| by Victor Cherubim
( March 19, 2012, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) We right our wrongs in Sri Lanka, by our own adjudication. We trust our Constitution and our People. This is because we believe and acknowledge that we are human. We are a nation with a proud people, with a heritage and a destiny we cherish. Since antiquity we have been demonised by tales of old, Rama and Ravenna. When the sub continent in geographic and tectonic terms split up, and our country became a separate identity in the Indian Ocean, seafarers from around the then known world visited our shores. They called it by many names, some said Serendib, others Ceilan, whilst for others it was a Paradise Isle. We have been a nation with a history and a tradition, which has withstood not only praise and plaudits, but also proscription and perfidy. We have not surrendered our nation status. But, “there are times in the lives of men that either led on to extol or to abort and self destruct.”
Our insularity has at times been mistaken by others as our weakness in times of adversity. Simultaneously, we too have mistaken genuine appraisal of our position, and taken it, as an intrusion in our way of action and living. Both positions, given the time and space and genuine understanding, have self adjusted and corrected them with equilibrium being pragmatically maintained at the end.
Sri Lanka, for all intents and purposes, is not Uganda, neither is it Kosovo, nor is it anything other than itself. Its identity and nationhood is defined. Thus assigning blame is an easy exercise among nations, which in turn, has been the rationale for the establishment of the family of nations, the United Nations – to diplomatically resolve issues among themselves.
Sri Lanka is a very cherished and ardent member of this family of nations, and has always been a stalwart of this assembly, both abiding by its Charter obligation. There has not been an action where Sri Lanka has been chastised. There is simultaneously, not been an occasion by Sri Lanka not accepting its obligations as a member of this august body.
In the melee of today’s world, especially with the United Nations putting wrongs right in the world at large, there is a focus on Sri Lanka in a rather disproportionate manner. This is understandable, that for every evil conceivable, atonement and reparation is a justifiable validation. It appears also rather strange that as vindication, judgment has to be awarded come what may. On the reverse of this equation, it also appears that what is put forward as a resolution at the UNHRC at Geneva on 27 March 2012 is a recommendation for Sri Lanka to take note of and act according to the spirit of this resolution.
It is an accepted principle of the United Nations Human Rights Council that a recommendation whether it is “country specific” or not, is binding on the nation concerned.
It is equally the case that according to the UN Charter, no action can subvert the integrity of the Constitution of the country itself. It is thus an exercise in diplomacy. The question on everybody’s mind is: “When does diplomacy end and geopolitics begin.”
The peoples of Sri Lanka have lived their lives in harmony or otherwise, together over hundreds of centuries. Comedies and tragedies have all played their part to colour the history of our country. Our rulers from time immemorial have always balanced our thinking and our lifestyle. In trouble and strife, we have always stood firm in our commitment. We have not gone with the wind. As a sea faring nation we have over many times had to sail close to the wind and on numerous occasions in our history we have sailed against the wind. We have had alien values imposed on our culture, our way of life. We have rebelled, we have fought wars, and we have also been conquered in our colonial times. Although at times our sensitiveness has been ruffled, our feelings hurt, our values questioned, but our innate identity, our proportionality, our serenity and integrity has always been intact to maintain our cherished heritage. The tenet of the Middle Path has been our salvation and there is no doubt that in the stresses and strains that are heaped on us, we will always overcome.
Victor Cherubim is a Freelance Journalist, who can be reached at email@example.com