| by Chrissy Abeysekera
OPEN LETTER TO MR SUNANDA DESHAPRIYA FROM A SRI LANKAN CITIZEN
( March 21, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) This is in response to a mail that you sent titled ‘Sunanda challenges ITN to get a quote from Geeva Police re arrest’ which was forwarded to me as well.
|Sunanda Deshapriya – ( File Photo )|
I watched ITN news on Saturday and yesterday and saw the manner in which the news was being twisted to say that the actions of the Geneva police to taking you away when you were abused by pro-government protestors when you were trying to video them in front of the UN headquaters, was an ‘arrest.’
I strongly condemn the government propaganda. Some months ago, I wrote an article in the SriLanka Guardian which was published in which I criticised racist lawyer Gomin Dayasiri’s attitude before the 2006 Commisison that was probing HR violations. However, just like the government and Gomin Dayasiri, criticism must be directed where it is due, towards ourselves as well.
This is why I appeal to you to stop projecting yourself into the limelight in this manner as this only gives more fodder for the nationalists here to lie to the ordinary people in regard to this so-called ‘Western conspiracy’ against Sri Lanka? It is being childish to say that you have a right to video anybody in Geneva when you know very well that there could be a hostile response to these actions and most importantly, that this may be twisted in a particular way by the state media here.
As a young law student, I used to read your articles in Sinhala and agreed with much of what you said. However, you have lost that image and that reputation. Your being sacked from a non-governmental organisation for misappropriation of funds is a fact and you have a sullied name now in the country. In this environment, it is sheer madness to try and video pro-SL govt demonstrators before the UN headquarters in Geneva. The assumption that you did so in order to get publicity is very strong among reasonable people, not extremists. It is in that light that your recent query to ITN will also be viewed.
I am among those who are crossing their fingers today and tomorrow to pray that the US resolution in respect of Sri Lanka will be passed as this can only help the country in which I live and work. However, such a process is undermined by individuals seen as NGO leaders who try to be ‘heroes’ in Geneva at this very sensitive time. Please do not forget that in the end it is the people of Sri Lanka that we have to persuade to do what is right. You- and others who behave in this same way – do not help this cause. Refrain from these publicity seeking exercises. Your voices and ‘your bravery’ in Geneva are really not needed for the course of this US resolution. Actually they are counter productive as on the one hand, we hear protests that activists have been intimdated into not going to Geneva and then, on the other hand, we hear that some activists are now almost living in Geneva and talking loudly all the time! One contradicts the other. This is counter productive. Let the US do things their way which I am sure that they must know to do very well.
The NGO sector in Sri Lanka has lost its voice with the reasonable and ordinary people, forget about the government and the hardliners. It is time that NGOs look within themselves to see what the cause of this is. At least now.
I write in the spirit of constructive criticism…,