A Response to Sharmini Serasinghe’s – “Is Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda To Be The Sacrificial Lamb At The Altar Of The 40th UNHCR Sessions?” published in Colombo Telegraph – March 4, 2019 ; Daily FT– March 6, 2019.
“..When the swallows come back to Capistrano
that’s the day you promised to come back to me.
When you whispered farewell in Capistrano
Twas the day the swallows flew out to the sea…” ~ Leon Rene, Songwriter
According to legend, on March 19th each year, St. Joseph’s Day, swallows migrate some six thousand miles from Argentina to San Juan Capistrano in Southern California and people from all over the world come to see this returning of the swallows, a tradition celebrated from the early 1900’s.
Like the returning swallows of San Juan Capistrano, this March we have a gathering of columnists and commentators, analysts and academics, bloggers and blowhards, politicians and pontificators, newscasters and nitwits, lawyers and law abiding citizens, all coming out of the woodwork to express their two cents worth when the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHRC) convenes annual sessions to discuss, debate, pass resolutions on matters concerning human rights issues around the globe. Coincidentally, around the time the swallows arrive in San Juan Capistrano, a report on Sri Lanka is expected to be submitted to the UNHRC. The report is titled: Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Unlike the swallows of San Juan Capistrano who after a long and arduous flight from the southern hemisphere come to peacefully nest in San Juan Capistrano the human gathering around UNHRC annual sessions seem to display some signs of restless nervousness and agitation.
Granted, these are well meaning people with wide and varied opinions. We have seen them all on the local airwaves, newspaper columns, on social media platforms etc. Notably, they have expressed their opinions in these columns as well – strong opinions about democracy, freedom of expression, good governance, individual freedoms, civil rights etc.
Sharmini Serasinghe stands out among all those who have gathered to voice their opinion on the UNHRC sessions currently in progress in Geneva, having gathered notoriety standing up to the Rajapaksa’s, openly defying them, challenging them and even going as far to say if anything untoward should befall her, Rajapaksa’s should be the cause of it. She stood on a platform at a mass rally under the banner, ‘Voice of Justice’ to protest the October 2018 action taken by President Sirisena. She thumped her chest and let out a battle cry asking the masses to follow her towards the President’s office and demand his ouster – if he had any sense of self respect. If you were like me in the front rows of that rally, you would have seen the fire in her eyes and felt hot breath out of here nostrils – an absolute replica of Hindu Goddess Kali, the destroyer of evil forces! Goddess Kali is believed to be the divine protector and one who will liberate you from all bonds of this earthly misery and deliver you to the heavens.
Serasinghe screamed her head off reminding us that only spineless toads (kondha naethi gembo) would elect drug-lords, rapists and child-molesters as their representatives and legislators. Her words were powerful, inspiring and a call to action. Those of us who watched her fiery delivery, were so pumped up we were ready to take to the streets and join the protest and risk it all. She said “api yamu” (let’s go) and nothing was there to hold us back!
Fortunately, sanity prevailed.
The Judicial system in Sri Lanka once again intervened in the nick of time, acted impartially, handed out rulings thwarting all illegal actions by the President thereby reversing previously taken actions by the President null and void.
Every one of us let out a collective sigh of relief and were looking forward to getting life back to normal. That was October 2018.
But now it’s March and the swallows returned to Capistrano..!
Yes, it is the 40th session of the UNHRC convened in Geneva late February and will go on till March 22nd and brought forth the band of pundits and professors with their own analysis and pontifications and conspiracy theories. No one expects there to be a consensus and unanimous position among the various stakeholders in their analysis and positions. Divergent views should be welcomed and promotes healthy debate.
And along came Sharmini Serasinghe with her story of lambs to slaughter!
Curiously, her views required a good look and an analysis of our own. Like the famous commercial for E.F Hutton, stock broker in the US says, “..when E.F Hutton speaks, everybody listens..” Now that our own Goddess Kali herself has spoken, let’s listen.
For starters, according to Serasinghe, “no one cares a damn about the UNHRC sessions anymore”! She goes on to opine, only two groups – the present government and the disgruntled Tamil diaspora give validity to these Geneva sessions of the UNHRC, if at all! She further doubles down on her charge that former Navy Commander, Wasantha Karannagoda is the fall guy and is being sacrificed by the present Government to appease the international community!
We have never seen such distortion of facts by someone who, otherwise seems to put forward rational and reasonable arguments in print and delivers fiery speeches from podiums inspiring the masses to rise up and protest whenever an injustice is done. We are talking about “Voice of Justice”.
Tens of thousands of people who suffered under the brutality of the LTTE and alleged war crimes committed by the armed forces during the final stages of the war have taken the matter to an agency that by its mandate has given a voice to these people to air their grievances and seek redress. They did not take the matter to UNHRC as their first line of action. The aggrieved parties tried hard for several years at the end of the war in 2009 to find a solution internally dealing with the Government to address their concerns. When they were simply ignored and were given the run around, international communities got involved and found a voice for these voiceless people in Sri Lanka to air their grievances in an international forum, the UNHRC.
Sadly, Serasinghe labels these voiceless and aggrieved people, “disgruntled Tamil diaspora”! Even greater tragedy, the UNHRC is labeled by Serasinghe as a worthless agency no one gives a damn about!!
Now, the matter of Wasantha Karannagoda as the sacrificial lamb!
By all accounts, this matter has been progressing through the slow and deliberate wheels of justice since 2009 when it was first reported that some Navy personnel may have been involved in the abduction for ransom scheme which ended with the killing of eleven youngsters. Any rational person would consider this an alleged crime that Karannagoda is charged with and the judicial system must grind through the process, gather evidence and reach its conclusion and deliver a verdict. But what we have is a preposterous connecting of the dots, linking the timing of the Karannagoda matter coming up before the court system now with the conspiracy of the present government to make him the fall guy to appease the international community.
There is an old saying in Tamil, paraphrased, says that it is a coincidence that the ripened fruit of the Palmyra fell – not the weight of the crow that sat on it caused it!
Just because you do not agree with the present government, accusing that the government is conspiring to charge former Navy commander now – to score points with the international community is an argument that is mind boggling!
The moral of-Scorpion and the Frog
A scorpion foraging for food in the woods came near a stream and wanted to cross to the other side to find something to eat, but was stymied by the fact he couldn’t swim. He spotted a frog happily floating down the stream and appealed to him to give him a ride across to the far side. The frog told the scorpion, everyone knew how mean the scorpion was and feared he would sting him midstream and refused to oblige. The scorpion pleaded with the frog assuring he wouldn’t do that because the frog was his friend helping him and further, if he stung both of them were doomed. The frog bought into that logic and got shore-side and got the scorpion to hop on its back and proceeded to swim to the other side. When he got to the middle of the stream, the scorpion stung the frog and injected a load of venom into the frog’s neck. The frog became dizzy, paralyzed and started to sink taking the scorpion down with him. As he was sinking the frog pleaded, ‘why did you do that.. now both of us are going to die’. The scorpion replied, ‘I couldn’t help it.. it is in my nature’.
Hindu Goddess Kali handed out justice to all equally and equitably with fairness and impartiality. Kali stood for justice and destroyed evil in whatever form it occurred. But our local avatar of Goddess Kali, Sharmini Serasinghe seems to have her favorites when it comes to fighting evil and delivering justice. Our own Goddess Kali, Serasinghe, has made Karannagoda her favorite cause célèbre for justice, embracing him singing his praises handing out commendations and citations even the navy commanders themselves did not bestow upon him! Let Karannagoda have his day in court. Serasinghe artfully clouds the issue and muddies the waters with unfounded conspiracy theories that the present government is manipulating the process in brining Karannagoda to justice at this time to coincide with the present UNHRC sessions. A valiant fight we agree that our own Kali is putting forth in the defense of Karannagoda.
But when Tamils want justice, our own Goddess Kali dismisses them as “disgruntled Tamil diaspora”.
I am wondering, like the scorpion in our story, if Serasinghe’s true nature that is coming to the surface now – deeper darker feelings of racism, prejudice and bigotry.
Et tu Sharmini Serasinghe?
Sharmini Serasinghe / March 21, 2019
Correction, Sanmugam Kanaga-Ratnam
My words, “Save a few amongst the disgruntled Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora and the incumbent government…..”.
Your words, “the present government and the disgruntled Tamil diaspora”.
Why is the determiner, “FEW”, missing from your response, Sanmugam Kanaga-Ratnam?
What is your motive?
Uthungan / March 21, 2019
It’s only ,Sumane, Taraki, JD,and Mahindapalan, all getting together how lovely it would be to incarnate as Tamil Sanmugam Kanaga- Ratnam.
Uthungan / March 21, 2019
“….getting together to say..”
LaLa / March 21, 2019
What a strange way to write a Tamil name…
There are Kanagaratnams but not Kanaga-Ratnam
It smells kavum and not Vadai…
Ajith / March 21, 2019
This is what is written by the author:
“She goes on to opine, only two groups – the present government and the disgruntled Tamil diaspora give validity to these Geneva sessions of the UNHRC, if at all! “
The present government is the co-sponser of this resolution you accused in your article. His opinion is right and valid. The Tamil people of Srilanka continue to ask for justice for the murder of those five youths in Trincomalaee. Do you deny this murders? What is your answer for those who surrendered with white flag? wht is the answer for thousands of Tamil civilian murdered unlawfully in the refugee camps? Do you deny? THe UNHRC resolution put the pressure to our country (Your country as well) and that is why the military is now handing over the lands to its owners.
K.Anaga / March 21, 2019
Sharmini seem to have some special reasons for defending Karanagoda, What ever it may be her Sinhala blood is thicker than the Tamil ‘water.’
Thiagarajah Venugopal / March 22, 2019
Dear Ajith and Dr GS the human rights crusaders set out to rewriting my countries history who’s knowledge of Tamils and Sri Lanka limited to believing my Father was a fraudster please understand one thing correctly…….the Tamil people ask for justice for all those killed them including their fellow countrymen too, Sri Lankan people ask for justice from all those killed them and their fellow brethren period. No differnciation be it gun trotting Tamil speaking or Sinhalese speaking kids.
TNA is included in this trail by ctizens of Sri Lanka always.
The author of this article writs should a bad event happened to Sharmini implies will come from the Hon MR?????…..this tells you how this ‘manufacturing of consent’ works by foreign agencies…….this is unlike Kasianathan in 70’s telling the Tamil children to kill the elected for working with the governments in a public stage whilst FP leadership/TULF leaders (later) participated then the Suthenthiran publish this openly exercising their media freedom led to the killings. the consequence of all that’s happened in our country a TNA folly will be on trial soon bro.
They will be tried along with the thugs who killed innocent Tamils in the race riots created by TULF in the first place.& selling our children to the foreign governments for their foreign policy ventures will also a treason that every family will seek justice from TULF/TNA.
If you guys thing UN does not know the full factual historical records of what happed in SL you have lost your minds. So when you write please write justice for all including the Soldiers Family and not for your personal agendas.
Sanmugam Kanaga-Ratnam / March 21, 2019
My Motive: Respond to you and take issue with two specific items in your article in these columns and Daily FT.
I will only respond to one of the items you mentioned here.
1. ‘disgruntled’ tag being added to Tamil Diaspora. As a Tamil, I take offense to that tag . All people who take their causes before local or international forums cannot be and should not be labeled ‘disgruntled’. In case you failed to notice, I referred to people before the UNHRC included those who suffered under the brutality of the LTTE as well. Affected people (irrespective of their numbers) due to human rights violations by governments, agents of governments or other groups, must have a voice before international agencies to air their grievances. Would you label the tens and thousands of people who gathered to protest President Sirisena’s October 2018 action to violate the constitution under the banner, ‘Voice of Justice”, a bunch of disgruntled Sri Lankans opposed to the Government?
I guess not.
Agnos / March 22, 2019
You can also add that Ms. Serasinghe, in rushing to defend Karannagoda, provides no compelling arguments in support of his innocence. Unless any evidence to the contrary is presented, Karannagoda’s guilt and command responsibility are well-established. It seems to me that Ms Serasinghe in a roundabout way wanted to convey the fact that Gotabhaya and Fonseka were responsible for more such crimes than Karannagoda, but that hardly absolves him.
Hard Truth / March 23, 2019
Really, Serasinghe, is that the best response you could come up with? He had shred your article into pieces and you could only hang onto some syntax? Anyway, if we are talking syntax, his issue was you labeling Tamil diaspora as ‘disgruntled’, and you have said ‘few among the disgruntled Tamil diaspora’, so the ‘disgruntled’ label still applies to all of them (you did NOT say ‘few disgruntled elements among the Tamil diaspora’, so the labeling was applied to all of them), so whats wrong in him highlighting that? Pathetic excuse of a response from you, Sharmini.
thamizh / March 21, 2019
These lot, including Sharmini Serasinghe, are still fighting, 10 years on, over who gets what share of war victory over the Tamils – Chandrika claims of winning 2/3 of the war, Ranil of defecting Karuna, and Mahinda of finishing the war. Why would anyone think this lot cares about justice and Tamil rights? It is just a matter of foreign policy for them. So called Sinhala liberals will talk about corruption and champion for democracy all day, while denying the same to the Tamils (i.e. 6th amendment). They will talk about regime change but will never challenge the Sinhala Buddhist state as they are privileged within it. You can probably count the number of Sinhalese progressives, who would actually care, from the fingers on your hand.
alex / March 21, 2019
The author is bang on the money. A genuinely independent judiciary that could prosecute regardless of ethnicity or religion is one of the pillars of wealthy states.
Yes, Westerns states are not always fair in dealing with foreign countries (the Chagos islands being a prime example), but domestically they can not be reproached. Their home nations all enjoy access to truly independent judiciary.
If the British govt took the land of a Scot or a Welshman, woe betide them, as they would find no place of sanctuary.
The same cannot be said in Sri Lanka. Stop whining about Diaspora and Imperial powers and start prosecuting criminals. In any case, both the authors words and mine are wasted, as no one that matters in Sri Lanka cares to listen. That much is obvious to the entire world.
Estate Labourer / March 21, 2019
I see absolutely no connection between the investigation, indictment, and prosecution of suspects involved in a local kidnap-for-ransom case and the UNHRC sessions in Geneva.
This confusion and connection arise only when people attempt to include in the ‘dispensation of justice equation’ such factors as the power, position and status of one or more of the accused and the race and language of the victims and the suspects, respectively. Sharmini is not wearing the blindfold of the Goddess of Justice!
Sri-Krish / March 21, 2019
I am disappointed. I thought you were a liberal and stands for Good Governance.
But your liberalism is selective and Tamils are excluded!.
Should not the Tamils ask for justice?
What the abduction and ransom from 11 youths-not only Tamils to do with war crime?
The war was almost over when this incident occured!
JD / March 21, 2019
There is no way to satisfy Tamil diaspora or their Backers International community. I think Mahinda Samarasinghe who got money from LTTE/International community and Mangala Destroyed the country Sri lanka. LTTE rump or the Tamil diaspora who are involved mostly because the International community working via their corresponding Spy agencies gather so-called activities and the media to publish their activities. that is against highly white washed.
What ever it is Thilak Marapana should be appreciated and saluted the way he presented a rebuttal to all those CRAP war crimes, Hybrid courts etc.,
There is no solution for Tamils. did you understand how Australians responded to migration.With so many rounds of Machine guns. for us, you people killed for 30 years and simply destroyed the country. anyway, for those poor dalit Tamils convert them to Sinhala buddhists and offer them good opportunities. there is no other solution.
International community is reaping their money spent in UNHCR by grabbing
Sri Lankan big contracts as well as, the main sponsor of everything U”N related, by making Sri lanka a neo-liberal colony. I hear now even the Israel is in the Game.
JD / March 21, 2019
It is the Spy agencies of the INternational community that are behind these Tamil diaspora. Those Tamils are mostly former LTTE financiers of educated Tamils. They are not a group of people to be heard. Ask them to go behind the International community. BTF is gone, Now one more which is active.
Anan / March 21, 2019
LTTE, was Good/ Bad , I don’t care, when LTTE, was there did ( A, Makaindren) was the Central Bank , No, Today he / His partner( x) played poor Srilankan money, when LTTE, was there, they should get kill him, do you think Srilankan Government take any punishment to ( A,M) , I don’t think so, Now President want stop ( Kanabis/ Ganja) , this money also Sri Lankan people money, when LTTE was there, no (( Kanabis / ganja) , why that was only war, No, drugs, think who was better, ( with drugs) or —( with out drugs) ,
Shivah Navaratnam / March 22, 2019
I deplore the caption photograph in the article showing a Karannagoda as a family man with a dog; a quintessential image of a family man. This attempt to humanize the accused through an image while serious charges are before the Courts over abduction and murder is deplorable. I condemn the editor of Colombo telegraph for choosing the image for the above article. If we stand against exploitation, racism and impunity we must not give any quarter to those deplorable ideals which caused the above accusation to rise in the first place. Over to you Colombo Telegraph.
nalmen / March 22, 2019
in the karanagoda affair i think she was led up the garden path
OMG / March 22, 2019
F**k the bloody LTTE rump. They are the no hopers of the world. In self-exile and barking from their backside. The only reason why the Western powers are with them is because of cdging their votes (See Wikileaks revelations, eg. Milliband’s conversation), and of course the funding they receive for their respective political parties. Even otherwise just grinining and bending their knees before the White Masters addressing them as Sir and offering lunches and dinners would be enough for these greedy Westerners to latch on to any group, no matter they are terrorists or no.
praba / March 22, 2019
Man stop eating too much of your pukkai
Naman / March 22, 2019
The fact remains that the LOCAL JUDICIARY is thereto protect the majority who are Sinhala Buddhists.
We do need an International Judiciary to provide justice whenever a sovereign country does injustices to the minorities. There is lots of similarities between the thoughts of the majority to that expressed by the Australian white supremacist recently.
kali / March 22, 2019
Grunting About The Disgruntled Tamil Diaspora: A Response To Sharmini Serasinghe
I was fooled by Sharmini when she made an appeal for help for a Tamil lady. Thinking that she was different from the rest of the Racist 22 million I helped fincially by sending money to this poor lady who if Iremember correctly worked with Sharmini in the Television industry. . But she turned out to be “FAKE” when in one of her articles it was apparent who she was what she was. But the Modertor edited me out ( It is obvious he has feelings for her which I would call Fatal Atrraction)out when I challenged her writing . She admired MR and for that matter all the Sinkalams do and look at the list. Dayan, Laksri, Sharmini and even Proff Sarath De Alwis. Alwis cleverly tried to hide it but I can read between lines.
When she last wrote the Article you are referring to the Moderator edited my comments out. Poor Serasinghe he doesnt know that there is a secret admirer.
Frankly they are all fake both in Looks and Intentions. We make no apologies to any one and what we fought was a fight for Freedom from Sinhalese TYRANNY.
The end is finally near as India has insited (as a condition to extend the time to complete UN resolution by 2 years) on impementaion of the 13th Amendment in FULL.
1) North & East United.
2) Devolution of Power under a Federal State
3) More Importantly Police and Economic Poor to develop our Land and Economy which had been neglected for 70 odd years and avoid the Horrors of KRISHANTHI.
Cookie! / March 23, 2019
If he goes to jail can I adopt his dog?
Hard Truth / March 23, 2019
I honestly don’t know why you bothered. Sharmini is another of these self-righteous ‘feminist, liberal’ pseudo-intellectuals from Colombo whose sense of justice and fair-play cannot get past the disgustingly selfish ‘us-and-them’ mentality. Unfair actions are unfair only when it is done to ‘us’. When they are done to ‘them’, we don’t want to know, why don’t you shut up already, etc etc.
There are many so-called Colombo based feminists like her who will organise a protest march over some Sinhala (or even Tamil or Muslim) girl being inappropriately touched in a Colombo bus. But when thousands of Tamil women are raped by their Veerayas, they don’t want to know. Because they can’t relate to it. They may be racists, but more to the point, they are self-centered and self-righteous. They may indeed take up the cause of Tamils or Muslims now and then, (and use it to claim that they are not racists), but only if they can relate to the issues from their cinnamon-gardens existence. They are dumb, selfish and altogether disgusting. Don’t waste your breath on them.
Ugly American / March 24, 2019
You are right on the money with your comment.
You seem to have seen through the bogus and hypocritical bleeding hearts of these “self-righteous ‘feminist, liberal’ pseudo-intellectuals”
I have been addressing the issue of poor southern women working as slaves in the middle east for decades. Not one of them raised the issue in any of their protest rallies, or in their Op-Ed pieces. Have you heard anyone of these ‘liberal minded progressives’ talking about the plight of the tea and rubber plantation women workers?
The government rakes in billions from these women workers from the middle east and the plantation sector. These limousine liberals have not and will not take up their cause. It is not a fashionable cause to take up and fight. They will pick up some high profile person, party, or cause and will go on blabbering about it. Then in their Cinnamon Gardens enclaves and gated communities they will gather for high tea in the afternoon and cocktails in the evening and pat themselves on their backs and feel good about themselves!
KA / March 24, 2019
“The end is finally near as India has insited (as a condition to extend the time to complete UN resolution by 2 years) on impementaion of the 13th Amendment in FULL.
1) North & East United.
2) Devolution of Power under a Federal State
3) More Importantly Police and Economic Poor to develop our Land and Economy which had been neglected for 70 odd years and avoid the Horrors of KRISHANTHI.”
Hindia is hell bent on making silent genocide of Eezham Tamils, by deliberately sitting on this investigation and all other acts. Sinhalam made poor job of structural genocide and Hindia is disappointed.
Dismantling of Indian State is a must for peace in South Asia. There was no India in the history of this region.
Colombo man / March 26, 2019
Every action has a reaction – All concerned should know that.
Did VP think that the end is near ? Did he really want to end the war and win victory and set up Elam? If VP had a military win what would have happened to VP? Would he be have been accepted as the leader of Tamil Elam by the international community and especially India- Evil cannot conquer evil
Is India demarcating our boundaries?
Will the Srl Lankan – Majority accept India’s role as a regional leader?
Can we trust India? what is their ultimate game plan? to turn Sri Lanka into another state of India?
Why did the Indian politicians want to build a bridge to Sri Lanka? Is it because they Love us so much?
These issues are not that simple
All Sri Lankans should have abroad understanding about these matters and act wisely.