31 October, 2020

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Getting The Balance Right – David Cameron And Foreign Relations

By Rajiva Wijesinha –

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP

Soon after David Cameron had left Sri Lanka, the Sunday Times in England published a satirical piece about his visit. It accused him of behaving like a public school prefect and treating the Sri Lankan President like a fag, a junior schoolboy who was at his beck and call.

Cameron’s was certainly a brilliant performance, full of British bravado. Having decided, correctly in my view, that he would attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, he had to contend with the anger of those who have in effect been running British policy with regard to Sri Lanka, which has been deeply negative about our success in overcoming terrorism in this country. He had therefore to put in an aggressive performance to keep them happy, and this he certainly did.

I do not mean only the extremist members of the diaspora, who have been enormously successful in lobbying British politicians where it matters. Having concentrated their attentions initially on Labour, and obtained brilliant results through David Miliband, they were quick to switch in 2010 when the Conservatives won, while the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry floundered, and did not even bother to appoint a High Commissioner to England for a lengthy period.

But the efforts of the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam and others of that ilk have been helped by a built in bias in the British Foreign Ministry, which we have not been able to correct. I believe that we had a good chance when John Rankin was appointed High Commissioner, because he has been much less prejudiced than his predecessors, but we fluffed it, and have not built up the confidence that was needed.

I refer to bias because, way back in 2009, I recall those looking after Sri Lanka telling me in London that we should be talking to the TGTE. I found this outrageous and told them so. Earlier I had fully agreed that, after defeating the Tigers, we should be talking to the Tamils, but I had meant the Tamils in Sri Lanka (the failure of the government to do this straight away was a disaster, for which we must take the blame and the consequences, but that is another story). For the British to belittle the Tamils of Sri Lanka and concentrate on those in Britain and elsewhere, who had been funding the Tigers, was deeply insulting, and made it clear that their priorities were electoral advantage in their own countries, not the welfare of the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

David Miliband had made this clear, as we found in Wikileaks. Unfortunately the response I could make, or Dayan Jayatilleka or Tamara Kunanayagam, is not such as our Foreign Ministry establishment can manage. Not only do they not have the language skills, they do not also have the committed vision that will enable them to deal firmly with moral double dealing by foreigners. And though government may think that they can always call on us when disaster looms, I fear that our shelf life is now over, since the commitment to Tamils that we believed the President believed in (and which his rapid reconstruction and resettlement of the North testifies to) has now been diluted by the agendas of many of those in whom he reposes confidence.

I am sorry about this, but I can also understand what may seem paranoia to the British. A European friend described the British approach as that of a skilful matador goading a bull to frenzy and clumsiness, and perhaps that is the most plausible explanation of what has been going on. The article in the Sunday Times indicated this when it noted that for 26 years the murderous, maniacal Tamil Tigers waged war in Sri Lanka — assassinations, suicide attacks, using children as hostages, planting bombs. And they were able to do so thanks to the money that flooded in largely from the UK — via the Tamil diaspora in, mostly, London.

For decades we turned a blind eye to the relentless fundraising for these terrorists — and the Tamil Tigers were themselves only proscribed as a terrorist organisation (rather than lauded as freedom fighters) in 2001, a year, incidentally, when we all opened our eyes to terrorism.’

It concluded with the rebuke to Cameron that, ‘maybe after ticking off this gentleman for the way he runs his country, a short apology from Cameron might not go amiss’ but that was an ideal perspective, ignoring the realpolitik of the manner in which powerful countries run their foreign policy. It was no coincidence that, when we had finally delivered our people from terrorism, there were no congratulations from the British.

That seems to have stunned our decision makers. After all, though the British now see the Secretary of Defence as the villain of the piece, he was naïve enough way back in 2009 to have virtually accepted the Western plan for the Tigers to surrender to the West, and for Prabhakaran to have been taken away for appropriate debriefing. It was only the President who, more perceptive through instinct than those who see themselves as more professional in their attitudes, put a stop to that little game.

So when the British continued to persecute us, bringing a resolution in Geneva that they reported to the House of Commons was about War Crimes (though the charming Charge in Colombo tried to assure me it was about ensuring that we resettled and rehabilitated quickly, which of course we have done), our security establishment began to worry. Things got worse after the disaster of the President’s visit to England at the end of 2010 – though again the problem there was those in the Foreign Ministry who encouraged his attendance contrary to the advice given by our High Commission in England. So the result is slowness too about what we should be doing to promote Reconciliation.

Unfortunately Cameron’s very legitimate concerns about this were overshadowed by his obsession with war crimes, which fits in with the agenda, not only of the extreme elements in the diaspora who still want a separate state, but also of those who seek regime change in this country. But given what the British have been up to, not only in the distant past but even more recently in Iraq and Libya and Syria, with funding of extremist groups to destabilize regimes they dislike, it is difficult to take British moral fervor seriously. Had they instead, like India, or even Australia, made clear their distaste for the monstrous, while urging greater attention to the needs of Tamils as well as Human Rights in general, and prompt remedial action when abuses occurred, they would have been more convincing.

But if we must regret Cameron’s sanctimoniousness, while still keeping his ties with (former???) terrorists, as the Sunday Times article suggests, we need to also recognize the seriousness of the threats he made. Unfortunately our Foreign Ministry will continue to believe that everything is under control, as they have so egregiously suggested to the President over the years. And those who are enjoying themselves under the present dispensation will back them up, claiming that we need fear nothing now in Geneva since many of our old friends are back on the Council.

Such complacency is idiotic. Many of our friends were on the Council in 2012 when we lost so badly. Unfortunately the Ministry, and its adherents who are close to the President, will simply not seek the advice of the only Sri Lankan capable now of dealing with the threat that looms over us. This is Dayan Jayatilleka, but the extremists who were deeply upset by his support for the 13th Amendment have succeeded in destroying him. Those extremists are certainly not keen to destroy Sri Lanka, but they have been aided and abetted by those in the Foreign Ministry who will continue to do well even when there is regime change, as was clear by their fervent adulation of the forces that had succeeded with the resolution against us in 2012.

They will continue to do us down by denigration of India, and in this regard I fear that the Indian Prime Minister has played into their hands by not coming to CHOGM, contrary to the advice of his Foreign Ministry. Cameron would certainly not have behaved the way he did had Manmohan Singh been here, and the latter could have given the more important message about working productively with the Tamils of Sri Lanka in an acceptable manner. But India, torn by both electoral considerations and efforts to bring it into the new Cold War as an active participant, is in a state of transition that means we need to do much more to promote the stability the region needs.

In this regard we need also to work more sensitively with other like minded nations, but again we fluffed this in not paying due attention to the tremendous support offered us by South Africa to get out of the trap that is being snared for us. The answer to Cameron was Jacob Zuma, but with a foreign ministry that has no idea of how to work with Africans, we will fail to move forward on what he has suggested either.

Cameron’s performance was a wake up call, but of our decision makers I suspect only the President will understand its significance. And once again those around him will doubtless lull him into complacency, knowing that they will survive any onslaught, even if he and our security establishment will suffer.

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Latest comments

  • 1
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    Well said.

  • 0
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    Hello
    You have to think before you say a word

    which has been deeply negative about our success in overcoming terrorism in this country.

    Ok it took him to condemn more than 4 years your regime doesn’t want give the fundamental rights to tamils also Your Minister backing up the BBS

    Tamils were better off before May of 2009

    Tell your mastered to do the right things
    Oh sorry
    They don’t know what it right and wrong include you

    • 1
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      In Sri Lanka you say it first and then think, that is also sometimes not always.

  • 1
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    Don’t talk bull shit,

    Why are you Sinhalese afraid of an independent international investigations of what happened near the end of the war?

    Enough of your talk and your cockeyed reasoning, let’s have justice for Tamils.

    • 0
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      Because such an investigation is going to be one sided i.e all the atrocities committed by LTTE would be of academic interest only with no one to take responsibility or pay for.
      By the way where is the International independent investigation on annihilation of hundreds of thousands of children and civilians in the Syrian conflict?

    • 0
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      Have your international investigation into those who supported terrorism, suicide bombings, recruited child soldiers, drug pedalling, credit card scams and genocide against Muslims of Jaffna. There is peace in Sri Lanka now without terrorist scum bags. So, enjoy the peace and get a life!

    • 1
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      [Edited out] Thiru,
      BEFORE SRI LANKA GOES FOR ANY INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION FOR ENDING TERRORISM,WE NEED UN TO INVESTIGATE AND PUNISH BRITISH GOVERNMENT AND ALL WORLD POWERS (IF THE UN HAS THE BALLS)WHO COMMITTED CRIMES IN AFGHANISTAN, LIBYA,AND IRAQ.
      THEY WERE ALL INVASIONS TO MAINLY ACQUIRE THAT COUNTRIES NATURAL RESOURCES AND NOT TO ELIMINATE TERRORISM!!!!
      CAN YOU SEE THE DIFFERENCE!!!

      • 1
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        Mice should behave like so on elephant .being livng on foreign debt u srilankans close all holes on ur body and obey what the mnasters who is offering something to ur begging country. ..

    • 1
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      Thiru:
      You are right on the money. This sleazeball who hasn’t fallen far from his parental tree will try to apply his sophomoric sophistication to prove that black is white. His string is running out and he will soon be hanging from a lamp post next to his paymasters.

  • 0
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    British PM spoke mainly for Sri Lankan Tamils and others in general. He visited a tin hut camp where Tamils whose houses and lands were seized by the military without any compensation. Northern Tamils and Muslims elected their councilors for the NPC and found the Chief Minister is blocked by the military governor his every effort to serve the people.

    Obsession with Diaspora and their magnified power to influence powerful leaders is running in the veins of supporters of UPFA government. Instead of addressing the real needs of war affected people in the north and east the admirer of the president looks for friends to win the presumed UN HRC resolution in March 2014.

    London Sunday Times is owned by an Australian who answers for none and is run by state run media in Sri Lanka. The Australians are prepared to do anything to keep the asylum seekers away without realising their own past. Quoting that Sunday Times to belittle David Cameron is like quoting Colombo Daily News.

  • 0
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    In short, it is all our own mess. Is it not Professor. So let us not enjoy what the London Times said about the British PM.

  • 0
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    Learned Professor your personal astrologer informs me that a juicy “Foreign Job” awaits you.

    Dayan is back in business and was sighted in a Geneva Cafe sipping cappuccino. He earned that job by being a bad boy for a while – just a tip.

  • 1
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    Dayan is going to show his prowess again in Geneva in 2014:

    I am sure his will get Sri Lanka off the hook!

  • 0
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    It was crass behaviour for anyone to drop in on your host, take advantage of the goodwill extended and then behave the way he did. Cameron who never in a million years can measurie up to Mahinda Rajapaske comes delivering ‘threats’ like a silly child .

    This is not realpolic expected from a PM of a state is it really? The guy acted in a similar sanctomonius manner with China. He has burnt bridges with China too. He is visting there in November to patch things up there. He is not much different to David Miliband, the Jew who was hated around the world for his santomonious behavior as well.

    What of his threat? Well, he can make threats. Delivery on it is an entirely different matter. Sudi Arabia, China, Russia and Vietnam has all rejected independent “investigations” into their affairs imposed by the council. Israel left the council altogeather for 20 months when it was forced to undergo an investigation. One cannot ever hope to conduct an investigation of another state without their corporation can you really?

  • 0
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    Tamil Diaspora does mean separation by default; this misconception is debilitating the thinking of the Sri Lankan regime! Asking for Accountability and for an investigation to know what really happened to their kith and kin is not only in keeping with the international norms but all a must for the Tamils. It is equally vital for us to understand in terms what exactly the LTTE behaved; we need to understand their misdeeds.

    During the war years, the Sinhala collectively worked towards militarily defeating the LTTE; the chauvinists, bigots, and the moderates joined hands together in that quest and succeeded in defeating the LTTE. Only after the elimination of the LTTE, the Moderates were able to express their sentiments in contrast to the hardliners. Similarly, the Tamil Diaspora can only react after a viable investigation. It is really pathetic from intellectuals such as Prof. Wijesinha talking about striking a balance! All that the GOSL needs to do is to be sincere and accommodate the minorities with absolute equality without being submerged in a state of triumphalism. Post war in particular, there is nothing that the GOSL did in respect of the Tamils was of sincere in nature. Even the NPC election was held because of India’s concerns and the impending CHOGM! The LLRC commission was set up because of the US pressure and the interim recommendations were ignored and their complete belligerence towards the final submission is a testament to their arrogance.

    So Prof. Wijesinha, no one needs to strike any balance anywhere, rather, the GOSL needs to be sincere and adhere to the real principles of Democracy and empower and respect the minority rights along with punishing the war criminals. The international arena will sort itself out. You cannot hoodwink the international community anymore. They have a responsibility towards the minorities of Sri Lanka because you as a majority community has lost moral and a sense of righteousness. You do this and watch how the Tamil Diaspora’s reacts!

    • 0
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      Sorry this “Tamil Diaspora does mean separation by default” should read as per below

      Tamil Diaspora does not mean separation by default

    • 1
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      We want to have an accountability to all the sinhalese killed , all our kith and kin killed too. So dont rehabilitate these ltte pigs , hang them all. and go after the suckers who funded them too to the full extent of the law .

      • 0
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        Dimwit, Abhaya shouts again… , you are out of peace and reconciliation, as your masters are… if you want to revenge them for their crimes, they the tamil rebells and the supporters should also revenge us sinhalayas.
        If they would do the same, nothing like peace can come.. to this land. – .
        Are you sure that you are sitting on a DEVELOPED country (US) ? Even if you continue with toilet cleaning, I never expected guys living there could leave this kind LOW level comments.

        Anyway, check the news daily, world is getting ready to push the man onto Hague… after March you will get more.. I am sinahalya, but I hate Rajapakshes for all crimes they have been perpetrating … every hour in our homeland.

  • 1
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    Only way these Sinhala evils must be ejected by tamil home land. scavangers must eliminated….

  • 1
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    Prof all they are asking is justice. All they are asking is to tell them where there dear once who have been taken / arrested by your men. All they are asking is their land. You cant give the answers to these simple question are you not a failed state.
    The diaspora is doing only one hundredth of what you did with Australia Pakistan and the other failed states. They have chosen the intelligent ones you have chosen the stupid ones very good example is Australia. Write a script and give it to them with a bottle of bear and ( you know what else..) they will read it for you loud and clear.

    • 0
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      It is not justice these fellows want. They want revenge for defeating and eliminating racist, terrorist scum bags. The losers are upset and ashamed of devastating, humiliating defeat they were dished out by the Lankan military. If they wanted justice they would not have started the killing of innocent civilians. Now, you have peace! Forget your dream and enjoy the peace.

      • 1
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        If they are losers how are they able to inflict so much of damage on you. They have manged to label you as murderers kidnappers rapist criminals and a failed state. Isnt it. Your governments helped them to do all this. Grow out and see things for your self. You are not even sure that you have peace. We can see your peace in your writing. You are not even free. Now see the damage that has been caused to you. Become civilized talk write and think like a civilized person. Today every time Sri Lanka is mentioned in any media they are tagged as the worst human rights violators, kidnappers, rapist, murderers, and a failed state. Now tell me who won and what you have won. An empty victory celebrated with more thuggery rape kidnapping and hooliganism. Happy with that type of country ?

        • 0
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          The LTTE and their supporters are labelled as the most savage outfit in most countries. They watched with glee as the garbage outfit was decimated. Nobody cries for the scumbag hero of yours, VP. Shattered head, but no brain in sight. Nobody came to help Racist LTTE when they were cornered and eliminated with style and efficiency. Why?
          You think Cameron fellow cares for Tamils ? He is English and they brought you fellows from your homeland called Tamil Nadu, raped your women, made you live in Line Rooms, kicked you r asses as they pleased and dumped you at Independance. Kiss his bum but you won’t get anywhere. You have peace in Sri Lanka now. Enjoy and get a life!

  • 0
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    GL is snoring – clever man.

    Dayan the acrobat has been re-released to do the hard act. He will connect Gramsikan Logic, his role in the North Easter Provisional Council combined with his credence he built up in this forum condemning the government. He will explain to Cameron and the rest – that “I am with you, I am Catholic and eat with knife and fork” but the morons that I represent are not. So do not hit them hard please because they will turn into yakkas.

    So now Professor you too need to do your bit. But I am not sure how, for too long you have been the official apologist for the yakkas. You are even puzzled that….

    “when we had finally delivered our people from terrorism, there were no congratulations from the British.”

    Perhaps you should have written :

    “when we had finally delivered our people from one terrorism to another – there were no congratulations from the British “

    • 0
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      You are right. RW is not clear about his stand.
      He always comes with half critics. Be it is about LLRC recommendations, implementations or rule of law in the country today. And in the same time, acts as SLGO apologist. I have no idea what goes through their head actually.

      No clear vision at all. So called intellectuals are seen to have lost somewhere in their journey, while leaving growing masses in anxieties and agonies.

  • 0
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    As usual found an opportunity to praise Dayan in there. Might I remind that Dayan and Tamara are POLITICAL appointments and NOT career diplomats.

    The last time Dayan was mentioned by the president he was working for a NGO :)

    Are you fishing on behalf of him to be sent to Geneva 2014?? Dayan certainly is LOL

    • 0
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      They are buddies. One washes the hand of the other. Right at the moment with DJ being somewhat ABSENT on the SPOT light… Now RW continues… hiki hiki for us.. :(
      But we the nation, have been waiting and waiting and thinking the other way around. It is that ATLEAST these guys would deliver good, them being qualified enough to see what is right and what is wrong.

  • 1
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    Hello Paid Servant! Terrorism or Terrorist activities, were they only performed by the LTTE or did the Government of Sri lanka also performed terrorist activities? Can you please answer this question. That is if you have the guts to do it without sucking up to the President.

    • 0
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      Answer – Government of Sri lanka also performed terrorist activities many times more than LTTE. and of the terrorist states in the world.

      • 0
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        1971 GOSL vs JVP Clear victory for GOSL – NO inquiry

        1987-89 GOSL vs JVP Hard fought victory for GOSL – NO inquiry.

        2009 GOSL vs LTTE Victory for GOSL but stewards inquiry??? or will GOSL get lucky?

  • 1
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    Rajiva:

    You couldn’t even convince your own master to talk to the Tamils, now you go on talking about Cameron and the whole world. Why not take a deep breath and let your brains do a little bit of homework. When this regime can dump Dayan, Tamara and you just like that, and has set its course on a path of destruction, your attempt to breathe life into it and get into its good books would be a pipe dream. Surely you would have heard of the word “self-destruct” – this is it. Just don’t pretend that you are the only one who knows what you are talking about.

    • 0
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      Actually – RW^s involvement there is like square peg in a round hole. But I question why the man is standing by them.
      This kind of professors could do more to the nation – if they worked in the areas where their know hows are demanded. Like in OVERDUE educational reforms. Standing by with idiots, with whom he has not even much to do with – like a task of spineless PERSONALITY .. unfortuantely. I like this guy, but he is sitting with wrong ones..

  • 1
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    Rajiva: You are not educated enough to convince the people of Sri Lanka or Tamils in and out of Sri Lanka or convince the murderous Rajapakse regime. It is shame that you accuse two of your colleagues as uneducated criminals because they couldn’t convince the world what happened in Sri Lanka is not a war against terrorism but it is actually a genocide of Tamils. If you are educated enough to understand the reality, you will agree that it is genocide.
    Do you know what is terrorism?
    1. Abduction of innocents by a white van and murder them or for ransom.
    2. Using chemical and cluster bombs on its own citizens.
    3. Massacre of over 70,000 innocent civilians inside refugee camps.
    4. Torture and murder of surrendered people.
    5. Using electoral register to find ethnicity and murder them in the day light.

    If you can prove that you and your government did not involve with any of them, then you are not a terrorist.

  • 0
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    Well said Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha.

  • 0
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    Anyone who speaks the truth who call spade a spade becomes an LTTE supporter how stupid these bastards.

    • 0
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      This is Sri Lanka. What is truth. There is nothing like that. If you want it you have to go somewhere else.

  • 0
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    Cameron will learn his lesson when noone is found guilty of the murder of Khuram Sheikh, and rape of his girl friend.
    It will be an ‘open verdict’ with instruction to the police to continue investigations.

  • 1
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    From what I see the Sri Lankan situation has been suppression of Tamils from the time of Independence to Date with impunity. Unfortunately the demise of LTTE has become a turning point since the present regime got badly exposed to the world. Educated leaders of Sri Lanka like Prof Rajiva Wijesinha fully aware of the situation is trying his best to save Sri Lanka from a portrayed isolation. But we must be aware he has to be safe at the hands of the present regime. I am sure he will never be a party in committing any crime. He comes from a very respected family in Sri Lanka. Please let him do his best as it is a very difficult task to satisfy extremists and bring them to books.

  • 0
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    This pathetic creature, professor at a former polytechnic, refuses to understand that the initial reason for the attention of Cameron and others is simply the murderous administration to which he belongs. It is not just the Tamils, poor things bludgeoned into subservience but the Sinhalese opponents, journalists, and youth who protest for water. This man is abetting murder in order to get a few crumbs thrown his way. A shameless guttersnipe.

    Diaspora Tamils did not speak to Cameron. Cameron saw and spoke to the Tamils in Jaffna. They had unhappy stories to tell. Even the Chinese now talk about human rights simply because the behaviour of Rajapakse displease even these violators of human rights.

    It is time for all to realise that Rajapakse is swindling the country while killing everyone who opposes his plunder.

  • 0
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    Independent international investigation will establish if what happened during the early of 2009 in genocide, just mass killings or unintended killings. The enforced starvation of 460,000 people including babies by insisting on a much reduced total of 70,000 by the government is very serious crime that cannot go probed. Now the issue is not how to win UN HRC resolutions by hook or crook but rehabilitation of IDPs still languishing in tin shacks, living in the south, India and other countries as refugees and letting civilians in North-East to live without harassment and attack by occupying mono-ethnic military. The elected NPC must be allowed to get on with their job and a civilian governor replaced a military one who openly canvassed for UPFA candidates.

  • 0
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    This professor of nothing- whom is he trying to bluff. Keep sucking buddy, you may end up with a ministerial portfolio. No substance and lacks intellectual bankruptcy. Good for the godayas in the country who get impressed with this crap from this shithead professor of nothing.

  • 0
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    People like the twisted prof are part of the problem.

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