By Emil van der Poorten –
If this week’s diatribe drifts beyond the matter of hypocrisy, pure and simple, I make no apology for such a transgression because what we see on a daily basis and which is destroying the fabric of this country is a discourse that begins with hypocrisy at its simplest level and descends into lies and fabrication without missing a beat. As that corny old song had it, in Sri Lanka, it seems “You can’t have one without the other!”
It seems like the self-righteousness of local “Pundits in Defence of the Regime (PiDotR)” has not yet reached its shrill crescendo in playing to the naivete of its audience, advancing the most outlandish accusations against any individual or country even vaguely critical of Sri Lanka. The bedrock of their arguments appears to be the fact that in advancing any principle even vaguely associated with morality or ethics, those doing so, if they have any skeletons in their cupboards, are guilty of that most heinous of sins: hypocrisy. Mind you, this principle is applied very selectively. What the USSR did under Stalin and some of his successors or the huge brutality of Mao Zedong is not brought into this equation since Russia and the modern People’s Republic of China have now become financial fairy godparents to the rulers of our Land Like No Other. The reason for these alliances is very simple: neither Russia nor the PRC apply anything resembling conditions to the manner in which the largesse they dispense is utilized, making it open season for those waiting with open saurian jaws to gobble up whatever is on the gravy train. As long as the strategic needs of the donor nations are met, anything and everything is permissible at the Sri Lankan end. The fact is that there is really no requirement that the “aid” (which has to be paid back, often with commercial interest rates applied to it) being utilized for the purpose for which it is officially allocated. This is, literally, a godsend to the bandits parading as “governments” in the recipient nations. Sri Lanka, leave alone being an exception to that rule, appears to be leading the parade of pirates in that regard!
That the flag-bearers of “western civilization” have a great deal to answer for from the time that Columbus “discovered” a whole continent already populated with millions of aboriginal people speaking a plethora of languages with many of them operating within civilizations significantly more advanced than those that produced their “discoverers” is beyond argument of any kind. However, let’s be upfront about this business: just because the USA or Great Britain or France or Kuomintang China (or the old USSR) were responsible for behaviour that didn’t qualify as purer than the driven snow, did not make their prosecution of that most famous of genocidaires, Adolf Hitler, or Tojo and his government who visited unspeakable cruelty on the people they subjugated during World War II, or Benito Mussolini of Fascist Italy any less appropriate. Incidentally, our local Hallelujah Chorus for the Russo-Chinese axis doesn’t miss a beat in talking about the former’s dedication to preventing the partition of a nation such as Sri Lanka while their defender is blithely chopping off pieces of Georgia as “autonomous regions,” and now simply annexing the Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine. Even India, despite its paternalistic attitude towards Sri Lanka, would hesitate to subject its little neighbor to such annexation! Given the absolute control of the media within Sri Lanka, either through blatantly repressive action or through the self-censorship of the remaining pitiful rump, this kind of 21st Century hypocrisy by the ”Friends of Rajapakistan” not only goes un-condemned, it goes basically unmentioned!
Given an opportunity without parallel in Sri Lankan history, to bring about national healing in a country which, even before the near-thirty years of armed conflict, had communal tensions simmering just below the surface, the government of this country has acted in what, in a historical sense, can be described as a totally moronic manner. In this it has had the able assistance of people who had academic credentials and were clever but, thanks to their monumentally corrupt and unprincipled mindset, have done that possibility even more damage than was imagined in the first blush of triumphalism post May 2009 and Nanthikadal. If you want an example of the difference between being wise and being clever, there it is. When one factors in the total lack of anything resembling a moral compass to that “cleverness,” the reason for this behavior is only too obvious. These sycophants, of varying Oxbridge or Ivy League accent, did, initially at least, an admirable job of obfuscation in defence of a regime that lied through its teeth. A prime example of this was the matter of civilian casualties during the latter stages of the war. The bludgeon of high volume and serious threat in tandem with the outpourings of this reprehensible bunch did work for a while. However, the effectiveness of this strategy diminished with the passage of time. The reason for this was very simple: it becomes increasingly difficult to cover an exponentially-expanding posterior with a shrinking hand! That hand has now been reduced to the status of a malnourished fig leaf, though it hasn’t stopped these valiant warriors from vigourously waving that pitiful shield in the effort to compensate for lack of area with not-so-deft movement!
In the matter of hypocrisy, let me make one final comment: is there anything more hypocritical that a government that practices terrorism as a basic part of its governance, on a day-to-day basis, doing so in the name of eradicating that very malady?
Whatever happens at the Human Rights Council’s deliberations in Geneva this month, the local end result will be the same: a veritable pogrom against any and all critics of this government either on the grounds that they are “enemies of the state,” or, in yet another bout of kiributh-eating trumped-up hysterical triumphalism, “teaching these b…s a lesson now that Geneva has let us off the hook.” In any event, the orchestrated publicity campaign, eerily reminiscent of that preceding the (foregone) culmination of the war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, requires an appropriate climax and this one promises to top anything in that field, even that usually associated with that particular term!