26 September, 2020

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Games In Geneva And A Series Of Own Goals By The MEA

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha

There is a very strange game being played out in Geneva, the implications of which decision makers in Colombo have not understood – or else, having understood, they simply do not care.

Though the motivations of those attacking us vary, their aim is clear, namely to undermine national sovereignty. The mandarins, or perhaps I should say the rickshaw pullers, in our Ministry of External were sanguine earlier about what they saw as a bland US resolution. The fact that it requires monitoring of our activities, in particular with regard to accountability, should worry them, but I suspect they no longer understand the basic principles on which the UN should operate.

I say this because of the behavior recently of one of our delegates in Geneva – not the ambassador, I should note, for he is one of the few sharp and independent minds amongst the English speaking elite that now runs the Ministry, and keeps down bright youngsters who are more intellectually astute. There was an attempt, spearheaded it seemed by Sri Lanka, to the astonishment of our old allies from the Non Aligned Movement, to undermine the very foundations of the Right to Development by introducing conditions to national ownership of natural resources. I cannot imagine that the President would have approved such a move, but I can understand him not being consulted on the matter.  What is frightening is that probably the Minister too was not consulted, but he has I assume learnt now that no one takes him seriously, except his publicity unit. If he was consulted, and concurred, I can only imagine that he is getting ready for the regime change that his behavior has done much to precipitate.

How should we be dealing with the threat to the country and its government? Firstly, we should look at the motivations of those now acting against us, and try to assuage those worries that are reasonable. After all, many of those supportive of the resolution genuinely think that we have behaved badly. If we believe they are wrong, as I do with regard to the matters on which they seek to condemn us, we must convince them otherwise. This should not be difficult, now that at last we are beginning to get our act together with regard to the LLRC Action Plan, but there too I was informed that the Foreign Ministry thinks the President’s Secretary is not able to deliver, and wants to take over the responsibility.

Given the hash they made of the President’s directive in December 2011 to prepare an Action Plan, which only emerged because the President’s Secretary set up a sensible team of bureaucrats, it is ironic that the Foreign Ministry wants to take over now, when those bureaucrats are in charge and have begun to move in a manner that was unthinkable when they had been sidelined.

In addition to moving on Reconciliation, and showing that we are doing so, we should also do more about the empowerment that will help the Indian government to alleviate the pressures to which they are now being subjected. However our key decision makers seem to believe that attacks on India will help us. Unfortunately this is not due to stupidity alone. Last year, when India had pledged to support us, we violated their trust by publicizing this when we had specifically been requested not to do so. This gave politicians in Tamilnadu a handle with which to pressurize Delhi, and we added fuel to this fire when we accused them of being LTTE supporters. Unfortunately our policy makers then convinced the President that India had planned all along to let us down, but no one asked why, even if that was the case, our official representatives made this easier for them. My suspicion that deliberate sabotage was involved was strengthened when the President was fed falsehoods about India – and also about members of his own Cabinet – but though the President’s Secretary managed to sort that matter out, no one inquired into the motivations behind the lie.

Given then that we also have to contend with hostility at home, it will be even more difficult to defeat what I would describe as the nasty motivations in Geneva. These include efforts to control up politically, as well as efforts to win electoral success by playing to the former LTTE gallery.

With regard to the first, the cheering squads that danced last March on the graves of Dayan Jayatilleka and Tamara Kunanayagam, and claimed that their influence was now over and we would once more become the lapdogs of the West, need to be reined in. While we must obviously convince the West that we are not going to be drawn into hostility towards them in the oppositional games that the West specializes in, we do not need to enter into opposition with other countries for this purpose.

Conversely, claiming that we can rely on China if the West opposes us is also absurd, and unfair too on China, which can well do without such intensification of perceptions. And in this game of poodle snap, with conflicting interests that do not care about Sri Lankan sovereignty deciding that we must plump for one side or the other, we totally ignore India, which as our closest neighbor will clearly exercise the greatest influence on the perceptions others have about us and our strategic importance. Most alarmingly, we ignore the advice the Americans gave us in the days when J R Jayewardene thought the West would back us willy-nilly against India, and we ignore the advice the Chinese ambassador gave us in Geneva when they were supporting us against the Miliband led efforts in 2009 to do us down. Both said that we must maintain good relations with India, and the latter pointed out how important it was to receive Indian advice.

We need then to overcome the threats against us based on international politicking, but to do this we need to command credibility in Delhi as well as Beijing and Washington and also Brussels. And as Delhi and Beijing both advised us in 2009, we need critical mass, which is why we need to work closely with the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of Islamic Countries and also the rest of the BRICS group.

Unfortunately we are rapidly engaged in losing NAM, through initiatives such as the destructive effort to downgrade national sovereignty, and we are losing the OIC through the failure to curb the excesses of the Anti-Islamic movement. We lost our chance of developing productive relations with Brazil because the Ministry of External Affairs destroyed the President’s attempts to fast forward these through making Tamara Kunanayagam our envoy to South America in general, and we have failed to take advantage of the support the South Africans offered us by refusing to engage intellectually and creatively in the process they tried to open up through study visits last year. Only with Russia are relations good, but the type of creative thinking that say Dayan Jayatilleka was able to engage in with the Russian ambassador in Geneva and Foreign Minister Lavrov is very much in the past.

Meanwhile we have completely ignored the clear and simple and easily actionable recommendation in the LLRC Report that we should build good relations with the diaspora. The fact that we had to wait for the LLRC report to think about this is yet another stunning indictment of the Ministry of External Affairs. Able individuals, such as our Acting High Commissioner in London, our Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, our Consul General in New Zealand together with the Acting High Commissioner in Canberra, used my services to open up discussions with those Tamil expatriates who had genuine concerns but were in no way LTTE supporters, but my visits seemed a novelty. Though there have been good efforts since by others, no coherent programme is in place to convey to them the positive achievements of the government, and how they could help, for instance with education and training needs.

To my astonishment, I found that an initiative we started last week, to plan vocational training for the north on a practical and needs based approach, seemed a novelty, three years after we should have been thinking of such matters. And in COPE that afternoon I found that, though the President had long stressed the importance of milk production, no one had thought previously of fast forwarding this in the north through processing units. Though we were told that now there were plans, these did not find mention in the Corporate or Action Plans of MILCO.

So we have little to report that will catch the imagination of those concerned about the areas affected by the conflict. We will bumble on, hoping to get away with the minimum, some perhaps hoping we will fail, so their own vision of Sri Lanka’s place in the world, a demeaning one, will be fulfilled.

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Latest comments

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    Binladen and SOn

    Whitehouse official saying “we have been happy just to get the son. It’s a real bonus to get them both”

    dailynews.lk/2013/03/12/fea01.asp

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    The life of a turncoat must be a difficult one. There you are one day
    white-washing all that is black – of a semi-literate clique known for all the wrong things in governance – into white, and thence – a 360 degrees turn preaching the opposite all because you are thrown out of the door from a position you were unduly rewarded with – for all the wrong reasons.

    Oh! all that fine learning, Christian teaching and excellent breeding taught always do the right thing and matters will eventually fall into place. Or is it retribution for the tears of a little son and young mother down Kynsey Road conspiratorially thrown out of the country in 24-hours in a cooked up controversy “against the Sinhala Nation and the lily-white regime”? As the old wisdom teaches you reap what you sow.

    Senguttuvan

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      Ouch! I can feel Rajiva wince. Now we know who shot Libery Valence!

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        Liberty Valence!

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    Yes. Sri Lanka`s place in the world, will be a demeaning one. Our so called bloody patriots will lick even Obama`s backside to strengthen the President`s hands to plunder the country further in order to retain their own privileges.

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    This is to David Milliband (part of the neo imperialist neo colonialist third world resource grab right winger):

    How is the US,UK,EU, Canada, Australia following a two tier justice system in this world?

    So when the US,UK,EU,Canada,Australia and the NATO forces commits gross crimes in the form of an endless war still ongoing and massacring human beings it is OK?

    However poor third world countries suffering from endless wars created by british colonists of the past actually ends not keep on having wars but actually ends wars in the most humane way possible it is a crime?!

    I think that Sri Lanka is scapegoated to hide gross crimes committed and being committed in places like Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and other places.

    However since there is a two tier justice system in the world where the neo liberal imperialist forces of the West and their allies and cohorts are exempt from being scrutinised at all for example the cohort of the West the LTTE’s atrocities, its foes like Sri Lanka even a pin dropping in Sri Lanka is scrutinised!

    Another ploy of the imperialist neo colonialist Western forces is to raise the bar so high that any developing country on this earth will fail and the same neo colonialist forces then cries ‘human rights violations’!. In the case of Sri Lanka the war cry of the neo imperialist West is that police and army are not good, journalists are harrassed, judges are sacked and so on. However a quick situation report of any developing country would quickly find that most developing countries are like this. In fact most are worse than Sri Lanka in some cases by miles. Even some more developed countries are worse than Sri Lanka.

    So all this bullshit is a witch hunt. It is very obvious. I think Sri Lanka should indeed let someone else handle the CHOGM meeting why should we waste our money on this rubbish meeting? At UN if it is me, I would walk away from such a witch hunt.

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    When Malcolm Rifkind previous foreign secretary of the previous right wing conservative govt of the UK comes on channel 4 news and says sri lanka meaning the sri lankan people practice apartheid then you know it is a neo imperialist resource grab that countries like the US, UK, Canada are planning and trying to get eelam by the back door.

    As we all know the north has many mineral resources and offshore oil and in the east is the strategically located trincomalee harbour. It is these that the UK, US, Canada are after and so the efforts to get eelam by the back door.

    It is shameful that many anti govt sri lankans on this site would actually agree with this neo colonialist neo imperialist right wing resource grab from third world countries agenda and it is extremely shameful that many on this site would actually agree with the outrageous views of lunatics like malcolm rifkind that sri lankan people practise apartheid.

    It is so shameful that some ani govt sri lankans cannot but be subservient to the UK US Canada. They simply cannot get themselves to see that these imperialist countries are only after our resources just as they were after iraq’s or libya’s resources. Even right thinking people in the UK, US agree this is the case.

    Some anti govt sri lankans will even agree with these neo imperialists simply because they are western european (due to their subservient mentality) that sri lankan people practise apartheid!

    I find these utterances of malcolm rifkind and channel 4 news a gross insult and channel 4 news is a racist channel, racist towards the sri lankan people.

    I find it a personal insult the gross lie that sri lanka people practice apartheid. I have never practiced apartheid, do not intend to do so and never ever thought of doing so and even buddhism will not allow me to do so even if I wanted to! It is a gross insult this malcolm rifkind is saying. I never ever evn thought about it and was shocked to hear it on channel 4 news. It is a gross insult.

    The govt should really walk out of the UNHCR circus since I can guarantee that sri lanka will not get any fair hearing there. It would be more injustice meted out by the neo colonialist neo imperialist right wing lunatics which will be handed out there. Also ask the oommonwealth to have their meeting any place they want!

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    Rajiva

    I agree with you the government should do more to counter the LTTE propaganda in the west, and try to win over the moderate Tamils in the diaspora. Our diplomats should be the face of a new multi-cultural pluralist Sri Lanka. Instead what our amateurish diplomats are doing is to reinforce the image of Sri Lanka as Sinhala-Buddhist dominated even on diaspora stages to impress the powers that be back home. Meanwhile the powers that be back home are making backroom deals with the notorious former Tiger movers and shakers instead of building an open and honest relationship with the general Tamil populace. Both the internal and external policies of the government vis-a-vis the Tamils have only alienated the moderate democratic Tamil mainstream. Very sad indeed.

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    This guy together with Dayan and Rajasingham Narendran are people who never tire of singing their own praises and shouting out to the world how “great” things will be if they ran the show ……as Senguttuvan correctly states, life of a turncoat must be ….reminds me of a bible passage
    “They sow the wind and reap the whirlwind”

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    Oh! what a lament. My heart bleeds Prof Wijesinha. The poor President and poor you!

    Ministers and other government officials are not following the President’s directives and not consulting or informing him of matters important to the country, are they?

    The poor President has to suffer the indignities consequent to the actions of his subordinates and that is really hurting you badly, no?

    See how you can show your obedience to the President and get the farmers in the North a milk processing unit. He will make you the Chief Minister of the North. I know the people there don’t know you but, you don’t worry your pretty little head Prof Wijesinghe. The President will sort that out like he did with all elections since he became President. He is all powerful now, you know!

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    Whitewashing the President by blaming others who are ‘blocking’ his wishes from being carried out,is pathetic.
    The president has a mind of his own and intends to ‘rule’ for as long as possible.
    The minions know this and do not carry out anything which will stand in the way.
    They know that his ‘commands’ are for public consumption only,and thus do the needful.
    Shielding the man,and shifting blame, earns a lot of gratitude – one can exist without worry,like some others whose tenure is unstable.

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    What school did you go to professor? Not Royal or ST. Thomas for sure. gentlemen do not behave like this. Letting down the side. Stay in and make your criticisms inside or get out and say what you want. It really does not do your image any good to badmouth your fellow governors like this. You can see from some of the comments here that people think you blow your own trumpet too much. Maybe you think telling us the public what good ideas you have and how hopeless everyomne else is and you just do not approve of this person and that person, will secure you in future when the government you are clinging to the sarong hem of finally comes a cropper. But of course everyone in this government has insured themselves well in advance against that time and will probably just fly off to the country they have already booked their retirement home in through Mattala airport. What else is that white elephant being built for with our money? Yours faithfully, another humble bumbler

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      Thomian through and through..sad case..childhood abuse maybe?

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    People Supporting roque government are wasting their Time. They also will go down with theri Masters. Rajapkase is not only aginst teh Tamisl but agisnt the Humanity, inclduing Sinhala budhhist. He is making use of them to enrich and his family. Peopl who want pick up the crumbs and who have picked the crumbs are supporting him. These rogues will also face punishment from teh very same people they appear to Champion for but whom really they Cheat

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    Only Rajiva can understand his own arguments..a sad and bitter man going on a rant. This is getting rather stale

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