The ‘Abusive' state (2008) and Patrice Lumumba (1961)

C. Wijeyawickrema

Sweet dreams are made of this
Who am I to disagree?
Travel the world and the seven seas
Everybody's looking for something
Some of them want to use you
Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you
Some of them want to be abused.... ...

Part of a song by pop music duo Eurythmics, written by David A. Stewart and Annie Lennox (1982)

A retired foreign service officer, Izeth Hussain (IH) has recently informed us ("Understanding the HRC debacle," Island, 6/9 & 6/19, 2008), that Sri Lanka has been ‘awarded' a sobriquet the "abusive state" by the NGO coalition which canvassed against Sri Lanka's continued HRC membership. And IH was pleased with this "beautiful" award.

IH reasoned that the HR agents did not go after so many other HR ‘hot spots' in the world but instead kept hammering on Sri Lanka because it is the abusive country in the world. I think the other HR hot spots did not become abusive because they were not given an opportunity to get abusive (read the song above). Firstly, they did not receive a parade of HR visitors who insisted on meeting terrorists or they did have a Gareth Evans or a Rama Mani. Secondly, they did not face a dramatic behavior change in their foreign embassies the way it had happened recently in key diplomatic appointments in Sri Lanka. Prior to this change Sri Lanka had a lousy and servile diplomatic brigade.

The fact that Sri Lanka has received step-motherly treatment from the international press for 30 years could perhaps be listed as a third reason. Because of this information used by the three Nobel price winners against Sri Lanka or for the "Failed States Index" prepared by an American NGO can be nothing but GIGO-garbage in, garbage out. Therefore, Izeth Hussain's (IH) own logic on behalf of the countries voted against Sri Lanka becomes questionable (GIGO?).

The entire Western press either intentionally or unknowingly broadcast false information about Sri Lanka. They do not bother to investigate. One can understand Vaico in Tamil Nadu shouting that there is Tamil genocide in the island. One can also feel sorry for the American lawyer Bruce Fein who writes false stories based on untruths or half-truth for the 30,000 dollars per month fee he is being paid. But how can major news supply syndicates in the world such the Associated Press or Reuter end their thousands and thousands of news reports on Sri Lanka with a standard last sentence, "there is a war going on between Hindus and Buddhists?" Between 10-30% of the sacred space of a Buddhist temple is devoted to Hindu gods and goddesses. Buddhists visit Hindu Kovils. How can they continue to disseminate that Tamil separatism started after 1956 when it began first in 1918 and officially in 1949?

Is there any connection between this standard practice and the fact that 99.9% of all local HR crusaders are elitist Colombo Christians? (poor-Christians and poor-Buddhists lived in harmony for hundreds of years after Christianity came in1505). Was that the reason that during the November 2005 presidential election the rural-national candidate was identified as a hard line war monger? One thing was very clear. After 2005, especially after the recapture of Marvil Aru by the army in 2006, global HR network went on over-drive and sent a parade of elitist white-Christian HR monitors to write a series of reports-to be used against Sri Lanka. No other location on earth had that many visiting HR agents in such rapid succession. For them the clock (end of Prabakaran) was ticking at an unexpected rate. Hence, the war was not winnable theory got replaced by "war is not the solution" because war violates HR. There is no moral justification for a separate Tamil homeland in the island. Therefore, the HR agents must be challenged.

For the white West HR began after the WWII. For a Buddhist society or for Native Americans in North America HR or animal and plant rights were known for thousands of years. Buddhist and Hindu traditions are based on "community rights" while personal profit-oriented western world is based on "survival of the individual on a materialistic plane. Capitalism and the "Me-culture" thus go hand in hand. If IH understands these historical facts-that all life is cyclical in non-Western and non-Islamic world and life is linear in the Christian-Islamic West-then he would not entertain a frame of mind to think that natives have no right to question the visiting white HR crusaders. IH should learn from what the Archbishop Desmond Tutu said sometime ago, "When missionaries came, we had the land, they had the Bible. Then they told us, ‘Let's close our eyes and pray.' When we opened our eyes we saw that we have the Bible, they have the land."

Whiteman left his colonies after creating a class of people who are brown in color but white (foreign, English) in habits and thinking (coconuts, white inside, brown outside) and when he came again to undertake his unfinished business (burden) with WTO (exploitation in the name of free trade) and R2P in hand, "coconuts" follow them blindly, and some even get millions of rupees monthly paychecks. Julius Nyerere once said that colonial masters gave freedom to colonies so that they can exploit the former colonies without responsibility. This is no different from what Noam Chomsky tells in 2006 (Failed states: the abuse of power and the assault on democracy) that "[American administrations, not American people] promote democracy only if it supports U.S. strategic and economic objectives." Human societies are exploited by small groups of elites and local coconuts join hands with white elites.

The foreign ministry establishment and its ambassadors from Sri Lanka used taxpayer money to mostly get an opportunity to educate their children abroad. For the past 30 years they did very little or they acted against the interest of their country. This changed recently with two key appointments, one at the Peace Secretariat in Colombo and the other at the UN Office in Geneva. Even the ambassador in Washington, D.C. who was sleeping and inactive for all these years showed new life during the last lap of his American stay! The new ambassador to Italy brought positive results in no time. IH obviously is jealous of this revolution taking place in diplomatic behavior and complains that it is aggressive and was as an abuse of western diplomats.

After dividing the world (192 UN member countries) into the following HR-oriented categories:

the West (with its Enlightenment ideology);
the third world countries;
East European countries;
U.S. (as part of the West);
the most powerful countries;
Thug-led countries and;
the abusive country (the pre-eminent abusive state of our time with its culture of Impunity-Sri Lanka)

IH asks Sri Lanka to listen to the most powerful countries (No. 5 above) if it wants to save the garment industry. Soldiers from villages are rescuing the country from Tamil terrorists. Does IH want to stop it because of dollars? No country in the world developed because it had garment factories owned by foreigners. The technical know-how, profit-capital must be used (re-invested) in developing an industrial base. In England this began with textile mills, a low cost, and low technology enterprise. This is not happening in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka needs to develop its agriculture and an agro-based industrial base. Actually, the loss of garment jobs could become a blessing in disguise. Who can deny that the working conditions (physical and mental) of village girls in these garment factories are that much different from girls worked in textile factories in Manchester (England) and Lowell (USA) in the 1840s and 1850s?

Yes, there was abuse by Sri Lanka. But it was not like what a politician did to the British ambassador Gladstone pointing a pistol during the time of President Premadasa. The abuse was that President MahindaR, the first person from rural Sri Lanka to become the elected president, not allowing the West to make him a puppet in their hands. Sri Lanka in 2008 is unique in frustrating different Western designs. On the other hand in 1987 JRJ was either abused by RajivG-Dixit or he wanted to get abused. With the CFA, in 2002, RanilW definitely wanted to get abused (read the song above). Compared to pre-2005 Sri Lanka's HR situations has improved and not decreased. HR agents mushroomed because they want to use HR as a cover to try to deliver to Prabakaran his homeland. There is no better strategy to disrupt Sri Lanka and disable India than a Tamil Eelam arising out of a mythical Tamil homeland. This was how the modern Israel first began.

Lumumba and SWRD

In the modern colonial history of the world there are few such examples of abuse and punishment. The tragic death of Lumumba is one example. Cited below what had happened taken almost verbatim from the book, "Africa: a biography of the continent by John Reader, 1997, pp. 657, 662.

"In January 1960 Belgian rulers consulted Congolese for the first time concerning the future of Congo. Congolese demanded freedom by June 1, 1960. This demand shocked the Belgians and on January 27, 1960 it was agreed become independent on June 30, 1960. Elections for the 137 seats were held in May. Lumumba's MNC won 33 seats and he formed a cumbersome coalition of 12 different parties, including some bitter rivals. He became the prime minister at the age 35. On stage at the independence celebrations Lumumba did not like the comments by the Belgian king who was praising Leopold II and reminding the sacrifices Belgium made for the Congo. Meanwhile, an angry Lumumba was scribbling furiously on the draft of his own speech. When called upon to speak Lumumba launched into a rousing nationalistic speech and contrasted the king's story of colonial history with the humiliations Congolese people suffered under the Belgian rule. He was deliberately rude and vindictive. Belgians were deeply shaken and felt insulted (compare this with what SWRD gave at the Independence Hall on February 4, 1948!)."

This must what IH thinks as "abuse" of white man. So Belgians decided to punish Lumumba. He was in power for only 76 days. He was deposed by the man who once was his private secretary (Mobutu) on September 14, 1960, and captured and flown to Katanga on January 17, 1961 blind-folded and hands tied behind his back. While coming down the air plane he was pushed, kicked and brutally struck with rifle butts. Katangese officials and Belgian mercenaries killed him.

"The Republic of Guinea rejected to join the proposed French Community and thus became the first Negro nation to attain independence from France on October 2, 1958. The French retaliated swiftly against this rebuff by immediately withdrawing all of their administrative and technical personnel in the country. Vital equipment was also removed, leaving the new nation virtually in a state of economic and administrative collapse. President Sekou Toure sought Sino-Soviet help (The changing map of Africa, Robert D. Hodgson)."

More recently, (in the words of Noam Chomsky), Haiti's president Aristide had "politely called upon France to do something about the crushing debt that had been imposed on Haiti back in 1825 as punishment for liberating themselves from France. They had been bearing this ever since, and naturally that infuriated France. How can the Haitians dare to say this?" So on February 29, 2004 Aristide was taken out of Haiti on a U.S. plane to the Central African Republic! He is barred from coming back to Haiti.

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