Road to Geneva

| by Gomin Dayasri
“An agreement between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on a lasting political settlement is also critical.”
-Under Secretary for State (US) Marie Ottero at the media conference at Colombo Hilton.

( March 04, 2012, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Americans will throw plenty rope to hang ourselves with, as they did in urging Sri Lanka to talk peace and not make war with the LTTE, which yielded no results over years of worthless talk.
They hate to admit a mistake. Instead they opt to punish us before the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva for not following their instructions.
Sri Lanka successfully terminated terrorism by throwing the advice of the West to the waste bin – a telling message America dislikes the world to hear or follow. Their preference is to change a ‘disloyal’ regime in springtime.
The USA is trying to reach the unreachable by bringing the TNA into the equation as they slot the former proxy holder of the Tigers to the vacant space left empty by the LTTE, to effect reconciliation. It means rounds of meaningless negotiations while Tamil grievances will continue to fester unattended. A pantomime that was in the past staged in various foreign capitals with the LTTE, thankfully now staged in a vacant room in Colombo. Remember the interference from the West during Tiger talks?
The TNA would be happier as more Tamils in the North and East will join their ranks while the suffering of 30 years will continue with grievances untouched and censure the Sinhala majority. TNA are loath to fault the LTTE for the tragedy that befell the North and East. TNA was always a part and parcel of the LTTE with a similar mindset.
Most of the Tamil grievances were recognized in the public domain before the LLRC classified the grievances and distanced it away from the orbit of 13A [plus or minus]. Nearly three years have passed since the last of the LTTE cadre was sighted in fighting fatigue. A lethargic government has attended minimally to those grievances. Knowing this will receive high priority in Geneva in March, no attention was paid to publicly display, at least, the earthwork of the pipeline through which the remedies were to flow on the grievances to which LLRC drew attention two months ago.
Its complaints galore from the West without crediting the positives achieved by Sri Lanka in the rehabilitation efforts in the North and East; in bringing the LTTE cadres into the mainstream of society and eliminating the presence of child soldiers. Lethargically the government always gets off the starting block too late- a prime cause for being blamed.
The Government should alone attend to the grievances. Support from the TNA is unlikely since it is politically advantageous for the TNA to keep the two communities apart to win votes by displaying the cutout of a Sinhala ogre. Relief can be delivered on the identified grievances without trampling on the dreaded 13A. It’s the grievances of the Tamil people that need to be assuaged not the TNA – the junior league of the LTTE -in its glory days. Americans should urge the TNA to distance itself from its present LTTE mentality.
With the well commended LLRC report in hand, the Government instead of doing its homework showing results in the limited time frame available before the HRC sessions and smartly marketing it in the international realm, sent delegations abroad empty handed to exotic destinations in comfort to lobby countries. The travel bug is an option to take if there were tangible results on show. In short, we reversed a vantage gained in the center court in a set point.
Attending to Tamil grievances is the way to win the hearts and minds of the people without a protest from any community unlike the 13A that leads to division. It will extract goodwill from the international community, more understanding than the TNA that cries forever for more and more. Without expanding the frontiers of 13A to satisfy the “federophiles” and their “running dogs”, the benefits will flow directly to the Tamil people with no threat to security or possible secession.
Double standards of the West and its renowned hypocrisy are well established though there is a shortcoming on being slow to implement the LLRC proposals. To show bona fides we should initiate a schedule to move fast forward on the recommendations, with the LLRC Report as the trump. Otherwise we are being pegged to our own clothesline.
Holding military inquiry under domestic laws on allegations against the defense forces is the correct initial step. Here we woud follow the example of the military forces of the West on the issue of accountability. Such forums must be opened to receive public information. Aspects of transparency need be visible though within military ordinance.
The intention of the hostile Geneva resolution is to humiliate the country and monitor the progress made on the recommendations of the LLRC. In the process HRC could trespass on to our home turf offering a hand to the INGOs, as during the war, to interfere in our domestic affairs with international approval. The danger lights that blinked red in the international circuit for long were not read well in the foreign office.
This can lead to a role similar to that which the Scandinavian monitors played on the CFA; enabling Navi Pillay to make pronouncements with the stamp of the HRC – unfairly unfavorable to Sri Lanka by habit and practice.
With the country sliding down an economic precipice – more a locally fabricated man made disaster than any act of god – the Geneva resolution should be managed mindfully without a confrontation. Sri Lanka has successfully bound the international community with a few reservations to the LLRC report. We must convince that a pacemaker will be set at a reasonable speed according to the changing conditions back home. Importance is to avoid any right to interfere or supervise the affairs of Sri Lanka by roaming busybodies.
Sri Lankans should rally around in times of foreign intervention and guide the government on an enlightened path for the sake of the country.


Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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