23 October, 2017

Dr. Nonis, Mr. Azwer And Clumsy PR

By Rasika Jayakody

Rasika Jayakody

Rasika Jayakody

What was reported in western media in the aftermath of CHOGM sheds light on serious lapses on the part of the government in terms of ‘Perception Management’ among the international community.

One has to admit the fact that the Sri Lankan government stepped into hosting CHOGM and threw itself into the limelight on a relatively bad wicket, so to speak, vis-à-vis the strong propaganda initiated by pro-LTTE Diaspora demonizing the Sri Lankan government and armed forces over what happened during the final phase of war.

From the very outset, the Sri Lankan government had to defend its position against serious allegations which – if mismanaged – would result in an international war crimes investigation. Any such international inquiry will be certainly influenced by western super powers who are strongly gravitated towards the pro-LTTE Diaspora, narrowing the chances of a fair and impartial hearing. In that context, it is important for the government to understand the gravity of the problem and checkmate the western super powers who are hell-bent on flogging Sri Lanka.  Now that requires a lot of diplomacy, a great deal of perception management and sanity in terms of handling international media.

When considering the developments on the ground particularly during CHOGM, it is not so difficult to fathom that the government is just “firefighting” and there is no concerted effort to counter scathing attacks on Sri Lanka by a certain section of western media. There seems to be no robust PR plan and almost everything that comes from the government as counter-arguments, is ad-hoc. Right people are not at the right places, and wrong people are making things much more difficult for the government.

One such example was the behavior of Parliamentarian A.H.M. Azwer who went berserk at the press conference, convened by the Commonwealth Spokesman. He acted like a bull in the china shop although the points he made, made a great deal of sense. But, that was not the right place to raise such issues and Azwer was certainly not the right guy! In the end, Azwer, who is a national list parliamentarian representing the ruling party and a Presidential Advisor, looked like a jester in the eyes of the entire world, putting the Sri Lankan government in a highly embarrassing position.

Azwer’s bull in the china shop behavior should be weighed against the manner in which President Mahinda Rajapaksa handled unexpected questions thrown at him by Channel 4’s Jonathan Miller on the sidelines of the Commonwealth Business Forum. The President greeted him in a very polite manner and handled his questions in a fairly civilized way, even though it was not the place and time for questioning of that nature. Although such individual gestures alone will not rescue Sri Lanka from the disadvantageous position it is in at the moment, it is commendable how the Sri Lankan President immediately reacted to a journalist who always exhibited a hostile approach against Sri Lanka. This is exactly what the large majority of ministers and the top echelons of the Rajapaksa administration do not seem to understand!

It is in this light that we have to understand the importance of Dr. Chris Nonis’s seven minute brief interview with CNN. He faced the questions with great fluency and his answers were loud, clear and convincing. He knew what he was talking about and never raised his voice or resorted to a high-pitched tone, giving way to “overwhelming patriotism”. It is important to know that Dr. Nonis did not make earth-shattering revelations in his interview, but simply reiterated what the government has been saying all along.  The only difference is his answers were well-structured and well-organized, and there was no sense of arrogance in his demeanour. This was the striking difference between him and the other government representatives who shared their views with international media on behalf of the Sri Lankan government.

Handling international media plays an important part in preventing an international inquiry. To perform that operation with sanity and prudence, the government has to first understand what its core message is. Secondly, there should be a central mechanism to handle the dissemination of the message, without accommodating any act of jumping the gun by any individual representing the government. Thirdly, there should be right people at right places to carry out the operation in a well-planned and systematic manner, without digression or shifting the focus from time to time. And without having such a robust system in place, the government has only meager chances of achieving success.

Therefore, time is ripe for the government to position the likes of Dr. Nonis at right places, as the behavior of certain government representatives and spokespersons who deal with international media resembles the jataka tale where a foolish soldier used a sword to get rid of an insect that was resting on the king’s neck!

*Rasika Jayakody is a Sri Lankan journalist who may be contacted at rasikajayakody2@gmail.com 

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    Nonis is singing out of tune for his meals. Poor bugger!

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      That has nothing to do with his meals man. He is coming from a wealthy family. What he thought could be helping Srilanka being involved as a Diplomat. I still believe, he should feel somewhat guilty looking at the snail move of LLRC recommendations yet.

      And to Deshapriya@:
      Even late Kadirgamar had his own accent in English. His perfomance in public interviews and speeches was the best. And as everyone notices it, Dr. Nonis has his own accent. What both these gentlemen are well educated srilankens.

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        Prem, Bandulatha,

        Nonis is an offspring of the Mendis-Nonis clan who with others of the clan were educated overseas on the money earned in Sri Lanka on the backs of the sweating workers in their Mackwoods estates. Naturally, they speak with the affected accent of where they were educated. Clearly, the huge investment by the British government in Nonis’s medical education has been lost as he inevitably left medicine for the lucre of trade. Taking on this London diplomatic appointment was self-serving for him – I bet you he will not take an appointment in Tashkent – he is now able to combine Mackwoods business in the UK and other points west with access by title to build further contacts to advance the fortunes of Mackwoods.
        The sad thing is that his antecendents must be turning in their graves watching Nonis hobnobbing with the parvenu’s in the Rajapakse regime; Keheliya, Mervyn, etc etc.

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    Nonis must not only talk the talk. He must also learn to walk the walk. And there, he has failed miserably. His walk has been on a cripples crutches and he has only managed to hobble along miserably just enough to please his paymasters. Not convincing otherwise. Not at all. On his Masters Voice comes to my mind. Only, the dog at the other end of the megaphone seems to be more sincere in what it has to say, even though it has an obligation to please its master. And Rasika seems to be easily impressionable with elocutionary skills.

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    Azwar is a selfish politician who has no moral ethics. Even he doesn’t know how to behave in a decent manner. When mosques were attacked , he didn’t utter any single word and now he wanted to say what happened in the North. This is for his survival, revealing his masters policy.

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    The government can employ spin doctors to deceive the media and a few gullible people. The fact remains as long as the criminal racists are protected from prosecution, Sri Lankans will suffer the consequences and pay a heavy price for electing incompetent / corrupt officials.

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    Bandulatha by “singing for his meals,” I mean praising and protecting his master for the sake of his position, salary etc. Being wealthy is no bar to being greedy. You better learn your English

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    Azwar is true son of the soil. But given his name, the Sinhalese may not think so. So he got to be on turbo charge mode to prove his creds and he really did a good job at that.

    The people that Dr.Nonis was talking to were abunch of Gobs. They are ready to swallow a labored accent, telling them the same stuff on the govenrment web site. That would be convincing only to the Sinhalese of Sir Lanka – who would certainly want to put in a an accent like that if you could.

    But Rasika, the best action was to pelt them ! which some of our heroes did. Why did you not include that for comparison ?

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    CHOGM has brought Sri Lanka to the top of the list – “A Bunch of Crooks and Jokers”!

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    Azwar brays like a donkey.Very often we see him braying like a donkey in the parliament debates.So true to his character he did the same at the commonwealth press conference.No surprise there. But the real surprise and mystery is the set of donkeys who goaded him into doing this.

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    Damn, Anuradha Herath is cute!
    ;)

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      Cute???? Dont think so myself. She is too serious-looking and has the composure of a no-nonsense, potty clay doll.

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    Whoever else thinks so, say ‘Aye’!

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      ‘Aye’ ‘Aye’ He is sure cute and oh, so cuddleable.

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        Shucks! I thought Anuradha was the male announcer introducing Azwers talk. Whatever his name,I still think he is cuddlable. And hey,Im a guy myself.

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      Yes,I love to see her on the screen

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    I’ve noticed that Dr. Nonis has become quite popular because of this video. Several has mentioned that he has hit the nail on its head an started idolizing him. Now, who else had realized that the media and information minister and several other government MP’s also made the same speech to several other western media outlets (but in very poor English and quite brashly). Dr. Nonis on the other hand was very eloquent and very composed. Let’s not get blinded by the language used.

    I would very much like him to represent the government and expand on his ideas further and participate in more interviews. Let’s see what else he’s got to say. Specially against a well informed journalist.

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      Just don’t ask Dr Nonis to speak in Sinhalese, to our own people. They’ll recognise him for what he is; a top drawer brown sahib.

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        You are oozing with jealousy..pure jealousy..Face your reality..you are an intellectually challenged loser confined to making pathetic anonymous comments about a supremely educated gentleman who has the courage to go public..

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      Let him face Tim Sebastian or Christiane Amanpour – well researched/prepared anchors. This time he got away with a kid.

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        what Tim Sebastien or Christine Amanpour nonsense…let him to go and face Tamil mothers and sisters and widows in Jaffana….

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    Dear Rasika

    If you want to listen to a diplomatic dialog, just listen to the dr.swamy and dr,dayan jayathilaka interview on the Indian channel. Dr. Nonis can answered very patently but it is not right and the arguments are vague and not logical. He is a professional doctor and not a diplomat or he does not know world history, foreign affairs, internal and external politics and international law. when analyzing your views a general person may think that any one who can be a diplomat. Just go through SL history back to 20+ years. Who were in the foreign ministry and diplomats.

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    Fact of the matter is that some 40,000 people are missing. Some may have been LTTE combatants who were killed in action. Others may have been used as human shields by the LTTE. Yet others may well be alive, but could be advantageous to be reported as missing! So what’s the problem – why cannot the government have an impartial inquiry and work out the number of people who were killed and the number of people who are unaccounted for. When people are missing what do we do? We report it to the police and let them carry out an inquiry. If that is done, Cameron or any other person has nothing to say.
    It is just a matter of horse before the cart…

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    What is so brilliant in a person’s accent, intellectuality or command of the language, when he uses his ability and position to defend excesses of a common rogue politician and a criminal at that, engaging the services of this Nonis kind. Nonis is certainly not batting for Sri Lanka but for his own selfish gains. He is nothing but a common HUMBUG, found a dime a dozen all over. Further how Nonis had tried to arrange another set of his British counterparts who are MPs to visit Sri Lanka at expense to us Sri Lankans, all paid, shows how uncooth this Chris Nonis bugger is. These are the people who parade as paragons of virtue, the intellects.

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    A very detailed response to Dr. Nonis PR propaganda to cover up genocide will be forwarded to him with copies to David Cameron, Stephen Harper, Barack Obama, Dr. Navin Ramgoolam and other progressive leaders.

    Dr. Nonis has proved that his is an agent of the alleged war criminal regime that systematically committing crimes against humanity, denial of fundamental rights, human rights, rule of law, democracy, freedom and the time is already started for the Rajapakses to be in the docks of the ICC.

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    Writing or discussing about Azwer is a waste of time and space. He has been been a jester right along. Muslims generally have no regard for him.

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    Dr.Nonis Mahatthya is only equivalent to the Sinhalese who did not go, but wanted to go for electrocution classes. Prabakarn loved Anton Anna, because Anton Anna could explain in English beautifully what Praba wanted and he was much pleased that he could.

    What we forget is that those listing to him are so dumb – that they never heard of LTTE and the same old government propaganda about terrorism while they are getting ready to prosecute the biggest terra in town. So to them Nona was screeching and it seem to make no difference at all.

    The best option was to pelt them……… . How come no one here is congratulating the valiant sons of the soil who showed their bravery in the best possible way to the global press ?

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      You mean “elocution classes”! Don’t you?

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        Yo Mike,

        ofcourse kiriyakka did! But I was just wiping the tears of joy from my eyes after having read his ‘electrocution’ and I had visions of a sort of electrified elocution and I will certainly add this word to my own private dictionary of similar gems. I shall never again look at Dr Nonis without thinking of kiriyakka’s most apt word.

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          ME too couldn’t stop wiping my tears and rolled off my chair in the process. Shame shame shame ! who abolished english education and now crying out loud saying village idiots can’t fathom two english words. Who are the boasters of elocution specialists? the clever clogs Colombites. The village idiots Ministers and MPs sons/daughters in Colombo schools learnt only to behave like their thug parents nothing else they too cannot fathom two words of English. This is all due to modayas past education blunder started in 1958. The majority paid the price. I mean the village idiots paid the price now even when they go public internatinally or nationally they only know to speak thuggery/ mislead the world. Like the world class cricketer whose English was worse than a village idiot.Should have kept the mouth shut like some of his paymasters for example.

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    This is the sad state of Sri Lanka. Get someone to say Tamil Diaspora in a polished English.

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    We heard P Nonis talking about C 4. When UN independent forensic people have commented about the authenticity of the Videos, and when British PM was also moved by what he saw in the video and through his visit. Our High commissioner says this is propaganda by the Diaspora. You cannot win this kind of debate using british accents & eloquence, but facts need to be put on the table. If he is convinced that the video was cooked up, he has to advise the GOSL to take legal action against C4 not talk BS

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    These bone licking LTTE diaspora buggers who are enjoying the life in the west thanks to the poor civilians suffering in this country wants them to suffer for ever. They do not want to see the end of animosity so that they will loose their grip. Same like TN politicians. They are famous for boot licking of the whites for their permanent residence in those countries. Shameless buggers

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    Jayakodi,

    You used sing the song of praise for MR which since CHOGM has turned into ” Funeral Song”

    GOSL under MR up to now with the help of Traitor India has resisted all calls to own up to its role in the Genocide. MR sought to derive maximum benefit by Hosting the CHOGM but it has turned out to be his death knell. The Picture Tisaranee posted yesterday reflects MRs plight.

    1) What was reported in western media in the aftermath of CHOGM sheds light on serious lapses on the part of the government in terms of ‘Perception Management’ among the international community.

    *** The above clearly shows you cant defend the undefendable

    2)One has to admit the fact that the Sri Lankan government stepped into hosting CHOGM and threw itself into the limelight on a relatively bad wicket, so to speak, vis-à-vis the strong propaganda initiated by pro-LTTE Diaspora demonizing the Sri Lankan government and armed forces over what happened during the final phase of war.

    *** You are making two admissions ( or shall I say confessions )
    a) Sri Lanka is on a Bad Wicket b) The Tamil Diaspora can influence Western Policy.

    3) From the very outset, the Sri Lankan government had to defend its position against serious allegations which – if mismanaged – would result in an international war crimes investigation. Any such international inquiry will be certainly influenced by western super powers who are strongly gravitated towards the pro-LTTE Diaspora, narrowing the chances of a fair and impartial hearing.

    *** Truth will come out and if Sinhala Lanka has nothing to hide why fear.

    4) In that context, it is important for the government to understand the gravity of the problem and checkmate the western super powers who are hell-bent on flogging Sri Lanka. Now that requires a lot of diplomacy, a great deal of perception management and sanity in terms of handling international media.

    *** There is overwhelming evidence against Sinhala Lanka and no amount of spin will work.

    5) When considering the developments on the ground particularly during CHOGM, it is not so difficult to fathom that the government is just “firefighting” and there is no concerted effort to counter scathing attacks on Sri Lanka by a certain section of western media. There seems to be no robust PR plan and almost everything that comes from the government as counter-arguments, is ad-hoc. Right people are not at the right places, and wrong people are making things much more difficult for the government.

    *** The above is all rubbish and there is a saying that there is no Smoke without Fire.

    6) One such example was the behavior of Parliamentarian A.H.M. Azwer who went berserk at the press conference, convened by the Commonwealth Spokesman .

    *** Don’t blame Azwer for your misfortunes and in any case he was doing you a favour.

    7) With powerful compelling evidence including evidence from Sri Lankan Soldiers who have given Statements and are prepared to give evidence against GOSL at the HAGUE MR has no defence and even the Nona Dr.Nonis cannot come to his rescue.

    8) Handling international media plays an important part in preventing an international inquiry.

    *** You really are out of your mind to suggest the above.

    9)To perform that operation with sanity and prudence, the government has to first understand what its core message is. Secondly, there should be a central mechanism to handle the dissemination of the message, without accommodating any act of jumping the gun by any individual representing the government. Thirdly, there should be right people at right places to carry out the operation in a well-planned and systematic manner, without digression or shifting the focus from time to time. And without having such a robust system in place, the government has only meager chances of achieving success.

    *** I totally disagree with the above and would say that MR has to wave the White Flag and surrender. It is too late mate.

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    Nonis may chant the mantra that the western leaders are under LTTE diaspora’s hold, but he can’t do anything about it. I am not sure the tamil diaspora has that much influence over the foreign policy of the western countries but even if it is so neither Nonis nor his government will not be able to do anything about it.

    The main issue Nonis is trying to avoid mentioning is that these very same western nations provided the overt and covert support to his government to defeat the LTTE and that they all are aware of the war crimes committed by the Sri Lankan leaders and their military. Even of the government appoints dozens of Ninis’ to spread false propaganda it will not defeat the worldwide clamour for investigations and justice for the tens of thousands of tamil victims.

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      Piranha,

      Yes they do because they use the Parliament building to hold meetings.

      Their action amounts to soul searching after they received the reports from their Intelligence Services who interviewed and took Statements from Sri Lankan Soldiers who provided the Video footage of the killings of Isaipriya and the others who surrendered. They have more video footage which will be used as evidence at the HAGUE.
      It was the report from the Intelligence Services which convinced Mr.Cameron to tackle MR head on after speaking to Manmohan

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    Rasika Jayakody’s comment about Sri Lanka’s lapse of public diplomacy is very appropriate. I have been talking about his issue through my columns in ASIAN TRIBUNE since the war was concluded in May 2009. Sri Lanka needs to learn the baasics of public affairs, public diplomacy and strategic communication to beet the ‘voice’ of the pro-separatist elements in the Diaspora which has travelled very close to policy and lawmakers of Western nations. Unless this is understood Sri Lanka is in a very bad wicket. – Daya Gamage

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    Rasika@,

    Very good analysis.
    I personally believe that President himself has influence when appointing anyone to any good positions. So there he is the wrong person above all.

    Remember, what that Bandula Jaya from AU had passed in terms of Channel 4 journalist -Calum ^s visa issue ” I will take everyone actions you not to enter srilanka”. Bandula is a man placed by President himself. If President is that smart as you described above, he should also have appointed senior Diplomats in right positions. Appointing former CJ^s husband as the director of the bank was also a great mistake of MR. And why is that he is tending to appoint former army men to occupy those positions ?
    Yes, Dr. Nonis is a well educated person, though not claiming previous exp in dip fields. Latter is btw almost an exception, when looking at the other candidates that have been appointed by his administration. DJ himself reiterated that many sent to embassies lack required qualifications.

    Therefore, you are dead right saying that spokespersons who deal with international media resembles the jataka tale where a foolish soldier used a sword to get rid of an insect that was resting on the king’s neck!

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    Rasika Jayakody, Is there a possibility that a sri lankan Tamil that argues that the president a war criminal with is brother for ordering the armed forces to shell every where within the NFZ, can do so without actually been a pro LTTE supporter, is it possible?

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    War,in plain words is killing!Nothing else.Beautiful words cannot cover that nasty truth.

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    I agree with the writers comments on the importance of being diplomatic and ability to convey a point without being aggressive and emotional. However, on the same token, it is not only the Sri Lankan diplomats and politicians who react rashly like this. To this category I would add The Canadian PM Harper and the British PM Cameron and some of their arrogant politicians who made inflammatory comments and threats.

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