A video conference organised recently by the Ministry of Foreign Relations to discuss ‘strategic communications’ descended into a farce with several politically appointed ambassadors falling over each other to demonstrate their nationalist and patriotic credentials.
One such case was Manori Unambuwe, who was hand-picked by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to represent Sri Lanka as Ambassador to Germany. During the tele-conference Unambuwe floated the idea that an anti terrorism task force on cyber security should established to monitor social media platforms of youth in Europe, especially Sri Lankan Tamils living in the area.
“I am looking at how to build an idea of inclusive nationalism and promote the Sri Lankan identity, rather than Tamil, Muslim identity” the new envoy said. “We must develop different story lines that will have traction in Germany such as emphasis on sovereignty and territorial integrity. We must highlight that terrorism is very much alive with the LTTE, ISIS and others. The fight today is in cyberspace for example there was an Instagram campaign recently which ran the tag line – I am a Tamil and the genocide is a part of my identity. These things must be monitored closely and countered. You have to have a Counter terrorism Task Force on Cyberspace to monitor these campaigns in Europe and use Sri Lankan (Sinhala) youth as a front to counter these things,” she added.
The shocking recommendation would effectively set up a surveillance mechanism to monitor Sri Lankans living in Europe through their social media accounts, a policy the Sri Lankan Government has already launched domestically.
Unambuwe who is also accredited to Switzerland first became prominent when she used her own social media platform to severely criticize the Swiss Government in December 2019.
In her rather undiplomatic post condemning the Swiss government and aimed more at human smugglers said “Forget your Korean language exams, TOEFL, or smuggling yourself to Australia. Just claim the Sri Lankan government threatened you, and harassed you, and you’ll get first class tickets for you and your family straight to a 1st world life in Switzerland! All courtesy of the Swiss embassy.”
Colombo Telegraph learns that Manori Unambuwe’s own brother Suneth Wijesinghe has been unofficially blacklisted by several European countries for breach of commercial contracts and may find these countries unwilling to facilitate his business activities in the region going forward. According to our sources, several embassies based in Colombo have received complaints regarding Wijesinghe’s company from their European business interests/customers. Colombo Telegraph also learns that he is now reportedly using the sister’s diplomatic position to promote his other businesses.
A senior source at the Foreign Ministry said that the Ministry’s policy towards the Ambassador to Berlin was to dance attendance on her every wish.
Eyebrows were raised at the Ministry during the video conference when this newbie political appointee proceeded to lecture senior career foreign service officers on her seemingly absurd suggestions to monitor social media in European countries.
Ambassador Unambuwe had failed to realize the repercussions for Sri Lankan relations with such countries where monitoring of personal social media of their citizens is considered not only against the law but a severe breach of diplomatic protocol between countries.
The Foreign Ministry’s tele-conference was given wide publicity in the weekend newspapers in Colombo where it was hailed as a great communications triumph by Secretary to the Ministry Ravinatha Aryasinha who Colombo Telegraph has recently exposed for high jinx with public funds to keep a favourite colleague Saroja Sirisena happy.
The video conference chaired by Aryasinha was attended by a vast number of Lankan diplomats serving overseas.
This is story has been amended on 2 August, 2020:
Following the publication of this article, an individual by the name of Suneth Wijesinghe has written to Colombo Telegraph threatening legal action.
Suneth Wijesinghe is the brother of Manori Unambuwe, who was appointed as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Germany by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He is the managing director of Malco Engineering based in Nugegoda, Sri Lanka.
The following is his correspondence with Colombo Telegraph:
“I have read an article by your news where I am mentioned that I have been blacklisted by EU including Germany which is totally false and tarnishing my reputation. If you have proof of this please produce to my lawyer in cc and to the embassy in Berlin. I will give you 3 days to submit this or face a law suit against the editor and the news paper. The participants of the 2019 Berlin green week which I organised with HNB was concluded successfully. There are no complaints by the participants of cheating them for money. If you can show me any written evidence of this false claim please submit this too.” [ENDS]
Upon further investigation, Colombo Telegraph can confirm the following facts.
i) That several international business persons have complained to Colombo based European embassies concerning Wijesinghe’s conduct of his business
ii) That Wijesinghe is using his sister’s links to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to advance his business interests by informing customers he had an inside track into the present Government in Sri Lanka
iii) That several Colombo based diplomatic missions are concerned about both Manori Unambuwe and her sibling using their political connections to advance personal and business interests
iv) That European countries which have encountered bad experiences with Wijesinghe will be hesitant to grant him access to their markets
Wijesinghe should know better than to request “proof” of unofficial decisions being made by diplomatic missions regarding his business activities and the promotion and facilitation thereof by foreign governments.
We are also unclear why Wijesinghe has demanded that Colombo Telegraph must copy in the Embassy of Sri Lanka to Germany located in Berlin regarding a personal matter which involves his business dealings. The strange request alone makes it clear that Wijesinghe is involving his sister, who is the representative of the Government of Sri Lanka in his business affairs.
In fact, Colombo Telegraph believes Ambassador Unambuwe should clarify why her brother is involving the Sri Lankan Embassy in Berlin in his personal business matters.
However in light of Wijesinghe’s strong objections Colombo Telegraph has amended the paragraph 7 of this article to more accurately reflect the reality. The earlier story said: “Ironically, it is now revealed that Manori Unambuwe’s own brother has been blacklisted by several European countries including Germany for breach of commercial contracts and is no longer able to get a Schengen visa. He had played out several exhibiters promising to build stalls but had disappeared after taking their money. He is now reportedly using the sister’s diplomatic position to promote various other businesses.”
(By Manishka Unantenne)
Rajash / July 31, 2020
““Forget your Korean language exams, TOEFL, or smuggling yourself to Australia. Just claim the Sri Lankan government threatened you, and harassed you, and you’ll get first class tickets for you and your family straight to a 1st world life in Switzerland! All courtesy of the Swiss embassy.””
Colonel Karuna did even better. He got a false identity a VIP Passport ,Visa and First class ticket to London and a job at the London embassy
Native Vedda / August 1, 2020
Manori Unambuwe states:
“We must highlight that terrorism is very much alive with the LTTE, ISIS and others. The fight today is in cyberspace for example there was an Instagram campaign recently which ran the tag line – I am a Tamil and the genocide is a part of my identity.”
Can we construe Tamil saying ” I am a Tamil and the genocide is a part of my identity” as selling under age sex (cybersex) on line?
Rajash / July 31, 2020
Manori Unambuwe, ““Forget your Korean language exams, TOEFL, or smuggling yourself to Australia. Just claim the Sri Lankan government threatened you, and harassed you, and you’ll get first class tickets for you and your family straight to a 1st world life in Switzerland! All courtesy of the Swiss embassy.””
Manori you have done even better. All you have to do is suck the Dxxks of the Rajapakses and you get a first class ticket, a luxury abode and VIP post in Europe… planet and think you rule the whole of Europe
Mallaiyuran / July 31, 2020
Now America, Britain, Australia all follow Lankan Demo-crazy. America, for my knowledge, Firs time in history, considering to postpone election, but Lankawe showing Korea’s success as example and wants to conduct election in the middle of Covid-19. Who is right who is wrong? Crow may wants to become swan. But swan too longing to become a crow. Let Germany, Europe all follow Lankan example.
Fairmindedone / August 1, 2020
Her assignment should focus on building good relationships with her host countries. Learn about the federal structure within those countries, and bring it to your boss. As a former citizen of the USA, he knows as to how it works there.
Federalism means united country; not one national group oppressing the other. That oppression is going on for so long and still you are not fed up. Be more creative to a long standing conflict. By your comment you have already alienated the Tamils in Europe; try to ameliorate it to your best.
Instead stating that “I am looking at how to build an idea of inclusive nationalism and promote the Sri Lankan identity, rather than Tamil, Muslim identity” is an inherently uneducated comment. Struggle in Ceylon/Sri Lanka is a linguistic issue. Bear in mind Tamils are a national group who lost their rights at independence. The solution lies in what SJV articulated in 1949. A federal structure for the national problem. Muslim society is a minority within Sri Lanka and NOT a national group going back to 1000s of years kingdoms. Do get your facts straight. They came and they converted the locals, no different from Christianity. But Christianity is infused within respective national groups. They do not stand alone.
soma / August 1, 2020
“Federalism means united country; not one national group oppressing the other”
Federalism is a devided country, by definition. Particularly so if an EXISTING unitary structure is to be devided into Federal units
If the objective is to solve the problem of “one national group oppressing the other”” how that can be eliminated WITHIN A FEDERAL UNIT is not clear. Particularly so if +50% of one group falls within a another group in the devided structure.
Native Vedda / August 1, 2020
“Federalism is a devided country, by definition. Particularly so if an EXISTING unitary structure is to be devided into Federal units”
Please ignore the following continue with your Mahawamsa unitary state mindset:
A principle of government that defines the relationship between the central government at the national level and its constituent units at the regional, state, or local levels. Under this principle of government, power and authority is allocated between the national and local governmental units, such that each unit is delegated a sphere of power and authority only it can exercise, while other powers must be shared. https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/federalism
westham / August 1, 2020
What Unambuwe is saying is that Tamils are economic migrants even though they claim political refugee status to enter. From the 1980 ‘s until about the 2001 not only the Tamils, but peoples from , Yemen, Egypt, Pakistan, and Afghanistan etc ruthlessly exploited this LOOPHOLE until the UK and USA decided they had enough of these low IQ ghetto ” sand niggers “. NOW its virtually impossible for anyone to claim political asylum in the USA.
Native Vedda / August 1, 2020
“What Unambuwe is saying is that Tamils are economic migrants even though they claim political refugee status to enter.”
Forget Manori Unambuwe, what are you saying?
Do you realise there are third or fourth generation Tamils living in many parts of the world and they were born and bred in lived their entire life in those countries. Do you also suffer from Mahavamsa mindset?
“From the 1980 ‘s until about the 2001 not only the Tamils, but peoples from , Yeme…….”
Haven’t you met any Sinhalese who have made it to the west as political refugees? How about yourself? Were you invited to the west to part your wisdom, technical know how, ………….. on working visa?
” NOW its virtually impossible for anyone to claim political asylum in the USA.”
What a loss to the world..
Are you disappointed that your kith and kin are unable to get in through back door.
Let Uncle Sam do the worrying.
Ajay / August 6, 2020
A fascist killer’s groupie like you talking about building an inclusive Sri Lankan identity is the ultimate insult to the decent citizens of this country. Who do you think you are … … Stop being silly, and do something more suitable for you … … like [edited out]