‘Peace vendors’ and ‘sustainable peace’
Posted on September 15th, 2009

S. Akurugoda

As per a news item reported in The Sunday Island dated 13th September 2009, the government has reasons to believe that the US was rapidly making a case of war crimes against Sri Lanka on the basis of the conduct of her armed forces, police as well as the political leadership during the recently concluded war.

According to this report, former Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Mr. Robert Blake, now based at the State Department was behind the move. Two self appointed ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”analysts of Sri Lankan conflict and peace dynamics and think tanksƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ from Colombo were also said to be a party to the US move.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  What these ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”peace vendorsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ basically said at a meeting in Washington was what Blake wanted them to say, according to the news item. When questioned by The Sunday Island, one of them admitted that they met Blake on the day before the hearing at the US Institute of Peace. According to this ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”peace vendorƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, one of the issues he focused on at the meeting was IDPs.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Peace vendorsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, who were very critical of the Sri Lankan governmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s move against terrorism to achieve peace until 19th of May (the day the President of Sri Lanka declared a military victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and whose lucrative lives highly dependent on the foreign funds channelled by various ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”conflict vendorsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of the west, are back in businesses again.

On 28th August 2009, the said duos were reported addressing a close-door meeting convened by the US Institute for Peace (USIP) in Washington D.C. According to the organisers, the pair said to have spoken about the current political and social context in Sri Lanka and the pathways to a ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”sustainable peace and reconciliationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. Another notable participant of this discussion was Teresita Schaffer of The Center for Strategic and International Studies, one of the former US Ambassadors to Sri Lanka, who was very critical of the Sri Lankan government during her tenure of office in Sri Lanka.

On 25th August 2009, just few days before the commencement of the said close-door meeting, Channel 4 Television in UK telecasted an unauthenticated video showing the alleged extrajudicial execution of a Tamil prisoner by the Sri Lankan Forces in Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The video is alleged to have been made by the propaganda unit of the LTTE and released to the Channel 4 by a group calling itself ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Journalists for Democracy in Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.

On 26th August 2009, a Norwegian newspaper website Aftenposten.no published a statement from their International Development Minister Erik Solheim urging the UN to investigate the charges of war crimes in Sri Lanka.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  By looking at the statement of Erik Solheim and his strong eager to attack Sri Lanka, one could wonder whether this highly unsuccessful peace broker has presumably taken over the role of Kunaran Pathmanathan (KP), merely for frustration, after KPƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s arrests by the Sri Lankan defence authorities.

The above occurrences, almost one after the other, are not mere coincidences, but are deliberate attempts by highly unsuccessful personalities who appear under the name of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”sustainable peaceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ but whose existence depending upon the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”existence of conflicts and instabilityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in Sri Lanka since that is the only pathway to achieve sustainable ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”peace of mind of their ownƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.

While turning a blind eye, wilfully and deliberately, to almost every atrocity committed by the LTTE and their sympathisers in the west, these ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”re-colonisation agentsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ of the west were the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”alternative propagandistsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ for the outfit since the inception of their respective NGOs hidden under very attractive names.

It is not only the so-call peace activists who are interested in the issue of IDPS. There are several others who lost their income, including arm dealers, due to the military defeat of LTTE, World politics and arms trade are closely linked. Arms manufacture and dealing is a highly profitable business.

Western Arms Manufacturers needs battlefields to sell their Arms. An estimated 500,000 individuals dies in small arms-conflict every year, approximately one death per minute. It is estimated that yearly, over 1 trillion dollars are spent on military expenditure worldwide. The US is the top supplier of weapons to the developing world, accounting for around 36 percent of worldwide weapons sales, followed by Britain and Germany.

It is interesting to note that none of the above peace kingpins have asked the UN to investigate the mass killing of Iraqis by US-led forces. A study, published in prestigious medical journal The Lancet, estimated that over 600,000 Iraqis had been killed as a result of the invasion as of July 2006. The estimate that over a million Iraqis have died, received independent confirmation from a British polling agency in September 2007. Opinion Research Business estimated that 1.2 million Iraqis have been killed violently since the US-led invasion. Yet, these ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”peace vendorsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ go to Washington on an invitation of the US Institute of Peace for a hearing on the situation in Sri Lanka to voice the so-called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”sustainable peace and reconciliationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in Sri Lanka.

The aim of all the interested parties above is, no doubt, to get the LTTE carders out of IDP camps as soon as possible, equip them with arms and ammunition and to regain what they lost while showing the world that the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”conflictƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ cannot be solved militarily.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  To achieve this end, tarnishing the image of Sri Lanka and its people, international pressure and curtail of foreign loans and grants are essential to create turmoil leading to a regime change.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Although these bogus peace activities have failed to recognize ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”peaceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, we (the ordinary people of Sri Lanka) are experiencing ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”peaceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ since 19th May 2009. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Simply, death and destruction in the country due to terrorism are not to be seen since that date. What moral rights or qualifications that these so-called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”think tanksƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ have to teach us on ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”how to sustain peaceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, when their theories and practices on ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”how to achieve peaceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ have proven wrong and futile in the past.

The extent of damage done to the image of Sri Lanka by the foreign funded bogus ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”conflict and peace dynamicsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and their part in national treachery cannot be overlooked. Time has come to probe the activities of these ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”peace vendorsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ to prevent any chances of further death and destruction due to terrorism and to achieve ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”sustainable peaceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in Sri Lanka.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ S. Akurugoda

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