“Ask the British High Commissioner” to bug… off
Posted on May 28th, 2012

H. L. D. Mahindapala

Are the Western diplomats given too much of licence to dabble in domestic affairs which is none of their business, to begin with? Take the latest case of John Rankin, the British High Commissioner. Is it any of his business whether Sri Lanka stations its troops in the north, south, east, or west? Is he trying to do another David Gladstone, the meddlesome British High Commissioner, who walked into a polling booth in the south and tried to poke his unwanted finger in the affairs of an election in progress? How would the British Foreign Office react if Sri Lanka’s High Commission issues a statement questioning the stationing of British troops in Diego Garcia after ethnically cleansing the entire population to make way for an American base in the India Ocean? The uprooted Chargossians are scattered around the globe without homes, without jobs, without adequate compensation to restart their live or hope of ever returning to their traditional homeland. And it this government which has committed this crime against humanity on a mass scale that has the effrontery to question the human rights violations in Sri Lanka.

More than his meddlesome politics in the affairs of another sovereign nation it his queer logic and his sanctimonious humbuggery that is so irksome. In his video, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Ask the High CommissionerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ — a public relations exercise to make British diplomacy look transparent — Rankin has challenged President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s claim that the armed forces could not be moved out of the north due to the threats arising from the anti-Sri Lankan operations of the Tamil Diaspora and the LTTE agents abroad. According to his video, he says that the LTTE is no longer engaged in terrorist activity. Then why does Britain — not to mention other Western countries — continue to maintain their ban on the LTTE? The ban is continued because the Western intelligence is aware that the LTTE still constitutes a threat to the Indian Ocean Rim, drug smuggling, human trafficking, arms smuggling and in particular to Sri Lankan peace and stability.

Britain and the West quite rightly maintain their ban because the LTTE continue to pose a threat to their interests too. The Tamil diaspora continue to raise funds in Western bases for what? According to Jane’s Weekly they used to raise $300 million per annum. It may be less now but what happens to the money they raise? They say it is for the war victims of Jaffna but if at least a fraction of that money collected reaches Jaffna the war victims would not be in the plight they are. The resettled IDPs are dependent on the millions spent by the government on their welfare and voluntary services. The threat of the Tamil diaspora, raising funds and actively campaigning for the division of Sri Lanka, cannot be dismissed easily. The price of freedom, peace and stability in Sri Lanka is eternal vigilance. Furthermore, the role of the forces in strategic areas cannot be underestimated. It is better to be safe and be prepared for any contingency than be sorry later by following the recipes of Western diplomatic missions linked to NGOs linked to the Tamil diaspora and local agents of the LTTE.

Besides, if it is perfectly legitimate for Britain to protect its interest in far-flung corners of the globe why is it is not legitimate for Sri Lanka to protect its interests on its own soil? There is no doubt that it is perfectly legitimate for the West to protect its interests by banning the LTTE in various parts of the world as they continue to pose a threat to regional and global peace. Accordingly, it should be legitimate for the GOSL to maintain its forces within its sovereign territory to protect its people, peace and stability.

Of course, Rankin concedes that Sri Lanka has a right to maintain its bases like Britain but he maintains that the military deployment in the Northern and Eastern Province is very much different than in other parts of the country. He is right. It has to be different because the threat looms large in the north and the east. He can’t expect GOSL to maintain a heavy military presence in Timbuktu, can he? Consider, for instance the 19 places where Britain maintains its troops: Afghanistan, Ascension Island, Balkans, Belize, Brunei, Canada, Cyprus, Diego GarcƒÆ’†’ƒ”š‚­a, Ethiopia, Falkland Islands, Georgia, Germany, Gibraltar, Iraq, Kenya, Kuwait, Liberia, Oman, Saudi Arabia and Sierra Leone. Of the 190,000 personnel in the forces 30,000 are deployed to these places of strategic interests to Britain. If Britain can deploy its forces to thousands of miles away from home why is it wrong for Sri Lankan forces to be placed in the areas that are considered to be of strategic interest to the security, peace and stability?

Besides, if the “LTTE is no longer engaged in terrorist activity” (Rankin) why doesn’t he urge the GOSL to remove the personal bodyguards allotted to the TNA MPs?

According to British assessments the role of its forces are to 1) defend the nation and its dependencies and 2) support and render assistance to the civil authority in the event of a crisis, (civil disorder, natural disaster etc). North and east are also places that are likely to face disruptions from the LTTE forces that have gone underground. The NGO pundits are harping persistently on the threat of LTTE forces rising again. If so shouldn’t the Sri Lankan forces be on the alert on the ground where the threats are most likely crop up? Isn’t this why the West, Britain included, build bases nearer to trouble spots for rapid response?

Then again the forces also have a role to play in non-military operations like assisting in social needs in time of disaster. Isn’t it easier for them to render their services by being near to the location than being far away and flying in like India to drop some measly “parippu” from air? The role played by the Sri Lankan forces to rescue 300,000 Tamil civilians who were held hostage by the Tamil “liberator” is well documented. The British Foreign Minister David Milliband, rushed in to stop the last stage of war and not to stop Prabhakaran shooting his own Tamil people who were rushing into the arms of the Sri Lankan forces rescuing the victims of Tamil terror. The hasty visit of Milliband was like the Foreign Minister of Germany rushing to Churchill demanding that he stop the war when the Allies were on the doorstep of Berlin.

The irony is World War II ended 67 years ago and America and Britain still maintain bases in Germany and in Okinawa much against the protests of the Japanese and Germans. Sri Lanka ended the war only three years ago. So what is the logic in Rankin arguing against Sri Lankan force in the north and the east?

The facts and the arguments raised by Rankin do not enhance his image as a diplomat who can persuade his audience to believe in him. Since his arguments do not hold water isn’t it better to ask the High Commissioner to take a running jump into the Beira Lake and get a good soaking for him to sober up before he opens him mouth next time?


10 Responses to ““Ask the British High Commissioner” to bug… off”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Now this is something I can agree with AnuD.

    BTW British High Commissioner visited Gonseka in prison!!

  2. Kit Athul Says:

    Mr. Mahindapala, there is at least 40 to 50 feet of MUD at the bottom of Beire lake. If he does that we will not see him again. Long time ago may be in 1920s a man named Jay Jack did jump from a small plane to a river in every country he performed. But in Colombo he made a big mistake by jumping in to Beire Lake. Three days of searching divers found him with the parachute only his shorders could be seen. That was his last jump. May be you are too young to remember this.

  3. myopinion24 Says:

    does any one one out there really care what the British High Commissioner said or thinks? or for that matter the specific location of Sri Lankan troops . I think most peace loving lankans have had enough of guns and carriers of guns and factional supporters of one group or the other. How is any of this contibuting to make Sl a better place . I am appalled that the most newsworthy item in the development of Sri Lanka today is a quote from a High Commissioner .

  4. myopinion24 Says:

    yes i agree bug… off and find something useful to say

  5. May182009 Says:

    This is another kneejerk reaction. Unless the ethnic composition of the north is changed, this problem will never be resolved.

    What should happen is state and military sponsored Sinhala and Muslim colonization of the north.

    Mere ethnic integration means nothing to Jaffna people. They have still failed to invite their 24,500 Sinhala and 75,000 Muslim neighbours.

    When DS Senanayaka did Sinhala colonization of the East, he never talked about ethnic integration. He just did it. 250,000 landless Sinhalese were given fertile land. Prisoners were released from prison if they were willing to go and settle there. He totally brushed aside ACTC threats and ridiculed them.

    We enjoy the benefits of it today. Let people ethnically integrate at their own free will and pace. The government must colonize the north with non-Tamils.

    If there are no non-Tamils living in the north how can Tamils integrate with them? Penpal integration is rubbish. We need to change the ethnic composition of the north. That is true integration.

    If the TE camp want the military out, create a reason for the militry to stay. Create Sinhala settlements around all cantonments. Then the army will have to stay to protect them from Tamil elements.

    General Janaka Perera had the foresight to create Sinhala settlements in previously Tamil majority areas.

    e.g. Welioya

    In doing so he created a natural barrier against demilitarization of the region. Politicians could not demilitarize this region though they wanted. This is what we should do.

    Merely banning TNA does not work. They will call it North East Alliance and contest elections and win. We must change the ethnic composition of the north one way or the other.

  6. lingamAndy Says:

    H. L. D. Mahindapala
    World War II ended 67 years ago and America and Britain still maintain bases in Germany and in Okinawa Sri Lanka ended the war only three years ago ? with whom ??? Thamil Eelam ! not muching is not it???

    unite in diversity ,where is the 13+ you promise Maththtara Maththaya !

  7. Melbourne Patriot Says:

    Saying bug __ off to a diplomat is not the diplomatic way of solving the problem. It is due to this arrogance Sri Lanka got into a foreign affairs mess in the past 6 years

  8. Fran Diaz Says:

    All in Sri Lanka MUST move and settle anywhere they like, including the North & East. The word ‘colonise’ is a misnomer, as a people cannot ‘colonise’ the country they are born in. According to definition of the word ‘colonise’, a people must to move to a new country. They can ‘settle’ anywhere they please in Sri Lanka, and they have every right to do so.

    It is Tamil ILLEGAL MIGRANTS who COLONISE Sri Lanka. All illegal migrants must be deported. Over one million Tamil people have migrated out of Lanka, yet the numbers remain the same or even increased. We like to know the total number of Tamil people in Sri Lanka according to the 2012 census. Colombo alone is now some 44% Tamil out of over one million people.

    * We think military families and also Others (Sinahala, Muslim, Burghers, etc.) should settle down in the North & East.

    * In keeping with the 16-A, TNA ought to be classified a political outfit guilty of secession, and should be dissolved, and a National political party formed instead.

    * We should Modernise & Mechanize commercial/agro activities and be less and less dependent on Tamil labor.

    Alternative is to allow a take over of Sri Lanka. There are some 5 to 10 Million Tamils of low caste/Dalit origin waiting in Tamil Nadu to cross over and take over !

  9. Naram Says:

    Well said Mr Mahindapala.

    How did Mr Rankin made this insane suggestion.

    Has not Mr Rankin visited the North, particularly Puthukudiiruppu to see the massive arsenal LTTE collected with generous help of generous diaspora, who profited from the war to win refugee staus in the West and brought misery and death to many folks in Sri Lanka.

    Has not Mr Rankin observed the snail pace at which Colombo – Jaffna rail link is being built which happens to be aided by Indian package in contrast with building the road links managed by Sri Lankan government.

    Has not Mt Rankin read the tortured history of Sri Lanka in the last 40 years at least to read the role played by our neighbours to arm and train the civilians.

    Such words of advice on managing Sri Lanka’s army from a well informed diplomat beggars belief.

  10. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    I like Mr Mahindapala’s observation to the effect that, if John rankin thinks LTTE is not a threat anymore in SriLanka’s North, then, he should also ask the TNA MPs not have protection from such non-existent threats.

    I wish to hear the response of TNA MPs to this assessment by the High commissioner.
    It would be also nice to have a referendum in the North and East to find out from the Tamil people, whether they would like the army to withdraw and allow the LTTE underground activists to emerge again.

    What I think is John Rankin himself knows he is wrong, but his mission might be to create an unpleasant situation so that Britain could join those who are campaigning to boycott the Commonwealth conference in SriLanka. Only a few months back the Australian High Commissioner tried a similar stunt by broadcasting to the world that the Australian citizen Guneratnam was missing in SriLanka, when she jollywell knew the High Commissiony had his passport and allowed Guneratnam to enter SriLanka under a different name – Mudalige?
    These diplomats are shameless, incompetent and are certainly bringing disrepute to the countries they represent.

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