An Island of Mistrust – National Post, November 11,2010
Posted on November 17th, 2010

Ira de Silva London, Ontario, Canada

Hon. Bob Rae, M.P.
Foreign Affairs Critic of the Liberal Party
House of Commons
Ottawa, Ontario
Dear Sir:
Having read the article in the National Post of November 11,2010, my initial reaction was to dismiss it as it is from a person who speaks for the Liberal Party of Canada on Sri Lanka which party has a proven track record of supporting the Tamil terrorists of Sri Lanka. While Canada was supposedly denouncing terrorism in the world and signing conventions to indicate it’s policy, the Liberals were openly supporting the Tamil Tiger terrorist group  in their attempt to divide Sri Lanka by terrorism.  Liberal Party politicians openly supported the Tamil terrorist sympathisers in Canada and helped raise funds in Canada for terrorism in Sri Lanka all the while professing to show concern for the people of Sri Lanka and attempting to convey to the world that they had a solution for the conflict. 

The reality was that their only concern was to  get votes at elections in Canada by  supporting Tamil terrorist sympathisers. Statements made by members of the Liberal Party clearly indicated  that they did not have any factual knowledge of the conflict and could only repeat the falsehoods provided to them by the LTTE propaganda machine without any attempt at verification. They did not have any concern that by their actions of supporting terrorists they were responsible for thousands being killed. Since joining the Liberal Party, perhaps to help your political agenda within the party, you have tried to show that you are  the “leader” of the Liberal pack in Toronto, that you have “knowledge” on Sri Lanka and therefore have the answers to Sri Lanka’s problems.  
Although it may not be considered diplomatic  I have decided to write to you and copy others in the Liberal Party because once again you try to create the perception that you are an “authority” on Sri Lanka which you are not, that you are unbiased which you are not and that you have concern for Sri Lanka and it’s future which most Sri Lankans would dispute. To project this image of knowledge and “authority” you write about Sri Lanka. In writings such as your latest, you stand shoulder to shoulder with the leaders of the LTTE in the Toronto area  and criticize the Government of Sri Lanka.  Perhaps you are merely satisfying your LTTE sympathiser vote base who are desperate to keep alive their dream of dividing Sri Lanka and are using you to continue the political backing for them in Canada but be assured that you are not fooling the majority of Sri Lankans.  

You may be able to fool your fellow members of the Liberal Party but the majority of  Sri Lankans  are well aware of your alliance with the LTTE supporters and your failed attempts to find a “solution” to Tamil terrorism and tag it with a “made in the west” label. They realise that it is a continuation of the colonial mindset of the west, perpetuating the racist idea that only those who colonised  countries by invasion, war and repressive rule know how to deal with and formulate policy for them – your mindset is reflected in the following “it requires far more consistent international pressure, a willingness to punish recalcitrant bad behaviour”. If you were acting on principle, based on the documented evidence of war crimes by the U.S. in Iraq and Afghanistan made known to the world by Wikkileaks, you should have  made a statement in parliament calling for an immediate inquiry of war crimes but so far have maintained a deafening silence. In contrast you try to to hang Sri Lanka on mere unsubstantiated allegations. It is indicative of a lack of principle that has been the characteristic of the members of the Liberal Party in their attitude to Sri Lanka.  

My purpose in writing this to you is to let you know as clearly as possible that, in my view, most Sri Lankans, other than those who support the LTTE, know that you are not an authority and that you are merely trying to use Sri Lanka for your own political purposes. This view is  based on the statements you have made in parliament as well as other public statements. For example, I would remind you of what you said in parliament on June 2,2009 after the western countries had lost the vote at the U.N. in Geneva in their collective attempt to condemn Sri Lanka for the way it conducted it’s successful effort to rid the country of the LTTE hierarchy who had terrorised the country for decades. Your attitude was that regardless of the fact that the western effort, which included Canada, had been defeated, you still were pushing for an enquiry. You said, “It is clear that it is now necessary that there should be public enquiries into the events that have taken place in Sri Lanka. What will the Minister do to ensure that an international enquiry is carried out with regard to this question?” That was the same script that the Tamil terrorist sympathisers were broadcasting at that time and that theme carries on even today. Once again you seem to have obliged them with this latest “writing”, in other words you are carrying on your crusade for your Tamil terrorist supporters, hoping that by doing so you will ensure their votes at a future election. By your own admission you want to punish Sri Lanka for what you perceive as “bad behaviour”. After the exposure by Wikkileaks I expected that you would use the same phrase in Parliament because it is clear now that there should be a public enquiry but you failed to do so. There is no question of applying consistent international pressure much less a willingness to punish except for Sri Lanka.
In response to your question, what lessons are we to draw from the Sri Lankan conflict, a few that come to mind are:
Western politicians who want to pander to the Tamil terrorist sympathisers overseas in the hope of getting their votes will continue to promote the division of Sri Lanka only now they will talk of the lack of democratic rights, authoritarianism, repression of the media, lack of diversity, autonomy etc. forgetting that for years when they were actively meddling in Sri Lanka believing that they knew best what was good for Sri Lanka, the country was in a far worse state with rampant terrorist violence and the people living in fear. 
The western belief that they can force other countries to their way of thinking, which is mainly a colonial mindset, is very much alive and when a country does not get cowed as in the case of Sri Lanka, they will find other ways to coerce. You write “while the West worries, no one is prepared to do anything about it”. You forget that the West did it’s utmost to help the LTTE for decades and in 2009 did it’s utmost to save the leadership of the LTTE  presumably because it was worried.  It was evident to Sri Lankans that they were not “worried” about the terrorism, suicide bombings, climate of fear and other effects of terrorism, the “worry” was because their plans for Sri Lanka were about to be defeated. Their meddling to save the worlds most ruthless terrorists had not succeeded.

While the west has no problems in invading other countries supposedly to fight terrorism, terrorism will be supported if the terrorists deliver to the West what the West wants. When the West kills thousands of civilians and displaces millions in their adventures in other countries, the resulting deaths are either hidden by a supine western press or are passed off as “collateral damage” and the millions of displaced suffer for years in camps. In the case of Sri Lanka, you and your colleagues raised a hue and cry regarding deaths in a theatre of war in Sri Lanka ignoring the thousands of deaths caused by the terrorists on civilians and the armed forces. You never considered the term “collateral damage”, it is always a war crime or a human rights violation.  

While displacing millions and condemning them to years of life in camps, you could not find enough words to criticise Sri Lanka when 300,000 Tamils rescued from the LTTE ,who were using them as human shields, were housed in camps temporarily. The fact that 290,000 have been rehabilitated in their former areas is never given credit. That the Sri Lankan people willingly came to the assistance of these people, that they were provided with shelter, fed three meals a day, provided medical facilities had post offices, banks, phone service set up etc. was never acknowledged. The irony was that these accusations were supposedly based on phone calls made by these Tamils from the camps to their friends and relatives in Canada using cell phones. How many of the displaced in Iraq and Afghanistan have cell phones to let the world know of their plight? Who are they to call? Have you heard from these helpless people? If so, what have you done? 
Sri Lankans are well aware of the statements made by you and your other Liberal Party comrades such as Jim Karygianis who wanted the Canadian Government to have Sri Lanka pushed out of the Commonwealth. You were also involved in that spectacle. 
That the end of the war has not reduced the efforts by the LTTE supporters and their political backers in Canada to divide the country.
You write that  “Sri Lanka’s success at convincing the United Nations Human Rights Council that there was no merit in an international review of its conduct of the war, is a clear sign that severe repression can take place with impunity”. The vote in Geneva could also be interpreted that most of the world did not agree with the West,  that in fact there was no merit in an international review because there was no basis except in the minds of those who believed that Sri Lanka should be punished and that it was NOT a clear sign of severe repression. Sri Lanka has suffered from severe repression by western countries for 450 years, could recognize the clear signs of further attempts at severe repression but in this instance they were able to stop that same repression being imposed by the West. 
You state “becoming involved in the politics of Sri Lanka has affected me deeply. I could see from the outset that peace and reconciliation were an unlikely result, but the extent of the failure, and the full dimensions of the violence involved have forced me to recognize the difficulty of “sharing experiences.” Your involvement in Sri Lankan politics has affected the people of Sri Lanka deeply too. They were terrorised with the help of Canadian politicians who contributed greatly to the dimensions of violence in Sri Lanka.  They did not want to “share your experiences” because they were “deeply affected” by  terrorism from Canada. You state that “at the outset you could see that peace and reconciliation were unlikely.” Is that why you decided to lend your wholehearted support to the LTTE sympathisers? Was the division of the country your only solution? The people of Sri Lanka are thankful that you failed because your involvement led to the increase of Tamil terrorism.  

There are many other lessons that we could learn but the most important one is that Sri Lankans know that Canada does not care about Sri Lanka because of the actions of the members of the Liberal Party, that Canada supported and helped the terrorists to murder them and contributed to the violence and fear, that Canada permitted and helped fund the terrorists, and that Canadian politicians stand shoulder to shoulder with the Tamil terrorist sympathisers in this country against Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka learned the hard way that Canada could not be relied on to help it against terrorism because Canada was part of it.  It was made clear to them that you had no interest in them except to further your own political agenda. If mistrust was created, it was because of the manner in which you and the members of the Liberal Party and Liberal Governments treated Sri Lanka. 
This article does nothing to show that your view has changed. The mistrust can only be cleared when you, speaking for yourself or on behalf of the other Liberal Members of Parliament who regularly shout themselves hoarse in Parliament condemning the Government of Sri Lanka, reverse your anti Sri Lanka attitude.  If you write any more about your involvement and “worries” for Sri Lanka I hope it will be prefaced with an apology to Sri Lankans for Canada’s support of terrorism. That is the least that can be done. A statement in Parliament to that effect would be a good start.
Yours truly,
Ira de Silva
London, Ontario

One Response to “An Island of Mistrust – National Post, November 11,2010”

  1. S de Silva Says:

    Well said Ira, as always! I would strongly suggest that you forward this under your signature to the UK foreign Office and other UK MPs David Miliband, Simon Hughes, Keith Vas etc asking them also to read in their names into the Canadian Liberals you quote – S de Silva – London

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