Dayan’s dilemma

Verbosity and incongruity verging on insanity

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(December 29, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) While many writers have given their shades of opinion on the LLRC, our academic who manages to cling to some plum diplomatic post or other abroad no matter which party is in power, Dayan Jayatilleka, in his customary style stuffs down our throats his stubborn stance that no civilians were deliberately killed by the government. The Commission itself has said that further investigation into purported targeting of civilians is essential and even the government itself is exploring this area in order to bring the perpetrators to justice.
“as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death”. – Abraham Lincoln
And he cloaks his arguments with pompous words and phrases as if he consumes Roget’s Thesaurus 24/7 much like a crack cocaine addict. And just like the latter he cannot coin a sentence without these awkward words and phrases meant for theses and specific academic journals but certainly not for general consumption. I wonder what it would be like having dinner with Dayan? Would he compliment the host with, “This chicken is simply delicious”, or, “This domestic fowl belonging to the species Gallus gallus marinated in balsamic vinegar and sage and thyme does raise the sensory nerves on my
Dayan argues, “Thus, for the TNA today, the issue of broad-gauge accountability is of a higher priority than the long standing, deep-rooted socio-political grievances of the Tamils.” Is he for real and does he mean what he says? Accountability for war crimes is the only way forward to reach closure if the island is to emerge from its fractured and deeply wounded past as even a first year political science student would know. For the sake of argument and hypothetically speaking, if Dayan’s only child is murdered, would he sit and ponder why its life was snatched away and the root- causes which led to the murder or would he start looking for the murderer and make efforts to bring him/ her to justice? We all know the answer.
Nazis were the legitimate power in Germany as much as Mahinda Rajapakse’s government is the power which engaged the LTTE, a militant separatist outfit, massacring over 40,000 civilians. It took allied western democratic powers to defeat the Nazis and bring them to the international war tribunal and the rest is history.
Yet Dayan says, “The call for an international investigation into the last stages of the war by anyone —such the bulk of the Tamil Diaspora, Tamil civil society and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA)—who did not and still does not condemn the LTTE’s crimes and atrocities, internal executions and secret prisons, child soldiers and fratricidal murders, terrorism and totalitarianism, is as if most of German society did not criticise the Nazis and Auschwitz even after WW 2 ended, and called instead for an international inquiry into the fire-bombing of Dresden by the Allies!”.
Only Dayan can subvert history and give it his own interpretations. It is the majority Sri Lankan populace which was kept out of the macabre bombings and shootouts in Wanni by the government deliberately through media censorship and barring INGO and local humanitarian workers. Yet Dayan blames the Tamil political parties and Tamils abroad for ganging upon the government and distributing false propaganda. Tamils were the victims and not the government or the majority Sinhalese much like the six million Jews killed by the Nazis under Hitler. Does Dayan have any doubt as to this? The only conclusion is that Dayan is either stark-raving mad or has a selfish agenda to back the government so that he could hop around in diplomatic circles abroad and regurgitate his oft repeated mantra that the government eradicated terrorism.
In summary – a thing alien to Dayan – his arguments and opinions are as Abraham Lincoln said, “as thin as the homeopathic soup that was made by boiling the shadow of a pigeon that had starved to death”.

(The writer is Asia Pacific Journalism Fellow at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, California and a print journalist for 21 years. She can be reached at

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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