So now that the Australian Attorney General will not prosecute, what will John Dowd do?
| by Pandukabaya de Silva
(October 26, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) In a correspondence with the Hon. Mr John Dowd, AO QC, President, International Commission of Jurists, Australia initiated by me on 4th August 2011, I was forcibly reminded of the arrogance of the white man who continues to think that he knows more about the countries of the ‘brown peoples’ than those people themselves. When this maxim is applied to retired individuals who ought to be tending to their roses rather than getting involved in countries about which they know nothing of, the simile is very much relevant.
For those who are curious, I started this correspondence since I wished to ascertain if this Mr Dowd was acting out of sheer naivete or whether his actions had a deeper sinister motive. I would conclude that this is a mixture of both. For naivete, if not confused language, let me give a sample as follows. During this correspondence, I happened to mention that my aunt and uncle (since I come from a mixed family) were prevented from voting in the 2005 elections by the LTTE since they wanted to prevent Ranil Wickremesinghe coming to power in perhaps the biggest miscalculation since their assassination of Rajiv Ghandhi. His response was that my statement that ’brute force was used by the LTTE in the 2005 election is similarly disingenuous. That could only be part of the cause of people voting.’ (email message sent by him on 15th September 2011).
My answer to him was brutal and direct ‘Who are you to tell me what my people have suffered?”. I also added that I found it laughable that he would try and deny that the LTTE prevented Tamil civilians from voting in the 2005 elections thus inadvertently bringing Mahinda Rajapakse – possibly one of our most brutal Presidents – to power. To say this shows his total lack of knowledge about the Sri Lankan reality.
With that, the correspondence not unnaturally ended. However, there were some interesting points that came out. Earlier, I had asked him to refer me to just one instance where he had criticized the actions of the LTTE similar to his almost daily barrages against the Sinhalese government. He was unable to do so, saying only that to suggest that his statements are characterised by a silence in relation to the LTTE is ‘nonsense’. But all that he could say was that its the media that decide what gets published. He then went on to say that he had made comments on radio but did not keep copies or receive copies of what he had necessarily said. Interestingly, he said ‘the chance of me getting published having said something negative about the LTTE is less than zero’ and went on to say that there is no point about saying what the LTTE had done as this is quite clear.
So this is an individual who is bold enough to assert that is chances of saying anything negative about the LTTE is ‘less than zero’! I am not sure what this shows more; his extreme arrogance or his extreme duplicity? Either way, it is quite obvious that this goes beyond mere naivete.
I replied by saying that I could not accept his explanation that the media decides what to publish as it was a clear excuse for his partiality. My comment was that I was under the impression that Mr Dowd was a trained lawyer and if so, then he should know that individuals are condemned by their omissions as well as their acts of commission His silence about the atrocities re the LTTTE cannot be justified by saying that there is not much doubt about what they have done since that same logic applies to the Sri Lanka government since there is not much doubt about what they have done either. Yet, individuals such as Mr Dowd continue to loudly denunciate what the government does while keeping silent on the LTTE. This, to my mind, suggested partiality and bias, however he may try to justify it.
I ended my correspondence by saying that Mr Dowd, AC QC should confine himself to commenting on human rights concerns to countries regarding which he has some knowledge rather than Sri Lanka? His actions are damaging as they strengthen the hand of Sinhala nationalists. I also suggested that suggest that he direct his energes in highlighting some of the atrocities perpetrated in the war on Iraq and Afghanistan to which Australia has also sent their troops as international ”justice” should not be seen as being enforced against (politically) ‘weaker’ states only. The principle of equality is central to the idea of justice.
It is a shame that the International Commission of Jurists which has been an otherwise highly reputed organisation, has allowed a loose cannon like Mr Dowd to lead its Australia section.