18 October, 2017

C’wealth Heads Wring Their Hands: To Come Or Not To Come

By Pearl Thevanayagam

Pearl Thevanayagam

Government forces under Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa annihilated well over 40,000 Tamils by May 19, 2009 in the last eight months of war (if one goes by Bishop of Mannar Rt Rev. Rayappu Joseph another 100,000 and we will never know) which began with a ferocity fuelled by the generous gifts of war machinery from several Commonwealth countries.

India and US provided aerial surveillance to enable the forces to make a three-pronged attack on Tamils. US, Ukraine, Russia, India, Pakistan and China provided or rather sold arms and ammunition to the government. Remember Hicorp and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the President’s brother’s private deal to supply weapons?

Hence Commonwealth countries are in a quandary. They are wringing their hands whether to maintain trade relations aka providing weaponry to member states during internecine warfare or to listen to their conscience on their abysmal record on human rights. Thanks to their munificence a good proportion of Tamils were annihilated. Money talks and it continues to talk. You can cry till you are blue in the face; what dictates superpowers is money be it through fair means or foul.

Demonstrations held by the Tamil diaspora across the world finally brought Sri Lankan government’s conduct of the ethnic war to world attention. The government reacted to LTTE resistance by unleashing terror on hapless Tamil civilians who fled for their lives leaving loved ones and watching them dying from aerial bombardment including cluster bomb attacks inflicting burns the survivors of which are still trying to recuperate.

Use of chemical weapons is a subject so far kept away from both the LLRC and Ms Navi Pillay.  Rape, torture, point-blank shootings close range are well documented in The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka video by Callum Mcrae which will once again be shown with fresh eye-witness accounts of war atrocities at Frontline Club in London on November 05, 2013.

A Town like Alice is a novel by Nevil Shute in 1950 made into an award winning movie based on World War 11 in which women prisoners of war had to sell their bodies to Japanese soldiers to obtain baby food and milk for their emaciated children. The location is Australia when Japanese invaded. Just as POWs in A Town like Alice were marched across vast tracts of land, Tamil civilians who were displaced several times over since the war began well over 35 years ago kept on fleeing for their lives only to be entrapped in an enclave close to Nanthikadal and end up as fodder for the government forces and human shields for the LTTE.

That Ms Navi Pillay, former Supreme Court Judge and Harvard educated South African of Tamil descent, was elevated to the position of UNHRC was her integrity and lessons learnt as a minority in South Africa. She saw first-hand what it was to be a minority and humiliated in a White dominant and later Black rule South Africa. Her arrival in Sri Lanka was met with trepidation and she was pilloried in the Colombo press for probing into business the government felt was not her mandate.

As UNHRC commissioner it was her very mandate and purpose and she brooks no nonsense; she still holds a most important office at the UNHRC and she will leave no stone unturned until war crimes perpetrators are hauled up before the ICC. She has succeeded in bringing to trial world leaders who thought they were undefeated.

What follows now is the focus on CHOGM in Colombo next month and the Harare principles of 1991 Commonwealth declaration which states:

  • We believe that international peace and order, global economic development and the rule of international law are essential to the security and prosperity of mankind;
  • We believe in the liberty of the individual under the law, in equal rights for all citizens regardless of gender, race, colour, creed or political belief, and in the individual’s inalienable right to participate by means of free and democratic political processes in framing the society in which he or she lives;
  • We recognise racial prejudice and intolerance as a dangerous sickness and a threat to healthy development, and racial discrimination as an unmitigated evil;
  • We oppose all forms of racial oppression, and we are committed to the principles of human dignity and equality;

We recognise the importance and urgency of economic and social development to satisfy the basic needs and aspirations of the vast majority of the peoples of the world, and seek the progressive removal of the wide disparities in living standards amongst our members.

Critical to the document is the removal of a reference to the opposition to international coercion, which had been included in the Singapore Declaration. The implication at Singapore was that not even the Commonwealth itself had any right to enforce its other core values, as they could only be enforced by using coercive powers. This apparent conflict was resolved at Harare, and further clarified by the Millbrook Commonwealth Action Programme, which clearly mandated the Commonwealth to concern itself with its members’ internal situations.

In recent years, the Commonwealth has been accused of not being vocal enough on its core values. Allegations of a leaked memo from the Secretary General instructing staff not to speak out on human rights were published in October 2010. Sri Lank has violated and continues to violate the very core principles of Harare declaration with impunity.

While reparations are nearing completion to present the country as the very embodiment of democracy, a fast developing economic miracle and a champion of human rights, the government has given death sentence to the murderer of  British tourist Khuram Shaikh in Tangalle and killers of journalists and aid workers were set free or not probed.

Commonwealth Heads are arriving not to concern themselves with the government’s war crimes. This writer desists from qualifying the word alleged before war crimes. They are here for a damn good holiday all paid for by the government and God forbid what the cost of living would be like after all the CHOGM tamashas.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0
    0

    No the diaspora are wringing their hands . they are all coming .. :)

    • 0
      0

      Oh yeah, they are all coming, some of them with blood in their hands, to compare notes with MaRa, the war criminal and genocidaire.

      There is a Tamil saying: A calf that associates with a pig will also eat shit. If some of these shameless fellows are not eating shit already, they will start eating shit after meeting MaRa. This may turn out to be war criminals’ and intending war criminals’ conference.

      When MaRa leads for 2 years from November, they will all be lead by this pig and propagate crimes against humanity in their own right.

      • 0
        0

        How come there are so many cows in India, and yet, so much shit on the streets ?

    • 0
      0

      Goth- abhaya,

      By coming to the CHOGM the Commonwealth has lost its values and that amounts to Appeasement. It is like World Leaders attending a meeting a meeting organised by Hitler.

  • 0
    0

    Pearl,

    Did you count the 40,000 bodies or are you just dreaming up these numbers by following the disgruntled few.

    You must talk about facts when you talk about numbers.

    Otherwise you are just wasting your time.

    Jay Pathbey – USA

    • 0
      0

      jay pathbey

      Yes, facts need to be established, but the SL regime is obstructing any international experts to look into this issue. If the SL regime is not guilty then why are they resisting a probe by SAARC, Commonwealth or the UN?

      What do you do in the US? Watching SL state TV via satellite all day and night…???

      • 0
        0

        So how did Pearl come up with these rather firm statements about “40,000 civilians” being killed with “cluster bombs” and “chemical weapons” since the facts haven’t actually been established?

        Oh, she’s full of crap, I understand now :D

        • 0
          0

          Siva Sankaran Sarma you Sinkalam

          You are CRAP

          • 0
            0

            The truth hurts monkeys like you I see :)

            • 0
              0

              @Siva Sankaran David Drama Queen Blocker Sarma

              …the truth actually hurts donkeys like you who go to any lengths to white wash the government and the armed forces. :D

            • 0
              0

              Sinkalam,

              The feeling is mutual. You monkey. Sorry you half LION

      • 0
        0

        The Sri Lankan government has continually asked for credible evidence that it can use to investigate allegations. All of the allegations have been made by proven LTTE cadres or Westerners on the payroll of pro-LTTE know it alls. As a western observer, I am fed up with this one-sided bullshit. If you can’t provide credible evidence, instead of citing this BS 40,000 figure that even the UN does not support, then shut up or do something constructive towards reconcilliation. Pearl is living in a dream world, and has no credibility in the eyes of unbiased westerners.

  • 0
    0

    To you madam, and all those who advocate the boycott of CHOGM,

    I think that you are mistaken and that not only is your enthusiasm misplaced but it promises no fruit or nourishment or help to those of us who love this land and who therefore choose to live on it and do what we can to tend its growth and guide it to a future that is better than its past. I understand full well the pain of those whose human rights have been violated, who have been raped, who have been tortured, and whose loved ones have been killed or disappeared in the course of the violent rebellion that has been curbed and the clamor for a more just order that has been violently suppressed. More so do I understand the fear in which they live who do not agree with the manner in which this land is being governed and who wish to see changes thereto and the sadness of those who have been forced to flee in order to protect their lives.

    I am aware that their suffering has to be acknowledged and their aspirations understood as legitimate and that their violent suppression does not hold out the promise of a future of justice and peace but rather one of fear and sullen coerced compliance and I understand very well the fundamental change in attitude and profound shift from fear and suspicion to trust and collaboration towards a better future that is required. It is on the basis of this understanding that I ask you to please explain in what way the boycott of the CHOGM can contribute towards this change.

    Let us not for even a moment forget that what you call the international community heartily cheered us on in our efforts to eradicate what they had all termed “terrorism” and outlawed in their lands because there was a serious problem with a liberation movement that over time had come to be dominated by a single organization that had turned into a viciously authoritarian and murderous machine that had no commitment to democracy, the rule of law, the doctrine of human rights or even basic principles of humanitarianism. There was a clear international recognition and acceptance that the movement for liberation had to be cleansed of this fascist tendency and allowed to return to the dynamics of the democratic framework.

    This was a delicate maneuver and one that was easily susceptible to mis interpretation and yet nevertheless one that had to be carried out successfully if progress of any sort was to be expected. Censure and moves to eradicate the authoritarian intolerance that had come to dominate the rebellion could easily be interpreted as a global consensus towards the suppression of the rebellion itself and indeed it appears that this mistake has indeed been made. The CHOGM offers us an opportunity to correct this misperception and to strengthen the understanding that the price of victory over authoritarianism cannot be a reactionary counter authoritarianism of greater virulence and viciousness. The CHOGM offers the opportunity of strengthening the understanding that impunity and the subversion of legal and democratic processes cannot and will not bring the kind of future that most of us would like to have.

    Instead of calling for the boycott of the CHOGM I suggest that you urge all those who attend, be they governmental delegates, the press, or private citizens to meet with us the citizens of this island, in our homes to which they are most welcome in keeping with the traditions of hospitality of our land, in our work places, in our schools and universities and in our places of worship and in the mental asylums to which the most vociferous are confined; to understand what we are going through and our perceptions of what the future can be and build firm links of friendship and solidarity that can become the basis of the transformation that our culture and our attitudes and our very approach to life must undergo.

    I have on many times been proven wrong over the seven and more decades I have seen go by and I am more than aware that I may be wrong again. If you think that I am, all of you, please let me know what you expect to achieve by boycotting the CHOGM that I may if necessary change my mind.

    • 0
      0

      What all of you do not seem to realize is the repercussions the country will face for holding CHOGM. Most of the western leaders including Prince Charles will not say nice things about us.While the whole world is focused on us these leaders will use the opportunity to say all the nasty things about us.The diplomatic gloves will be off.

      It would be better if all of them stayed at home then only their people will listen.

      MR.will regret holding this to his dying day.Although there will be photo”s of him with the leaders I doubt that some will even shake his hand.

      What will be the fallout should Dr. Manmohan Singh decide to stay back.

      • 0
        0

        I believe you are wrong. CHOGM will be a success for both sides. The Western leaders (including Prince Charles) will say nice things in public (with the possible exception of the Canadian rep)and exert pressure behind closed doors so as not to embarrass the President. The President will show CHOGM as a success to the masses. Win win situation. Only time will tell which if either of us is right.

        • 0
          0

          I tend to agree with Taraki. The Diplomats’ of the world never resort to saying what they think in public. There may be a few innuendos and a bit of doublespeak but it will mostly go over the head of the general populace.

          In private Rajapakse may get a roasting but he will disregard this after a few days and all will be well in the debacle of Asia.

      • 0
        0

        You got it completely wrong, mate. All these leaders will come and say nasty things about how the Rajapaksa dictatorship is running and ruining the country. They will also give you, yes you, a golden opportunity to have a ray of hope that the Rajapaksa might change his way of governance and be a democratic leader.

        I am against the boycott of CHOGM for this reason alone and I love my country so much that I want all the leaders to come to Sri Lanka and tell Rajapaksa what a nasty man he is.

    • 0
      0

      Crazyoldmansl, you are not crazy after all! You talk sense. You are a wise old man.

    • 0
      0

      I have been warmly welcomed into many homes of the common Sri Lankan and avidly read the papers online when I am not in Sri Lanka. I find it hard to believe that so many people speaking and wishing ill will to the progress of this nation, have ever experienced anything close to a real Sri Lankan experience of this decade. I huddled under door ways with my friends when the LTTE suicide planes flew over Colombo, I shared the pain and fear of not knowing whether loved one’s would be make it back home from work each day. I have listened countless times of the average Sinhalese citizens good will towards fellow Sri Lankans whether they be Muslim, Tamil, Kafir or Burhger. Tell me, what planet are you all on, who are you talking about. Pearl, what are your real motives, who pays you to write this crap! Nobody has gone without suffering on this island for the last 30 years. Now is the time to move forward, not capitalize on fear and a some misguided western countries ineptitude for your daily meal. If you’re not part of the solution your part of the problem.

      • 0
        0

        MHA,

        You really are a moron. You talk about “I huddled under door ways with my friends when the LTTE suicide planes flew over Colombo, I shared the pain and fear of not knowing whether loved one’s would be make it back home from work each day”

        Man we have endured this for the last 64 years and it still continues unabated so don’t talk rubbish. Whether you lot like it or not we are parting Company and nothing in this World is going to Stop it. The news that should send shock waves through your spine is the following.

        *** MODI IS UNSTOPPABLE***

        His first port of call as soon as he was chosen as the PM candidate was Trichi and he has been to Tamil Nadu twice delivering a key note speech about the plight of the Tamils and the support of the Iron Lady with 40 seats is crucial for him to become PM. She is also being seen as a CM to PM switching roles.

  • 0
    0

    Well said Perarl, keep up your good work, never mind the barking dogs.

    This time CHOGM will be unique: Hypocrites will be enjoying the hospitality of the authoritarian regime and will be shaking hands with the number one war criminal in today’s world, and he is in Sri Lanka.

    Let’s wait and see all the tamasha these jokers make!

    Hats off to the Canadian PM, who has the guts to say enough is enough to the tyrant of the land like no other: Truly it’s a land like no other soaked in Tamil blood and tears.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Pearl,
    Well said, and I agree with your opinion and information. I would only like to add one item: please include Israel, whose zionists have long aided Sinhalese governments commit genocide against Tamils. I don’t know why but most everyone I read who writes about the many countries who have aided Sri Lankan governments commit mass murder and genocide nearly always leave out Israel. The fact that this genocidal state is widely condemned for its genocide against Palestinians and for multi-invasions of Middle Eastern countries should always be something we who oppose Sinhalese genocide against Tamils should inform others about.

    Here is some material on this matter, which I used in my talk at the TGTE conference in London recently, “Accountability for Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka—Its Significance for the World”, where we resolved that peaceful actions should occur all over the world in the spirit of Gandhi’s satyagraha against Sri Lankan genocide. Lets start now regarding the Commonwealth summit.

    “Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) 2009 yearbook and a March 2010 database report place Israel as a major supplier. From 2000 to 2007 Israel, along with the US and India, supplied “several large warships.” Israel offered unmanned aerial vehicles, 9 Kfir fighter jets, 38 Shaldag fast and 6 Super Dvora patrol craft, mines, ground surveillance, radar equipment, training, and Mossad assistance. It even sent some pilots. Already in 1980, estimates were that Israel had sold $1 billion in weaponry.

    Israeli Zionists support Sri Lanka Sinhalese genocide against Tamils, in part, because they view them as they do Palestinians, whom they subject to genocide. The two genocide regimes celebrated their ties following the 2009 civil war with the exchange of ambassadors. Sri Lanka sent their highest military man, Donald Perera, chief-of-state during the final offensive.

    Perera coupled Israel’s fight against “terrorism” with Sri Lanka’s. In an interview with the largest Zionist newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, he spoke proudly of having “a great relationship with your military [and aerospace] industries…For years Israel has aided our war on terror through the exchange of information and the sale of military technology and equipment.””

    • 0
      0

      @Ron Ridenour
      Don’t try to hoodwink readers with your warped interpretations. Everyone knows that the civil war in Lanka which Israel helped in overcoming was fought to combat terrorism. Terrorism of the worst kind ever. It had nothing to do with committing genocide against the Tamils. We are aware of Israels atrocities against the Palestinian freedom fighters from time immemorial. But that does not make the dreaded LTTE any saintlier. And for that alone, we are grateful to the Zionists, oppressors in their own right, for having helped us overcome the dreaded terrorists from our beautiful island. So, Mr snake-oil salesman, you can take your wares elsewhere for a more gullible audience. Try Canada for a start. There is a big diaspora audience there which would be ever-willing to lend an ear to your idiotic rants.

      • 0
        0

        Yes, Ahmed you are right. The Zionists helped the Sinhala Buddhists to victory so that they can let loose the dogs – Bodu Balla Sena – at you Muslims. Thank the Zionists for that. LOL.

      • 0
        0

        Ahmed biloshi you Sinkalam,

        Stop bullshitting you racist and come out of your closet and if you are a Mulsim write about the banning of Halal , Mosques being attacked by BBS and shops being burnt. You Coward. Racist Sinhalese like you writing under Tamil & Muslim names has become a fashion and you are no different. It is not the messenger that matters but the Message and yours is loud and clear.
        The only terrorism which is sweeping the Country is the State Terrorism headed by the Criminal MR.

  • 0
    0

    Your article show another side …….

    Sri Lanka do not have the capabilities of manufacturing Arms…so all were purchased from Countries that have agreements on manufacturing and Sale of Arms into countries with conflicts…it is pretty certain that UK was fully aware of these Sales.. they are no kids to think that the heavy weapons purchased to kill rabbits..!!!

    the funniest part is …they sell Arms..We buy them and Kill..when the affected shout …the Countries who supplied Arms issue warnings on Violation of Human Rights…threaten to bring in sanctions..embaegos…when international inquiries are suggested ..we shout on interference on internal affairs of a Sovereign country….hik..hik..hik..

    The entire Commonwealth Countries are corrupted bloody hypocrites …they all collectively have participated in the mass murder that they now accuse of Sri Lanka..IT IS NOTHING BUT A CRIME COMMITTED COLLECTIVELY… .the entire Commonwealth is an Organization that propagate nothing but corruption and murder injustice..suffering….of which the HEAD was Championed in their Glorious Past..

    One may wonder how they have gained…well the refugee influx is stopped..political interference which is at peak will die down over the period….the corrupt regimes continue to manipulate and further the oppression….

  • 0
    0

    I read in the press today: British Prime Minister David Cameron and Burmese opposition leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi have both agreed that engaging Sri Lanka is the right way to go on the human rights issue.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, who met Cameron in London on Wednesday, said that if he goes to Sri Lanka he should “engage with all those who are involved, all other stakeholders and not just the government”.

    Cameron responded: “Very wise words. I will be going to the north of the country as well and I think what Aung San Suu Kyi has said is absolutely right.”

    • 0
      0

      Very well…IF IT COULD BE DONE….
      IF A MECHANISM COULD BE SET UP FOR REFORMMING THE ” KABARAGOYAS “
      Erudite DJ yesterday in an interview said that all those who speak against the CHOGM are enimies…
      You see the problem..?

      Aung San Suu Kyi little understand the diuble tongued crooks here…

      • 0
        0

        I think she is perfectly aware of the forked tongue crooks everywhere. She too is a politician and has still not condemned those who have committed violence against Burma’s Muslims.

  • 0
    0

    Thevanayagam does fit into the category of ‘Journalists’ from the Judith Miller School, well known for leading the invasion of Iraq. Fiction becomes fact, and Curveballs become heroes, instead of traitors.

  • 0
    0

    Dear Ron,
    This world comprises charlatans and even journlaists who prostitute for cheque book journalism. E:G Rebecca Brooks.Unless people like you who do not care two hoots for powers that be the superpowers win.But you will fight the good fight for human rights. Let us be honest. You do not count in this materialistic world.
    However, sincerity and honesty wins any day ; some day.
    Pearl Thevanayagam

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.