26 October, 2020

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Geneva Is A Distraction Sri Lanka Can Do Without

By Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

Malinda Seneviratne

To plan for year, they say, you have to plant rice.  To plan for a decade you have to plant trees and to plan for a century, you have to teach the people. I believe that’s a Chinese saying.  Politicians think of the next election while statesmen think of the next generation.  That’s common knowledge across time and space.  In Sri Lanka whatever is planned it is marked from one session of the UNHRC to the next, especially the ones in Geneva.

‘Geneva Talk’ begins in December. It is followed by drivel from Channel 4 and partners in the crimes of mischief.  Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch chips in.  One can count on statements from the USA, UK and Canada.  Then there’s Navi Pillai drawing from sources that have drawn from sources that have cited sources that quote unreliable ‘witnesses’.  It’s annual.  We also have agitation on the part of the Government, some chest-beating ‘bring it on’ cries, some appeasing moves and brave-fronting.

But what is a country that staggers from one outcome-known confab to the next if not a country that does not plan for its longer tomorrows?  What is really funny in this business is that people advocate one strategy or another as though getting through Geneva without a scratch is going to determine for now and forever the future of this country. Obviously such advocates have short memories and short-term focus.  This country has had its ups and downs, golden as well as shameful moments. It has suffered 500 years of subjugation where insult and humiliation went hand in hand with cultural erasure and genocide.  It has known down-days but have had the civilizational legs to stand up with dignity. Unbowed.

Geneva, though, we are told is all about getting our perspective on India right.  Right!

What’s India?  Well, the last we heard, Tamil Nadu and the Central Government can’t decide who has the last word on justice.  The last we heard the union is festering at its seams and we are not talking about Telangana only.  India is a country that owes its existence to the British and we can only conclude that it is everlasting gratitude to that colonial master that has made that country retain the colonial name.  There were of course moment in history when vast swathes came under one ruler, but that only affirms that territorial integrity has always been the harvest of yielding to conqueror.  In short, it is a country waiting to fall apart, sooner or later.   Indeed, it can be offered that India’s problem with a solid, unitary neighboring state, is a reflection of its own national angst about the future of its own territorial integrity.

So what’s the logic of putting all our Geneva eggs in an Indian basket?  And what does this Indian basket consist of if not a) submitting to Indian hegemony, b) confirming by legislative writ the lines that seek to turn chauvinistic and separatist myth into inalienable fact (we are talking the 13th Amendment here, by the way) and c) unending inter-ethnic wars well into the future.

The argument though is that all of it is better than a US-led ‘independent inquiry’ into alleged war crimes. Well, when did the US ever need an excuse to invade a country, bomb it into the Middle Ages and such (all in the name of democracy, peace and ‘in the best interest of the people’ – doesn’t the sanctimony nauseate?) and even evict entire populations if it serves ‘US interests’?   India, however, some believe will stop the USA from bullying Sri Lanka.  What that means is this: if Sri Lanka picks India as its chosen bully, then the USA will back off.  Masochistic, what?

Sri Lanka has not got its house in order.  This is correct.  Sri Lanka has been badly remiss in certain matters and areas, it is pointed out, quite correctly.  On the other hand, these ‘wrongs’ are pretty benign aren’t they, compared to the malignancies that countries like the USA and India have spawned both within and without their national borders?

Geneva has its uses for both regime and its detractors.  Geneva is everyone’s leverage to secure benefit to political vision.  Geneva is a moment in time, not a city or an assembly.  Perhaps Sri Lanka’s biggest problem is that it has looked at Geneva for so long that Geneva appears bigger than Sri Lanka and the likes of Navi Pillay seem bigger than the Sri Lankan citizenry.  The same can be said of Delhi and the likes of Jayalalithaa and Manmohan Singh.

It is time for the wider sweep of gaze, across regions and beyond moment.  Let us not get carried away, either way, by Geneva.  More importantly, let us not let ‘Geneva’ blind us to the machinations of those who have a stake in bringing Sri Lanka under the Indian heel, one way or another.

*Malinda Seneviratne is the Chief Editor of ‘The Nation’ and his articles can be found at www.malindawords.blogspot.com

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Latest comments

  • 6
    1

    Mahinda is scheduled to leave for London on 10 March to attend Commonwealth Day celebrations.

    In London, Commonwealth Day celebrations are focused around a multi-faith service at Westminster Abbey. The Commonwealth Day Act of Observance, to give it its formal name, is the largest of its kind in the UK and possibly in the world.

    It takes place in the presence of Her Majesty, The Queen and His Royal Highness, The Duke of Edinburgh, senior politicians, High Commissioners, Commonwealth dignitaries and over 1,000 young people, with approximately 2,000 people attending in total.

    Attendance at this celebration will afford Mahinda an opportunity to meet the Queen for the first time since being installed as Chairperson of Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM).

    However, according to latest information emanating from government sources, Mahinda’s attendance at the Commonwealth event seems to be doubtful.

    • 3
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      Malinda,

      Geneva Is A Distraction Sri Lanka Can Do Without.

      Yes. Just ignore.

      Another point.

      Sinhala Monk Mahanama Buddhist Racism Is A Distraction Sri Lanka Can Do Without, is not needed, and is NOT Buddhism.

      Can you tell that to the Queen.

      God Save the Queen.

      Thank you.

      • 1
        1

        Geneva Is A Distraction Sri Lanka Can Do Without:

        Yes we can take it that way at our own peril, but it may morph into a noose for the rulers to be hanged with and the Sri Lankan state to overhauled!

        • 1
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          Isn’t that the goal?

    • 4
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      Wow! another nail on SriLankas coffin, perhaps. Maybe this time, the result of the most recent attacks on minorities and the Wanathamulla slum clearance saga.

    • 5
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      Constructive Criticism= “Collective Corruption”

      During Arab Spring in the Middle East, corruption of despotic rulers of those countries was effectively used as a weapon to bring about their downfall.

      In orchestrating the events leading to the downfall of Saddam Hussein of Iraq and Gadaffi in Libya, America used their corruption as its main weapon for attacking their dictatorial regimes.

      Recently, UNP Parliamentarian Lakshman Kiriella declared in Parliament that about 400 powerful government henchmen have stashed away plundered money in Swiss Bank accounts.

      Biswal had included corruption charge against the government, presumably being fully armed with extensive and reliable information about the widespread corruption for which the present government is responsible. If America will intervene for the restitution of wealth plundered by a corrupt government to the rightful owners of such wealth, the people will accept them with open arms and the plundering government and its cohorts will be labelled as traitors.

      0-0

  • 3
    1

    “Geneva Is A Distraction” for Sri Lanka .. to STOP Tamil Genocide.

  • 2
    1

    It is followed by drivel from Channel 4….

    what do you call your writings?

  • 6
    0

    (@_@) (@_@)

    American Genève vocabulary for the vote would be,

    Constructive Criticism= “Collective Corruption”

    Passas and associates foreign bank baggage would be exposed within year.

    Cannot Hide like Egypt Tunisia, Syria Ukraine

    。◕‿◕。

  • 1
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    I don’t know that wrongs are relative or can be compared. It’s wrong to treat people as expendable commodities no matter who’s exploiting the situation to their advantage.

  • 3
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    .
    Is Malinda suggesting that Sri Lanka can do without UN, Commonwealth, SAARC, etc.

    Soon he will. He is running out of stuff to write (using Mahinda Laptop).

    :-)

  • 5
    0

    Malinda Seneviratne’s writing is a distraction we can do without!

  • 0
    0

    Out, damned spot! Out, I say!—One, two. Why, then, ’tis time to do ’t. Geneva is murky!—Fie, my lord, fie! A soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account?—Yet who would have thought that the dead to have had so much blood in them.

  • 0
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    right now, Congress party of India needs all the help in the world to win the election. BJP has three times the MANAPA’s than what Congress party has.

    So, the Congress party would do anything to hang on.

  • 0
    3

    Just get rid of tribal Tamils from Sri Lanka. Most of the problems are solved.

    Long ago, Sri Lanka should have got the help of LTTE to finish TNA. they did not do that and now suffer.

  • 1
    1

    This fellow should be investigating what really happened during the war and write about that , and instead is writing poetry to apeace the government . What a shame for journalism. he is kappam collector any way. Computer , Car loan, next housing loan etc .

  • 0
    0

    “Politicians think of the next election while statesmen think of the next generation”.

    IN WANDERLAND OF the Universe, called SRI LANKA”???????/.
    Not any more in Sri Lanka Man!!!!!:

    Now, As there are no more Statesmen, Our Looting Djaha Jarapassa Hyenas, The Politikkas Only think of them and their generations,

  • 2
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    Malinda,

    This is your least comical piece. I though as the editor of the “Nation” you would take this opportunity to charge against the foreigners and save the majority race delivering mid air karate chops or decapitating Pillai as dear Dayan has suggested.

    Seems that you are doing none of this, by calling the impeding disaster a distraction you like the ostrich seem to have chosen to bury your head in a sand hole and look for worms that you may feed on.

    Hope you find some.

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