By Rajiva Wijesinha –
The recent vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva was upsetting, and it would make sense for Sri Lanka to assess what happened and work towards ensuring that such a situation does not occur again. However there seems little chance of that, since the same was obvious a year ago, but nevertheless nothing was done, except to sit back and hope disaster would not strike twice.
The only efforts at analysis we saw from the Ministry of External Affairs were leaks to the effect that the vote engineered by the United States had put Sri Lanka back on track to working with what were described as its traditional allies.
Dayan Jayatilleka and Tamara Kunanayagam were denigrated as having tried to turn us towards what were described as virtually rogue states such as North Korea and Cuba.
That juxtaposition revealed very clearly where the thinkers in the Ministry of External Affairs, if that is an appropriate word, were coming from.
Cuba, loathed by the United States, is a model as far as foreign relations are concerned, and we would do well to try to understand why internationally it gets support from almost all countries in the world except for the United States and its absolute dependents.
North Korea is a different phenomenon, and the idea that Dayan or Tamara would advocate getting ourselves into that particular category is absurd.
But, as far as the mandarins in the Ministry are concerned, there is no need to make distinctions; as J R Jayewardene advocated when he turned to the West after 1977, we should be even more bitter than the West is in denigrating its opponents.
That philosophy underscored his appalling attitude to India. The attitude of the United States to India then explained however our attempts to take on India, even though we should have realized – and the United States indeed make this clear to us – that they would not come to our rescue in the event of conflict.
What is astonishing however is that, despite the rapprochement between the United States and India, our Cold Warriors still continue to denigrate the latter. The vicious misrepresentation of the very positive attitude of the Indian Opposition Leader (working in terms of the bipartisan approach to international relations that India manages to sustain however bitter political rivalries are) made clear what was going on.
However, even though, as suggested by the President, I wrote to the Foreign Secretary asking that the prevailing destruction of our international image be investigated, nothing has happened. Clearly the persistence of the attitudes of the eighties is condoned, despite the world having moved on.
This absurdity extends to the failure to build up alliances in areas where we had so many advantages four years ago. The manner in which Tamara Kunanayagam, as our ambassador in Brazil and then Cuba, built not just positive relations but even admiration and affection for this country throughout South America, has been forgotten.
Instead we have entrusted Cuba to an envoy who seems to think what it has achieved in the last half century is as nothing compared to the joys of being within the American sphere of influence.
For me perhaps the most significant aspect of the latest vote in Geneva is the fact that Brazil voted against us. Our apologists will claim that Brazil was under pressure from the United States, but it was under pressure in 2009 and voted with us.
Its ambassador was one of Dayan’s most affectionate allies, who gave us advice on how we should move forward, but supported us in the belief that we intended to do this expeditiously.
Instead then of getting angry with Brazil for voting against us, we should rather consider as to whether we should not be doing more to win support from a country that should be a natural ally.
The point is, the efforts the United States is making have very little to do with human rights, but reflect an effort to change the architecture of international relations. Sri Lanka is a convenient guinea pig for this, as we saw five years ago, when Gareth Evans and his ilk were trying to turn us into the first stamping ground for the enlarged version of his infamous doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect. The manner in which he twisted the provisions of that doctrine as approved by the United Nations, to suggest that unilateral actions were acceptable, is not something we should treat lightly, given what happened in Iraq and Libya, and what is happening now in Syria.
Brazil, like India, is not a country that would approve of such adventurism. But instead of making the point about the principles involved, we have simply, as one erudite Indian journalist put it, simply been asking for votes, with no efforts to explain and illustrate our position in between sessions of the Council.
I still recall the manner in which one South American diplomat, who was given the paper that Tamara and I prepared to show the importance of Reconciliation, when I went against my will to Geneva in March 2012, said that had he seen these arguments earlier, his country’s position might well have been different.
The petticoat diplomacy that destroyed us in Geneva between Dayan and Tamara did not bother to explain, perhaps because the intellectual capacity to explain was lacking in someone who got into the Ministry through the back door.
It simply pleaded, and then engaged in abuse when things did not work out, as was seen in the extraordinary letter sent to Navanethem Pillay recently. The fact that this came from the same Ministry that had let down Tamara when she objected on principle to what Navy was up to some months back makes clear the complete absence of either thought or policy planning in the Ministry.
This must change if we are not to be destroyed soon. But it seems that no one cares.
Dev / April 8, 2013
Yes Yes Yes, Tamara/Dayan and You are GREAT !!!
Everyone else is useless !
Last time I checked Tamara (2012 March) was hurling accusations at the UNHCR (and Pillay) and other nations in un-diplomatic language !!!
Dayan and She still think the world is in its pre-89 era of USSR vs. USA !
The three of you have nothing to do now but write self congratulatory notes and blame the govt but none of you have the guts to quit the government if all they do is wrong ! Why? Hoping against hope for a recall?
Lankan / April 8, 2013
Dev, I agree with you as long as it goes for Tamara and Rajiva. But not Dayan. Tamara and Rajiva are trying to get back into the good books of the government but not Dayan.
Vasu / April 8, 2013
Why do you defend Dayan? Impressed of his intellectual approach? He is the slaughterer and the defender of a mass murder.
We had chances to stop this mass civilian casualities in an international level
This political DJ did lobbying for this brutal regime.
LTTE was not a final solution for Tamils and Mahindas regime not for sinhalese
We had alternatives
He is the Goebbels of SL nation
But this Rajiva, I don´t know how and where he did his dis
jansee / April 9, 2013
May be if Dayan is dangled the Paris carrot, he may start singing hosanas to the regime again.
mahela / April 9, 2013
Today in a major TV news broadcast, Plantation Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said that it was President Rajapakse who advised him not to have any compromise with UNHRC on LLRC or the 13th amendment during last UNHRC meeting.
According to Mahinda Samarasinghe it was MR who has instructed him not to give into any of the UNHRC demands and not even to listen to their proposals and his adament behaviour during UNHRC session showed it off.
I have a feeling even his speech at UNHRC had been drafted by GLP and other notorious characters in our foreign ministry.
Therefore one has to consider the state of Prof. Rajiva or Dayan or Tamara when they represent Sri Lanka with their hands been tight behind their backs by the ever panditha Maharajano.
This is the state of our foreign ministry today while GOSL spent 150 Million US Dollars to get one UNHRC vote they paid to Uganda.
Many are counting the days to get out from MARA saloon door.
Lankan / April 9, 2013
When Dayan knew what he was doing was wrong he had the guts to get out (or kicked out). Still since then he has been speaking his mind. If the President commands his employees, then Dayan would have followed what he was told but when he showed his true colours the President kicked him out. So Dayan is a decent guy.
Kumar R / April 9, 2013
Dayan decided to speak his mind, after he was convinced that he will be kicked out – he did not get kicked out because he spoke his mind. In otherwords, he kept his mouth shut as long as he was given a job, despite his misgivings on the rights and wrongs of what he was doing. He is even more selfishly opportunistic and harmful than Rajiva and Tamara combined!
eureka / April 8, 2013
A Sri Lankan Professor says a very bland UNHRC asking a country to implement the recommendations of its own Commission is a ”DISASTER” ??
What sort of Human Rights/Peace Education do you visualise for your future generation?
Concerned / April 8, 2013
Wijesinghe….as usual running with the hare and pretending to hunt with the hounds. You are just like Hakeem and the rest of the scoundrels, hanging on to the government strings unable to let go as you will surely lose the perks. Shame on you first. Pompous moron.
Maniwasagam / April 8, 2013
Albeit Dev’s malicious feelings about not reaching his inner motives, these few people are the only people where you can see some transparency throughout their work in relation to international relations. One has to pass one’s judgment being detached from one’s predilections and then only one can see the balanced views of the people expressed. Hence it is unfair to throw one’s malicious allegation without profound thinking..
Aney Apochchi! / April 8, 2013
You are right on the money.
Incidentally, I didn’t know they awarded PhDs for “spin” but they obviously did in the case of Dayan, Rajiva etc.! “Spin-doctors” trying to build one fluke in Geneva into the first battle in a war they had won but which many in Sri Lanka recognized for what it was, a simple fluke due to the US and its allies coming in unprepared.
What a bunch of rats leaving the sinking ship while hoping against hope for a miracle that will help them to clamber back on board! Opportunists without a place to jump is a sight to gladden the heart of anyone with even a pinch of principle!
Aney Apochchi! / April 8, 2013
You must be commenting about a column other than Rajiva Wijesinha’s because you do not, apparently, recognize him for the LIAR and merchant of obfuscation that he has revealed himself to be.
No comment is too pejorative for RW if one takes into account his conduct which is a matter of record!
noel / April 8, 2013
What do you mean “when I went against my will to Geneva in March 2012”? Oh! what a baby to be forced to go. Better say “when I went on the orders of MR because I had not the guts to decline and because in any case I would do anything that the great MR orders after all he had done for me.” You would never have seen the inside of Parliament of which your illustrious father was Seretary-General if not for MR. So you did whatever he told you to. The future would be the same.
Yohan Fernando / April 8, 2013
We the Sri Lankans should get out of this “frogs in a well” attitude. The brilliance of the Sri Lankan war machine prevented the separation of the country in 2009. The idiotic diplomacy will cause the separation of the country in the next 10 years – unless some intelligent people are induced in to the foreign ministry.
mahela / April 9, 2013
There’s nothing called Foreign Ministry. It is Rajapakistan puppet show ministry. Period.
Rajasingham Jayadevan / April 8, 2013
After having released the stinking methane gas, you are trying to tighten the valve to suppress the stink.
Your comments clearly speaks of your guilt of war crimes, that you are trying to cover up by your manipulative politics by canvassing support in the international arena.
Truth was the first victim in the war and manipulation is the dishonourable tactic to undermine justice.
With the international consultancy services provided by the Bell Pottinger likes, it is expected that Sri Lanka will do everything to cover up its horrendous misdeeds.
I hope your liberal values will redeem you from engaging in such highhanded cover-ups, leave aside the basics of Buddhism that should instead guide an intolerable nation.
Kiri Yakka / April 8, 2013
Don’t you think that the global Pariyar state conferred on Sri Lanka is well deserved ?
Does it really matter, which Yakka rep approaches Cuba or North Korea on our behalf ?
Maniwasagam / April 8, 2013
The one having a pseudonym as” Ane Appochci” itself reveals the timid qualities of the person. When somebody speaks in favor of facts that are healthy in terms of the government, then he is branded as pompous etc with many nick names with a view to shut his or her mouth. When somebody speaks all the time whatever bullshits against the government, then he is the hero is appreciated well. This is the nature of the opportunists. I as a Tamil have seen many such people among Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims. We suffered our lives because of this bloody war. Tamils have done first so much of damage to Sinhala people, firstly killing 47 shoulders in Jaffna and this continued for such a long time. When the war was not there at a time how many poor Tamils who refused to joined LTTE have been killed by LTTE. Are they not human killings? and not to speak about the number of muslims killed. What nonsense these lunatic people are speaking about? This is called fanatic boasting about heroism in terms of opportunities.
Aney Apochchi! / April 9, 2013
Ethnicity is, obviously, no indicator of stupidity and Psycho-phancy, that is assuming you are, in fact Tamil. In any event, you would be well advised to have someone tell you what the expression, “Koheda yanne, malle pol” means.
Maniwasagam / April 9, 2013
Words of a language are lavishly used to underestimate people yet healthy people with optimistic attitudes are never easily moved.
eureka / April 8, 2013
Busloads of innocent people to protest US/UN/international interference.
Then pump up millions to PR agents to patch up with the US and others:
What’s happening in the country?
Some people are filling up these pages with meaningless matter?
Park / April 8, 2013
How dare you, a member of the Liberal Party say “The recent vote at the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva was upsetting”. What is so upsetting about the UN Human Rights resolution? You as a Minister has not done anything other than writing articles to tell us you have made various suggestions to the President and the cabinet. Even after none of your suggestions have been taken up by the government and the President you continue to be a member of the ruling alliance. Have you at least listened to your own party members what they say about you. They say that you are a back bone less, useless member. You have not resigned from the Liberal Party, you support an alliance which has killed democracy in Sri Lanka, you are sitting on the fence on all major issues and jump from side to side, depending on what drink you had that night (Scotch or Brandy). At least learn from CJ Shirani or from Dayan how one should act. Do not waste our time by writing stupid things.
Aney Apochchi! / April 9, 2013
Thank you very much. While what this invertebrate says might not be worth commenting on, to let it go uncontested is to give it credibility that it might otherwise receive.
Jaffna Tamil / April 9, 2013
Rajiva needs a platform. The spin-doctor has nothing better to do than write articles that no one bothers to read. Liberal Party my foot. This guy and Hakeem must be twins.
Kiri Yakka / April 9, 2013
Jaffna Tamil, Cool it please. if you are a real JT you should be able to read.
I do read what the learned professor is trying too convey but I am confused.
Should we not be thankful to Dayan Jayatilleka and Tamara Kunanayagam for making the whole world realize what we are ?
… In need of investigation, due to the danger we are to our selves ?
Should not Dayan and Tamara be thanked for highlighting our plight to the global community ? or are they traitors ?
Kumar R / April 9, 2013
Dayan, as an intellect, academic, diplomat and political scientist (his claim, not mine) had two choices after the war was ended, and when suspicions of war crime surfaced. Note that both he and the Government were absolutely convinced that the war was conducted justly, and if any incidences of civilian killings and other incidences happened, they were isolated, limited to few miscreants and were unavoidable in the heat of the war. Given that, he had two choices. One, to convince the Government to be open to independent investigation (not necessarily external, but internal and still credible). That way, we could have proved credibly that no war crimes were intended, and if any occurred, that was indeed accidental and limited to few miscreants who could then be aptly punished. That would have been the end of the story – no Hard-Talk videos, no Diaspora interventions and no Tamil Nadu theatrics. The world would have understood and appreciated. The second choice he had was to try to shield, hamper and prevent any credible checking out – that he succeeded in, being the master of deception that he is, of course with the coalition of the willing and the duped! Despite his Political science training, he lacked foresight, blinded by the myopic delights of the moment. Alas, how wrong he was, and what a tortuous path his decision and ‘victory” has taken us, the Government, the country and the people, since his moment of glory. Is he not answerable for his action?
douglas / April 9, 2013
Have we forgetten how the attempt made by Canada to introduce the “Darusman Report” of Ban Key Moon, through the back door was averted by Ms. Kunanayagam? Also do you all remember the secret e mail that was sent out by the Secretariat of UNHRC, was exposed and very approprately replied by the then Permanent Representative, Ms.Kunanayagam? This is our “national weakness”. We forget very easily and “conveniently”. I will bet, even at the next election time, we will display this weakness in “big scale”.
Kiri Yakka / April 10, 2013
Kumar R, understand the mess Dayan has caused. Only if he had …… convinced the rest that ” no war crimes were intended, and if any occurred, that was indeed accidental and limited to few miscreants “
Only one small problem here Kumar. At what level the miscreants were at.
Kumar R / April 10, 2013
The miscreants need to take responsibility for their acts, whatever level that may be – And, ensuring that punishment is the responsibility of an honorable country. That is what an honest, intellectual,courageous, patriotic, academic should have worked towards — instead of choosing to aid a cover-up just for the one-time glory and personal profits that ended up costing the country an unending loss of its international pride, honor, peace and properity.
Kiri Yakka / April 11, 2013
We have long gone past honor, courage and pride. The expression in the faces of immigration officers when you show your passport will give you a good indication of where we are.
We have rubished our reputation globally beyond repair.
Wellcome to the pit. The race is now on to take us deaper into it.
Dayan did help us dig that pit.Malinda if furture down were the refuse settles, wistling a way.