Of Atavism, Brownian emotions, human rights etc
Posted on February 28th, 2012

Dr Bandula Kothalawala London N7

According to a news report in the Island of 28 February 2012, Jeremy Browne, UK Foreign Office Minister responsible for the human rights, emphasized the responsibility on the part of the global community to intervene inSri Lanka unless the government addressed accountability issues.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ Alas, Mr Browne has missed a good opportunity to keep his mouth shut, unless, of course, he wanted to make an ass of himself. These utterances allegedly made at the XIX UNHRC Sessions inGenevatypify persistent, often unsuccessful, attempts by British ministers and their fellow travellers to occupy moral high ground on the international scene and distract the unsuspecting public away from numerous human rights violations they are directly or indirectly responsible for. Mr BrowneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s remarks constitute a curious mixture of breath-taking arrogance, sickening condescension and pitiful ignorance ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” perhaps, all the three roughly in equal measure-, bear unmistakeable testimony to his intellectual dishonesty and smack, above all of, stomach-churning hypocrisy.

Mr Browne should know that the Government of Sri Lanka fought a bloody war to safeguard its independence, preserve its territorial integrity and uphold its sovereignty against a ruthless terrorist outfit which still remains banned in the European Union,United States,Canada,IndiaandSri Lanka. The LTTE had usurped the control of some 25% of the territory through violent means and trampled upon its citizensƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ democratic rights for over 25 years. It had claimed about 70% of the countryƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s coastline and its activities had caused the death of some 100,000 people and maimed many more for life. Over 100 suicide attacks had been carried out, killing scores of politicians including President Ranasinghe Premadasa, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi of India and Foreign Minister Laksman Kadirgamar, servicemen, civilians etc. The LTTE had systematically eliminated all moderate Tamil politicians, civic leaders, intellectuals, academics etc. The people of Sri Lanka had lived through this trauma for nearly three decades before they were liberated from the clutches of the blood-thirsty outfit by Sri Lankan armed forces in May 2009. Mr Browne has conveniently forgotten that the LTTE had been allowed to have its international headquarters in London for a very long time despite numerous representations made by the Sri Lankan Government which pointed out that this particular office was used to raise funds necessary to carry out those murderous attacks and commit a spate of horrendous crimes. It was no secret that the LTTE had been discreetly assured that it had no problem with the British authorities as long as it did not do anything to ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-foul its nest on British soilƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, according to one informed source. Mr Browne should know that one of his namesakes defended BritainƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s role in the war in Afghanistan on the grounds that it was absolutely necessary to keep Britain safe and continually criticized foreign governments for harbouring terrorists.

Mr Browne should be aware that the Government of Sri Lanka did not invade a foreign land under the pretext of looking for weapons of mass destruction and slaughter thousands of innocent civilians, as the UK and its allies did in Iraq. I do recall how the British and American forces, in the search for Saddam Hussein, dropped bombs weighing some 250kilos on locations where the Iraqi leader was supposed to be in hiding, killing men, women and children in the process. I do not remember Mr Browne or any of his colleagues muttering about human rights and accountability issues in the UNHRC or elsewhere. When, in 2006, the Lancet published the result of a serious study and estimated that some 655,000 people lost their lives as a consequence of the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq, both the US and British Governments rejected the figures and said that they had no information on civilian casualties and that they relied on the statistics from the Ministry of Health in Iraq. Let me remind Mr Browne and his acolytes that the British and American Governments did not even want to keep records of civilian hecatomb in Iraq!. Mr Browne and people of his ilk were keen to know how much concern, compassion and consideration the British Government had for civilian life in Sri Lanka during the colonial period, I could refer them to some useful, informative and authoritative sources.

I do hope that the sanctimonious Mr Browne will recall how the British Government reacted when a developing nation stepped on its toes in 1982. I refer to the Argentine occupation of the Falkland Islands in 1982 and the British reaction, ostensibly, to preserve its ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-sovereigntyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ over a territory some 8,000 miles away from the British shores. I am sure that Mr Browne knows how Britain conquered and occupied the tiny islands about 175 years ago and kept making shaky claims and that it still wants to hold on to it as a relic of its empire. Mr Browne must know that the UK lost no time in despatching a formidable naval expedition to the South Atlantic within two weeks of the Argentine occupation of the Island, fought a war which killed 655 Argentines and 255 British servicemen and forced the ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-invadersƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ out. Mr BrowneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s GovernmentƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s recently started flexing its muscles to intimidate Argentina once again and is still in no mood to cede its ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-sovereigntyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚ over theFalkland Islands.

Strangely enough, the plight of Tamil civilians still seems to haunt Mr Browne and his colleagues. Yet, Mr Browne and his Government (I mean HMG) did not lift their little finger to persuade the Tamil Diaspora in the UK to get the LTTE leaders to free the innocent hapless Tamil civilians held hostage by them until they were freed by Sri Lankan armed forces at great cost to life and limb. Mr Browne must be aware that the welfare and safety of the civilian population continues to be the duty of the Government of Sri Lanka and, in my view, the SL Government did and is doing its best to discharge it despite the extremely difficult circumstances. Perhaps, Mr Browne is ignorant of the fact that the SL Government continued to send supplies of food, medicine and other essentials to the LTTE-controlled areas for over 25 years and paid for the civil administration ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” especially, hospitals and schools there.

If Mr Browne is concerned about ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ…-crimes against humanityƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚, as is/was one of his namesakes, there is plenty that he can busy himself with. It is, perhaps, not too late to atone for transporting 7-10 million Africans across oceans as slaves under abominable conditions, is it? Or for massacring thousands of innocent civilians above the age of 18 and destroying their homes, fields and crops during the Wellassa Rebellion in Sri Lanka?

Atavism is described as the reappearance in an organism of a characteristic after its disappearance for several generations. Perhaps, this is not an accurate description of what Mr Browne and some of his colleagues seem to be afflicted with, for the genes responsible for colonial mentality and behaviour have made their appearance with surprising frequency in the recent past. In addition, they seem to be getting mixed up with those of equus asinus too often! Mr Browne ought to know that the British Government has no residual duties or responsibilities in Sri Lanka. He should cure himself of his seemingly atavistic temptations to meddle in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation.ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ 

One Response to “Of Atavism, Brownian emotions, human rights etc”

  1. LankaLover Says:

    There is a name for people LIKE Browne- “HYPOCRITES!”

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