How legitimate are the recommendations of the “Elders”
Posted on August 7th, 2010

Shenali Waduge

A former presidential spokesman has forwarded a list of recommendations given in a statement issued on 3rd August 2010 by “The Elders” calling upon the Governments of India, Japan, China & US to impress upon GOSL to implement 7 remedial steps that 14 members of the retired “elders” club have drawn up.

 The Elders was founded in 2007 by Nelson Mandela. Its membership has 10 active leaders & 2 honorary members with Desmond Tutu functioning as its Chairman. Aung San Suu Kyi, Martti Ahtisaari, Kofi Annan, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Gro Harlem Brundtland, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Graca Machel and Mary Robinson make up the rest of the membership.

 For these 14 members to spend time, gathering info, analyzing & rationalizing & to come up with practically the duplicate of allegations & recommendations been demanded of the GOSL (by the West & INGOs/NGOs) seems a little too coincidental.

 In a world where $1.5 trillion is utilized for military spending (by the richest countries of the world) could not these Elders demand that this money be spent towards 1 billion children who currently live in poverty (1 in 2 children in the world). 640 million who live without adequate shelter, 400 million who have no access to safe water, 270 million who have no access to health services? Would it not bring far greater merit to these Elders to actually help towards eradicating poverty, providing education to all, ensuring health & safe drinking water to all the people of the world?

 Why have they not demanded from the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council who together account for more than 90% of global arms sales & who have no qualms about who they sell arms to “¦why don’t these Elders send across recommendations to these larger & more powerful countries for the power to change lies in their hands?

We cannot hide from the reality that manufacture & sale of arms & ammunition are purely for commercial gains. Why would countries spend billions to manufacture arms if they were not meant to be sold”¦would they care to evaluate who they would sell arms to “¦would ethics hardly come into the picture? Would the US that survives on credit facility given by the Chinese stop purchasing from China because of human rights abuses”¦.? Global economy is such that countries cannot do without the other & it is a game of survival where all international trade, economic, social & other such pacts & agreements cater to ensuring countries & governments have their way “”…” the issues like human rights, freedom, media freedom etc”¦are only ploys to pressurizing governments that are resistant to the dictates of the western hegemony.

 The case of the example of Israel “cooperating” with the UN is flawed because the immediate response of the Israeli Government no sooner the UNSG announced his intention of appointing a panel the Israeli ambassador (Michael Oren) to Washington was quick to respond “we are rejecting an international commission. We are discussing with the Obama administration a way in which our inquiry will take place”¦.Israel is a democratic nation. Israel has the ability and the right to investigate itself, not to be investigated by any international board”. However, since then much lobbying has in fact led to Israel finally accepting the UNSG panel into the attack on the Gaza bound aid flotilla, however the Israel Government has stressed that it would not allow the committee to interrogate Israeli officers, civilians or soldiers”¦one wonders who the panel will actually end up speaking to!

 It’s a foregone conclusion that the UN findings will be a watered down version from the truth”¦similar other UN findings have helped to justify this conclusion.

 Much of the data the UN has gathered, standardized & published as statistics have been manipulated to further policy priorities. Some of these data have been deliberately exaggerated too. Leaked emails have found key scientists of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change guilty of undermining the case for global warming. So too was the death estimates in the democratic republic of Congo by the UN. The UN instead of conducting its own findings had used a report by the International Rescue Committee which claimed staggering 5.4m deaths in 1998 possibly to justify increasing UN presence in Congo where many corruptions by UN officials took place. Similar too has been the blown up versions by UN on the AIDS epidemic where contrary to the overestimations of deaths, the UN was forced to acknowledge that deaths had been decreasing. To these gross manipulations by UN includes the hyped up 0.7% aid target as well as its use of data given by groups like ICG, HRW which questions the reliability of UN data as well raise eyebrows as to who really is pulling the strings & who actually benefits by these manipulations.

 The author proclaims that South Africa today is a “vibrant democratic rainbow nation””¦.why would statistics then showcase a South Africa that on an average 50 people are killed every day, South Africa ranks 123rd out of 144 countries in terms of being ‘least peaceful’ , according to the June 2009 Global Peace Index. Annually on an average 18,438 house robberies takes place, while there are junctions which are signposted as carjacking blackspots & areas wherein drivers will avoid stopping even at red lights due to the risk of hijack.

 It is a everyone’s right to form & vocalize their opinions but it is purely another matter that what they say has to be accepted, heeded or implemented. Therefore the right to voice & the right to have their views enacted are not associated with the other. Additionally, we all have preconceived notions of people in office. More often than not no sooner they are out of office the true nature of their role, their policies & their shortcomings emerge not that while in office these have been submerged. The authors own head “”…” the former President now taking as a paragon of virtue may need be reminded of her inadequacies, her own shortcomings, and most of all her own corrupt regime before she accuse others.

 It is in this similar vein that we look upon the list of “Elders”. Their names unfortunately are synonymous with issues that they cannot deny their own accountability for. Top on that list is Kofi Annan, the former UN Secretary General, whose legacy is a list of unimpressive achievements that covered UN missions in Rwanda, Bosnia, genocide in Sudan, Congo scandals, Oil-for-Food which all kept adding to the UN’s ill-repute as an international body that was no better than the countries & dictators it was pointing fingers at. When Kofi Annan appoints German activist Achim Steiner as Executive Director of the UN Environment Program months after Steiner helped award Kofi Annan a cash gift of $500,000 it again questions the integrity of Annan & why as an international public servant, Kofi Annan should accept money from a UN member state, a private foundation whether it is an award or a gift. How about in 2004, when a report from the UN’s in-house watchdog revealed that Annan personally dismissed sexual harassment charges made by an American female UN staffer against the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Annan overruled the independent UN investigative panel which backed the women’s claims. Kofi Annan even sent a condolence message from his office as UNSG to a dead LTTE area leader. How can Annan be preaching to others?

 Then there is another controversial figure “”…” Marti Ahtisaari who is being accused of being paid by Albanian mafia to produce his recommendations in favor of Kosovo’s independence.

 Desmond Tutu’s hostility towards Sri Lanka a country he has never visited should be linked to Father S. J. Emmanuel, the former Vicar General of the Jaffna Diocese who is a key figure in the LTTE international network & would have greatly steered Tutu towards an anti-Sinhala & anti-Sri Lanka approach. It is impossible to imagine who these personages who have not even visited a nation, moved with ordinary citizens can determine with authority & cry “foul” “ethnic discrimination” etc”¦. & even propose solutions for Sri Lanka.

 Jimmy Carter a former US President is no better & he may like to explain why he would support dictators like Marcos & also explain how his post-presidential meddling in foreign affairs has cost America dearly both in terms of international credibility & international prestige.

 What these Elders are first requested to do is collect a list of all Tamils & Muslims holding key portfolios in public & private sector of Sri Lanka, summarize how Tamils & Muslims are domiciled throughout the country, compare their income levels against those of the Sinhalese “”…” they may be surprised that the majority of both Tamils & Muslims are living amongst the Sinhalese. The most important question these elders need to ask themselves & document is what instances are there of Tamils being denied that which Sinhalese are not. Where are Sinhalese favored above other ethnic groups, do Sinhalese not go through bureaucracy at Government & private levels, do Sinhalese not get punished for crimes committed, do all Sinhalese have homes, incomes, education, water etc”¦.in understanding the reality of the ground situation all these claims regarding ethnic discrimination etc will prove unsubstantiated & false. It is by understand the reality that would necessarily question all those party to these false claims. They seem to enjoy vilifying Sri Lanka because these are people who are members of organizations who to maintain their livelihood & means of income are paid to create strife, create tensions, create situations & create a scenario of chaos for it would generate the presence of foreign Governments who are eyeing to broaden their income gamut & other organizations that enjoy using “humanitarian” issues to prey on innocent people.

 This is the reality of what prevails the world over & how ordinary people are fooled.

 Shenali Waduge

One Response to “How legitimate are the recommendations of the “Elders””

  1. De Costa Says:

    A bunch of expired corrupted criminals.

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