTTE terrorist fighters were also offered an opportunity to surrender, but they decided to fight to the last and were struck down in their attempt to cross the Nandikadal Lagoon and break through the Sri Lankan Army lines into the nearby jungles.  The defeat of the Tamil Tiger terrorists also helped in the efforts to rescue nearly 300,000 Tamil IDPs that had been held as a human shield by the LTTE. This humanitarian goal was attained at the enormous cost of over 5,000 Sri Lankan soldiers laying down their life in the latter stages in 2009 to free them with the least harm to these trapped civilians. It also restored the vitally important ‘Right to Life’ of Sri Lanka’s 21 million citizens made up of Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors (Muslims),Indian Tamils (indentured labour brought in by the British to work on new plantations established on lands confiscated from Sinhalese peasants and aristocrats w/o a penny in compensation) Malays, Burghers (Descendants of Portuguese and Dutch colonialists), Veddahs, Chettys, etc.  

 

Presentation by Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu(Exec Dir,Centre for Policy Alternatives)on Nov 21,2013

Dr. Asoka Weerasinghe of Ottawa has made a separate submission dealing with Dr. P. Saravanamuttu’s presentation where he has touched on key matters discussed by your guest.  I shall take up any areas that he may have missed to give a fuller picture.  

Dr. Saravanamuttu belongs to a very privileged class of Tamils that lived in Colombo where he was educated in the English medium in a leading school in the capital city.  His family had many servants from the Sinhalese community to attend to the varied tasks of this rich household which helped him to converse in Sinhala. Except for a smattering of spoken Tamil he has little knowledge of his mother tongue but remains an ardent supporter of Tamil nationalism with separatist tendencies.  As the Executive Director of the CPA which is funded by western countries including Canada and other western agencies, he enjoys a handsome remuneration in excess of Rupees One Million monthly plus a range of choice perks, which are not even dreamt of by the average Sri Lankan.  Therefore, he naturally knows on which side his bread is buttered, and is most amenable to carrying out agendas promoted by the western financiers which ensures the continuation of the elite personal benefits, even though same is not available to the vast majority of the populace.   

In his opening remarks, echoing his western masters he has said a mouthful, claiming that Sri Lanka was a floundering democracy threatened by institutionalized militarization, collapse of the rule of law, a culture of impunity with respect to human rights violations and rising religious intolerance. To most people in Sri Lanka, the defeat of the Tamil Tiger terrorists has opened up space for democratic dissent, freer discussion on human rights, re-engaging of the military in people friendly projects to speed up resettlement of the displaced civilians whilst maintaining vigilance to prevent resumption of terrorist violence that bled the nation for over three decades.  Just like Canada or any other country, the military is stationed in different parts of the national territory at the discretion of the heads of the armed forces and the government of the day.  The military’s strength in the north of the island has been reduced  to around 70,000, whilst the bulk of the troops are stationed in the rest of the country.    

Sri Lanka has a recorded history dating back to over 2,500 years which has been chronicled in the Deepavamsa, Mahavamsa and the Chulavamsa, wherein it is stated that the land formerly called called ‘Heladiva’ (island of the Hela people) made up of four separate clans or Sivuhela, later merged with the Sinha clan led by Prince Vijaya who arrived from India at the dawn of history to form SINHALE or the land of the Sinhala people. Even the word “ILAM” (Eelam) chosen by the Tamils for their separate state that they sought to carve out by force of arms has been mistakenly chosen, as the Tamil lexicon published by the University of Madras, the highest seat of Tamil learning, states on page 328 that the word “ILAM” (Eelam) has been derived from the PALI word SIHALA, meaning Sinhala, Tamilized as  ‘SINGALAM’ or ‘SIHALAM’ and later shortened to ILAM, also spelt as “Eelam”, which means the land of the Sinhala people.  This fact is again confirmed by Prof. S. Krishnaswamy Aiyangar of the Madras University, a well known Tamil historian, writing the foreword on August 29, 1926, to the book titled ‘Ancient Jaffna’ by Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam, stated that the word ‘ILAM’ had been derived from the PALI word SIHALA meaning Sinhala. 

The Tamils of South India who first arrived as invaders held on to small pockets of territory for short periods, till such time as the indigenous people drove them back to their land in Tamilnadu.  They came as settlers around the 11th century AD, even establishing a sub-kingdom called Jaffnapatam in the 13th century confined to the Jaffna peninsula and a narrow strip on the northwest coast extending up to Mannar, paying tribute to the main ruler of Sri Lanka situated in Kotte or Kandy, and the Pandyan ruler in South India, which lasted for roughly 150 years, before the Sinhalese King of Kotte regained suzerainty over the territory.  The vast majority of the Tamils were brought by the European colonial powers namely the Portuguese and Dutch from the early 17th to the 18th centuries for tobacco cultivation. Lastly, the British brought over one million more Tamils in the 19th and 20th centuries as indentured labour , settling them in sub-standard housing in the heartland of the country to work on new Cocoa, Coffee and Tea plantations set up on lands confiscated from the indigenous Sinhala people, thus creating a ‘stateless’ underclass of people which adversely affected the existing demography in the region . The issue of ‘stateless’ Indian Tamils was resolved by the Sirima ” Shastri Pact of 1964 with Sri Lanka and India absorbing these people as opted by each individual.  The vast majority of the Tamils in Sri Lanka are those brought in by the European colonial powers with a comparatively short history in the island who are now seeking to carve out a chunk of territory in the north and east to set up a separate state for the newly arrived Tamils.

The Sinhalese who founded the Nation State of SINHALE allowed people of various ethnicities and religions to settle down peacefully and live as equal citizens subject to their allegiance to the king entrusted with authority to rule the land.  Whilst the Sinhalese were Buddhists, the settlers coming from outside were permitted to practice their faith or religion and even build kovils, mosques and churches for their spiritual usage.  The Christian faith first introduced by the Portuguese colonialists who arrived soon after the Inquisitions in Europe used lethal force to convert people, dispossessed  them of their lands and even destroyed Buddhist temples, Hindu Kovils and Mosques, over which they built their new Catholic Churches.  The Dutch and British were more cunning in that they openly discriminated against the followers of other religions, depriving opportunities for advancement unless one converted to their Christian faith. Even though the British undertook to protect the religion of the Budhoo in terms of the Kandyan Convention of 1815 under which power was ceded to them by the Chieftains of Sinhale, they failed to honour their treaty obligations discarding their obligations even before the ink dried out.  

The ending of the military action against the Tamil Tiger terrorists did not end the threats to Sri Lanka as the well funded remnants of the pro-Tiger groups living in western countries continued to use their vast  amount of accumulated funds to influence the politicians and the media by carrying on an anti-Sri Lanka campaign to seek revenge for eliminating the LTTE’s military leadership on whom they depended to establish their separate Tamil state in the north and east of the island. This goal they dreamt of for which billions of dollars had been expended to build an armed force to do battle on land, sea and air plus a suicide bomber squadron suddenly vanished before their eyes, just as the reality of a sovereign state has eluded over 85 million Tamils living in Tamilnadu and the rest of the world.  Former supporters of Tamil Tiger terrorism suddenly metamorphosed into human rights activists to beat up Sri Lanka on fabricated charges of alleged violations of international humanitarian law and war crimes. There have also been caches of weapons and explosives which the LTTE had buried that were being uncovered in the Vanni, and the string of unsubstantiated allegations and pressures to be dealt with in the midst of caring for the 295,873 rescued Tamil IDPs and rehabilitation of over 12,000 former Tiger cadres that had surrendered.  The unrest that the pro-Tamil Tiger diaspora hoped to create was effectively curbed by remaining alert and preventing any serious breakdown in the law and order situation. It is only with the cooperation of all the parties that the Rule of Law and respect for Human Rights could be upheld in any society.

There is no rising religious intolerance in Sri Lanka except for a reaction to creeping Islamist activities and the planting of churches and mosques in the Buddhist/Hindu hinterland by various Evangelical Christian groups and Moslems benefiting from Mid-East oil revenues who resort to unethical means to increase their flock.  These Christian groups which operate pre-schools in the rural areas including World Vision are known to devise plain trickery to brainwash infants in their temporary care by distributing small boxes with Baby Jesus’ picture containing goodies and passing empty boxes with the Buddha’s picture on them. They also misrepresent the life of the Royal Prince Siddartha who later renounced the palace and householder’s life leaving behind his wife and new born son to lead a spiritual path and attain the highest purity of body, speech and mind associated with the state of Buddhahood, thereby creating confusion in these tiny minds which is a lowly act that must be condemned. This technique of brainwashing has been referred to as the ‘Mustard Seed Program’ by World Vision.  They also use the vast funds available to them from their western churches and western governments including Canada  to exploit the poor by offering allurements on condition they would convert to the Christian faith, and as a sign of their accepting the new faith they are required to publicly destroy any Buddha images in their possession. This act of sacrilege naturally creates enmity in the village both against the individual and the Church concerned giving rise to incidents of what is termed religious intolerance.  Even the Muslim community of Sri Lanka is in receipt of funds from the oil rich Middle East which is used to surreptitiously build Mosques far in excess of the need of their community which numbers about  nine  percent of the population.  They would put up a temporary shed which is later claimed as being a Community Centre, which later becomes a Prayer House that grows into a gigantic Mosque to the annoyance of the non-Muslim population. Once the Mosque is established, they would use loudspeakers to blast the air to call people to prayer five times daily disturbing the entire neighborhood.  These acts of deception in the establishment of Mosques too have given rise to public fury.  The demand from the public to bring in legislation to prevent unethical conversion of persons to other faiths by offering allurements has been put on hold due to pressure from the US government, whereas several countries including a few European countries have introduced such legislation.    

Dr. Saravanamuttu also stated that “at the present moment, the policy of the government with regard to governance in general is very much a focus on economic development which is highly centralized.  The government’s attitude toward reconciliation is very much an attitude of economic development and of forgetting and moving on. As some people argue, it is an attempt to build reconciliation on concrete.”  Dr. Saravanamuttu is again wrong because it was necessary to rebuild a thousand schools, medical facilities and other infrastructure destroyed by the Tamil Tigers. The former homes of the IDPs which had been exposed to the elements as a result of their being abandoned by the inmates for a period of nearly 30 months as they were forced to move with the retreating cadres also had to be repaired or rebuilt.  The roofing sheets of the IDPs’ homes had also been removed at the time of their move to be used to fortify their bunkers.  In addition to using concrete in the massive construction work, the authorities also had to demine 6,182 sq. km. of land that had been heavily mined with anti-personnel mines, IEDs and explosives laden booby traps numbering in excess of 1.5 million, before the IDPs were allowed back into the region.  Damaged roads, rail tracks, bridges, irrigation reservoirs, fisheries harbours too were speedily upgraded using up more concrete.  Providing vocational training to the 12,000 surrendering Tigers to equip them with new skills to enable them to earn their living after being released to society.  The essential infrastructure being put in place and provision of livelihood skills have helped to attract new investment and jobs.  Following the gradual resettlement of the IDPs along with demining of the land, it was possible to hold elections to the local bodies in the Northern Province and even conduct elections to the Northern Provincial Council which previously was prevented by the armed LTTE which considered the Tamil Tigers as the sole representative of the Tamil people, even endorsed by members of the Tamil National Alliance deemed a proxy party of the LTTE.  A most laudable achievement by Sri Lanka to have not only resettled 295,873 IDPs, released 594 child soldiers to the custody of their parents or guardians, and also to have rehabilitated over 12,000 former Tiger cadres and given them new livelihood skills within the short space of 4 ½ years which no other country facing a similar conflict could lay claim to.  Even the UN is grappling with over 26 million displaced persons living in refugee camps around the world, with numbers growing each day and no solution in sight with as many as 12,000 remaining in camps for over ten years.

Dr. Saravanamuttu:  “The argument with regard to institutionalized militarization is one that has relevance across the country. The military is involved in the economy. The presence of the military in these provinces, in the north in particular, is of a ratio of one soldier to every 10 civilians. Most importantly, it’s the overbearing presence and the intrusion into the lives of the people that is of particular concern.” His assumptions are overblown and does not take into consideration the various tasks that had to be performed to make the northern province habitable and ready for resettlement of the IDPs. There were over 6,218 sq. km.(approx..1/10th of Sri Lanka’s land area) contaminated with mines laid by the LTTE to be demined, of which nearly 75 percent was completed by the military. The military had a well trained engineering unit which had experienced personnel who were disciplined, ready to serve in difficult conditions and able to undertake the infrastructure projects covering the education, health, water, irrigation, electricity, sanitation, roads and housing needs that were needed to be in place before moving the displaced persons to their former places of residence. This work was carried out effectively by the military enabling the resettlement of the IDPs within a short space of 3-4 years. This link gives you access to some of the humanitarian tasks handled by the security forces to provide care and comfort to the IDPs fleeing LTTE control: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=URnPSrrnGHw .

The military stationed in the north have been able to quickly resolve problems faced by the newly resettled IDPs.  They even contributed part of their own remuneration to complete essential facilities such as homes and rural hospitals in addition to providing their labour free. The men in the forces have on a regular basis donated blood needed by the northern hospitals to treat the IDPs. The military’s artificial limbs unit has provided orthopedic devices to disabled Tamil civilians and even former Tamil Tiger cadres who fought against them. Contrary to what Dr. Saravanamuttu has stated, the people of Mullativu publicly demonstrated to show their displeasure when the Army’s presence was being scaled back in the region. The Hindu kovils have arranged special devotional services to bestow blessings on the military personnel in appreciation of their contribution to the community. The military representatives are invited to participate in community events, school functions, etc. where they are warmly welcomed, as these men have jointly made personal gifts to improve school libraries, sports facilities and other community needs.  There is no military intrusion into the lives of the people but cordial interaction based on mutual respect. Allegations of human rights violations, abductions, assaults and gender based violations mentioned by Dr. Saravanamuttu have been advanced to demonize the military and generate anger in your minds, when these should instead be brought before the courts with the assistance of any number of lawyers within the Tamil community if there is any truth to such accusations. Shanthini Vairamuttu, a community worker from Jaffna told IRIN that the increased number of Sri Lankan born Tamils from the diaspora visiting their place of origin has also increased the demand for commercial sex. Traditionally, Hindus consider widows inauspicious and unfit for remarriage, leaving Tamil women to care of their families alone. Refer www.ecoi.net/local_link/260228/373081_en.html .

The claim that there is a high ratio of soldiers to civilians is an exaggeration as the numbers have been drawn down with several camps being closed and these lands being handed over to the prior owners. Where it is not possible to reduce the high security zones (HSZ) as in the case of the Palaly airstrip where earlier the LTTE fighters were able to infiltrate into the adjacent privately held lands and shoot at the planes coming into land destroying three or more planes killing all of the passengers and crew, necessitating the expansion of these security zones. Compensation is paid to the owners of such lands or relocated to suitable areas nearby. In addition to the risk of the Tamil Tiger rump within the diaspora based overseas with accumulated funds mainly raised through extortion and illicit activities financing the resumption of hostilities, plus the risk from extremist elements among the 72 million Tamils living across the Palk Strait just 22 miles from Sri Lanka’s northern shore in Tamilnadu,South India, who regularly threaten to break up Sri Lanka to create a separate state for Tamils. There are major ports and airfields that need to be secured plus a vulnerable coastline that needs to be guarded against illicit immigrants from the overcrowded and poverty stricken southern Indian states. Stationing of adequate security personnel and provision of housing for them becomes a routine matter, just as much as the security forces are billeted in other parts of the island.  

Dr. Saravanamuttu has also referred to the killing of 5 students on the beach in Trincomalee and the murder of 17 local workers employed by Action Against Hunger in Muttur during the height of military action in the region. These cases could not be proceeded with in the courts due to lack of witnesses but later referred to a Presidential Commission tasked with uncovering further evidence if any. These are callous acts which are still being followed up, but remains unsolved up to now. One of the students had even been a table tennis coach at the military camp. The local workers of the INGO killed in Muttur had been asked by the security forces to close their office and seek shelter in the nearby churches as the Tamil Tigers driven from Mavilaru where they shut off water to 30,000 farming families were seen moving towards Muttur to make a lightening strike that would endanger the operation of the Naval Base in Trincomalee. The Tamil Tiger forces took control of the Town of Muttur forcing the residents to flee. They held the town for about five days before being militarily ejected from there when the bodies of the 17 men were discovered. These cases have not been closed, but needs evidence that will shed light on the person or persons responsible to enable further action by the authorities. 

In response to questions put to him by the members of the Sub-Committee, Dr. Saravanamuttu admitted that the Reconciliation Program conducted in the case of the former LTTE cadres who surrendered, prior to their release to the society with new livelihood skills was satisfactory.  The following article written by an Indian and published by the Centre for Land War Studies of New Delhi gives an in depth look at the entire ‘Reconciliation Program’ that was conducted in the case of the former Tamil Tiger cadres who gave up their weapons and came to government controlled areas with the fleeing IDPs, and a Defense Ministry write up to give you an inside view of the program:  (i) http://www.ipcs.org/article/sri-lanka/taming-the-tigers-reintegration-of-surrendered-ltte-cadres-3350.html ;
(ii) //www.defence.lknew.asp?fname=Rehab_and_rejoice_20120828_03. 
Also, he had nothing negative to say about the manner in which the Northern Provincial Council election was carried out by the Elections Commissioner except for a few incidents of violence between rival parties.  He was attempting to impute that some soldiers in uniform and yet others in civilian clothes had engaged in acts of harassment or intimidation of certain voters. The military was not a party to the election, and if he has any evidence to support such allegations, he should have brought it to the attention of the Elections Commissioner. 

MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan inquired if there were as much as 90,000 war widows in the north to which he answered stating that there were 40,000 in the north but the 90,000 figure includes those in the eastern province as well.  It is highly questionable how he is rattling off these numbers when no such survey or census has been carried out.  According to published figures of war casualties for the full period of the armed conflict over 26 years is 27,000 + LTTE cadres being killed as against 23,327 Sri Lankan Security Forces personnel being lost in action. Sri Lanka has done a mind boggling feat of demining 6,218 sq. km. of contaminated land, put in necessary infrastructure, provided care for nearly 300,000 IDPs  in welfare camps, rehabilitated nearly 12,000 former LTTE cadres, restored 7 irrigation reservoirs and brought back large tracts of land for cultivation, developed fisheries harbours, in addition to building a network of roads, within a space of four years. This resulted in the northern economy registering a 27 percent growth as compared to 7.2% growth in GDP in the rest of the country.  Nearly 85 % of the country’s development budget estimated at US $3 billion has been invested in the north with $1,821.2 billion of that being financed with loans. The biggest industry established by the LTTE along with over 30 INGO/NGO groups operating in the Vanni was a Cottage Industry in the northern Vanni where the civilian population was engaged in making landmines and other IEDs, whilst the Sri Lanka Government paid for education, health, other essential services, pensions, etc. to meet the needs of the people.   

There was talk of land grabs by the military and several missing persons whose whereabouts are not known. Some privately owned lands in locations deemed high security zones have been acquired by the military for which either alternate lands will be given or due compensation paid to the owners.  No mention was made of the 14 military camps that were drawn down in Jaffna peninsula and lands so occupied being released to the respective owners. The land issue is both complex and confusing in the north as the Tamil Tigers who virtually carried on a defacto state in the region for a period in excess of two decades have caused the destruction of records in most of the land registries making it an extremely difficult task to confirm the rightful owners of private land. The LTTE had alienated land and given generous parcels to those whom they considered ‘Maaveera’ families where a family member had attained martyrdom for their separatist cause. Furthermore, it has now been revealed that such families were even encouraged to bring over their relatives living in Tamilnadu, South India, to settle down in the Vanni on lands allocated to them.

The Norwegian INGO called Red Barna based in Jaffna headed by Jon Westborg, later Norway’s ambassador to Sri Lanka, had assisted Tamil separatist groups to turn back Indian Tamil plantation workers who had opted to return to India in terms of the 1964 Sirima-Shasthri Pact by providing funds to settle them in the Vanni region by encroaching into state lands. Many of the IDPs have lost their documentation including National ID papers, deeds relating to properties, making it an enormous  problem in determining their rights to property they claim is theirs.  A considerable period of time will elapse in sorting through this mess and registering lawful claims to property which are now being computerized to overcome the security lapses experienced with paper records.

Answers to the whereabouts of missing persons is not easy to provide as many either joined or were forcibly conscripted by the LTTE and may possibly have died in action and interred without proper records. Some LTTE cadres who were seriously injured at the front were taken in buses to desolate locations and blown up by the Tamil Tigers according to some relatives who  later fled the final ‘no fire zone’ to government controlled areas. Many of the IDPs with money are said have managed to avoid the government’s screening process and head out to Colombo and proceed to overseas locations with valid passports or false travel documents prepared by human smugglers and even new identities. Hardcore LTTE cadres who either slipped out of the welfare camps or avoided screening too have managed to obtain the aid of pro-Tiger groups in the diaspora who find ways to have them ferried to western countries. Some could be among the nearly 600 who arrived on Canada’s west coast aboard the Ocean Lady and mv Sun Sea earlier on in 2009 and 2010.  Yet others may have boarded other human smuggling ships to claim refuge in Australia, and probably awaiting in Christmas Island pending hearings. There are also over 100,000 who had left Sri Lanka to seek refuge in Tamilnadu. Some others have reached places in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc. to try and board a smugglers boat to take them to a developed country.  Some have even managed to reach UK and EU countries where they have sought asylum. The government could only give particulars of persons who have been detained pending prosecution in the courts for crimes relating to terrorism, or others undergoing rehabilitation prior to their release. Meanwhile, the government has appointed an independent Commission headed by a retired High Court Judge to review the cases of 11,112 reported to be missing or disappeared, of whom 5,098 are Sri Lanka Army personnel whilst 6,014 are civilians from the Tamil, Sinhalese and Muslim communities.  

No other country that faced a long drawn out conflict has achieved so much as Sri Lanka has within such a short space of time. A recently produced documentary captures some of the many post-conflict achievement of Sri Lanka which could be accessed at the link noted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AHoNMIe1SLM . There is a scene of the Central Bank being blown up by a truck bomb carrying 400 kg of explosives, which were purchased from the Ukraine with $7.2 million being remitted by pro-Tiger Canadian Tamils who purchased 60 tons of regular explosives and 10 tons of plastic explosives with these funds prior to 1996.  Sri Lanka has since adopted a tri-lingual education policy (teaching Sinhala, Tamil and English) partly funded by CIDA, which too will help in the ongoing reconciliation process.  The country has also been able to recruit Tamils to the Police Service as the fear of being targeted by the LTTE has since been eliminated.  Already, over 2,000 Tamils have been trained as Police officers since 2009 and posted to predominantly Tamil areas to better serve the resident population.    

 Canada and the rest of the international community need to understand the real ground situation and allow the necessary time and space to resolve her internal issues and bring about healing among her multi-ethnic and multi-religious communities. Reconciliation cannot be achieved merely through promulgation of laws, commissions of inquiry, as it has to be nurtured through mutual understanding and trust without any group clamouring for pieces of the island but sharing the whole as Sri Lanka has done in pre-colonial times during her recorded history of 2,500 years.

 

Yours sincerely,

 Mahinda Gunasekera
Agincourt, Ontario

February 6, 2014

P.S. I will be submitting my response to the presentations made especially by Frances Harrison and Callum McRae of UK shortly.  MG

Copy to:  Ms. Miriam Burke, Secretary to the House Commons Sub-Committee on Foreign Affairs:  Please take printed copies and kindly distribute all members of the Sub-Committee.

Copies to Members of the House of Commons, Sub-Committee on International Human Rights:  Copies of this document are being sent by e-mail to you pending distribution of printed copies by the  Secretary.        .

Entities conspiring to deny peace in Sri Lanka

February 6th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

 Throughout 30 years bombs, suicide missions, assassinations, mass murder of civilians visibly took place for all the world to see. These atrocities carried out by the LTTE was viewed globally. None of the entities now calling for war crimes against Sri Lanka demanded the same against the LTTE. LTTE was after all declared an international terrorist organization.  We need to know why international organizations, foreign governments, media and the HR organizations would limit their condemnation of LTTE attacks only to a brief statement. The LTTE ridiculed and continues to ridicule the very nations that has banned the LTTE with LTTE fronts continuing to operate unscathed. Taking that ban to the level of bizarre is the manner that these LTTE fronts have managed to coerce foreign parliamentarians to attend their campaigns, fundraisers and even speak on top of LTTE stages with giant cut-outs of Prabakaran in the background. This makes us ask the question ” does the LTTE dictate to Western Governments or is the LTTE a tool of the West/India? Therefore, if people wonder why we continue to question all the entities now rallying for war crimes trials against Sri Lanka ” our simply question is what were they doing when the LTTE were involved in premeditated murder?

Our doubts become accentuated because the very entities lining up against Sri Lanka did the same media/report/documentary campaign on Libya  ” can Sri Lanka trust these ‘friends’ too.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRQ6uqhLvz8

Libya ” From Prosperity to Total Anarchy

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Sri Lanka ” from Terrorism to Freedom & Peace

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Media ” Role then and now

 Media plays an integral role in influencing what we think, feel and say. Why has the media been selective in their coverage going so far as to even relay lies and distort news? Scores of malpractices by media emerge about doctoring videos, footage, clips making us to wonder exactly what their agenda is. Of course, when media is owned by powerful global elites we need to realize that media functions to an agenda and they do not report what takes place as it is. We have too many examples of media lying to us and the examples of Iraq, Libya, Syria and even the Yugoslavia breakup are good reasons for the public to not trust the media. The media is now lined up to be a vassal for every military intervention currently taking place globally. Writers are well placed and funded to create the necessary media glitz about ‘attacks on journalists’ ‘violation of media freedom’ and the general buzzwords which have become very comfortable scenarios to entice the gullible audience.

Foreign Governments

We are dealing with governments that have as part of their policy the mandate to arm insurgent groups and budgets allocated for such through their intelligence agencies. While conniving to carry out underground movements in foreign nations to destabilize them these very nations attempt to project themselves as nations for peace. We have hesitated to name and shame them but it is now time that people realize that countries that pretended to be ‘our friend’ were never our friend. We cannot forget India’s role in training, arming, funding and providing technical and intelligence inputs to unarmed Tamil youth that created armed militant organizations such as LTTE, PLOTE, EPRLF etc. This remains a key dent in relations between Sri Lanka and India until and unless India acknowledge and apologize to Sri Lanka.

Similarly, scores of foreign governments have not only trained Sri Lankan army but they have allowed their nations to be used by the LTTE to obtain similar training. Arms that Sri Lanka has purchased has also been made available to the LTTE, LTTE’s illegal international networks continue unabated and it is nothing that these foreign nations are not unaware of. People smuggling, narcotics are very much part of the LTTE’s portfolio but what have countries done about this except for a few arrests while nothing has happened to the chain of activity which continues undisrupted. We have not forgotten how the West or the so called ‘international community’ turned a blind eye to 30 years of terror killing scores of innocent civilians and when these very nations demand war crimes hearings limited to just 4 months the zig saw is falling into place and we realize why and how LTTE has prevailed all these years. With all that guilt the US and India continue to draft a third resolution against Sri Lanka.

While this is taking place their agents have been unleashed to create the rest of the foundation to prove that ‘rule of law’ does not exist in Sri Lanka so that the Western allies can dart their prepared statements on the customary subjects of ‘religious intolerance’ ‘human rights violations’ ‘media freedom’ etc. As far as religious tolerance is concerned the creation of intolerance is purposely being drafted through various bodies sent to set up illegal prayer centres, indoctrinate people and conduct conversions throwing money to buy people and obtain the necessary numbers for the ‘public demonstrations’ to be used at a future date.

Realizing that the blueprint used in other nations have not worked so far the next ploy has been to now attempt a Pakistan style situation.

It was for a reason that Transparency International an agent of the West revealed that the Legal fraternity was the 2nd most corrupt in Sri Lanka and so naturally the US has struck a deal on a very laughable ‘rule of law’ implementation that comes with it the carrot of FUNDS and this means batches of ambitious lawyers ready to betray the nation would get tickets to the US to study ways to destabilize Sri Lanka.

When the US speaks of religious tolerance it means they are working underground to create the atmosphere to bring about that intolerance. Who do they reach out to ” the very parties that train and birth the men who are unleashed throughout the Middle East to create the Arab Springs and they are funded by America’s key Muslim allies who are betraying their own by contributing to cause anarchy in nations inhabited by their own. Western nations are destabilizing countries by getting natives to betray their own and that blueprint has worked perfectly in the Middle East and Africa and the same is being carried out in Asia.

Thus, the ‘attacks’ are not without oxygen coming from foreign quarters and these are sponsored and funded and there are people now placed to create the necessary dissent so the public needs to be alert and identify these elements. If people acting, dressing, behaving differently to what they did 5 years ago it is something that is being influenced by the West through their agents amongst the locals manipulating religions and cultures for this purpose.

What the nations drafting the resolution against Sri Lanka and the nations voting in favour must ask themselves is what did they do to stop LTTE terrorists from killing innocent people ” over 300 suicide attacks/bombs over 30 years surely should have generated international outrage in the same manner that is taking place for just 4 months? Why were these nations silent?

HR Organizations /International Charities and their local agents

 Over 3000 international NGOs operated in Sri Lanka throughout the war, they had taken millions from kind hearts and there was nothing to show of what they had done. These are all organizations that are funded to do a job. Those working for them are given as job profile and job specification what they have to do. Those who speak on behalf of these organizations are paid to say what they say and their job security depends on delivering what their masters dictate to them. Therefore, what is the level of unbiased coverage they deliver? How far can they claim to be impartial? Is it just a coincidence that all these reports/publications/global statements speaking on the exact same topics have been lined up to be released globally timed ahead of UNHRC sessions?

http://www.onlanka.com/news/are-ngos-foreign-funded-philanthropists-or-actors-of-regime-change.html – Are NGOs foreign funded philanthropists or actors of regime change?

All these organizations eventually lead to powerful nations whose governments fund them to create the necessary framework to change people towards their line of thinking and eventually to align them with their motives. Therefore the programs that these HR/Charities carry out throughout developing nations in particular are with a very clear mandate to bring about change conducive to the West.

If any international investigation is to take place at all it should first investigate all pro-LTTE fronts and separatist movements being carried out by now foreign passport holders living on foreign climes and the manner they are aiding and abetting terrorism while also swindling foreign natives by lying to them to get donations and stealing money through credit card scams. Sri Lanka, must be the only country were ‘refugees’ come to Sri Lanka for holidays!

The Church and LTTE

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 Catholic Priests at Pro-LTTE demonstration / Father Emmanuel speaking at podium with Eelam flag

 However, much the Church denies the links with LTTE are too hard to deny and scores of evidence prevails to showcase how Church representatives have been very much part of the LTTE mechanism. When the Church does not issue a statement against the Fathers/priests that have been accused of partnering with LTTE terror and does not take punitive action against them, the people cannot be blamed for thinking that these links are with the explicit approval of the Church. Moreover, the Vatican is a State, Roman Catholic religion is the only religion in the world to have an independent state therefore it is treated as no different to a Government and these fathers/priests therefore become representatives of a Government and they all report directly to the Head of the Vatican and not to a country’s elected leader ” this is why we say they have dual loyalty and are not indigenous institutes to give them credibility.

The lies unfold

 So we are prepared for book launches, conferences, media campaigns, mass email petitions, visits by politicians like Rapp all gearing up to strengthen the ‘allegations” from LTTE sources with sugar and spice added by emotional outbursts, photoshop edited pictures/videos and films. Its getting a wee bit boring now.

Prior to 2012 Geneva sessions saw some book called Cage being released. The author is now attached to some Advocacy Group that has released the latest report ” credibility nil. Even the UN disassociated from Gordon Weiss and his 40,000 figure. http://un.lk/for-the-record/un-statement-on-former-spokesman-views/.

Thereafter, came the HRW report on no progress on justice in Sri Lanka,  followed by the LTTE release of War Crimes and Genocide ” it gets better with Amnesty releasing its report on Security Detainees and in case people forgot Amnesty took donations from Canadian Tamil Congress a pro-LTTE operative banned in Canada. 2012 finale came with the release of Channel 4’s film and then the Resolution.

2013 ” no surprise another documentary. Emerges another star ‘witness’ and ‘author’ with the release of her book ‘counting the dead’ and ‘still” because they throw numbers but there are no ‘bodies’ to prove. When things don’t look too good the UN HR head releases her report and starts the ball rolling for an international independent investigation, once again HR organizations jump into the scene all clapping for the ‘credible’ investigation. HRW releases a report on teaching SL a lesson and all they could release was 75 cases of rape in over 5 years and this they called mass rape! 2nd Resolution passed. In the backdrop when the lies look obvious manoeuvres are afoot to subtly frighten the Sri Lankan Government into accepting ‘technical assistance’ and ‘UN advice” ” we know where all that will head too! All the while backstage there are more dramas with an LTTE cadre claiming to have saved Tamil civilians by mixing blood and water ” can the real doctors come out and say what would happen if you mix blood and water to a patient!!!

2014 ” we already have another HRW report ” again ‘Little progress on rights” and the latest is some organization calling itself Public Interest Advocacy Centre and Al Jazeera jumping into provide the media oxygen.

If any investigations are to be held at all it should first cover all the entities mentioned above and the manner they have spread hatred, animosity, cruelty and crimes, distorted the truth and contributed directly to making the world riddled with conflict and wars ” all engineered and promoted by them.

 

Insulting Karl Marx and getting caught red-handed

February 6th, 2014

C. Wijeyawickrema, LL.B., Ph.D.

               I was perusing the Daily Mirror a few days ago, when I came across an essay by Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne titled, ‘Wigneswaran was loud and clear in the first place.’   While reading it I found that it has certain words and phrases used by me in an earlier essay titled, “Dayan Jayatilleke’s tears for mother Lanka, printed by Lankaweb a few days ago. As I went on reading I found it was a copy of what I wrote and the copying was so wholesale (extensive) that I have decided to underline what was in his essay which was not written by me.

                When I confronted Bahu  and the Daily Mirror by e-mail, (Editor, Daily Mirror, Please find below an essay that you have printed in your newspaper on February 5, 2014, under the name of Wickramabahu K. I find this essay is almost a verbatim copy of an essay I wrote previously under the heading, Dayan Jayatilleke’s tears for mother Lanka, and printed on Lankaweb on January 31, 2014. I have underlined words not copied from my essay. I would like to know how this had happened and as Marxists like Wickramabahu do not believe in divine interventions in human brains.  C. Wijeyawickrema),  Bahu sent two emails.

                One was to a small number of his friends including two Tamil groups listed below stating that I claim that I wrote his essay. (Boondi Dot Lk, ceylonaxis@googlegroups.com tamil_araichchi@googlegroups.com, vickramabahu@googlegroups.com ,Kushan Kanishka,  Pierre Rousset,  roshan chathuranga, samadarma, samasamaja, sinhalavama, tamil_araichchi (yahoogroups.com), TamilsForum@googlegroups.com).

                The second e-mail was sent by him to the e-mail list I used to confront him. In this email he says,

“In my article I have countered the ideas of a group of writers whose writings are forwarded to me almost every day by one Dr Mervin de Silva. Any body reading my article could see that I am countering the ideas spread by Chan Wije and others. I have mentioned in my article that what I have produced are ideas of pro government chauvinists. 

I am amazed to hear that Chand Wije accepts my article gives his ideas because he has written from a completely opposite ideological position.  Bahu.”

                See below Bahu’s essay. What he wrote is not underlined. If this is Bahu’s idea of benefitting from other’s ideas then let god help him, because Karl Marx was not a crook like Bahu. Marx was a poor man who was starving without money to eat and feed his family. His wife had to beg help from others. People like Bahu are a disgrace to “socialism.” He cunningly copied by essay and used it against MahindaR whereas my purpose was to get MahindaR to support the Sinhala Buddhist cause. Bahu can sit on stage with RanilW and support Prabakaran. That kind of man can do anything, including copying others essays and printing them as his own. I wonder how many times Bahu had done this using his Daily Mirror friends who support dead Prabakaran.

I am glad that I could catch him by accident. I am glad that Bahu revealed the name of another Christian agent working against Sinhala Buddhists, Dr. Mervyn de Silva.  Bahu who cannot get 100 votes in an election acts big thinking he is big. Too bad he lost his Visa application to migrate to Canada so that he could have become a fraud king among the Tamil separatists in Toronto.

See how by implanting a few sentences (underlined)  Bahu changed the purpose of my essay!

‘Wigneswaran was loud and clear in the first place’

 Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Daily Mirror, February, 5, 2014

Mahinda Rajapaksa and his Cabinet members blame Chief Minister Wigneswaran for demanding self-rule and power sharing.  How can anybody complain about what he is doing? He is doing, exactly what he said he would do. What did he say? Firstly, that he did not accept the Constitution unless there was a substantial change to the 13th Amendment. He did not accept 13-A or 13A plus but something that was included in the LLRC report or in the Tissa Vitharana Committee Report. Secondly he wanted the right to self-determination within a united country; if that was not given, he would struggle here and in the international arenas to win the full rights of self-determination, without or with foreign help; thirdly he announced that the Tamil people consider Prabhakaran as a Tamil hero; finally he said that the war conducted by Mahinda was nearly genocidal. Everybody knew all this before the NPC elections. Mahinda and the Cabinet also knew these. Still they went ahead and held the elections. Chauvinist screamed that no land re-captured from a terrorist organisation should be given away at an elections, because the ballot box could become their new bomb!

So now some of the allies in the government are weeping that both Mahinda and his Cabinet are getting back what they asked for. Mahinda must be biting the bullet, but Wimal is trying to be too smart with rapid fire of statements to the press. Who is he trying to cheat? We know that the Chief Minister Wigneswaran is doing what his people wanted him to do.

Accordingly, he says that the government should withdraw the army from the streets and law and order should be entrusted to the police. He is pressing the government to remove the military governor and appoint a civil governor with roots in the area. He wants further, to remove the  chief secretary and to appoint a nominee of their choice, as it happens in all other provincial councils. Lastly, he also voiced the general demand, that if a war crime investigation was not done according to the recommendations of the LLRC report then he would support the campaign for a UN-based war crimes investigation.

In this situation, there is very little Mahinda could do except blaming the Opposition for not helping him to get out of the mess. He is trapped in a hell that he created for others. Ranil has said that he could come in defence of Mahinda provided that the latter implements the LLRC recommendations as promised to the parliament and to the UN.  

Mahinda will have to eat his Constitution because he said he has to follow the Constitution and grant NPC elections! They say “Gotabaya and the Hasalaka Hero rescued the country and Mahinda ruined it.  MR got trapped by the American plan. MR became an interfaith, multi-cultural fan. There is still time to reverse the slippery path taken. He must realise that the ‘yes men’ around him has made him an emperor without clothes.”

 I agree that after March, whether Mahinda wins or loses, a new stage will begin. There will be agitations all over the North asking for all these rights, including a cemetery there or a statute here. It could be like the Satyagraha days of Naganathan in the 1950s and 1960s. Opposition in the south, at least those who are prepared to fight, will begin their own agitations. If Mahinda Rajapaksa resorts to shooting, it will be international news with severe backlash. Unlike Vartharajah Perumal, Wigneswaran may not run to Chennai, because he went to elections against the very Constitution that allowed him to contest the election!

Some say nowhere in the world such a strange happening took place. Still Mahinda Rajapaksa has failed to fathom this! There will not be a legality issue; but certainly there will be a people’s power issue raising the slogan of power sharing within the country.

That is, if Tamils want a certain right in their area (homeland), can anybody in Colombo stop it? Instead, with the Cabinet-level corruption, indiscipline, no punishment for violation of law, people will not support and Mahinda will not be able to mobilise support for a second edition of a military intervention. Only a system that accepts unity with power sharing could lead the country to justice and peace.

How Can Sri Lanka Develop without Professiona Approach to Communications?

February 6th, 2014

Prof. Hudson McLean

With all best intentions in the world, without a properly functioning Telephone Communications network with Professional Approach to attending to incoming calls, Sri Lanka is struggling to overcome the “Hullooo” barrier.

The SLG switch-board operators are ill-educated, lazy, lethargic and have No sense of Service or Responsibility.

The telephones, both landlines and cell phones may ring a dozen times before they are automatically cut off. One might have to try a dozen times to get that unprofessional “Hullooo”.

With a Time Zone difference of between 3-6 hours between Sri Lanka & Europe, allowing for lunch and other breaks, the common operational time available is only about 30-60 minutes per working day.

The SLG must take up the initiative to educate the Telephone Switchboard Operators to have an increased sense of urgency.

The sooner the SLG Senior Ministers learn that although Sri Lanka has one of the best global strategic geographical  locations, a well educated Human Resources, many other benefits, for both Tourism and Industrial Investment, there are also competitive options elsewhere.

Coupled with, ever growing Corruption, Mismanagement, negative publicity on Dictatorial Governance of government & public property, as well as services, are preventing progress.

Add to all this, the resurrection of Tamil Terrorism supported by many countries, both in the West and in Asia, unless SLG wakes upto face the challenge, several other likes of the ex-General Sarath Fonseka and his son-in-law, will rise from the ashes.

 
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66TH INDEPENDENCE COMMEMORATIONS OF SRI LANKA IN FRANCE HIGHLIGHT UNITY AND PEACE

February 6th, 2014

MEDIA RELEASE  Embassy of Sri Lanka Paris

 The 66th anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka was commemorated at events held in Paris. Religious observances were conducted at the Embassy of Sri Lanka on the morning of 4th of February with religious dignitaries representing the Buddhist, Hindu, Christian and Islamic faiths offering blessings on the country and the people.

 Following an almsgiving, the national flag of Sri Lanka was hoisted, followed by the singing of the national anthem, lighting of the traditional oil lamp and the observances of two minutes of silence for patriots and fallen heroes who sacrificed their lives for the nation. The 66th Independence Day Messages were read in Sinhala, Tamil and English. Ambassador Karunaratne Hangawatte addressed the gathering and highlighted the need for all communities to unite in order to preserve the hard won peace in the country.

Higaha1

 On Wednesday, 5th February 2014 a Diplomatic and Community reception was held at the main reception hall of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Commencing with the lighting of the oil lamp, Ambassador Hangawatte addressed the distinguished gathering of Senators, Members of the French National Assembly, Ambassadors, business and community leaders as well as a large number of friends of Sri Lanka.

Higaha2

 Speaking about the efforts under way in the country and the achievements made thus far, Ambassador Hangawatte noted that “Whilst independence was gained in 1948, and strides made in the ensuing years, it wasn’t until 2009 that Sri Lanka was able to rid itself of the evil of terrorism and the resulting turmoil that plagued the island for three decades.”

 He added that “The noble beliefs of compassion and care reside in the hearts and minds of Sri Lankans, having inherited these values from an ancient civilization, proud heritage and a rich and vibrant culture shaped primarily by Buddhism, and then Hinduism, Christianity and Islam as well. Sri Lankans have lived for generations in a multiethnic and multi-religious society in harmony and unison. It is through such means that the country has striven to rehabilitate and reintegrate into society those who took up arms against the State instead of opting for vindictive and punitive measures.”

 Whilst stressing the need for patience with a country that has not only grappled with terrorism but also defeated it, he said that “We look to our friends across the world to comprehend the magnitude of the task at hand and understand what has been accomplished so far.”

 Speaking further on the beauty and attractive nature of the country, Ambassador Hangawatte said that “Sri Lanka is blessed with natural beauty of golden beaches, fauna and flora, green hills, exquisite wild life and man-made wonders including eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites, that make it rated as a top tourist destination.”

 Also speaking on the occasion was Senator Nathalie Goulet, Senator for Orne and President of the newly created France ” Sri Lanka Friendship Committee in the Senate of France, who recalled her visit to Sri Lanka last year.

Higaha3

 The audience was enthralled thereafter by a vibrant and colourful cultural presentation in which differing dance forms from across the island were incorporated to provide the guests with a spectacular display. The presentation conveying the message of unity and peace by Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim youth of the Sri Lankan Diaspora in Paris captivated the guests with their artistic ability and united spirit. During his welcome address, Ambassador Hangawatte alluding to the youth and their performance requested the audience to “let their display of unity and peace be the message you take with you tonight.”

 During the reception that followed leading Sri Lankan tea company, Dilmah provided a special tea serving with a Traditional World Food Master Chef Sommelier presenting different varieties of tea for the distinguished gathering to savour. On display was also a photographic exhibition of the development projects in Sri Lanka and a special exhibition of scenic photographs by Mr Mathieu Ernout who visited Sri Lanka last Summer. While guests enjoyed a wide variety of  Sri Lankan delicacies, special video presentations on the grandeur and beauty of tourist attractions in Sri Lanka as well as sites and sounds from across the island, were projected.

 All guests left with a gift bag courtesy the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau which provided informational material on the country.


 

 

LIFE ABROAD – Part 65:-LUNCHEON APPOINTMENT WITH SIR JOHN KOTELAWALA

February 6th, 2014

Dr.Tilak Fernando

Several feedbacks on last week’s column on Dr. Dora Fonseka concentrated on the difference in the Internet version and the print version, but as I understand due to space restriction on page 13 the following two paragraphs had been omitted in the print version. For those who read only the print version I hope the following will suffice:

Dora Fonseka

‘She was like a second mother in London to all Sri Lankan students and many found lodging facilities at her residence at 18 Harcourt Terrace, London SW when desperate. One of Dr. Dora’s major social works can be regarded as introducing a Tamil accountancy student (once a lodger in her house) to Sir John Kotelawala during a week-end visit to his Brogueswood farm in Kent’.

‘Having introduced the young man to Sir John, she managed to convince him to help the student to get some ‘on the job experience’ in accountancy by auditing Sir John’s accounts at Brogueswood farm. The student continued to work for Sir John while studying, and on completion of his studies and becoming a fully fledged accountant helped Sir John with all his accountancy matters. Through grapevine it became known much later that this student ultimately managed to buy the Brogueswood farm at final stages of Sir John’s life for £25,000’!

Sepala
Moonasinghe
Sir John Kotelawala

‘After Dr. Dora Fonseka finally answered her call from above at the age of 82 on a September 20th, Sri Lankans in London later gathered at the London Buddhist Vihara to participate in a traditional alms giving and to remember her as a sincere friend and to pay their respects and transfer merit to her departed soul according to Buddhist rites’.

‘Being an out-and-out devotee, and as a mark of respect for her contributions to the London Buddhist Vihara in Chiswick, her body was taken to the Vihahara on its way to the crematorium for public display and to perform a special ‘Pansa Kula’ and Mataka Vastra rights ceremony, which went into the history books in London as the first time ever remains of a person was taken to a Buddhist temple in such a manner before a burial’.

Luncheon with Sir John

Sir John Kotelawala, the third Prime Minister of Ceylon, was a vivacious character. “One of my earliest memories is of a small boy whose widowed mother could not afford to buy him a pair of shoes to send him to one of the leading schools in Colombo. Surprisingly enough, that boy was myself. Today I am regarded as a very rich man; But I was not born rich; and my family’s circumstances in my boyhood handicapped me badly” – Sir John. An Asian Prime Minister published by George G. Harrap and Co. Ltd, 1956.

Personal experiences

Those who have associated with Sir John closely have many interesting anecdotes to reveal. He was a man of surprises. Sepala Moonasinghe, an eminent Barrister in London, too had a unique experience with Sir John having come to know Sir John through his father’s friendship since 1931 when Sir John contested Kurunegala seat at the first State Council election for Dodangaslanda.

In the summer of 1974 Sepala Moonasinghe received a phone call from Sri John out of the blue inviting the Moonasinghe family for lunch. When the invitation was accepted Sir Jon’s words were: “I say man, there is nobody else coming, only you and the family. But please be on time at 12.30 and not any later, like our people back home!”

Moonasinghes arrived sharp on time at Brogueswood in Kent as stipulated.

They were ushered by one of Sir John’s retinues into the indoor swimming pool area. Sounds of laughter and voices by the pool area indicated an apparent pre-lunch ‘drink session’ in progress! Suddenly a baritone announcement was heard saying, “gentlemen my luncheon guests have arrived, and I am afraid, you now will have to leave”.

Sri Lankan guests relaxed and enjoyed drinks before lunch. Simultaneously a French lady greeted them and joined the company. She had been a long time friend of Sir John from his student days in Cambridge.

Reminiscence

During the pow-wow that followed, Sir John enquired after Sepala Moonasinghe’s progress in London – whether it was wise decision to have left Ceylon after establishing a lucrative practice at Hultsdorp as an Advocate and coming back to the unknown in London! Sir John reminisced how he once visited Moonasinghe residence at Kurunegala and reminded Sepala how his father, being an established businessman in the town of Kurunegala, helped Sir John during the initial stages of his political career to be elected as the Member for Dodangaslanda.

A prominent photograph of Sir John in ceremonial robes of a Privy Councillor (by Karsh of Ottawa displayed prominently in the dining hall. Another feature that no eyes could avoid was the writing under the Court of Arms which read: “Kawadath siya rata ta my” (always for my country). This confirms Sir John’s Tamil cook, whom he took to England when he migrated at first amidst much of a controversy, saying to me once that all Sir John’s crockery had the logo in grained in Sinhala as “Kawadath siya rata ta my”. Sepala Moonasinghe’s visit in 1974 coincided with Sir John’s last stay at Brogueswood as its owner; the Farm had been given out on a lease (believed to be to the young accountancy student whom Dr. Dora introduced as a student) for £25,000, with a proviso for Sir John to occupying the place during the English summer.

No nonsense attitude

Sir John did not suffer fools gladly; equally he was not someone who tolerated any kind of prejudice either. The following story illustrates his character though sounds hilarious: ‘An English lady driver once collided with Sir John’s car, coming from the wrong side, which resulted in a heated argument which caused the police to arrive on the scene. When questioned by the police officer, the lady driver placed the blame on Sir John going on thus: “This coloured man did whatever it was that he did in order to apportion blame for the accident.”

Offended Sir John, at being referred to as a coloured man, pointed at the lady driver and told the police: “Officer, this “colourless woman” did this and that………..” . The matter was dropped and a smile on the face of the police officer indicated he was highly tickled by the ‘coloured man’s’ sense of humour.

‘In Paris while Sir John was in the company of students watching a tennis tournament, a French girl went round asking for a cigarette. Sir John chivalrously offered his gold cigarette case to her when an American seated there offered his cigarette to her brashly stating, “White man’s cigarette is better than black man’s”.

‘In an uncontrollable rage Sir John struck a blow at the American ensuing an altercation to warrant the French Gendarmerie’s presence. Sir John having the advantage of defending himself in French, during the discussion, helped the French police to resolve the matter amicably while the girl finally accepted Sir John’s cigarette! That Mademoiselle became Sir John’s friend ever since and lived to relate Sepala Moonasinghe the incident which took place in France after many years in summer 1974. The luncheon was a traditional Sri Lankan rice and curry, punctuated by Sri Lankan vegetables and Kos ata curry (Jack fruit) etc. After a couple of shots of Scotch whiskey suddenly with a mischievous smile Sir John’s face beamed with a cheeky smile to announce that more details about his travels on the continental trips could be had from the Mademoiselle!

After lunch Sir John retired for his usual siesta, leaving four white, leather bound photograph albums that contained Queen Elizabeth II’s visit to Ceylon while he was the Prime Minister. The French lady while going through the albums unfolded a story to Sepala Moonasinghe which he had never heard of before about Sir John – not even spotted in his autobiography of “An Asian Prime Minister” published by George G. Harrap and Co. Ltd, in 1956.

Fascinating story

On completion of his studies when Sir John returned home, the French lady too visited Ceylon and stayed at the Mount Lavinia Hotel with the hope of marrying Sir John…! However, having observed the Ceylon’s struggle for independence and people like Sir John, F.R. Senanayake, D.S. Senanayake, E.W. Perera and so forth were making, Mademoiselle concluded that ‘it would be too much of a handicap for Sir John to be burdened with a European woman in that struggle’.

So, Parisian returned to France and later married an eminent French jeweler and the couple remained good family friends of Sir John until her husband died in the early 70s.

Tea at Brogueswood

They had afternoon tea at Brogueswood watching football World Cup when Germany, under Franz Beckenbauer, beat Holland to the delight of Sepala’s wife Dorothea. Finally, Sir John accompanied Sepala Moonasinghe and his family to their car, observing it being a Mercedes Benz, he was quick to remark: “I say, Sepala, I hope you are not turning out be another Savundra”, which aroused laughter all round.

So many Sri Lankans have come out with numerous fascinating anecdotes surrounding General Sir John Kotelawala, however, not many have had the privilege and closely knitted luncheon meeting Sepala Moonasinghe had with his wife Dorothea, and two daughters, Karin and Gitanjali, in the company of a charming French lady and an illustrious patriot, true gentleman and an all encompassing Sri Lankan!

tilakfernando@gmail.com

– See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/features/luncheon-appointment-sir-john-kotelawala#sthash.MsJVAeZb.dpuf

On Independence Day February 4, 2014

February 6th, 2014

Anjalika Silva Gaithersburg, MD

Just returned from a solemn flag hoisting and official ceremony to mark the 66th Independence Day at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Washington. D.C., USA.

It was bitterly cold but it didn’t stop those present from standing at the foot of the flag and watch it hoisted and then flutter in the wind. Thinking about home as the flag moved up and fluttered brought many …thoughts and feelings. First it was pride that we had come a long way from the chaos, terror and fear that gripped even those of us who live as far as in the US. The fleeting thoughts of our loved ones and those who fought for our freedom from decades of terror. The joy mixed with sadness is what I experienced because of many reasons.

In only four years, we have many who have forgotten what it was like before we had the peace we enjoy now. Whatever else there may be, we have peace and development to move the country forward and it is time to look past everything else because the trunk of the tree of prosperity is standing on the strength of the roots of freedom and the lives lost in gaining that freedom resulting in PEACE.

On this day, I wish to draw the attention of those who continue to fault the country for the wrongs of individuals. The country cannot answer for the actions of people and the soil we walked on when we took our first steps when born deserves to be respected. We have to now reckon with greed, dishonesty, power struggles, lies about the country spread around the world, crime, hatred, anger, lack of commitment, thuggery, indiscipline, drugs, murder, and everything else. What is the common denominator? Not the soil of our beloved homeland ” it is the people who create all of the above.

I would particularly like to address those who cannot separate politics from patriotism and pay homage to the country regardless of your political leanings. I would also like to remind the diaspora who are living overseas and pushing for chaos in the country they discarded to remember that some of them received all the privileges from the country but chose to finance and support a war against their own causing suffering to the helpless people of all races and religions in all parts of the country. Wouldn’t it have been better to contribute to building roads, hospitals, schools, businesses for the people who suffered in the war ravaged parts of the country from the vicious brutal life they had to lead? If opportunities were lacking as claimed, the funding could have created the opportunities, not fattened the ego and ruthless power of individuals who did not value life. Funding destruction didn’t mend the problems. The claims of opportunities lost do not add up in statistics that prove the claims were groundless brainwashing without any relation to the true facts.

Now the roads are done, schools are functioning, businesses are booming and the children used for the battlefront have returned to their families and parents who had lost hope. Every human being is blessed with a powerful mind to think, search their souls and make a start to be human and embody the qualities that will collectively eradicate the above list of undesirable conduct. Every person should resolve to live each day making a conscious effort to do something good for another and live an honest life taking responsibility for a purposeful existence doing the right thing by being mindful.

Take Sri Lanka’s hard won PEACE and move in the right direction to make it a HAPPIER PLACE!

Church influence on Mr. R. M. B.Senanayake’s reply

February 5th, 2014

C. Wijeyawickrema, LL.B., Ph.D.

“Necessity is the mother of invention”

“Freedom is the recognition of necessity”

Lankaweb vs. Colombo Telegraph

I was pleased to see Mr. Senanayake’s (RMBS) reply printed on Lankaweb. I wish those who write to Colombo Telegraph come out of the hole and write to Lankaweb, either to educate Lankaweb readers or to get educated themselves from Lankaweb writers.  I hope other writers to CT will follow RMBS’ decision. CT does not print when I challenge CT writers. This is why RMBS had to write to Lankaweb when RMBS saw one such challenge by me to Somapala Gunadheera’s CT essay printed on Lankaweb but not by CT. CT cannot say it is an unbiased journalism office. The rejection pattern I faced shows that it is a pro-UNP, anti-Sinhala Buddhist website.

When Somapala Gunadheera and a cosmopolitan Christian like Tissa Jayatileke talk about ultra-Sinhalayas (that segment of Sinhala Buddhists who have now realized that they were treated all these decades by their own so-called Sinhala Buddhist politicians as if they were the proverbial kind-hearted women), surely RMBS cannot expect me to be kind to them. Calling them black-whites is not snide; it is pointing out their true social status. Each country has its own elitist class and in ex-colonies this class is called black-whites. That is all. I follow Bodu Bala Sena’s Ven Gnanasara method which is in turn the Anagarika Dharmapala method. We have no guns or bombs but the power of words.

Having made that point clear, RMBS’ reply reminds me Maitland’s (second governor of colonial Ceylon) civil servants. Maitland had to handle a corrupt civil service. So he hired as civil servants, boys of age 11, 12 & 13 and so on. They learned by trial and error just like CAS cadre today. Then they become trains on track. Any officer today with ability to think out of the box is doomed to fail. It is like police having a new PC who practice the Five Precept! But RMBS’ excuse that unhappy lower grade officers somehow messed up the fine officer system and his response to my essay shows that he is still a child in his eighties safe in the church’s shadow. His position is same as the church position in providing ladders to separatism. The Catholic Cardinal promotes a Tamil homeland and RMBS is his lamb.

RMBS may have a hard time in digesting the fact that Sri Lanka is ruined by an Evil Triangle, the politician-officer-and the NGO. But this is a field-tested truth. The glorified CCS clerks were used to run affairs from office with his OA or the chief clerk. Often the servant knew both his job (clerical) as well as the master’s (glorified CCS clerk) job, while master knew only his own job. The historic example of this arm-chair glorified clerical work was when Neville Jayaweera was broadcasting over radio false numbers sent to him by field agents about the “success” of Dudley Senanayake’s grow more food campaign. Dudley lost his job (election) and NJ became a Christian with a job as world Christian propaganda director!

Ecological boundaries

RMBS, because of his Christian frame of mind (shadows) saw evil on a map of Sri Lanka dividing it into Seven River Basins. He failed to see that the real purpose of the map was to show how a village-level (GSN level) empowering of people can end up as seven river basin regions at provincial level, if that is what Tamil politicians’ want (a larger geographical space to achieve their aspirations (ethical dignity?) without becoming a threat to Sri Lankan unitary state). Since Sri Lanka has 103 river basins, the agglomeration can be into seven, seventeen or seventy basin units. RMBS objects to GSN-level empowerment saying it is too small as an administrative unit. I have written on this subject extensively and wish to give him two links to two short essays.

APRC and the bioregional vision http://www.island.lk/2009/02/25/midweek1.html

Language-blind regional development units http://www.island.lk/2006/10/25/midweek1.html

The world has moved far beyond the days of Small is Beautiful. The global ecological crisis demands ecological units and local management, not the Kachcheri system with the Establishment Code.

The simple, ecological, rational and the Buddhist suggestion to demarcate Sri Lanka’s lowest level civil administration unit (GSNs) on ecological basis is no magical dream to those who know about the Trinity of civil administration in the island known as village-water tank and-temple. DLO Mendis in a recent publication (2013) writes about this Trinity. It was the Jaffna gardens which in 1857 the colonial secretary Emerson Tennant compared with the market gardens of Fulham and Chelsea in London. DLO describes them as eco-villages. In other dry zone areas of Sri Lanka these eco villages thrived with the use of a technique called “Vatiya” (Vatiya pronounced as in vanish or valid). R. L. Brohier talked about a step-wise irrigation system, but the real beauty of the Vatiya was uncovered only in the 1990s by accident by another irrigation engineer, P.A.G. Paranagam working on the Walawe left bank. What Vatiya did was to raise the water level of the river bottom so that during the rainy season it overflowed and reach the red soil of the dry land above. After saturating the red soil the Vatiya takes water back to the river at a lower point of the river valley. At that point a new Vatiya starts the job again. So what people thought as abandoned tanks were not water tanks but remains of Vatiyas upstream. (modernized BSc engineers destroyed these primitive tank bunds). Dry Zone was full of highland eco-villages fed by the Vatiya concept. I would like to know what RMBS has to say about this Vatiya concept, which was not in the Establishment Code (the rail track).

Story of water is the story of man (woman)

In New Zealand, all its local government units must be based on ecological (river basin) boundaries. So if we adopt that same idea here in Sri Lanka how can it become an ethnic issue? Yes, it can become a Sinhala-Tamil issue if there are other hidden agendas such as RMBS’ church-influenced agenda.  For example, I wish to show to readers a comparison of RMBS’ concerns with questions raised by another reader who asked about the boundaries of the Seven River Basins when Colombo Telegraph printed one of my essays recently.

A former university professor in science (physiology), Dr. Rajasingam Narendra (RN) asked, “Why should not 4 [Mahaveli] be extend to the coast through 7 [Ruhunu]? Why cannot 6 [Kelani] and parts of remaining parts of 7 be merged? Why cannot 1 [Yaalpaanam], the eastern part of 2 [Raja Rata], the eastern part of 4 and 5 [Deegavaapi] be merged? Parts of Anuradhapura and Polonaruwa can be part of this combined entity extending along the eastern coast. Can you please explain the rationale for the proposed design as 1 as proposed does not have any perennial rivers and is not part of the Mahaweli diversion scheme as it exists today” (for readers benefit:  No. 3 is Dambadeni).

These questions, remind me an incident that took place in Colombo, recently.  A top CAS officer who saw this map in the company of a politician commented, “Yes, yes, Sinhala people will be very happy with this map.”  Knowing the true colors of this officer, I intervened immediately to stop him and said, “No, no, Mr. X, this map has nothing to do with the Sinhala, Tamil or Muslim people. This is a scientific approach to solve our country’s problems.”

Ginigathena police station

When I told a nephew of mine from Akuressa that rain water falling on the two sides on the roof top of the Ginigathhena police station goes to two rivers, Mahaveli and Kelani, he said, uncle, that same thing happens here with the Walave and the Nilwala Ganagas. So when Dr. RN asks why 4 and 7 cannot be combined, he is forgetting a basic rule in river basin physiography (and hydrology). That is, a river has a highest point from which it moves downward. So when he asks why Yaalpaanam is separate from Mahaveli he ignores basic geography and geomorphology that there are seasonal rivers flowing north toward the Jaffna lagoon as against the rivers flowing southward from the crest of high points that mark the boundary line between 1 and 2. A diversion is human action to alter this natural physiography via a tunnel or an artificial surface canal, like the Mahaveli diversion that Dr. RN mentioned.

What troubles RMBS?

Now, think of the questions that RMBS has. I used RMBS’ own words below to let the reader to judge himself/herself how RMBS has found an anti-Tamil plan in a river basin map. He is blinded like that Tamil Mannar priest who compared Prabhakaran to Jesus or Bishop Wickramasinghe (Ranil W’s uncle) in the past who compared SJV Chelvanayagam to Moses. With a religion that says “come and believe, not come and examine,” RMBS cannot think reasonably or rationally to properly assess my proposal.

RMBS says:

1.In the 1920s Indian National Congress accepted language-based state boundaries was a good idea; In 1948 Linguistic Provinces Commission recommended that it was not a good idea.

(that the formation of provinces on exclusively or even mainly linguistic considerations is not in the larger interests of the Indian nation. It recommended the reorganization of the provinces of Madras, Bombay and Central Provinces and Bihar primarily on the basis of geographical contiguity, financial self-sufficiency and ease of administration).

Clarification

No. 1 is contradictory and out of date. He missed what Nehru was forced to do in 1956, to implement language-based division of India, which Nehru himself regretted later as a mistake done in a hurry to save the life a Telugu leader who was fasting unto death seeking a Telugu state. (This Telugu state was divided again into two in 2013). The demands are there which will create at least 60 language based states in India in the near future. Even Tamil Nadu will split into three states.

RMBS says

2.  River basin-based division ignores people’s sentiments;

Clarification: No 2. An ecology based Tamil village cannot harm Tamil sentiments. An ecology based village with Tamils and Sinhala people cannot kill Tamil or Sinhala sentiments.

RMBS says

3. River basin division will not end religious and ethnic divisions;

Clarification: Ecology-based division will take people away from ethnicity and more toward harmony as hundreds of ecology unit could be completely mono-ethnic or ethnically mixed. Small ethnic units cannot be a threat to other ethnic units.

RMBS says

4. The nine-province division by the British was not entirely on language basis;

Clarification: No province was created on language or ethnicity basis. It was SJVC who thought of using Eastern Province as part of a mythical homeland.

RMBS says

5. Any unit of government must be socially cohesive to enable co-operation in the business of government;

Clarification: There is no province in Sri Lanka which is socially cohesive. Perhaps, only such cohesiveness can be found within caste-based communities, now one can see with PC elections.. But under an ecology-based GSN units plan there can be so many such units giving Tamils a kind of spatial pride and room for promoting harmless aspiration (anything but separatism)

RMBS says

6. Sinhala was made the official language in 1956 despite the opposition of the Tamil people.

7. Re-drawing boundaries or settling Sinhalese in Tamil areas is a spurious solution to the problem which promotes only conflict.

8. The demand of the Tamil people is to use their language as the language of administration in the government. This was the alternative to parity of status for both languages which was rejected by the Sinhala political parties including the UNP.

Clarification: These have nothing to do with ecology-based GSN idea. Here RMBS cat jumps out of the bag. The church wants a division of Sri Lanka into two with a Tamil homeland. This was what Catholic Archbishop now Cardinal asked from LLRC. Sinhala was made OL, to remove 10% people using English to suppress the rest of the country. Church used JRJ in 1957-8 to sabotage SWRD’s reasonable use of Tamil bill.

RMBS says

9. This proposal for devolution on the basis of river basins in order to undermine the demand for a Tamil State was unworkable and those in the public service were not stupid to think it could be forced down the throats of the Tamil people.

10. We are still laboring under the delusion that by reducing the Tamil majority we can get rid of the demand for a linguistic province. Those familiar with the history of nationalist movements in the former Yugoslavia and even the former Soviet Union know the futility of such harebrained schemes. 

Clarification: Am I wrong if I label RMBS as a Sinhala Christian separatist tiger?

RMBS says

 11. Another idea which was touted by armchair intellectuals is to devolve power to Villages or groups of villages. But the village is too small to provide some services since it lacked technical personnel and couldn’t raise the revenue to hire them either. In fact the Local Government Commission of the 1990s said that the village was too small to function as a viable unit. Most countries have two or three tiers of government. So devolution of power to the village can only be in respect of services they can afford to provide and have the technical competence to manage.

Clarification: RMBS is real trouble here with the LLRC report and the ecology-bound world with global warming. Tsunamis do not care if one is Tamil or Sinhala. Landslides, floods, droughts, pollution harms all. Small scale is the new way (Human Scale by Kirkpatrick Sale, 1980 is good reading for RMBS to cleanse his CCS out of date rust on the size of an Admin unit).  If he is referring to the Report of the Local Government Reforms Commission (Sessional Paper No. 1 of 1999) (the Abhayawardena Report), that report was a cry for the old (pre 1978) local government set up. RMBS has to understand what Indian Panchyathi Raj Institutions are doing in India, after a delay of 40 years. Gandhi and Vinobha Bhave were ignored by Nehru with the factory as the new temple (theertha).  Of course empowerment of people with a non-political party based ten member elected committee is an idea that needs lot of adjustments and flexibilities. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. I must tell RMBS that the Gamidiriya program has been doing this people empowerment at village level very successfully, until the Divi Neguma monster invaded it. If this Gamidiriya was introduced to NP three years ago, NPC election results could have been different.

Plan to break the Eastern Province

Dr. RN is direct and clear in what he wants to know. RMBS on the other hand is confused and repeating his same old Church-influenced position of a Tamil homeland. A lack of basic understanding of the physical geography of Sri Lanka is one part of the reason for the perception that the river basin map is a Sinhala conspiracy to break the EP. Blind faith for a viable geographical region for an expanded Tamil homeland area can be another strong reason. The birth of EP in 1832 is by a line like the line separating Canada from USA. It was a result of a decision by the colonial government after the 1818 Rebellion, to “weaken the influence Kandyan feudal leaders had on people.” So the Sinhale Kingdom that they captured by fooling the feudal leaders who were jealous of each other, had to be reduced in size by dismembering it into pieces, creating a western, eastern, northern and southern province as recommended by the Colebrooke-Cameron Commission. If not for this colonial intention, all the land of the Kandyan kingdom taken as the EP would have been in the CP, making EP like a long rope along the eastern coast. The Malaria mosquito limited Tamils and Muslims to a few coastal settlements.

Mr. Wigneswaran would like to add the river basin map to his list of items of “Sinhalization,” but one cannot legislate against geography.  Sri Lanka is a pear-shape tiny island with a central mountain mass with 103 rivers running radially from it. So many such rivers run from the mountains in the west to the ocean in the east, and the EP was created cutting across all these, smaller and larger rivers. EP is an artificial creation just like all the other provinces for efficient administration of colonialized people. Most problems in Africa and in the Middle East are due to artificial country boundaries imposed upon the natives by the colonial masters cutting across tribal geographical distributions. These are basic truths and facts, however hard and painful for us to accept when we are ethnically emotional. This is why Dr. RN is asking why 1 and parts of 2, 4 and 5 cannot be combined. He cannot understand that such a combination is not a division based on river basins.

I have copied below a river basin map of Sri Lanka that I saw on the Internet. As one can see, because we have 103 river basins, they can be grouped into any plan one likes as long as the geographical integrity of the particular river basin is respected. Each of the larger seven basins that was first proposed by the geography Professor C.M. Maddumabandara, which I subsequently presented to the LLRC with an operational plan, has so many other smaller river basins within it. They are like the Russian nested dolls (this aspect will be clearer when we discuss the operational plan below). But one has to remember that there is no way that the elongated EP can be protected that way when water resource issues become acute sooner or later as the EP is running north-south whereas all the rivers are running west-east. The colonial master created a long coastal province because there was not enough population in the area to make a smaller compact province. They had to link Trinco and Baticaloa together for cost-saving purposes. So they created a province with an inland extension of empty lands.

Sri Lanka’s two-sided ethnic problem and the new war front    

Number one problem from the Sinhala side is the fear they have that Tamil Nad and Tamils will join to capture Sri Lanka (the Christian plan to balkanize India will be much easier with a Sri Lanka base and those who use Prabhakaran money in the world to bribe white politicians are Christian NGO backed). Number one problem from the Tamil side is that they have no political space for their collective aspirations to grow.  Even the rich Tamils in Colombo always feel that they are living in a Sinhala world, despite the fact that they are rapidly populating the Colombo City Area creating little Jaffnas (Muslim issue is a separate new problem that can be separated from this Sinhala-Tamil problem). In fact Gotabhaya R is now accused of using funds to beautify Colombo for its 70% Tamil and Muslim crowd, while rural schools are without toilets or drinking water!

Apart from this ethnic issue, there are other issues affecting everybody such as the destruction of structural democracy since the 1950s (e.g., removal of independence of the judiciary and public service), destruction of territorial democracy after 1978 (removal of voter from his representative), and the invasion of lowest civil administration by an army of GSNs which increased from 4,000 to 14,000 during the R Premadasa time.  The result is today we have a highly corrupt, inefficient, crime-ridden system of governance that looks like nobody is bothered. This requires a new war front.

There is a classic Tragedy of the Commons. Everybody is stealing the public goods, whether it is public time (officer on cell phones while people are waiting for service), environment (forest destruction, soil erosion), ancient ruins (robbers of archaeological sites), air, public roads, or wasting foreign exchange.  As it is there is not a single function of government that one can say is working satisfactorily.  This situation cannot be remedied by defeating MahindaR or getting UNP or a combination into power. From the past history of what it did, voting for UNP will be like jumping from frying pan to fire.  A revolution like change is needed, throwing out the black-white crowds in Colombo and now in Provincial Council buildings.

This is why we need ecology-based GSN units empowered so that at least basic issues of people are handled at village level by people themselves. RMBS needs to know that the river basin division is only a cartographic picture of a basic change needed in Sri Lanka to get rid of plans by so many agents to break Sri Lanka into two. Any Tamil who wants to divide Sri Lanka will oppose it. But villagers who saw this map liked it. It is a map that will get oxygen from village level ecology-based GSN units. It refuses anything other than ecology as a boundary demarcation. The map below is crying for reason, not a Tamil homeland. RMBS and his church and NGOs cannot suppress it. Yes, Tamils need space for aspirations, but not a homeland in Sri Lanka. That homeland is in Tamil Nad.  RBMS may not know and Lalth Weeratunga may not know that under the Prabhakaran government after CFA 2002, there were detailed plans of development using GSN unit-level maps. Prabhakarn rejected RBMS’ kachcheri approach.

Why Only Sinhalese Defending Sri Lanka Against UNHRC Threats While Tamils and Some Muslims Freeloading?

February 5th, 2014

- Kumar Moses

Who owns Sri Lanka? A question asked by many quarters. Sri Lanka belongs to those who protect it.

Once again for the umpteenth time Sinhalese are the only people defending Sri Lanka against foreign threats. Where are the Tamils and Muslims? Why aren’t they defending Sri Lanka as vigorously as the Sinhalese do? If their loyalties are elsewhere, by all means they should go where their loyalties are or start defending their motherland.

The biblical story of the wise Jewish king Solomon (971 ” 931 BC) is very much similar to the happenings in Sri Lanka. The story goes: two mothers delivered their babies on the same day; both fell asleep huddling their babies. One careful mother made sure she kept her baby a safe distance away while the other carelessly pressed her baby in sleep killing it. Later she claimed the living baby as hers. The matter was taken to the wise king Solomon. Both women vigorously claimed to be the mother of the living baby. The wise king ordered the guards to split the baby into two equal parts and hand over each part to each mother. The real mother pleaded before it was carried out and begged the baby be spared and handed over to the other woman than kill it while the dishonest mother hailed the decision and pleaded the order is carried out. The king intervened; handed over the child to the real mother and punished the dishonest woman. Only the true owners of the nation feel for the nation.

Comparison of defenders and freeloaders

When faced with the world’s most ruthless terrorist group, it was the Sinhalese who led the charge against it. Despite making up 75% of the population 95% of the armed forces personnel were Sinhalese. Muslims and Tamils despite making up 24% of the population only made up 5% of the armed forces.

However, in free government universities Tamils and Muslims make up over 40%! There are large free Tamil and Muslim schools in every province of the country! Every town and district in the country has a very large proportion of Tamil and Muslim businesses. Out of 225 seats in the parliament, Tamils and Muslims occupy 55 seats or 25%. Even 25% of Cabinet ministers are Tamils and Muslims. Over 25% of the richest Lankans are Tamils, Muslims and minorities. Over 70% of Colombo City the best prime land of the country is owned by Tamils and Muslims. Two out of Nine provinces have Tamil and Muslim Chief Ministers. But when it comes to defending the country that has given them so much, they abscond.

All those who unconditionally defend Sri Lanka against UNHRC threats are almost entirely Sinhalese.

It gets worse

If the freeloaders are not participating in defending the nation, the least they can do is not to undermine the national effort. However, what happens is the opposite. Tamil TNA has passed resolutions calling for international investigations and calling the war genocidal. At least four Tamil bishops have called for international investigations and blamed Sri Lanka for absurd war crimes it never committed. Particularly of note is the repeated anti-Sri Lanka moves by Bishop Rayappu Joseph ‘Goebbels’. Prominent Tamils in NGOs including CPA are also undermining Sri Lanka regularly.

Tamara Kunanayagam, a Tamil was in the Sri Lankan panel to the UNHRC. However, she doesn’t represent Tamils as Tamils have not accepted her as their leader. In fact most Tamil leaders condemned her.

Sections of Muslim extremists have also joined the band wagon in petitioning UNHRC against alleged attacks on mosques. They leverage their Wahhabi financiers with strong political connections in the Middle East to push their case against Sri Lanka.

However, a large number of Muslims came forward in 2012 to defend Sri Lanka against UNHRC threats. They own Sri Lanka as much as the Sinhalese.

It is beyond belief how these freeloaders are free to live in Sri Lanka despite all this treason. If they were living in any other democratic country, particularly those that vote against Sri Lanka, their remains have to be dug up in Guantanamo Bay. They have compassionate Sinhalese to thank for the generous treatment they get which at times best classified as na¯ve. Even Australia, Indonesia, Canada, Singapore, India and the UK have shut their doors for freeloaders who get pushed into Sri Lanka.

Silence of peaceful Tamil and Muslim people

In the absence of Tamil and Muslim leaders working against UNHRC threats as much as they should, it is up to Tamil and Muslim civilians to come forward defending the nation. That will send a powerful signal to the UNHRC and hate mongering sections to think twice before acting against the nation. It will also bring unity to the nation.

Unless such a movement is launched, they become silent accomplices of their racist leaders.

Rewarding patriots and punishing traitors

Part of the problem lies in not rewarding patriots and punishing traitors. Patriots have been working tirelessly to defend the nation against multiple threats but haven’t been rewarded sufficiently. Despite peace in the north, Sinhalese are barred from enjoying the peace dividend in the north. All northern businesses are owned by Tamils, all jobs in the north are for Tamils, all houses newly built in the north are for Tamils and almost all schools in the north are for Tamils. There are Tamil only and Muslim only universities in the country but no Sinhalese only university. Sadly, hard core Tamil racists have been rewarded with a provincial council, lucrative government contracts and immunity from due legal punishment. Thesawalami Law prevents natives from buying land in Dutch sponsored Malabar colonised north. These anomalies must be corrected in favour of the defenders of the nation. Otherwise they too become less effective.

Khobragade Affair

February 5th, 2014

Mahinda Gunasekera Toronto, Canada

Your Excellencies and Editors,

 I am in receipt of a letter dated January 12, 2014 on the ‘Khobragade Affair’ by one Mr. Thepanis Alwis from the Town of Baddegama located in the south of Sri Lanka.  Mr. Alwis has looked at the issues from many angles and seems to have a deep understanding of the American systems and treatment meted out to non-European persons even of diplomatic standing.

I was amazed to read this news of the humiliating and degrading manner in which Ms. Khobragade was dealt with by India’s newest strategic partner with whom she even joined hands to beat up on her tiny neighbor, Sri Lanka, on unsubstantiated allegations of HR violations at the prior UNHRC sessions in Geneva.  Sri Lanka has initiated her own process to inquire into and take action for any wrongdoings if any on the part of her security forces as recommended by the Presidential Commission referred to as the LLRC as any other sovereign nation would without undue interference from outside parties.  All what Sri Lanka seeks is necessary time and space to resolve her internal issues in a fair and just manner following a conflict which lasted over three decades, including the resettlement of nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians who were forced to move with the retreating Tamil Tiger forces to be exploited for their labour, conscripted into the fighting forces to replace fallen cadres and lastly to be used as a human shield.  They were civilians aligned with the LTTE terrorists who underwent military training as part of a people’s army, who were engaged in the making of landmines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), who provided various support services for the fighting cadres such as digging bunkers and ditches, building high earthen defensive walls, supplying ammo for cadres at the front, and other combat related roles which raised many questions as to their being ‘genuine civilians’. 

We are aware that the USA is the biggest violator of human rights of the indigenous native peoples of America and people of African descent taken in chains to work as slaves, and of recent times citizens of other countries such as Iraq, Libya, etc. being invaded on false premises to gain control of valuable resources not caring if those countries were bombed into oblivion killing hundreds of thousands and displacing millions.  I am also aware that India too has a poor record in respect of human rights of her own people with violent skirmishes still going on in many theatres. Even the IPKF is accused of human rights violations during their military intervention in Sri Lanka’s north in terms of the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord of 1987. But our dear neighbor and one deemed a friend with whom we have close ties going back over two millennia, who is a signatory to the Pancha Seela Pact of Bandung and the UN Convention on non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations even trained and armed the Tamil militants to destabilize her tiny neighbor Sri Lanka. India’s decisions and actions are not based on principles but on electoral arrangements with regional parties and alliances entered into with other super powers in the hope of gains.

Yours truly,

Mahinda Gunasekera
Toronto, Canada

Encl.   

The Khobragade Affair

 On 12 December 2013, Mrs. Devyani Khobragade, the Deputy Indian Consul in New York, was arrested when she went to a school to pick up her children. She was handcuffed and taken to a police station where she was strip-searched, including manual probes of her anus and vagina, had swabs taken for DNA testing, and was then locked in a cell with ordinary criminals till she was allowed bail. The charge sheet was, in summary, “making a false statement on a US government document at the US embassy in New Delhi and under-paying her housemaid in New York in violation of a contract and US minimum wage laws”. It was another outrageous example of misconduct and abuse of authority by a US police department, so totally uncalled for, to humiliate an Indian diplomat when a court summons to answer the charges would have sufficed. No one can believe that such a violation of a person would have ever taken place if it was a European diplomat who was on a similar charge. In 2011, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, a Frenchman, the head of the IMF, was involved in a rape in a New York hotel and was arrested. Would he have been strip-searched and cavity probed? Never! He was a European and White.

 The current Indian government must take some responsibility for this very public humiliation of an Indian official. Highly placed Indian officials have been humiliated by US authorities on numerous occasions to muted protests by the Indian government while India dared not take similar reciprocal action against US officials in India. In 2009, the distinguished Indian nuclear scientist and former President of India, A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, was singled out for frisking by US Continental Airlines officers at New Delhi airport before he boarded a plane to New York. In 2011 President Kalam had already been through security at New York JFK Airport and boarded an Air India plane preparing for take off when US security officers forcibly entered the plane and removed his coat and shoes for examination for explosives. In December 2010, Indian Ambassador to the US, Mrs. Meera Shankar, on her way to speak at Mississippi State University, was singled out for a body “pat down” at Mississippi airport despite the information that she was the highest ranking Indian diplomat in the country. Leading Indian actor, Shah Rukh Khan, has been detained at US airports for hours for questioning every time he arrives in the USA that he jokes about it. These are only a few of the indignities suffered by prominent Indians in the USA.

 After every such episode a US official would issue a simple apology while insisting it is within their right to search anyone at airports. Can you imagine such treatment being meted out to comparable European leaders like ex-UK Prime Minister Tony Blair or ex-French President Nicolas Sarkozy? Such treatment, Indians and other non-Europeans must understand, is reserved for them.

 Sri Lanka, which endured three decades of terror unimaginable in Western society, never imposed such humiliating measures at airports or elsewhere on foreign diplomats or any other foreigners. In fact, it allowed foreign diplomats to visit terrorist strongholds and have sympathetic meetings with terrorist leaders. Norwegian peace brokers even smuggled sensitive military material like telecommunications to the terrorists while the supine Sri Lanka government of the time raised no objection.

 The two main charges against Indian diplomat Mrs. Khobragade, in summary, are that (1) she made a false visa application declaration at the US embassy in India that the wages to be paid to her maid, Sangeeta Richard, would be $9.75 per hour with an 8 hour work day and two days off per week, plus medical benefits and paid sick leave, and (2) that she paid her only $575 a month (Indian Rs.30,000) while she had no 8 hour work day and no off days

 Making a false declaration to the US government is an offense that could result in punishment, depending on the gravity of the circumstances and the stature of the person. People are punished but not always. In March 2012, General Keith Alexander, head of the NSA, repeatedly lied on oath at a US Congressional hearing denying that the NSA was tapping into US citizens’ phone calls and e-mails, despite the fact that whistleblower Snowden had exposed the scandal and provided incontrovertible proof of it. Government officials regularly lie to deny malfeasance. Again the next year, he officially denied NSA searching through Google and Yahoo communications by the public when it was patently untrue. US officials at the highest level kept denying that the government widely tortured prisoners in secret prisons despite ample proof and official documents to the contrary. No one is punished for these grave offenses. People should be punished for deliberately making false statements to the government or the public but then the rule must be applied with an even hand to all.

 Enforcement of the minimum wage is another area where the rules are often bent. Millions of undocumented illegal immigrants from South America are employed in farms and factories in the Southern US states in inhuman conditions and paid a fraction of the official minimum wage. Since these faceless people are essential for farming, it is rarely that state officials launch prosecutions. There are also exemptions to the minimum wage as restaurant and other service workers could be paid $4 or a little more per hour while they must strive to earn more by way of service tips from customers.

 That the Indian diplomat underpaid her maid is true but there are some extenuating circumstances. The minimum wage in New York is $8, not $9.75. Even if the maid was paid at the rate of $9.75 per hour for an 8 hour work day with the week-ends off, she would have received around $1560 per month. New York City is the most expensive place in the USA and her board, lodging and transport to the workplace would be at least a minimum of $2,000 a month, even to survive under the meanest conditions. Instead, she was lodged and fed in the diplomat’s comfortable house and her occasional financial needs, and presumably medical needs, were met. Additionally, $575 was sent monthly to her family in India, a large sum of money for any ordinary Indian family. What a clever US employer would have done in the circumstances would be to sign a separate contract with the maid to lodge and feed her for a sum of $1,500 which would be deducted from her salary!

 The Indian government was outraged because there was evidence that this was a planned sting operation by the US authorities. The maid’s husband worked for the US embassy in India as a motor vehicle driver. Before Mrs. Khobragade was arrested and humiliated, the maid’s husband and children were given special visas and flown to the USA by the embassy at US expense and are also probably maintained there at US expense. It was then that the maid disappeared from her employer’s house.  Further evidence was disclosed by Mrs. Khobragade’s sister in India who had a letter sent earlier by the maid to her family stating that she was being treated very kindly by Mrs. Khobragafe and that she was very happy.

 Whatever the merits of the US legal system and the US postures on human rights, the Indian public has realized that the world’s sole super power reserves the right to humble any non-European nation, even if it as large and as important as India. Will the Indian government in turn realize that it is more important to have good relations with its Asian neighbours than seek the favour of a distant super-power through subservience?

 Thepanis Alwis

Baddegama, Sri Lanka.

12 January 2014.

WORLD MUSLIM LEADER CONDEMNS VIOLENCE AND WARFARE IN MUSLIM COUNTRIES

February 5th, 2014

By A. Abdul Aziz, Press Secretary, Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at ” Sri Lanka.

 Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad prays for peace and an end to atrocities

 The World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Fifth Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, lamented the “pitiful and sorry-state” of much of the Muslim world during his recent weekly Friday Sermon delivered at Baithul Futhuh, London.

Speaking at the sermon, the Khalifa highlighted the examples of war-torn Syria and of Pakistan, where he said countless innocent people were being targeted and persecuted. He called on Ahmadi Muslims around the world to pray for the peace and stability of the Muslim world. 

 Speaking about the devastating consequences of the war in Syria, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

 “The situation in Syria is going from bad to worse. Both the Government and the Opposition rebels have committed extreme cruelties. The nation’s children, its elderly and its women are all being targeted.

 Innocent people are being arrested, starved and tortured. Muslims are perpetrating these cruelties on other Muslims and so are giving non-Muslims the opportunity to raise false accusations against Islam…

 For the sake of either retaining power or gaining power, the government and opposition are both actively destroying the children of their nation.”

 His Holiness prayed for the cruelty in Syria to end and for justice to prevail before commenting on Pakistan.  

 Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:

 “In Pakistan we also find that extreme cruelty is being inflicted upon members of the public and particularly against Ahmadi Muslims. People are being physically and mentally tortured. Other Pakistanis are also being trapped in this system of cruelty and it seems the intensity of these grave circumstances will continue to increase… There is a great need for prayers that all forms of extremism and terrorism end.”

 The Khalifa concluded by remarking upon the dire circumstances witnessed in many other Muslim countries including Egypt and Libya. He prayed that Islam’s name would not be tarnished or defamed by the atrocities and injustices being falsely perpetrated in the name of the religion. 

Biswal came looking for Government’s Opponents Delivered Nothing New

February 4th, 2014

By Bandu de Silva

A former President of U.S. declared that Assistant Secretaries were there to implement policy decisions that he makes as President with the help of others. That was an assertive President. However, former State Secretary, Henry Kissinger, was not so assertive when he conceded while addressing new recruits to the Foreign Service that they had a contribution to make in policy formulation.

Let us not get too involved in these definitions the emphasis over which seems to vary depending on who is at the top. As we have seen under Robert Blake, former Assistant Secretary for South Asia and Central Asia in the US hierarchy and now with Nisha Biswal at the same post for a few months, officials at this post, what others may call “Desk-Officers” in their own establishments, do make a contribution to policy formation. The difference in US is that they are free to go public in contrast to others who work behind the scene. The fact that the US Embassy in Colombo reportedly sought a meeting for Biswal with President Mahinda Rajapaksa also points to her enhanced role.   

Biswal’s Visit

Biswal’s visit to Sri Lanka was obviously not a bilaterally arranged one, though the government was kept informed. It was an initiative on the part of the US State Department, if not one by the new Assistant Secretary, herself. The Sri Lankan government may have not been averse to the visit as it is open to visitors of high rank, and one especially from a country which has set its agenda to question Sri Lanka‘s performance at the war against LTTE terrorists which ended near five years ago. She had a closed-door discussion with External Affairs Minister, G.L.Peiris, but that there was no joint press communiqu© as usual during a bilaterally arranged visit, indicated the unilateral origin of the visit. 

The dossier on Sri Lanka at the state Department is a well established one. There was nothing wanting. The US Ambassador in Colombo had filled the details on a day to day basis. She had even taken up the issue of attacks on houses of prayer which American Evangelists are opening up with impunity transgressing the country’s regulations. The rowing Ambassador Rapp himself had visited the island recently and met whom he wanted to meet, especially, the Chief Minister of NPC and members of TNA and others.  Just a few days back, Lalith Weeratunge, President’s Secretary had met her and briefed her.  Consequently, there was not much need for the new Assistant Secretary to discuss with the government of Sri Lanka but perhaps, she was looking for ways of support for a new initiative by US to carry forwards its tirade against Sri Lanka at the forthcoming Geneva UNHCR session.

No Departure

There has been no departure from the days of her predecessor Robert Blake, who of course, had the advantage of carrying local knowledge, having served in New Delhi as Deputy and in Colombo as Ambassador. So it can be agreed that a visit on the part of the new Assistant Secretary was not out of place at this time, when a resolution under the sponsorship of US is looming large. She herself could make her own assessment about how strongly the Resolution needs to be worded to meet the aspirations of influencing forces in the Diaspora, NGOs and others and to draw attention away from US’s own deficit in human rights and humanitarian issues when dealing with war situations in which the US was the main belligerent party as in Iraq and Afghanistan, not to speak of earlier crimes in Vietnam and Cambodia.

Equally well, she could assess if she could collect arguments to counter opposition to a strong resolution from other member countries ” that is what Ambassador Rapp feared might happen and reportedly conveyed to TNA leadership – which would be prepared to go along with the US to some extent but not to press for a strong resolution.

Biswal’s New Link

Biswal obviously saw the prospects of a link with the newly formed NPC which has recently resolved to press for an international investigation into the happenings on the last days of the Eelam War, and its outspoken Chief Minister as well as other prominent Tamils like Bishop Saundaranayagam  advantageous. There was then really nothing new for Biswal to talk with representatives of the government. Her task was mainly in Jaffna.

Even India which country has skeletons in the cupboard in Kashmir and Assam and Nagaland, which have not been taken up by any Diaspora as strong as the Tamil Diaspora overseas, would hesitate to go for the kill on a resolution on Sri Lanka  despite pressure from Tamil Nadu. India’s own record against the plebiscite mandated by the UN General Assembly hangs like the Sword of Damocles over her head.

Highlights of Jaffna Visit.

In Jaffna, besides having discussions with the Chief Minister of NPC, Biswal  also had a separate meeting with Ananthi Srithharan and reportedly promised her strong action by the US. That is the highlight of her visit, the meeting with the wife of a former terrorist leader of the LTTE, an organization which is still on the banned list of Terrorist groups in US. If Ambassador Sisson had reservations in view of local sensitivities about a separate meeting by her with Ananthi Sritharan without any discretion ” this only a suggestion though it may not reflect the high-handedness surround US diplomacy when it comes to weak countries, – the Assistant Secretary has now done the needful and set the precedence for the US Ambassador herself. That meeting could be one initiated by the Ambassador herself.  In Switzerland, another small country, they would have called such an encounter, “Meeting our enemies’ (see my Article “Gota Has A Case”, Ceylon Today, Friday, 31 January 2014), and considered serious action affecting diplomatic relations.

Secretary Weeratunge’s Mission to US

            President’s Secretary, Lalith Weeratunge’s mission to Geneva and Washington was largely to explain the progress made on the LLRC recommendations and to show that any attempt to press with a resolution demanding an international investigation could unleash unexpected chaos in Sri Lanka.  This last aspect has all the more relevance with the NPC passing a Resolution calling for an independent international investigation of the role of the government and Jaffna Bishop making a similar call. The ramifications of these actions in the North supported by the international community are unpredictable.

            Weeratunge carried out his mission efficiently and delivered it with finesse as far as his immediate objective was concerned. His explanation of progress made on LLRC recommendations and problem areas needing more time would have convinced any impartial audience. He had a session with Biswal before she left for Sri Lanka. However, how effective this mission was, in convincing a client like US which has set its objectives and is not prepared to back-track from its first call for reconciliation and accountability, in the last days of the war, appears to be very doubtful. This is clear from what Biswal told the media in Colombo that “lack of progress” in Sri Lanka has frustrated her government and the international community ”.  That was a position she was expressing even before she met Weeratunge and now continues with it even after the meeting. So, it is “lack of progress” for US as against Weeratunge’s claim of progress.

In other words, Weeratunge’s  representations have had no effect on the US  government. Nevertheless, it is important that the point was made. It would be wrong, however, to believe that it could produce the expected magic as far as US is concerned.

            Obviously, the US took notice that some progress had been made in the implementation of LRRC recommendations on reconciliation and accountability which was the target first set by US initially and repeated again last year, but for Biswal to speak of “lack of progress” shows that US government is not prepared to look at the progress made positively but as a whole, including motives.  This is partly understandable as till Weeratunge took it up as challenge, there had been no serious attempt to explain that that the implementation of LLRC recommendations support for which was US’s expectations so far had been undertaken. But it would now seem that the US position is an incremental one, and did not stop with LLRC.

To admit that positively encouraging results are seen would also  make the US case to press with a strong resolution with added support coming from Britain this time, and stop uncommitted countries veering round to a resolution to give more time to Sri Lanka , weaker.   

Biswal had told the media that the international community’s patience is wearing thin. Her saying that the “U.S. will sponsor a resolution asking Sri Lanka to do more on reconciliation and accountability at the U.N. Human Rights Council in March” could be a pointer that US is now ready to place its stakes at a point above the LLRC recommendations though it  is not very clear from her statement whether or not, she meant full implementation of the recommendations of LLRC or wanted more done  on reconciliation and accountability.

New Strategy

More pointedly, Biswal has added new  dimension to US demands this time by her reference to post war developments in the island much of which have nothing or very little to do with the war situation or matters arising from it. This is the reference to the “worsening of the human rights situation in the country”. She made special reference to growing religious intolerance and attacks on places of religious worship; and increase in corruption.

Of course, as in the case of other allegations which the US, like others, have taken at face value, she has had no intention of discussing why such tensions arise. These were later explained by External Affairs Minister, G.L. Peiris as few cases and sporadic and arising from provocations caused  especially by American Evangelists in conducting prayer and “heeling sessions”  in areas predominated by other religionists.

The objective of the US intention in  raising these other issues at this session seems to be to widen the scope of allegations to  include other post-war situations of human rights violations which could include alleged attack on media personnel and religious intolerance. Such widening of the scope seems to be a definitive strategy to attract wider support from member countries in UNCHR for a “stronger” US Resolution. Obviously, predominantly Christian countries such as those in Latin America and Muslim countries seem to be targeted.    

No Call on President- No Issue

Sections of the media here have tried to make out an issue over the President’s office not responding to a request by the US Embassy for the visitor to call on H.E.the President. There is no issue over it at all. The visit was not a bilaterally arranged one.  Besides, it is height of expectation for an Embassy to expect that any official visitor from US is worthy of a call on the head of State of another country, however small the country may be, whatever the pressures which the other country undergoes at a time. Such things are governed by reciprocity.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa is, personally, a very amiable person and at times, could be expected to do the unpredictable, like visiting the Residence of the former Indian lady High Commissioner, Nirupama Rao [within respectable hours, and in full glare of public eye, of course].  Whatever one says, Rao was a successful Indian diplomat here who was able to establish such a close personal rapport. When the media questioned it at the time, I wrote that such cases were not unusual though rare and cited the case of a US President. All depends on circumstances. Western Embassies, especially, of the US, could be misunderstanding this Sri Lankan disposition to forget the bounds demanded by Protocol.

Even if the President was willing to cast aside Protocol to meet an Assistant Secretary of US, the US side did not create the conducive atmosphere for it. The problem was on the US side. Here, the visitor had just met what the Swiss called “our enemies,” namely, Ananthi Sridharan and even promised to take a strong stand by US. That was encouragement to her, the wife of a former LTTE terrorist leader, whose bona fides are not so clear. She had also met the Bishop of Jaffna who had reportedly demanded an international investigation on the role of the Sri Lankan government, besides listening to the Chief Minister and members of the NPC who had just passed a resolution requesting an international investigation. The NCP is already shown interfering with external matters which affect the centre.

Embassies  try to impress their own official visitors. Our London High Commission once failed to arrange a meeting for former President Kumaratunga with the British Foreign Secretary. I recall, she had to be content with a meeting with a lower official. To avoid embarrassment, the meeting had to be arranged at the Sri Lanka High Commission. Likewise, former Foreign Minister, ACS Hamid who wanted to call on the French foreign Minister every time he came to France, was able to call on Mr.Guirango, a former career officer elevated as Foreign Minister, just once. That too as favour to me as I had been in close contact with him earlier.  I was Minister of the Embassy for six years  (Ambassador rank) and Charge’d’Affaires at the time.  This is what happens when unsolicited visits are undertaken; or attempts are made to link private visits with official work. In these Western countries they inform you, that they believe in conducting bilateral relations through normal diplomatic channels.

There is a competent US Ambassador here though sadly, what we have in Washington is just the opposite, as far as representation on the country’s point of view is concerned. That is our main problem: our messages not getting through to Washington. That is another thing.

The crux of the matter is that there was no issue over Biswal not seeing the President.

Government’s Reaction

Judging from External Affairs Minister G.L Peiris’ s post-visit comments, it would appear that the Minister thought that the outcome of the visit and what  Biswal stated at the media conference were not conducive to bi-lateral relations between the two countries, [whatever its outcome to US may be]. The press communiqu© issued by the Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs is very terse indeed. Whether or not, this reflects the prospects of a growing policy shift in dealing with the US bilaterally remains to be seen. Sri Lanka is not Iran or North Korea, or even India, as the strong Indian response over recent affair of the US Marshals hand-cuffing and body-searching the Indian female Deputy Consul-General in New York indicated, to engage US in an  adversarial manner but as US observers themselves point out Sri Lanka could be tempted to push in other directions.    

US Pacific Command’s Interest

The other indication of the Sri Lankan government trying to distance away from US, as seen by the media, is the rejection by the Cabinet of offer by US Pacific Command (USPACOM) to build three full-fledged schools in the North. Despite the humanitarian programme of this Military Command, its very composition as an US Army, Navy and Air Force operation headed by the US President himself with other Commanders included in the hierarchy, cannot conceal its strategic objectives, in the final analysis.

It is puzzling how the Minister of Education came to seek Cabinet approval for a proposal made by the Minister of Education, Cultural Affairs and Sports of NPC when there is no evidence that the US Embassy which liaises with USPACOM on this matter had first got policy clearance from the Sri Lankan government. Like the Embassy setting up a US Information counter in the Trincomalee Municipality some time back, these are insidious ways in which US works at times. In the past, US Asia Foundation was working for such purposes at a different level, as I knew as the official who monitored its activities until it was finally closed down in mid 1960s.  I know the devious ways in which it worked. It had even engaged a former senior member of the LSSP in its staff!

            In the first place it points to the extent of the US Embassy is proceeding to negotiate issues with Provincial Councils without the knowledge of Colombo. This has nothing to do with the US resolution to be tabled in Geneva or Biswal’s negative comments made in her media presentation where she brought up issues which were not directly related to the war situation which had hitherto been the main issue. The offer by the US PACIFIC has serious strategic implications for the country and on that account alone, needed careful scrutiny by the Defence authorities particularly because of the past situation and the entry that US Pacific Command could have to these parts.

Security Concerns

How sensitive India considered it In the past, when facilities were offered to Voice of America Radio station at Iranwilla and on India’s insistence, certain facilities had  to be re-negotiated, again, when  US ships began calling over at Trincomalee for R & R purposes, and India objecting to the Trincomalee Oil Storage Wells being given to US firms during President JR Jayewardene’s regime, and later, to the proposal to install Chinese radars being installed at Palali airport, should stand as reminders of the regional sensitivities. India had reasons to be concerned in consideration of her own security, and that is understandable.

The offer of three schools might look innocent in comparison, but the issue is the access it gives to US Pacific Command in a security-wise sensitive region for Sri Lanka, which received foreign armed support for Tamil terrorist groups. President Chandrika Kumaratunga’s attempted sale of the phosphate resource at Eppawala to a US company too looked innocent had certain security implications. The Agreement could have given access to US to a Us firm in Trincomalee with its own Air Port at Trincomalee processing area with permission for unimpeded travel by US personnel without subject to local immigration and Customs control, an area to which no Sri Lankan government official or vehicles had access even to investigate a crime, as the Agreement provided. These are situations whose security implications one tends to overlook when an offer is tempting to make some quick  personal benefit. In other words, when corruption creeps in.   

Of greater relevance is the fact that the door is being opened for Provincial administrations to conduct direct negotiations on bilateral issues, notably, on foreign aid which is a sensitive issue because of the ramifications on security dimensions and imbalances which could be caused in overall development in the country. Concerns over such imbalances was something that aid donor countries have always expressed over many decades as I am familiar with.  

Visa Refusal

Another incident which comes in the immediate aftermath of the Biswal affair and Ambassador Sisson’s own recent aggressive diplomatic manifestations, – cover up for diplomatic deficit seen among female US Ambassadors to Sri Lanka in very recent times, to be in the news, as I conceive ” is the reported refusal by the Sri Lankan government to another high-profile US Ambassador-at-large for Women’s issues, Catherine Russel, which it would appear the US Embassy has revealed to the media. Whatever may be the ostensible purpose of her visit as revealed by the US Embassy which also includes a visit to Jaffna, like Biswal’s visit there which formed the highlight her programme, as cleverly guided by Ambassador Sisson, Russel’ visit could have turned into another such Sisson directed affair, with Ananthi Sritharan at the centre, which seems to be the Ambassador’s present preoccupation. Do not ask me if I have spoilt my eyes on the Ambassador’s  personal Diary, but this is the writing on the wall any seasoned observer could recocgnize. Besides, wasn’t Russel closely associated with former State Secretary Hillary Clinton’s rape story over Sri Lanka, where She (Russel) perforce, omitted the rapes by US forces in Okinawa, which I had to subsequently point out. At least, I recall her defending Clinton on her statement.  

Why does US want to add to the theatre by sending these high profile visitors when its mind is already set on a target? Wasn’t that clear from Biswal’s own tour-programme of Jaffna and London?            

In Conclusion

What success did Biswal then carry back home and to London where she stopped over on the way back to compare notes, and report to Cameron of her bagging new friends in Jaffna ”C/M Wigneswaram, Bishop Saudranayagam and Ananathi Sritharan ,the wife of the former LTTE terrorist leader, et al? She did not deliver anything new to the government of Sri Lanka which was unknown earlier. She did not speak of problems facing a strong resolution but indications were that US might initially word a strong resolution which might deviate from the earlier stand of a home-grown inquiry, or make proviso for such if no credible process was set in motion within a given time frame. That is what the UK government was aiming at. Her visit was then drama to attract attention and to demonstrate to the world that US was not doing anything behind the back of Sri Lanka. 

If the US decides to use local Tamil support expressed to Biswal for an international inquiry to back a Resolution, its ramifications on the country are difficult to predict. Weeratunge used the word ‘chaos’. That could be what US and others are looking for. The entire record of US in recent times in the Middle East, Maghreb and Asia is nothing but destabilization either to promote her economic interests as in Iraq and Libya and geopolitical interest as in Afghanistan, by creating chaos.  Sri Lanka falls into the latter category. If US considers it success then it falls into line.

For the present Biswal has said she does not think there will moves to apply sanctions, but it was not a clear-cut statement. However, application of sanctions on a global scale has to be approved by the UN Security Council. There are obvious difficulties on such a course of action. Unilateral application of sanctions is feasible and can hurt to some extent but the general consensus is against sanctions because of the tremendous humanitarian issues it involves, like the suffering it brings about to the people. In Iraq over million children lost their lives through mal-nutrition on account of sanctions applied. So did many mothers. A draft resolution incorporating sanctions is not only a usurpation by UNHCR, of powers of the Security Council, but also a resolution which incorporates such action will lose general support. That question will not arise, immediately, therefore, if the US, this time strongly supported by U.K. to see her Resolution succeeds.

I will end up with an anecdote to describe the way of diplomacy.  Former President JR Jayewardene who joined the very short list of countries ( I think four or five) which supported UK, on the Falkland vote in the UNGA must be turning in his grave at the way UK is paying back. The shame is I had a midnight call from President’s Foreign Minister, ACS Hamid, not long after, asking me to call on the Argentinian Ambassador in Paris (he was a former representative at the UN) who lived opposite my apartment in Avenue Foch in Paris asking me to see him and get him to stop Argentinian diplomats canvassing against President’s brother, H.W Jayewardene, P.C. who was seeking elections to the International Court of Justice. Of course, the Ambassador received me with full courtesy early morning and we had coffee and breakfast together, he still in his night- gown after a late night return from the Riviera. Whether my remonstrations had any effect I do not know. H.W did not get elected anyway. That is the way of diplomacy.            

INDEPENDENCE DAY SPECIAL: White Man’s Hegemony in Asia, Africa and other non ” European lands must be swept away

February 4th, 2014

Shenali D Waduge

 A curse fell on Sri Lanka and its people with the arrival of the Portuguese in 1505 and it has continued to this day with the successive replacement of the Portuguese by the Dutch and the British with irreversible damage being done to this land, heritage, culture, sense of national purpose, Buddhist values that protected the lives of all living beings and almost everything that people of this country had accepted as ethical conduct in the past, because of White Man’s rule that lasted nearly 450 years. On the occasion of commemorating the 66th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s independence from British colonial rule, it is appropriate to take stock of the misfortune that fell on this country as well as the vast majority of countries in Asia, Africa, and North and South America over the last 500 years because of one significant reason i.e. White Man’s insatiable greed for the lands and resources of others and his alacrity to use any means foul or fair including plunder, genocide, crimes against humanity, forced religious conversions and destruction of places of worship of non ” Christians, to achieve territorial conquests and subjugation of  yellow, brown and black races that the White Race obsessively considered as inferior.     

 White Supremacy

The blacks never invaded the white man’s land. The browns never invaded the white man’s land. The yellows never invaded the white man’s land but the white man not only invaded lands belonging to the black, brown and yellow races but completely destroyed everything that the indigenous people took great pride in and treasured. Despite unrelenting efforts, the White Man’s institutional accomplice, the Christian Church (Catholic and Protestant) cannot simply whitewash or erase the hard truth that every step of imperial conquest and plunder had the endorsement and whole hearted support of the Church and its representatives. For every crime committed by the colonial crusaders the Church involvement in such incidents directly or indirectly is more or less an established fact. Church complicity in such crimes cannot be de- linked or removed. The Church continues to ignore calls to acknowledge, apologize and compensate the victims for these crimes and it is this key fact that makes us point to the Church to say that until and unless its crimes are acknowledged and compensated appropriately its high sounding calls for Rule of Law, Human Rights, National Re-conciliation and Freedom of Religion and the like will fall on deaf ears. 

 Western Colonialism violated every canon of Human Rights during its heyday: Instead of Rule of Law it was Rule by Brute Force, Administration of Justice was based on the Doctrine of Differing Rights, One standard of Justice for the White Man and another i.e. inferior, standard for the black man which was strikingly illustrated during the Apartheid era in South Africa.   

 Under the guise of discharging White Man’s Burden what we saw everywhere was naked exploitation and extermination of whole races and civilizations as happened to Australian Aborgines, Red Indians in North America, Mayas and Incas in South America, and complete destruction of African communities through the Trans ” Atlantic Slave Trade. The list can go on. 

 In Sri Lanka, the Kandyan Peasantry was completely uprooted from their traditional lands and their lands expropriated on bogus pretexts under Waste Lands Ordinances for tea plantations of the British which resulted in the large scale impoverishment of the proud race of Kandyan Sinhalese.

  Transfer of allegiance to a foreign sovereign 

The entry of the whites to non-white lands saw irreversible changes converting thousands of people to Christianity by offering inducements, failing which by punitive action, and making them transfer their allegiance to a foreign sovereign. To this day some of the descendants of the forcible converted continue to owe allegiance to foreign countries rather than their own. It is unfortunate to note that Christians in Asia, and particularly in India, Sri Lanka etc. lack the Kshatriya quality to stand up to the White Man and call spade a spade. Neither the Christians nor the Christian Church in Asia offered resistance to White Man’s hegemony and oppressive rule, bar some notable exceptions. 

 In Sri Lanka it was by and large the Sinhala Buddhists who offered spirited armed resistance to western colonial rule of the Portuguese, Dutch and the British.

Young Children in rural areas of Sri Lanka learn to this day on their mother’s knee heart warming inspiring stories of the Sinhalese warriors who fought heroic battles to defeat the Portuguese in Danture (1593), Randeniwala (1630) and Gannoruwa (1638). 

 It is mostly the Sinhala Buddhists who sacrificed their life and limb, and fought against the white men who came to take over their lands. While they were defending the nation from foreign invasion, those who had converted crossed over to the other side and worked for the enemy. They were known as Lascoreens a derogatory term similar in meaning to sepoys as used in India.

 Where are the war memorials for our Ranavirus of yesteryear? 

In the European Christian tradition people never forget to pay tribute and show gratitude to those who defended the country against foreign invaders. There are war memorials everywhere in Europe and USA. Why has this been neglected in Sri Lanka? Are we embarrassed to call Sinhala Buddhist warriors of the colonial era heroes through plaques, war memorials, statues and like. There must be a limit to appeasement of minorities. 

 The Bogey of Rule of Law

Let us not mistake the wrong misinterpretation being given to colonialism as ushering in a rule of law. There was no such rule of law under white colonial rule. All the rule that prevailed was nothing but brute force and annihilation and inquisitions for all those who opposed white Christian rule particularly in the Portuguese era. The Rule of Law came into being when the colonials realized they could no longer hold people as bonded slaves in their own lands and to ensure they were protected and plunder could continue they were quick to develop rules of law and international trade laws that would protect them and continue to make them prosper. Do these white nations not continue to live off the interest charged from developing nations for money that does not exist?

 Pluralism, Equality and other high sounding concepts gather meaning only when Christian rule prevails and becomes relevant and applicable only to those living in Christian heritage nations of the West.  

 At this critical juncture of Sri Lanka’s modern history we look for true leaders. Similarly, we cannot ignore that India is crumbling apart because there are no Kshatriyas to rule India of the type of Netaji Subash Chandra Bose. It is also an appropriate occasion to look up to India’s Narendra Modi to reverse all the damage that has been done and not to take the same path of destruction and animosity that the current leaders of India have shown to India’s neighbours.  India should not be subservient to the West thereby betraying its precious and irreplaceable Hindu heritage and the great pride of its ancestors. 

 West supports Terrorism directed at other nations

That one person’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter holds true of the West for it is they who manufacture the arms, train the militants and then order them to be strategically placed to de ” stabilize nations. If any war crimes are committed it is the very nations promoting philosophies against war crimes. All these manoeuvres are intended to again recolonize and we see how the evangelicals have been sent on their next mission and they are strategically placing themselves for that eventual re-colonization of India, Sri Lanka and other Asian countries. 

 While the nations of Europe are encouraged to unite and form the EU ” the people of Africa, Asia and Latin America are kept fighting each other in conflicts created by these very nations so that unity does not prevail for it helps them to fast forward their agendas. The people need to realize these. We are not interested in philosophies, ideologies any more. People must now take the hard facts and place them against the real ground realities. 

 We have been victims for far too long. The Blacks, the Browns and the Yellows now need to refuse to be taken to the dock whether at the UNHRC, ICC or any other international forum. We must all get together and strive to put the real perpetrators on the dock and remind them that all the anarchy that prevails globally can be sourced to white man’s greed and sense of White Supremacy. Eurocentrism is a pathological condition of the White Race and demonstrated by an unreserved effort on its part to assert the pre -eminence of Eurocentric Western Culture.   

 We no longer wish to listen to the white man’s (or their surrogates) lectures particularly on topics such as Human Rights, Rule of Law, and treatment of minorities, which they have violated over and over again and refused to atone for.

 As we celebrate another independence it is time we start developing more Kshatriyas in our own people and not those wanting to hand over our nation to our country’s enemies.  

BIG POWERS MAKE HUMAN SHIELDS OF NORTHERNERS- President Mahinda Rajapaksa

February 4th, 2014

Dharmasiri Abeyratne in Kegalle

Invaders came to our country shedding crocodile tears: We are not ready to deprive our country of the freedom we won:

President Mahinda Rajapaksa flanked by Chief of Defence Staff, Three Service Commanders and the Inspector General of Police at the Independence Day celebrations in Kegalle yesterday. Pictures by Sudath Silva

It is necessary for the people in the North to be aware that certain foreign forces are attempting to use them as human shields. The invaders always came to our country shedding oceans of crocodile tears. They interfered in these countries putting forward claims to protect human rights, establish democracy and the rule of law.

This was the warning President Mahinda Rajapaksa gave the people in the North in particular and the nation, addressing a ceremony to mark Sri Lanka’s 66th Independence Day in Kegalle yesterday.

This is the first time Independence Day celebrations were held in Sabaragamuwa Province.

Addressing the crowd, the President said that every powerful country should realise the difficulties involved in defeating terrorism..

“What we faced was a more serious and brutal challenge than they ever faced. The difference between them and us was that we instructed the Security Forces to give the highest priority to protect the lives of civilians.

“Those powerful countries took 50 to 100 years for reconciliation after civil wars.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa hoists the National Flag amidst the beating of Magul Bera and blowing of conch shells

“We have to ask the world whether there is any country that has progressed so much on the path of reconciliation in just four years.”

“We see the use of information provided by those who are committed to separatism and those who defeated by the people to level charges of war crimes and other alleged offenses against Sri Lanka as a grave offense,” he charged.

“I see the attempts to level charges of war crimes against us in Geneva today as the triumph of those who are not in favour of peace.

This seeks to drive fear into people and nations committed to peace and working to safeguard a country’s independence and freedom. These are not founded on peace, fair play or justice,” the President said.

“We categorically state here that we are not ready, under any circumstances, to deprive our country of the freedom we have won. We Sri Lankans who were born in this country, were brought up in this country, and live in this country, have every desire to protect the peace and unity of our country much more than any others from outside. We have to recall the bitter memories of the past when baseless allegations are leveled against us,” he said.

“Bitter memories should be written on sand as they get wiped away. Good experiences should be etched on stone to be remembered forever.

“We know what should be written on sand and forgotten and what should be etched in stone and remembered,” President Rajapaksa said.

The President also pointed that forgetting these bitter memories, we have pardoned the terrorists who came to kill us and rehabilitated them providing employment for some of them in the police and the Civil Defence Corps and provided them with suitable livelihoods. “Revenge has never been a part of our culture,” he underscored.

Stressing the fact that people in our country belonging to all religions and speaking in different languages move together in unity and strength towards reconciliation and development, the President invited all countries to join hands. “With utmost goodwill I call upon all countries to join hands with us in the path to democracy, development, national freedom and the strengthening of human rights.”

– See more at: http://www.dailynews.lk/?q=local/big-powers-make-human-shields-northerners#sthash.IQqXCwAQ.dpuf

Waitangi Day

February 4th, 2014

 Dr.Chula Rajapakse MNZM Spokeperson, United Sri Lanka Assn. Wellington NZ

Hon John Key,
Prime Minister of New Zealand.
Dear Mr Key
As you lead New Zealand at the Waitangi day celebrations  this year, our association would like to extend our warmest wishes  to you and all of New Zealand for a successful celebration and a successful year.

We, New Zealanders of Sri Lankan origin, recall gratefully   your statement like contribution at the CHOGM , that helped to restore balance in the face of an unfair barrage of criticism on Sri Lanka as it endeavors to recover and reconstruct after three decades of  ravages of war.

In this election year, I wish to inform you that   the well   over ten thousand  of Sri Lankan origin throughout New Zealand , would be gratefully mindful of  this support you gave   Sri Lanka,  when they exercise their franchise, later this year.

As you may be aware , Sri Lanka’s next  exposure to criticism  based on such  unfair and  unsubstantiated allegations is  at the UNHRC  sessions in March in Geneva.

We urge that  NZ along with Australia use their good offices at the United Nations, as they did at the CHOGM, to encourage the UNHRC  sessions to recognize and support the many outstanding post war achievements of Sri Lanka in reconciliation and reconstruction that you were witness to and to detract from counterproductive measures that will undermine the progress of these laudable achievements.

I attach below a U tube link  to the documentary on Sri Lanka shown on American ABC television  network, also to be shown on CBS,CNBC & FOX  entitled                     ” Reconciling & Rebuilding” for your viewing pleasure and information.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heFhTh1PxQE

With many thanks & Best Wishes,

Yours Sincerely,

Dr.Chula Rajapakse MNZM

Spokeperson,

United Sri Lanka Assn. Wellington NZ

Lower Hutt.

Attacks on churches.

February 4th, 2014

The Examiner ”Colombo

Reference Fr.Sarath Iddamalgoda,s write up to the Island of  18.01.2014 no sensible Buddhist will condone any attacks on any  place of worship  as it is against the tenets of Buddhism.

Inter-religious conflicts have been taking place in different parts of the world in the past and continue to take place even today, sometimes leading to the creation of new States on a religious basis. As of the recent ones, this is in spite of the UN declaration of Rights to which Fr.Iddmalgoda refers. While we condemn them in no uncertain terms, what is happening in Sri Lanka pale into insignificance compared to what is happening elsewhere in the world. International Religious Freedom Report of USA for 2011 has the following to say about Sri Lanka: “In general members of the various religious groups tended to be tolerant of each other’s religious beliefs”(page 5 of the report).

Commenting on the attacks on places of worship of minority religions in SriLanka Fr .Iddamalgoda states “It is widely noted that the apparent attack is to safeguard the primacy of Buddhism”. As Fr. Iddamalgoda seems to be quite conversant with Buddhism we would like to refer to one of the basic tenets of Buddhism which is, “cause and effect”

Now let us go into the question what cause these so called attacks .It is “unethical conversions”, a subject which has been delved into comprehensively in the “Report of the Commission appointed to Inquire and Report on the Conversion of Buddhists in Sri Lanka, to other religions by immoral and fraudulent means”. Some of the unethical methods adopted according to  the above report  are , healing prayer sessions, monetary & material benefits,  counseling and English language classes, pre-schools and child care centers, promise of jobs ,taking advantage of emotions and many more .(All these are substantiated in the report).

We do not want to go back to the history of the Island when the Portuguese converted the Buddhists and Hindus by force and later when they were  persecuted, Buddhist Sinhala kings came to their rescue .

If Buddhist temples along the maritime coast are not older than 150 years it is because the Portuguese destroyed them with the blessings of the Roman Catholic King of Portugal, his Viceroy in Goa, the Pope in the Vatican and Roman Catholic Church in Sri Lanka.

Hence we would like to mention that the kind of attacks on so called ‘Churches’ today are nowhere near any of these atrocities. We would also like to ask whether the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka or its parent Church of Rome could afford to be talking of religious intolerance today, when neither of them had either returned these plundered temples and kovils, or paid any reparations or at least apologized for their historic misdeeds. We leave it to the best judgment of the readers whether they justifiably complain of religious intolerance on the part of the Buddhists, now taking cover behind the Fundamental Rights imposed by the West on the rest of the world.     

The present unethical conversions are mainly the result of the so called Evangelical(fundamental) Christian groups who according to one study numbered more than 300 in 1998. The two groups which were the cause for the recent incident which took place at Hikkaduwa  belonged to Evangelists.

The population of Hikkaduwa Divisional Secretary’s area on religious basis is as follows

Buddhists   100510; Hindus 245, Islam 79;Roman Catholic 264 ;other Christians 273,others 11.(2011 census report) .

With a population of  273 which include the followers of the Anglican church, one wonders whether there is any room for additional places of worship which we are told are not churches but prayer houses.!

We would like to ask here, what is the purpose having two more ‘churches’ in this township? To minster  whom? What right have they to interfere with the religious beliefs of the other  religionists? Now who is violating the religious rights of whom?

We presume Fr.Iddamalgoda is aware that the Evangelists pose a threat not only to Buddhists but also to Catholics. In the International Freedom Report of 2011 to which we have already referred ,reference is made to a statement published November 4,Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith ,Head  of the Catholic Church in the country ,accused what he called American fundamentalist churches converting large numbers of Buddhists and Catholics  through  inducements. In his statement he, the Cardinal called upon the government to control the spread of these churches

This is exactly what the Buddhist Commission Report asked for .If the Government had listened to the Buddhists and /or the Cardinal this unfortunate situation would not have happened.       

Finally we must thank Fr.Iddamalgoda for highlighting that the Constitution accords Buddhism the ‘foremost place but does not recognize it as the state religion.”

The Commissioners were aware of this lacuna and made the following recommendation in the report:

“38 .A ruling shall be obtained from the Supreme Court on what constitutes the phrase ‘giving to Buddhism the foremost place’ and the phrase ‘protect and foster the Buddha Sasana’ in terms of Article 9 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. A ruling also should be obtained “what constitutes the responsibility of State and the Executive”

 

Izeth Hussain is Re-thinking the Ethnic Imbroglio

February 3rd, 2014

By Charles.S.Perera

I read Izeth Hussain  for  his  excellent writing skill,  but do not agree with all he writes.  In his article to Island on Re-thinking the Ethnic Imbroglio, he says, “….. most will agree that in general we are usually reluctant to see things as they are when they are unpleasant .” But does it mean that we see things as they are when they are pleasant  ?”

We tend to think we know every thing but in reality what we know is limited  to the knowledge we have acquired. With that limited knowledge we pontificate  that others are at fault because they have failed to see things as they do

In support of his conclusion he says, “… example is provided by the question of the prospects for a political solution of the ethnic problem.”

If the government does not see the reality of the prospects for a political solution of the ethnic problem, what then is “ethnic problem” according to Izeth Hussain ?

Everyone accusing  Sri Lanka for committing everything under the sun against the  Tamil people from violation of human rights,   to war crimes, speaks loudly of this “sacrosanct ethnic problem” without telling  what exactly is this ethnic problem.

In order to stop this accusation on a vague allusion to an ethnic problem the President of Sri Lanka in no uncertain terms declared that with the elimination of terrorism there is no more a minority and that every peoples no matter to what community they belong have an equal right to share in everything as a citizen of Sri Lanka.

There is therefore, no language problem as Tamil is recognised on an equal footing alongside Sinhala and English.  University education is extended to all students of all communities, without any ratios or percentages. Employment is open to every one and candidates are selected on qualifications and not on the basis of their communal roots.  Tamils are being recruited to the army and the police services.  All social, economic, and technological developments has been extended all regions in Sri Lanka .  Major development projects  such as construction of roads, hospitals, schools,  providing of fresh water and electricity, and construction of fishing ports are being carried out everywhere from north to south and west to east of Sri Lanka. The political right  of contesting any electorate, and representing the people in Parliament are open to every citizen.

The Tamils have not been left out in Sri Lanka’s development projecs and they participate in them as any other citizen of Sri Lanka.  What then is the “ethnic problem” ?  Against what has the Tamil people been discriminated ?

Izeth Hussain paints a dark picture saying,” The prospects are nil, or almost nil. The realistic prospect is that the ethnic imbroglio will continue indefinitely into the future. Such is the situation after 25 years of war and four years of peace. Our expectation that peace would lead, sooner rather than later, to noon-tide glory in the resplendent isle, has led instead to what looks like darkness at

noon.  ”  Then he adds, “……..What this situation demands, above all, is that we rethink the fundamentals of the ethnic imbroglio. It is a process that could lead to our posing the right questions which could lead eventually to the right answers.”

But still Izeth Hussain does not say what it is all about. He finally asks, “What is the problem? ”  But he does not answer it, but goes on to stretch out a whole lots of words and phrase, as if he himself is completely ignorant of the ethnic problem, what ever be the prospect of it for a political solution.

He says, ” It is not just a Sri Lankan ethnic problem, but an Indo-Sri Lankan ethnic problem, as I have argued in an earlier article. The fall-out in Tamil Nadu of what happens to the Tamils in Sri Lanka can never be ignored by the Delhi Government because that fall-out can take the form of restiveness and even a rebelliousness that spawns separatist movements that under certain unforeseeable contingencies could even threaten the very unity of India.”

Izeth Hussain is becoming verbose just writing for the sake of writing without explaining in simple terms what he is writing about. His beginning has no relation to the end.  What is the ethnic problem in Sri Lanka which has resulted in an imbroglio?

Izeth Hussain is a retired diplomat well into his eighties.  He still thinks that old diplomatic methods and politeness should be maintained in speaking to the rich and powerful west lest we bring on us  their ire.  After a few paragraphs of his pet phrases rambling about Cyprus, Turkey and Pakistan he finally comes out  saying,  ” General Zia-ul Huq of Pakistan, one of the most sympathetic friends of Sri Lanka, was quite right in advising us repeatedly ” not in his exact words: “If you try to solve your ethnic problem regardless of the wishes of India, you will sink into a bottomless pit”.

But he has still not thought it right to spell out what is the ethnic problem of  the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Then taking the longest rout in trying to  explaining his ” re-thinking the Ethnic Imbroglio” , he comes to some thing which seems likely to explain the “ethnic problem”.  He says, “I come now to the present unpleasant situation. Neither the TNA nor the Government wants 13A, and there is nothing else on offer to enable us to start moving towards a political solution. However, there is a difference between the two in that the TNA is willing to give 13A a try ” which is why I wrote in the second paragraph above that the prospects for a political solution are nil “or almost nil”. But I cannot envisage the TNA really being in earnest about 13A until after the Indian General elections.”

But no Izeth Hussain is still far short of  explaining the vital question, ” what is this ethnic problem ?”

Then as if  he is facing the darkness of the mind we all come to face towards the evening of our lives, he says,  ” The unpleasant reality is that it is darkness at noon.  What do we do? ……….. The suggestion that I am making might seem humiliating and most offensive to our national pride. Why, it might be asked, should two outsiders, namely Tamil Nadu and Delhi, be regarded as integral to our purely internal ethnic problem?

But what is this ethnic problem ?  Izeth Husain does not answer this, but to make it worse he clears India of what it did in training a group of Tamil youth in terrorism and letting them loose in the North, to kill in cold blood 13 Sinhala police men, thus resulting in the south a backlash in which many innocent Tamils were brutally killed, which is not condoned by any reasonable person, but it was an inevitable and perhaps preconceived situation by the Indian RAW which trained the terrorists, to create the state of terrorism in the Island, that it followed..

In respect of this Izeth Hussain says, ” ……… It was the anti-Tamil genocidal State-backed pogrom of 1983 that gave the external dimension to the problem, by shocking and outraging the rest of the world and making it impossible for Tamil Nadu and Delhi to ignore what was going on inside the blood-drenched paradise isle of Sri Lanka.”

He then makes an objective  observation without still answering what is the ethnic problem.

” The Tamils must acknowledge that the LTTE and the TNA put themselves completely in the wrong by rejecting every proposal for devolution from 1994 to 2000, by making a farce of the peace process, and finally by compelling the Sinhalese to fight the war to its conclusion. They must acknowledge that the Sinhalese side fought a just war in the sense that they had no alternative whatsoever. Both sides must acknowledge that they fought a savage war with no prisoners taken.”

Izeth Hussain then makes his lethal attack  on the  Sinhala camp, ” The Sinhalese side must acknowledge that the discrimination against the Tamils went to grotesque extremes from 1970 to 1977, and that that was followed by the State terrorism of JRJ which rose to a genocidal apogee in 1983 when the Tamils were treated as worse than pariah dogs……….”

Izeth Hussain then forgets his diplomatic good sense, and an ordinary man’s wisdom,  in the heat of his arguments to call terrorism of Prabhakaran a just war.  He says, “The Sinhalese must recognize that the Tamils had the following alternatives: either be reduced to worse than pariah dog status, or fight. They must acknowledge that the LTTE fought a just war from around April 1994 onwards until the just war shifted to the other side.”

Then Izeth Hussain  kicks away his diplomatic correctness, and adherence to a Nation that suffered for three long decades under terrorism stating that, “….. The accolade of Sri Lanka’s greatest terrorist should go to JRJ and not to Prabhakaran. The latter led a nationalist movement, but most unfortunately for the Tamils his was a regressive tribalist neo-Fascist nationalism, similar to that of the JVP and what the nationalism of the present Government is threatening to become…….”

All that is raking the past to let loose the anger he seems to harbour in his heart.  But the ethnic problem he commenced to write about  remains undefined.

Is the ethnic problem not giving the Tamil people an entire Province for themselves, without an inch of it given to the Sinhala, or is it giving to the Tamils a Tamils Eelam in the North and East, which Prabhakaran was determined to carve out with his terrorism ?

Either of these options if it is to keep away  any fall outs from India and  Tamil Nadu is not acceptable .  Therefore they do not count as solutions for any sort of ethnic problems, though they become a national problem.  An alternative would be for Sri Lanka to abolish political parties with communal distinctions, and have a two party political system, like in America, with the membership open to all citizens.  Such a situation would make it possible for even a Tamil man to become the President of Sri Lanka. That may  solve an ethnic problem if that is what Izeth Hussain means.

C.Wijeyawickrema in an article in Lanka web states clearly what according to him is the ethnic problem, which Izeth Hussain had failed to do. Wijeyawickrema says, “The ethnic problem was two-fold: the fear of the Sinhalese of Tamil Nadu aggression and the desire of Tamil politicians to have some power of governance (because they were deprived of the leading roles that had under the colonial system of divide and rule).”   He says the two ethnic problems  could have been solved a long time ago if  Sinhala politicians used Buddhist principles.

SAMPUR has yet to prove its benefits

February 3rd, 2014

Ranjith Soysa

According to a report in Sunday Island ( 2nd Feb) the Indian High Commissioner has requested to expedite the approval of the Sampur power project. But, the
question of proposed low quality technology to be applied and the environmental hazards envisaged are areas of vital importance which have to be looked into in detail prior to the project receiving the green light.

India is in a hurry to set foot in Trinco for hundred other reasons. Yet, the majority of the Sri Lankans and many technocrats are still not convinced that the Sampur project has passed the cost-benefit test.

Sri Lanka should not be expected to gloss over the issues involved. The decision to go ahead or abandon the project should be in the hands of Sri Lanka who will have to finally pick up the damage bill.

The general Indian big brotherly attitude and treating Sri Lanka with a pinch of salt too should receive our attention when considering a project located in a
geo-politically critical area.

Tamil Militants hope for Indian Help

February 3rd, 2014

Telegraphplote

Merchants of global human rights & American formulas

February 2nd, 2014

C. Wijeyawickrema, LL.B., Ph.D.

Game of blaming America

Corrupt leaders of former colonies have found an easy scapegoat in the selfish American establishment policy of exploiting other countries’ resources. For example, American state department is not like Sri Lankan foreign office or any other office. Presidents will come and go, ministers will change of green to blue or red to blue but the caravan called the establishment’s department passes. Until recently, even India had such a system of stability and short and long-term consistency. Any third world country idiot who comes to power should realize that America like any other powerful country is there to exploit his/her country as well as the rest of the world.  Therefore, trying to pass the buck, of his or her own stupidity and corruption, to an American ambassador or American people would not work in the long run. American establishment and ambassadors know this game very well and they have systematic and comprehensive mechanisms and spy networks to monitor host countries. If a local politician has in the home a picture of him/her shaking hands with Bill or Hillary Clinton or George Bush, prominently displayed, the chapter on humiliation is opened with an inferiority complex.

American formulas (tricks)

America was the only country in the world, which air dropped food and medicine on to some areas of a country, while dropping cluster bombs to another area of the same country (Sri Lanka is another exception in the world where a Tamil could go to the post office in a terrorist controlled area and draw his pension and then go and fight against the army). A classic  trick played by the American establishment in not opposing directly the South African apartheid regime in its crisis days (or to kill several birds with one stone) was to send there a tall black American as US ambassador (Edward Perkins) in 1987.  SF president P.W. Botha had to always look up to see the black ambassador’s face.  Now one can say, the state department (or Robert Blake suggested) to appoint an Indian-American to handle its South Asia desk, because when she visits Sri Lanka it looks like an Indian-Sri Lanka affair rather than a white American-black-white Sri Lankan affair. Take the World Bank or the IMF. White Europeans run the show from hidden offices at the top leaving field work to Asians or Arabs hired to bell the cats. This was the same thing with American cities. White mayors gave up leaving the big cities in the hands of blacks and Hispanics, and the outside world thinks in America minorities are in control. Nisha Desai Biswal

Cut pork on the flesh of pig

Not an American trick, but an American strategy, now is to apply the old colonial rule of divide and rule to local situations. For this it is important to get a foot hold on local soils by splitting locals. For example, Arabs were divided into two groups by promoting Saddam to invade Kuwait. In India, Hillary Clinton had the nerve to meet Jayalalitha without the Delhi even knowing about it.  In Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Libya or any other country America finds a section of the population willing to embrace America as the good guy and American makes its position very clear as the supporter of the good guys. In North Korea they could not establish such link with the locals. The American strategy is not to define who the good guy is, but to hint who is going to be the bad guy. In Sri Lanka, UNP and JRJ were always identified as the American supporters, but only after the NPC election in November 2013, the American ambassador can now claim to have a fraction similar to Benghazi in Libya.  Any military ” police interference will now be interpreted as suppression of human rights of Tamils in Jaffna, not a bad achievement for the American establishment. Christian Marxist, Dayan Jayatilleke must be so happy.

If Nisha Desai Biswal is not a Christian it should be surprising. In USA the assimilation is so easy for Christian immigrants.  In their case even the first name in most cases is Christian. Such immigrants get picked up by the establishment masters. A good example was Dinesh D’Souza, who says colonialism was the best thing happened to his grandparents in India. Louisiana Republican governor Bobby Jindal is another Indian like that. These people do a better agent job than a white American. Think of US embassy in Colombo. In its history how many non-Christians, non-Colombo people had it hired for jobs? Even at UNO, how many Sinhala Buddhists were nominated or hired for jobs?

Rights of trees and animals

It is unfortunate that we do not have anybody from the Buddhism or Pali or history departments of universities in Sri Lanka who is willing to spend time to tell the world (especially the imperialists of the white Christian world), that in Buddhism the rights of even trees and animals were recognized 2600 years ago.  In the case of trees this had happened in USA only in 1972 (Should trees have standing, Christopher Stone). Not just the example of Mahamevna Uyana  (a modern version is the Central Pak, New York), but in Sri Lanka villagers used to wash their hand after eating food on top of or at the root of their Karapincha plant/tree close to their kitchen, giving it an oily bath.  In his landmark essay titled, “The historical roots of our ecological crisis,” Lynn White Jr., (1967) asked the question, if the Christian belief that God created animals (and plants) for man’s benefit was to be blamed for the problems of environmental degradation and pollution.

The Buddhist view is that man (human) is part of nature and not separate from it. If, as the Bible says, woman was created from a rib of the man, or as Hindus believe, if four categories of people came from four body sections of Brahman, then we should begin HR issues and R2P weapon directly from those man-made constructs. This may be why two non-Buddhists, two ex-Indian presidents, repeated recently, that the solution to world’s problems could be found through Buddhism.  It is also interesting to note that the Indian presidents did not say so about Jainism found in India whose adherents refrain from eating even root crops because the root crop such as yam is considered as giving life directly to plants, unlike seeds or branches. The difference here is that in Buddhism the concept of ahimsa is influenced by the rule of the Middle Path or the reasonableness doctrine in popular western jurisprudence. Unlike in Abrahamic religions based on faith or belief where life is linear, in Buddhism life is cyclical and impermanent.  As Marx said, everything solid melts into thin air.

Christian vs. Buddhist human rights

How funny and strange then it is to think that a Sinhala Buddhist society run by a Sinhala Buddhist president with a Buddhism minister and constitutional clause of giving Buddhism something, is getting hammered by Christian political establishments (in the present case USA and UK) for violating human rights? The reality that Sri Lanka never had a Sinhala Buddhist government in Sri Lanka after 1948 but one always under the control of Christian black-whites is buried under false propaganda; if ten people say you are carrying a camel on your shoulders then the lamb becomes camel!  More importantly, our politician black whites want someone to fool them and abuse them so that they can in turn abuse people.

What goes on now is exactly this. The history of colonialism is using something to hide true reason of colonialism. It was exploitation of other countries resources at any cost. But to recruit soldiers (Portuguese) for the dangerous missions (Vas co da Gama or Columbus) they were promised profits in this world and the heaven for doing God’s work of converting infidels. In the colony it was a matter of bringing civilization, progress and modernization (read Gananath Obeysekere’s books). Christianity is everything, including Christian names.  In addition to the sword there was thus the psychological weapon of humiliation.  Even in 2014 take Nisha Biswal’s job. Is she not humiliating MahindaR and co.?  It is amazing that so many years after 1505 Sri Lanka is now treated as a country to be civilized using HR and R2P. We cannot blame Biswal for this. We have to blame our UNP, JVP and SLFP politicians.  But at present the blame goes to MahindaR for his commissions and omissions.

Church sex scandal

For some reason MR has not understood the bull of the eye.  When the Catholic church sex scandal was raging on some tried to justify it saying even Buddhist temples in ancient Tibet had such child molesting cases.  When a Wisconsin university researcher said this I challenged him and got him to accept the fact that the issue, the real crime, was not that priests did it, but the bosses of priests, the Church Authority, hid it instead of taking action to stop it.  Similarly, MR and his yes men black whites have become ostriches hiding their heads in the sand. They have failed to understand that by accusing America of its war crimes or HR abuses or what England did in Sri Lanka in 1818 or 1915, Sri Lanka cannot escape from the question they ask from the MR government; Why he has not implemented what he himself had promised to Ban Ki Moon and Manmohan Singh, days after May 19, 2009? There was an escape strategy from this trap if he was listening to the Sinhala Buddhists who helped him to become president in 2005. Instead the perception is that he is getting advice from the Catholic Cardinal and the Christian black-whites.

So many facts are so clear.

1. HR of former CJ Bandaranayaka or Lasantha Wickrematunga or terrorists killed in May 2009 is not why American is after MahindaR. These are used as smoke screen to hide the true intention which global and regional geopolitics. If there are two countries in the island America can use conflicts between the two countries to capture or get access to Trinco harbor in the north and to install an openly pro-American, Christian UNP puppet government in the south.

2. America is willing to forget about HR, if a country is open for exploitation. There is no country in the world with oil that America had close connections despite HR problems. HR started after Christians in Europe killed each other and to punish those who fought against America and England. Recent disclosures of America willing to withdraw March Geneva plan if MR agrees to certain conditions prove the bogus nature of America’s crusade over HR.

3. HR has become a big business for some white professional entrepreneurs in the west who are self-employed in a lucrative profit-making NGO network. R2P with American university links was the safest job security for these NGO employees. After the war Sri Lankan army found that so many NGOs did not use funds to help Tamil people but themselves and a few Prabhakaran agents. Yet, Sri Lankan government could not effectively regulate or monitor NGOs even now in 2014.

4. When the American establishment wants to achieve something it does not act in a hurry. It waits for 30 or 40 years if that is one is needed. The end of communist Russia took 70 years. The creation of WTO took waiting for 40 years. Thus it can wait even another decade to break Sri Lanka into two. By that time perhaps, MR, RanilW and SarathF are all gone.

5. The use of UNO for American purposes became derailed after UN Security Council veto power of China and Russia. So America found UN HRC-Geneva with R2P. The voting in this is not by countries using this principle or that principle. It is based on exploitation, religious influence and bribes. This is why what Dayan Jayatilleke boasts as his 2009 victory is no victory. America will go on until it gets what it wants.

6. All this means Sri Lanka should look inward and handle its domestic front properly, the Buddhist way. There is no question that:

a. Sri Lanka needs a new constitution;

b. Sri Lanka needs a new civil administration system which fits with its ecology;

c. a system to get rid of corruption, crime, waste and inefficiency;

d. a system that will reduce spatial inequality and income disparity;

7. After defeating a 30-year old terrorist outfit MR gained world’s respect and he could have become a model ruler for the Third world leaders. The problem in Sri Lanka was corrupt party-politics after 1948 which created an economic problem and an ethnic problem. The economic problem was gap between the rich and the poor and the disparity between Colombo and the villages.  The ethnic problem was two-fold: the fear of the Sinhalese of Tamil Nadu aggression and the desire of Tamil politicians to have some power of governance (because they were deprived of the leading roles that had under the colonial system of divide and rule). If Sinhala politicians used Buddhist principles they could have solved the two ethnic issues long time ago. Dudley S and Mrs. B had the best of times to do that, but they did not.

8. If MR is willing he can still solve this ethnic problem. The first step is to demarcate GSN units using ecology-hydrology. The second step is to create a ten member committee elected by people on non-political party basis to decide on their local day-to-day living issues. This was what LLRC also recommended, but ignored by Lalith Weeratunga. If LW had as his implementation plan the village level empowerment, then Wigneswaran or Sison or Biswal cannot confront MR the way they are doing now. The irony was that MR was willing to take this Jana Sabha path, but suddenly succumbed to the Divi Neguma bait.

If the thinking is that March Geneva could be a beggar’s wound for elections, people will not forget that MR created a serpent in NPC which now negates the war victory won by GotabhayaR and the Hasalaka Hero. Not Mrs. Chandrika, but if any other neutral person like Ven. Madudluwawe Sobhita contests election MR will be facing an uphill battle because only a person like Sarath F who will talk with his foot in his mouth.

 

‘Distorting history could lead to dissension’

February 2nd, 2014

By Janaka Perera

Distorting Sri Lanka’s history could lead to dissension, warned speakers at a meeting held recently at the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress Hall, Colombo.  The occasion was the launch of a book titled, The Story of Sigiri & Pre-Portuguese Christianity in Sri Lanka?   Professor Nimal de Silva, Professor Emeritus of the Moratuwa University, former Head of the Post Graduate Institute of Archaeological Research (PGIRA) affiliated to the Kelaniya University and former Director General of the Cultural Triangle has edited the book published by the Centre for Buddhist Action which organized the well-attended meeting.

Its focus was on two theories of fabricated history found in school text books.  One is that Christianity in this country is nearly 2000 years old (Catholicism text book – Grade 8) and the myth that Arabs were in the island before the Sinhalese arrived (Islam Text Book ” Grade 11).

Among those who addressed the meeting were, Professor Nimal Silva, Venerable Ellawala Medhananda Archaeological Researcher, Professor Sirimal Ranwella, expert on stone inscriptions, Dr. Susantha Goonatilake, President of the Royal Asiatic Society Sri Lanka, Dr. Praneeth Abeysundera of the Sri Jayewardenepura University, Jagath Sumathipala, President of the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress, and the Ven.  Hegoda Vipassi, Head of the Dharma Research Institute, Ratmalana.

A panel of writers comprising Dr. Susantha Goonatilake, Dr. Nandani Karunathilake, B.A. Ariyatilake, Sirisaman Wijetunga, Prof. Sirima Ranwella, Dr. Ananda W.P. Guruge, Prof. Ranaweera Gunawardane, Rajiv Malhotra and Aravindan Nilakandan has contributed to The Story of Sigiri & Pre-Portuguese Christianity in Sri Lanka?

Prof. Nimal de Silva notes in the foreword although the world has seen the birth of many civilizations very few of them have recorded facts.  The Sinhala Buddhist civilization is one of them.

He says: “What is selectively recorded as history is what one experiences by reading and hearing. These written records of many writers relating to a particular period can be compared and even rectified after comparison.”

The inability of the Christian churches to identify themselves with Sri Lanka’s pre-colonial history posed no problem to them as long as colonial rule lasted, the speakers noted.  Their complacency had continued into the immediate post-independent years.  Their objective was to dilute in the name of multiculturalism the country’s predominantly Buddhist and secondarily Hindu culture which formed its national identity before the European encounter. No previous foreign intrusions caused such destruction to the country’s traditional religious environment as done by the Portuguese and those who followed them.

When Sinhala Buddhists after 1948 became increasingly aware of their past and realized the need to revive that true image of the island, the churches realized their survival depended on falsifying to their advantage the island’s history prior to the arrival of the Portuguese.

The participants in the meeting drew attention to the fact that a country’s history is built by the community which is the source of its predominant culture.  In the case of Sri Lanka it is the community which is identified with the island’s ancient name, Sinhale (Land of the Lions) and speaks that language.  The speakers emphasized that it is unethical for any other community to claim equal creator-status with regard to the island’s national identity although no one denies invaders, traders and explorers arrived in the country and some of them settled in the country during various stages of her history.

Venerable Ellawala Medhananda said that the conspiracy to distort Sri Lanka’s history had begun sometime back.  The false theory that there was a Sinhala Christian community in the pre-colonial era is being pushed forward like the so-called Tamil Homeland fiction.

He added that the ancient chronicles like Mahawansa and Deepawansa mentions ancient Lanka’s trade ties and diplomatic relations with even countries like Rome. But none of these mention a native Christian community in Sri Lanka before the Europeans arrived.   Ven. Medhananda regretted that such an eminent scholar and historian like Prof. Senarath Paranavithana lost his bearings towards the latter part of his life and referred to a Christian community based on archaeologically unsubstantiated information. Calling the deities associated with Sri Pada the ‘God of the Adam’s Peak’ was absurd when traditionally and historically the peak was known as Samanthakoota Parwatha or Samanala Kanda and the deity was known as Saman Deviyo.  The term ‘Adam’s Peak’ was obviously coined by Europeans.

Venerable Hegoda Vipassi said that the Sinhala book Lakdiwa Kithunu Puraanaya (History Christianity in Lanka) was written without factual evidence and without reference to irrefutable historical sources.  No religious harmony can be built up in this country if such distortions are promoted, he warned.

The Catholic Church is citing the discovery of Nestorian Cross in Anuradhpura to indirectly hint at a Catholic presence in Sri Lanka before the arrival of the Portuguese. B.A. Ariyatilleke in his contribution, ‘The Rise and The Demise of Nestorianism in Asia’ asks “Were the Nestorians, Catholics? Decidedly NOT! Because Nestorius and his followers were condemned as heretics, anathematized and banished from the Western Church.  A terrible damnation in the fifth century!”

The organizers stressed that history is history good or bad. If any foreign occupier was responsible for violent deeds that too become an indelible part of the country’s history which is a discipline which cannot be revised according to the likes and dislikes of interested parties. The preference of religious and ethnic minorities to be in water-tight compartments paying no heed to confirmed history would no doubt undermine National harmony in the long run.

This suppression of facts is seen in the Grade 8 text book on Catholicism. It refers to Dutch persecution of Catholics but makes no reference to Portuguese persecuting Buddhists and destroying Buddhist places of worship, according to The Story of Sigiri & Pre-Portuguese Christianity in Sri Lanka? It states that if there was a pre-Portuguese Christian community in Anuradhapura they were Persians.  The book notes that former Archbishop, His Eminence Oswald Gomis is silent on this aspect.

A representative of the Centre for Buddhist Action told the gathering that legal action had been filed against an extremist Christian Group for likening the Buddha to a pig and Ven. Sanghamitta to a prostitute.  He regretted that there was no really effective law to deal with these lunatics.

The Venerable Kirama Wimalajothi, Director of the Buddhist Cultural Institute and Head of the Bauddha Mandiraya was also present.

 


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