EDITORIAL: THE BITTER LESSON FROM GENEVA

Why even that learned Legal pundit-Minister thought he was convincing his Lord and Master with a new kind of arithmetic. He maintained 15 + 8 is 23, which he merrily maintained, is just a whiff away from the final 24 ?? His sophistry may have gained acceptance at the receiving side except there were many in the country who argue 24+8 is a formidable 32, which is more than that magic 2/3rd – familiar in our Parliamentary lexicon.

( March 25, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) It’s all over now – at least the phase of the voting where we were assured.
This despite our frontline brilliant men and women in our Jumbo delegation assuring they will humble Goliath with consummate ease. Predictably and in the inherent nature of things down this part of the world, it will only be the very naive who will summon that necessary grace to admit their part in the failure. Why even that learned Legal pundit-Minister thought he was convincing his Lord and Master with a new kind of arithmetic. He maintained 15 + 8 is 23, which he merrily maintained, is just a whiff away from the final 24 ?? His sophistry may have gained acceptance at the receiving side except there were many in the country who argue 24+8 is a formidable 32, which is more than that magic 2/3rd – familiar in our Parliamentary lexicon. And those who raised hopes most of the Latin American countries in the UNHRC will vote with us too failed to deliver. The suggestion was we have won them over with “our” camaraderie and expertise on Latin American affairs. The claimant – a government activist-diplomat- failed us again. His assurance “wait till March 22. Tamara will wipe the opposition” exposes his signature brouhaha. Neither did various forms of intimidation and harassment by government-inspired and financed mobs right in the precincts of the UN/Geneva bring us any credit. It certainly brought us an inelegant tongue-lash from the HC/HRC. As the London-based Economist concluded, the ground reality in Geneva has changed since 2009 when we happened to escape from the very issues – that came under scrutiny in Geneva this week.
Geneve is now fait accompli. What, pray tell us, should we be doing now is the concern of the country. The answer does not rest in the official Rottweiler seeking a human sacrifice, in the form of a child, to do that necessary hooniam to be rid of the bad spell on His Majesty. Even the open attacks by journos identified as Rajapakse apologists in their pages; the crude anti-Indian language of Ministers like Sirisena must give way soon so that the Rajapakses engage Delhi once again for their own survival, They cannot do otherwise. It requires a combination of brains, courage and gratitude from the regime to express to India their appreciation for more reasons than succeeding in getting the Americans to accept that saving grace of including the words “in consultation with and with due concurrence of GoSL in implementing the Resolution” The other favour India did was to get us an year’s time to carry out the LLRC recommendations whereas the Americans insisted on “early and visible steps” with the Office of the UNHRC monitoring progress. Encouraging a few hundreds Buddhist priests to irreverenly shout opposite the Indian High Commision in Colombo certainly is not one of the choices. Working up the local media and the Weerawansa-Ranawake-Mervin Silva ilk of Ministers that Tamilnadu put the spanner in the works will not hold much water in actual terms. In the DR Nanayakkara language the Rajapakses understand easily “we must know our size” The fault was entirely the Rajapakses who failed to recognise the importance of the counselling Delhi was offering them for sometime in various stages – the final phase of which was the visit of Minister Shri S.M. Krishna. Trying to make a liar of Mr Krishna may not have been taken far too well by the South Bloc. Certainly the next Indian General Elections and Tamilnadu’s capacity to bargain with Delhi on this played its role. It is nothing but foolish to expect anything else.
Our failure was more in befriending over years ago much of Jayalalitha, Karunanidhi and the Pro-Lankan Tamil MLAs and MPs. All we did was to enrage them in various ways – with one calling them “Tamilnadu jokers” Not that the Rajapakses were not obvlivious to this. Rajapakses have to contend with the threat coming from Champika Ranawake, Gomin Dayasiri, Gunadasa Amarasekera and the Buddhist Sinhala supremacists. This motley crowd of extremists insist unless the LLRC recommendations were ignored, the government willl have to face serious trouble in the streets. Mahinda Rajapakse’s last minute effort lst week inviting Tamilnadu MPs, unfrotuanately, came far too late. Besides the climate too has been poisoned far deep for Tamilnadu MPs to accept the invitation.
It may be noted there were moves sometime in early 2011 by well-informed Sri Lankans, with established connections in Chennai and with close lines to Jayalalitha, Karunanidhi and the MLAs for some form of mutual accomodation. If this offer, canvassed by a government man now posted to a diplomatic role in Europe, was taken there was a chance both Jayalalitha and Karunanidhi would have taken a softer stance. The formulae also allowed them and the Rajapakses sufficient space to manoeuvre and keep their respective noisy electorates satisfied. But instead the Rajapakses chose to rely on the over-estimated Moragoda and the tainted Tamil husband of a State Minister – both with less influence than that was on offer. The mistake proved to be costly.
Lukewarm efforts so far to empower the popular Tamil political leadership should have given way to engaging the TNA in a more forthcoming manner. The cat-and-mouse kind of politics the President played with Sampanthan and associates putting forward non-influential men like Nimal Siripala, Sirisena and even Dr Rajiva Wijesinghe were all efforts to buy time. TNA knew this all too well as their Statement to Geneve suggests. We are now left with the indignity of being forced to do what we should have done by ourselves within – a settlement acceptable to both sides. “Locally grown solutions” an overworked cliche – if you like.
If one is to go by the nature and history of the Rajapakses they will stall what has been imposed on them last Thursday. The usual charade of inspired rent-a-mob facades; thousands of Buddhist priests taking the streets; encouraging sycophant journos to whip up anti-Indianism, anti-West sentiments are scenes likely to follow. This will, necessarily, result in exposing the Rajapakses to more serious steps later in the form of travel sanctions and the like. Whether we are signatories to the Treaty of Rome or not are technicalities that will fall by the wayside when the Big Leaguers decide to act – as they did in Geneva.
Sri Lanka’s immediate salvation lies in giving their Tamil citizens their long-denied dues – some of which identified in the State-inspired LLRC itself. More important – necessary for a smooth Rajapakse innings – will be to bring in better brains to handle the Economy – now ruined in relying on two officials whose record of failures is legendary. Despite all the outside show it is the local Cost of Living issue that is troubling the Rajapakse regime is a fact that needs no emphasis. If the Lankan Rupee goes down to Rs.150 for the US$ from the present level of Rs.131 by July – as market sources predict – then we will be half down the Zimbabwe road. Neither Rajapakses, Wickramasinghes or Ranawakes will be able to do sweet nothing if that is going to be Sri Lanka’s imposed fate.

Written by Senguttuvan

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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