Colombo Telegraph

A Lullaby For Alan Keenan

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Alan KeenanSri Lanka Project Director at the International Crisis Group, is doing his job.  Good on him.  The man has penned some thoughts: Sri Lanka: time for action, not action plans’.  It’s all about the Sri Lankan Government not doing what Keenan thinks it ought to do.

This is not the first time that I’ve written about the man.  A year ago I referred to him in an article titled ‘Towards a post-complicit moment for those in pre-slumber slumber’ as part of a series on self-appointed Grand Abbots on All and Sundry.
True to form, Keenan talks about ‘some 40,000 civilian deaths’ that are not being ‘fairly examined’.  Where that number came up from, goodness only knows.  But that’s not surprising.  The likes of Keenan have been throwing around all kinds of figures without a shred of substantiation.  And, if you really dig deep (you won’t have to because that’s how shallow these people are), you’ll find that the ‘primary sources’ are utterly unreliable, and worse, traceable to LTTE operatives or persons who trotted out information at gunpoint.
Now just as legality and officialdom was conferred on the infamous Darusman panel by continuous reference to it as the ‘UN Panel’, Keenan has twisted ‘recommendation’ (from the UNHRC) as ‘directive’.  It was not a binding document and Keenan knows this.  And yet, he is horrified that the Government has rejected (in his mind) the commission’s ‘central finding’ (again, in his mind, for there was no ‘finding’ as such): ‘the need to initiate independent investigations.
Keenan in essence has rubbished Sri Lankan processes and implied that ‘independence’ has to be ‘foreign’.  First we have claims made by terrorists and now we have this ill-informed and sophomoric commentator making grand statement of how things should be done based on an erroneous start-point. Keenan talks about the ‘well-known Channel 4 video’ but says nothing about the equally well known fact that Channel 4 in that video demonstrates abysmal media ethics and laughable media skills.  They have deliberately lipsticked and eye-shadowed terrorists and their backers as chest-beating, tear-popping innocents.  Keenan feigns ignorance.
He knows that the ‘UN (sic) panel of experts’ gave a report that was a joke in terms of information gathering and analysis, not to mention horrors such as mis-naming the Secretary of Defence.  And yet, this Mr. I-know-Sri-Lanka-better-than-anyone actually takes the report seriously!
Then he moves on to ‘talks’.  He blames the Government for not talking with the Tamil National Alliance.  He doesn’t mention that the TNA has played spoilsport from Day One.  He gives the TNA a ‘moderate’ tag.  Moderate as opposed to, Mr Keenan?  The LTTE?  But you’ve treated the word of the LTTE as Gospel Truth and although that’s not ‘moderate’ statement it is nevertheless holy, ain’t it?  For him the TNA is ‘pro-engagement’.  Well, the TNA is refusing to submit names to the Parliamentary Select Committee.  Makes sense. Being pro-LTTE it is natural for Keenan to evolve into backing the reduced-circumstances articulator of LTTE Word.
Keenan then speaks on behalf of Sri Lankans. He knows better than us what we want.  He knows what we ‘need’.  Come off it, Mr. Colonial Residue, we don’t need you to make us inhabit your version of our reality.  We’ll handle our issues, thank you very much! And yes, we do have serious institutional flaws and the constitutional flaws call for much overhaul.  You are not helping, because when people who have conditioned their mind to swallow anything sent their way by pro-LTTE operatives start making prescriptions, the medicine list comes with a caution ‘Poison’.  Helps keep systems intact and makes it possible for system-beneficiaries to rubbish both prescriber and prescription.  Doesn’t help the citizen.  That’s why we say ‘It’s ok if you don’t help, just don’t mess things up at this end!’
Keenan is out of order, but we should not be surprised.  The International Crisis Group has been undressed quite comprehensively (see David Cronin’s ‘International Crisis Group: craving approval from blood-soaked elite’).  A year ago I did a bit of undressing myself (‘Let’s get to know the International Crisis Group’).
This busybody is pretending to sleep.  He therefore needs to sleep for real.  That way he might wake up.  I am not betting on it!  
**Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation‘ and his articles can be found at

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