By Emil van der Poorten –
The fact that the hounds from hell are baying for the blood of South African Yasmin Sooka should surprise no one given the fact that this same bunch accused two other South Africans with similar credentials, the late Nelson Mandela and Bishop Desmond Tutu, of being “Tiger collaborators!”
It is not a matter for any surprise that the very same people who are organizing a thinly-disguised “Super Race” project called “Sinha Le,” continue their support of the Bodu Bala Sena’s well-financed project which had seemingly run out of steam. The surprise is that a government allegedly committed to stopping Nazi projects continues to turn a blind eye to the reality that the vast majority of Sri Lankans recognize, if not oppose wholeheartedly. What are we waiting for? Another Black July or a Sri Lankan Kristallnacht?
The attack on Sooka, whose early history is with Mandela and Tutu, is only a part of the “philosophy” practiced by the lumpen of this country, tacitly supported by those up to Cabinet rank and even higher, it seems, within the Ohey Palayang government.
There is an old chestnut about living with the dividends of history unobserved and the geniuses who claim to represent “Sri Lankan interests” are pushing the envelope in the matter of achieving that fate. That may well constitute poetic justice. However, if we let greedy morons take us down that path, we will have no one to blame but ourselves for the fate that ultimately befalls us all: “governance” that makes the Rajapaksa regime’s excesses look like a Sunday School Picnic!
I have said it before and I will say it again: the only way that we will see an objective analysis of what happened during the violent ethnic conflict that ended in 2009 will be if an international tribunal of committed and skilled people conducts such an examination and analysis. And let me be clear about any such initiative, the Desmond de Silvas, even if the third generation of self-promoting figures with their primary loyalty to those in their family circle, have no place in any such plan. To expect justice from a local panel, including hangers-on from this dispensation or its predecessor, is not only pushing credulity to the edge of the precipice of doom and gloom but giving it that final shove into the abyss. Those that pass for “practitioners of the law” in Sri Lanka have proven totally incapable of delivering on their local responsibilities in the day to day lives of our citizens, leave alone apply fairness and justice to a far bigger task. To expect them to deal fairly and within the bounds of universally-accepted norms is nothing short of ludicrous. Without an objective analysis and the determinations that flow from it, we are doomed insofar as any pretensions to civilized behaviour are concerned. After all, human rights and crimes against humanity are now within an internationally-accepted framework and even the most repressive regimes in the world pay lip service to those precepts, no matter how hypocritically. THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE TO SO MUCH AS SUGGEST THAT A “MADE-IN-SRI-LANKA” solution can come even close to delivering. And please do not drag into this debate any of the Sri Lankans who are considered jurists of international repute. One in particular, who was the recipient, not incidentally, of some national honour from our Monarch-recently-deposed, displayed what can only be described as deafening silence as far as condemnation of the rampant abuse of human rights conducted, literally, under his very nose. If that individual (and his kin) were silent then, how in heaven’s name can you expect those at the lower levels of his particular totem pole to deliver in circumstances which could be, to put it mildly, fraught with political and personal risk?
What this refusal to accept anything resembling independence and objectivity amounts to is a refusal to let anything resembling justice prevail. The Nuremberg war crimes tribunal, with all its flaws, is NOT going to be replicated or even imitated in Colombo if the current decision-makers have their way.
Even the primary lackeys owing the larger part of their academic eminence to that bastion of democratic practice, Singapore, have been embarrassed into silence by the unbelievably arrogant and politically dishonest behaviour of the Maithri/Ranil (MR2) conglomeration. Or are they, purveyors of academic discourse without equal in the matter of simple dishonesty, simply too embarrassed to spout their usual defence of what happened before, during and after Nanthikadal? Or, most likely, have the springs of payment dried up with some disruption of the stream of dirty money?
If this sounds like a diatribe, so be it. This country has far too many people of decency who believe in justice without the kind of malice, prejudice and plain and simple murderous intent to permit what MR2 is practicing as very apt pupils of the Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR1) dispensation.
The logical conglomeration that would emerge out of the decisions of this bunch, in the interests of a “local/indigenous commission of inquiry,” could well have been one comprised of the surviving hierarchy of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and the Dayan Jayatillekes, Rohan Gunaratnes or G. L Peiris’ around the MR1 dispensation and, for good measure, how about a Wijeyadasa Rajapaksa and S. B. Dissanayake and one of Gamini Dissanayake’s politically-chameleonic progeny? Come to think of it, it’s not too late to put such an agglomeration together given the fact that Pillayan, “Colonel Karuna” (the Deputy Leader of the SLFP), the chief arms procurer for the LTTE when it was at its height sowing death and destruction on the streets and in the countryside of Sri Lanka and its official successor to the late Mr. Prabhakaran, Kumar Pathmanathan, to use one of his better-recognised noms de guerre, and at least two of the “Masters” are still alive and doing very well for themselves, thanks to Sri Lankan political dispensations, both immediately past and present? I know, I know, Prabhakaran’s son might have constituted the youth wing of such a motley crew, but he is no longer among us and there is no way his premature demise or that of his siblings can be reversed at this point of the history of the Miracle of Asia.
All cynical comment apart, this country will go down in the annals of infamy if we don’t listen to the few brave voices, almost without exception women, who continue to call for an independent inquiry and the punishment of those guilty of atrocities during a conflict where the niceties of the Geneva Convention were conspicuous by their absence. I fear, though, that the MR2 regime is in virtual lockstep with the MR1 regime on this one despite some elements of the former having, no matter how nebulous, a connection with the democratic politics of Sri Lanka in the early days of its post-colonial independence.
A sad fate indeed for a country that once promised to be the “Beacon of Democracy” in Asia! It doesn’t require one of the soothsayers from this country or Southern India, with whose services Mahinda Rajapaksa was so free, to foretell what awaits us: a place of infamy in world history where Nanthikadal will challenge the worst excesses of the Turks in their (unsuccessful) effort to exterminate the Armenians so many decades ago.
This nation and its people can do better than that, far better, but it won’t happen until enough people of decency stand up to be counted and make their voices heard. There already are some, but we need more, thousands more, to drown out the Bodu Bala Senas and goodness knows how many more “Sinha Le-” type agglomerations that are thriving, totally unchecked, like malignant mushrooms after the deluge of blood that was the “Eelam war.”