President seeks his own demise

Lost the plot in Geneva

| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(March 27, 2012, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Don’t hold your breath Sri Lanka. US President Barack Obama is seeking support from Russia and China to gang up against Iran in its nuclear empowerment. The two very states Mahinda is confident of giving him full support against indicting it for war crimes. Neither care for human rights.
The government at present is facing a serious war crimes probe with the whole of the West, significant numbers of African states and even India supporting the UN resolution that it stands guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
There are slim pickings in the Rajapaksa cabinet by way of intellect or diplomacy to carry the island through the most crucial period in its history since independence barring External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L.Peiris.
Media reports are awash with GLP’s frustration on the kind of contingent the government despatched to Geneva. A former Lanka Oberoi waiter turned minister and another candidate for mental institution hand-picked by the President unravelled the efforts of the only diplomatic emissary with any diplomacy and intellect.
Veteran journalist Gamini Weerakoon could not have put it better in his weekly column in the Sunday Leader how Sri Lanka lost the plot by engaging inexperienced and crude sycophants who did more damage to Sri Lanka’s reputation in Geneva than all the Mervyn Silvas, Weerawansas and Hela Urumayas put together.
They say it takes seven generations to make a gentleman and why the President could not decipher this simple philosophy when confronted with serious allegations of war crimes by no less than the highest arbitrator, the United Nations, which was bestowed with adjudicating on nations violating human rights in the aftermath of World War 11 when the Nazis annihilated six million Jews in the name of eugenics is anybody’s guess.
Living in the global village in the 20th century Sri Lanka is hardly in a position to claim that its much touted 2,500 year old Buddhist civilisation should exonerate it from its treatment to the ethnic minority Tamils who had had it up to their eyeballs when their desperate cries for parity fell on deaf ears and in the last throes of the war annihilated some 100,000 Tamils who were helpless, undefended and who were torn between the invading Sri Lankan defence forces and the separatist Tamil Tigers.
Side-lining India was the most fool-hardy effort and the government stretched its limit; on the one hand relying on India to support it at the UNHRC and on the other relying on China which cares not a whit for human rights but remains selfish in its pursuit to become the global giant surpassing US. China will shed no tears whether Tamils are sacrificed or Sri Lanka goes down the precipice. All China is interested in is its hegemony in the East and towards this it will sacrifice its own down-trodden populace never mind other nations in Asia.
China does not care two hoots for human rights its reforms since Chairman Mao Tse Tung’s demise in 1976 notwithstanding. Many foreign governments and NGOs continue to chastise China for its abysmal human rights record in curtailing civil liberties, ill-treatment and detention without trial of prisoners, forced confessions, torture, restrictions of freedom of speech, assembly, association, religion, the press, and workers’ rights. China sends more people to the executioner than any other country, accounting for 72% of the world’s total in 2009, though it is not the largest executioner per capita.
And Mahinda Rajapaksa emulates this country in serendipitous hope it could thwart UN probe which has passed muster with a resounding 24 votes towards our country’s complicity in war crimes.
Now what? Sri Lanka is now facing world scrutiny that it needs to answer for its actions against the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) during which some 100,000 innocent civilians were massacred. Could not the previous governments have taken the stance of the current regime and ended the war? Fools rush in where angels fear to tread and the neophyte of a government which chose the fools’ path is now reaping its just price.
The government at present is facing a serious war crimes probe with the whole of the West, significant numbers of African states and even India supporting the UN resolution that it stands guilty of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
Now the question arises s to what this resolution means in practical terms and to date there has been no lucid explanation whether from the media or the UN set-up. Even the UNHRC (United Nations Human Rights Council) is prevaricating on what this resolution means for the future of Sri Lanka’s governance.
Sri Lanka can still do some damage control and implement LLRC recommendations and go some steps Further. How about compensation for war victims since 1983 for a start? It should drop its laissez faire attitude and take concrete steps to redress crimes committed and provide meaningful compensation. No more; no less.
 ( The writer is Asia Pacific Journalism Fellow at UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism, California and a print journalist for 22 years. She can be reached at pearltheva@hotmail.com)

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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