NGOs and Rama Mani
Posted on December 29th, 2010

S. Akurugoda

A writer, who happened to be a member ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ( since 1953 to 1998) of our highly unsuccessful diplomatic missions to counter the propaganda machinery of the LTTE, has echoed his sympathy for notable NGO activists in an article under the title ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”NGOs and Rama ManiƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ appeared one of the local daily news paper last week.

The writer begins his own fulmination saying ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Fulminations have been going on against the NGOs for many long years, but as far as I can make out hardly anything really serious has been established against them, except in a few instances. The local NGOs most under attack have been the ICES, the Centre for Policy Alternatives, and the National Peace Council, but they continue to flourish regardless. One is forced to the conclusion that the fulminations have behind them racists and ultranationalists who have unbalanced views about the NGOs because the latter speak up for the minorities. The former, I believe, constitute a major problem for Sri Lanka, not the NGOs.

Let us rush through some of the above claims.

Rama Mani

Rama Mani was the Executive Director of the International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES) from January 2007 to March 2008. She was sacked over crisis initiated within the said NGO. The reasons mentioned for her dismissal was financial impropriety, removal of material from office and for having a contentious relationship with several senior researchers at ICES.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Mani has been strongly associated with R2P and one of its ardent advocates, former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans. Whatever the so-called ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”liberal mindedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and politically motivatedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ intellectualƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ say, R2P means that if a state cannot protect its own citizens from crimes being committed against them such as genocide, ethnic cleansing and other forms of human rights violations, the international community through the United Nations Security Council has a right to intervene, the last resort being even military intervention.

Rama ManiƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ gang, both in and outside Sri Lanka, continued to raise human rights slogan in order to establish a UNHCHR office in Sri Lanka with the intention of bringing a UN peace keeping force. They continued to make use of humanitarian issues to ensure easy access to their agencies to provide underhand medical supplies and other military assistance to the LTTE as done in the past.

The issue of communiquƒÆ’†’ƒ”š‚© under the heading ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Return to War: Limiting the DamageƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ from The International Crisis Group headed by the notorious Gareth Evans, who was once ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”invitedƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ by Rama Mani to deliver the Neelan Tirichevan memorial lecture and attempted to portray Sri Lanka as a country which needed intervention under R 2 P, has given a clear indication of what she was planning to do to our country.

What NGOs preached ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

If we are to find out what these ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”innocentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ NGOs have said and done ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”on behalf of the so-called minorities, the easiest way is to go through any of the pro-LTTE websites. Almost all media releases, statements, activities etc of these notable NGOs were of immense value to the armed separatists.

Among hundreds of statements found, I give below few of such statements to show the extent of damage done to the image of the country and its people, while ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”speaking forƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ the so-called minorities.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

LTTE was not a terrorist group, but a group of militants fought for right to self-determination within a clearly demarcated territorial space.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  The conflict must be viewed as a struggle between two nations since Tamils are a distinct community. Tamils have the right to demand a separate State until their aspirations are met- that is to give LTTE control over the North-East region. The LTTE is invincible and have demonstrated its capacity with its attack on military bases and destroyed millions of dollars worth of economic assets. LTTE is committed to the nation-building and state-building and its vision of a solution is displaying a commendable degree of political maturity”.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Sri Lanka is the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”the worst place in the world for civiliansƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. Violent actions are committed by the Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s military. The government and allied forces are responsible for abductions, assassinations and disappearances, rapes, threats to media freedom, human rights violations, genocide of the Tamil people etc.”

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-International intervention (either the UN or the US or both) and solutions from outside is a must and the people would have to accept, for some time, two armies, with two commands before a final solution emergesƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.


ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Regardless of who is responsible, the suicide bombing indicates the growing absence of confidence in the integrity of the government institutionsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚.
ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Sri Lanka is an ethnic majoritarian and communal and a full-blown terror state where asƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  the LTTE as a harmless liberation movementƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚

. “Actions are needed to counter politics of militant Sinhalese nationalism, since it is the Sinhala -Buddhist extremist groups who cause trouble and generate violence”

We witnessed how these unarmed activists were repeating the above statements like ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”mantrasƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ almost daily during the last two decades, causing more harm and destruction than the armed enemies, in order to provide the necessary moral support to the terrorist outfit.

The lobbyists NGOs and their admirers imagine themselves ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”liberal minded intellectuals with balanced views ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, love to use the terms ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-chauvinistsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Sinhala Buddhist RacistsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-Sinhala Buddhist hegemonyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-ultranationalist with unbalanced viewsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ etc in their statements to attack those Sinhalese specially Sinhala Buddhists who talk/ write againstƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  separatism merely to cover-up their own racism and/or religious/ political fundamentalism.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-FlourishingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ NGOs

Lobbyist NGOs exist for a variety of reasons, usually to further the political or social agendas of their members or funding agencies. As the name implies, NGOs are expected to be created by private persons or organizations with no participation or representation of any government. Even though the term “non-governmental organisation” implies independence from governments, the NGOs under question depend entirely on foreign governments and agencies. Thus, the lobbyist NGOs appear to be imperialist in nature and that they fulfil a similar function to that of the clergy during the high colonial era.

According to media reports, the Canadian HC had advised the ICES that its failure to reinstate Rama Mani would be detrimental to their relationship and may endanger future Canadian support. It is said that these organizations among themselves had received Rs 200 million from FLICT (Facilitating Local Initiatives for Conflict Resolution). It was also transpired that the Ford Foundation had funded the ICES to the tune of Rs 76 million.

Thus, no wonder why NGOs 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 businessesƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  and flourishing again.

What NGOs do

Last year, in August, Two NGO activists from Colombo were said to be a party to the US move of making a case of war crimes against Sri Lanka.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ What these notable NGO activists basically said at a meeting, in Washington D.C. with former Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Robert Blake, was what Blake wanted them to say. On August 28, 2009, the said duos were reported addressing a close-door meeting convened by the US Institute of Peace (USIP). Another notable participant of this discussion was Teresita Schaffer of the Centre 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 August 25, 2009, just few days before the commencement of the said close-door meeting, Channel 4 Television in UK telecast an unauthenticated video showing the alleged extrajudicial execution of a Tamil prisoner by the Security Forces in Sri Lanka. 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 August 26, 2009, a Norwegian newspaper website Aftenposten.no published a statement from Erik Solheim, urging the UN to investigate the charges of war crimes in Sri Lanka.
In March this year, Ban Ki-moon telephoned President Mahinda Rajapaksa and informed his intention to appoint a panel to advice him (i.e. the UNSG) on Sri LankaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s alleged war crime charges. The above call from UNSG came just few days after David Milliband, former British Foreign Secretary and another apologist of the LTTE, addressed the World Tamil Forum, and the former British PM, Gordon Brown, met the said Forum delegates.

It is interesting to note that the appointment of the Ban Ki-moonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s panel and the announcement of the European UnionƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s conditional ultimatum given on GSP Plus came almost at the same time.

The above occurrences, almost one after the other, are not mere coincidences, but are deliberate attempts by highly unsuccessful elements within our soil, who appear under the name of so-called pioneers of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”peace and reconciliationƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ but whose existence depending upon the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”existence of conflicts and terrorƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ in Sri Lanka, though they appear in public as the saviours of ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”PeaceƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.

According to latest media reports, very same NGOs who were behind the US move are now getting ready to provide amenities, what the Ban Ki-moonƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s one sided panel wanted to strengthen its already made prejudiced conclusions.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

Conclusion

These notable NGOs/INGOs and their agents of the West were in full swing during Chandrika-Ranil era and almost all policy decisions related to the so-called ethnic issue was influenced by these treacherous elements.

Fortunately the majority of the general public understood the role of these foreign funded NGOs, after observing theƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ fate of several ceasefires and so-called peace process adopted with the full backing and blessing of these NGOs. Their ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”academicƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ directions, in the name of peace-making, merely worsened the crisis and prolonged an unnecessary war.

It is said that over sixty thousands lives, an average of over 6 lives a day, were lost prior to the elimination of armed separatist movement. The President, Defence Secretary and Commanders of the Security Forces managed to save innocent lives and destruction by taking the right decisions at the right time with the blessing of the patriotic people, and not because of these NGOs and their pretended liberalism. If culpability for the death and destruction in the country should rest with someone, it could be rest to a large extent with these foreign funded ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”conflict and peace dynamicsƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢.

The extent of damage done to the image of Sri Lanka and its people cannot be overlooked and time has come to recognise these parties and dealt with accordingly, otherwise these unarmed separatists may ultimately be able to cause more harm and destruction to our motherland. The aim of these unarmed enemies is to create turmoil again, sabotage the government plans for development and reconciliation and to regain what they lost.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  To this end, their priority appears to be to exert international pressure on the so-called war crime charges to pave the way for R2P which Rama Mani failed to achieve during her tenure of office in Colombo. ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

S. Akurugoda

2 Responses to “NGOs and Rama Mani”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Many thanks to Mr Akurugoda for this article. Yes, foreign funded NGO & INGOs have to be watched. Constant vigilance is essential in a Democracy. Some Colombo folks behave as though Lanka is still under Colonial rule and that the ex-Colonists are the best friends for the whole of Lanka. So long as salaries are paid to the workers of the NGOs, the recipient worker is loyal mostly to their paymasters !

    In a Democracy participation in the democratic process by every Voter is essential. The Unitary nature of the country, and the safety of every citizen are paramount.

  2. Kit Athul Says:

    Mr. Akurugoda, thanks a million, Rama Mani is one of them. I can remember at the time of J.R. Jayawardena, Sri Lanken Ambassador to then west Germany, a Tamil woman openly told the West German government to put sanctions against Sri Lanken Government. When this ambassador was recalled West Germany put some pressure on the SL government. Later she started a Tamil Sangam in West Germany. Unfortunately I cannot remember her name. We need to document the pre May 19th 2009 period up to the creation of the Great Republic and the Great Constitution where H.E MR has excelled in fully utilizing the power he got from the people. Example; what did US ambassador Jeffery Lunsted do during the CFA? What did this Indian Woman Ambassador Rao (Now she is the intelleget chief) do? Until Anura Bandaranayke brought it up in the parliamant no one cared what she was doing! Sri Lankens MUST be vigilant like Mr. Akarugoda to bring such issues to the open. Thanks again to Mr. Akurugoda, Best wishers for the New Year.

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