By S. V. Kirubaharan –
In recent days, I learnt that you, Defence Secretary – Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa met some dignitaries. This was to prevent any resolution coming against Sri Lanka in the forthcoming 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council – HRC in Geneva. Among the diaspora a few are not happy about your new role but I am extremely happy and welcome you.
It comes as no surprise that you are compelled to undertake this task. In fact, half of the lobbyists of your government are now refusing to defend you and your brothers. The other half, like Prof G.L. Peiris, Rahuf Hakeem and other members of his community; a few Tamils like Douglas Devananda, Anandasangari, and Sitharthan are reluctant now to defend you all. One of your good friends Mohan Pieris who successfully lobbied North Korea during the war, is of course busy with his new portfolio!
Frankly, I welcome you because you are not capable of doing this job, being an ex-Army officer who knows the basic rules of neither international humanitarian law nor international human rights law. With no knowledge of norms and standards, you maintain a policy that soldiers/the security forces who “defeated 30 years of terrorism” should be neither investigated nor punished for alleged war crimes.
We understand the reasons for your recent visit to Italy and USA. Your visit to Italy was to follow up the work of your brother, President Rajapaksa. During the peak days of the war, Indian decision-makers were divided into two or three groups, delaying their decision on Sri Lanka. Your brother the President, who did not want to wait, went to Italy and used all sorts of influence on Sonia Gandhi via her relatives. Your more recent visit to Italy was to keep up your contacts with relatives of Sonia Gandhi.
Your visit to New York was of course, with the motive of meeting the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon. Concerning Sri Lanka, Ban-Ki Moon had already earned enough red marks and insults. So he avoided shaking hands with you, who are accused of war crimes. He passed this responsibility to his deputy. After your meeting with deputy Secretary General, the UN is certain that your government will deliver zero on accountability and should be brought to justice without further delay.
The HRC consists of 47 UN members states, who decide on matters related to human rights situations in any country. Therefore it is absurd for you to lobby Ban-Ki Moon. Neither the UN Secretary General nor the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights can stop any resolution being passed in the HRC. The 1st resolution put forward by Sri Lanka in May 2009, to counter another resolution based on human rights and realities in Sri Lanka, was one of the finest examples of this.
Now let me comment on three videos made by you and your officials to show in the forthcoming session in Geneva. They are a complete waste of tax payers’ money. Either you or others involved in producing these videos must have made a fortune.
The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – LTTE has already been punished by the international community for presumed breaches of international norms and standards. This punishment was meted out not just at ground level but also in foreign countries. Showing videos on the LTTE’s presumed atrocities will not justify war crimes and crimes against humanity, committed by the Sri Lankan security forces.
Gotabaya, if you still want to send these videos just for your satisfaction, do add how your gang intimidate and block the Channel 4 news crews during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting – CHOGM in Sri Lanka; how and who murdered the ICRC Rehabilitation Manager, a British citizen Khuuram in December 2011 in Tangall in Sri Lanka; white van atrocities which are directly under your supervision etc. If these are not included, those videos will be considered as propaganda material which has no place in the HRC.
You Rajapaksas should not forget that President Chandrika Kumaratunga, the late Kadirgamar, your one time good friend Mangala Samaraweera and a few others including some Tamils worked hard to ban the LTTE in 36 countries. Subsequently, the international community helped Sri Lanka to eliminate them. Without such sophisticated support neither you Rajapaksas nor Sarath Fonseka would have succeeded in eliminating the LTTE even today.
What is happening now in Sri Lanka is satisfying the voters in the South. You all tell fairy tales saying that if the international community is tough on Sri Lanka, you will let the cat out of the bag about certain countries involvement in the war.
Who introduced whom to whom?
Well and good! Sri Lanka, especially you Rajapaksas always maintain that the ethnic problem is an internal problem! If so, how did you allow all those international actors to ruin and damage your own citizens? If what you Rajapaksas say is true, then is your situation not similar to Sadam Hussein of Iraq and Gadhafi of Libya who said the same and received enough supplies of arms?
Unfortunately, arms supplies as gifts or sold on a commercial basis to countries in conflict that are oppressing their citizens is rarely seen as a problem. If you thought this is a serious problem, then what about individuals who supplied arms and fought as terrorists killing various actors? Do they become ‘holy’ when they join your camp? You brothers are throwing stones at the International community, while living in a glass house.
Now let me put forward a genuine question to you Rajapaksas, especially to you. An individual was wanted by Interpol for a very long time. When a country in South East Asia arrested him in early 2000 and asked your government, whether you wanted him, you said “No, we don’t need him”! How can this be possible, especially during the peak days of the war, if this individual’s present claim is true?
It should be remembered that walls have ears. Not many know the truth that the so called “international expert on terrorism” introduced this person in early 2000 to you Rajapaksas. You personally met him during the war, several times, in a foreign country!
Now let me come to something which happened to me which is no more a secret or personal. Some unknown people entered my flat in Paris and played hell in my absence. Are you trying to say that you don’t know the people who did this? Of course the French authorities are unable to establish who those unknown people are. But there are several hallmarks of incidents that have taken place in Sri Lanka, especially in Colombo. Some people are well aware that a special unit under you is working outside the Sri Lanka embassy in Paris. This may be the reason a VIP has resigned and left the French capital! It is obvious that your informants are active in Paris. They take photographs and meet people during all the Tamil events, pretending to be Saints! The same must be happening in other cities.
South African model?
If you brothers had been dramatists, you would have achieved the world’s best award for your work. The dramas of the International Independent Group of Eminent Persons – IIGEP and 3 years plan of inaction of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission – LLRC are now virtually over. According to your Media spokesperson and comedian, you are now seriously looking at the possibility of undertaking something like the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission – TRC! This is a better idea than the LLRC because when you present it as a South African model, then USA, UK, EU and other countries have to be respectful to your new idea. Also South Africa may come to your rescue in the forthcoming sessions of the HRC in Geneva.
But let us be frank, as to how the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa was established. This Commission was appointed through Parliament in 1995, only after late and great Nelson Mandela, publicly announced that there was to be no revenge and Whites are equals to Blacks in the new Rainbow South Africa. Also before they established the TRC, they showed the world how they treat the Whites equally.
Is your government at a stage where it can consider the South African model of Truth and Reconciliation? Since the end of the war, you brothers and the government have been extremely busy taking revenge on the whole Tamil population. Since then you all have been busy colonising the Tamil hereditary land in the North and East, including through Sinhalalisation, Buddhisation and militarisation. Your government now forces the Tamils to sing the national anthem only in the Singhalese language.
With such behaviour why do you bring insult to the South African’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission? There are two obvious good reasons:
Firstly, this will give another opportunity for your government to buy some more time for your successful completing of colonisation, Singhalisation and Buddhisation.
Secondly, the mandate of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa can consider granting amnesty for individuals, including members of the armed forces and the paramilitary.
In other words, your government is trying to achieve many positive things for all those of you who are accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
This may be attractive to some grassroots diaspora activists to build their name and fame. But please don’t insult the TRC of South Africa. Sri Lanka is light-years away from qualifying to undertake such an initiative.
HRC waits for you
Let me conclude by saying that, if you have not committed war crimes you too, come with those videos to the HRC in Geneva. There are VVIPs, VIPs, Experts and members of civil society waiting to ask you some questions. You will have to answer directly to them. If you want to know about this process, do contact your Minister of External affairs (September 2007 ) or Lalith Weeratunga who proudly sat among the panellists in the HRC (June 2007 ) and witnessed how Ministers like Kheliya Rambukwella, Douglas Devananda, Seneviratne and a few others were put in an extreme embarrassing position in the HRC.
For your information, there are participants of the HRC, who are always very happy to come to Sri Lankan embassy briefings, especially at the end of the meeting. This is because your embassy in Geneva serves very good hot snacks – rolls, cutlets, patties, vadai, etc. In fact, this gesture was introduced by your present additional Secretary to the External Ministry. As a woman she understood the tiredness and hunger of the hard (and some hardly-ever) working participants in the HRC. At the same time, one of your ambassadors in Geneva was teaching Marxism and Shakespeare’s English to some ambassadors and others without giving even a cup of tea or glass of water. He said this is real Socialism – if I give to one, I must give to everyone!
Let us meet in Geneva with your jumbo team in March! Meanwhile, I wish a Happy New Year to all.