8 August, 2022


Last Week, Last Chance In Geneva

By Dayan Jayatilleka –

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

If as Harold Wilson said, a week is a long time in politics, it is an even longer time in diplomacy.

The upcoming week is the most significant in Sri Lanka’s contemporary history since the victories of May 2009, almost five years ago. Already the security blanket in the North indicates that a polarising resolution in Geneva will strengthen ‘the dark side of the force’. It is also likely to push most of the citizenry over to the dark side. However, Sri Lanka still has a week to dodge the cyanide-tipped arrow that is a UN mandate for an OHCHR led international inquiry.

The Northern Provincial Council has unanimously resolved to participate in discussions with President Rajapaksa, provided these discussions are without preconditions. OK, I know that sounds as if unconditionality is a precondition, i.e. that the condition for discussions is that they be unconditional. But that’s the only way to do it because there shouldn’t be, and shouldn’t have been, any conditions on talking with a formation, be it parliamentary or provincial, which has a democratic mandate. It was absurd for conditions to have been stipulated while discussions had commenced in 2011 without such conditions.

The offer to enter talks with the President is a last chance for the government to position Sri Lanka better in Geneva so as to open up space for a modification of the resolution, or if that fails, to narrow the margin of defeat. Though the intention of the NPC resolution may have been something else altogether, a speedy response on the part of the Government can turn this into a lifeline.

Even if the talks do not commence or cannot be announced before the vote next week, it is vital that they take place and make headway. The resolution or at least the management of Sri Lanka’s Northern Question was always at the heart of resolving the protracted crisis of the Sri Lankan state and society. It is unavoidable if Sri Lanka’s post-war impasse is to be overcome. More pressingly, resolving the Northern Question is at the very core of resolving Sri Lanka’s problems with the world.

If the Sri Lankan government fails to seize this opportunity and talk to the TNA and the NPC, it will soon be overtaken by a dynamic of political escalation located in a Tamil Nadu which is more influential than it is after the election. Colombo must realize that it is better to talk to Mr Sampanthan and Mr Wigneswaran than it is to deal with Jayalalithaa and Mr Modi. It is far better to settle with the TNA than be caught on two fronts, post Geneva: the UNHRC resolution/OHCHR investigation and a referendum-pushing Jayalalithaa.

After a heavy defeat for the GoSL in Geneva, the commencement of an OHCHR probe and the advent of a coalition government in which Tamil Nadu is a key player, Tamil politics and collective political behaviour in Sri Lanka will operate in a different register. Things may spiral way out of control. The only brake may be a process of serious political dialogue between the President and the elected Tamil leadership.

A problem immediately confronts us, namely the trust deficit. Neither side trusts the other and understandably so. A further and related question that cannot be avoided is why the earlier talks broke down and what can be done to prevent a repetition.

Given that I was part of the loop, though only a peripheral one, my sense is that the talks between the TNA and GoSL broke down for four interconnected reasons: behaviour on either side which went against the expectations of the negotiating partner and was promptly seized upon by the hawks on both sides; a lack of realism which prevented both sides from grasping the actual balance of forces on and outside the island; the conscious projects of disruption and escalation by the hawks on both sides; pressure from below or on the flanks from the more intransigent elements in civil society or in the Diaspora.

How then is one to push for the unconditional recommencement of a process of political dialogue and protect the process if it did commence?

The only way that I can see that happening is with external facilitation. More concretely, the only way I see talks re-starting seriously and being kept on track is if a new quartet of concerned external players were constituted as a collective facilitator. The parties I would suggest for this collective effort are South Africa, India, Japan and Australia.

If the Sri Lankan leadership invites these states to undertake the task of facilitation and agrees to a compressed time frame, we may be able to present in Geneva a joint commitment which permits the dilution and deferral of an intrusive, polarising external inquiry.

Of course, given the fate of the written undertakings of May 21 and May 23 2009 made by the Sri Lankan leadership, not to mention that of the Sri Lankan Ambassador/Permanent Representative who took these reformist commitments at face value and was sacked a mere six weeks after Sri Lanka’s resounding success in Geneva, I wouldn’t blame any state, however friendly and well-intentioned, of being exceedingly wary of buying-in. Given the ‘zero casualty-zero credibility’ reputation the Sri Lankan government has accumulated (what with ‘Gopi’ making it to the United Nations Human Rights Council!), I certainly wouldn’t blame the UN HRC for hesitation to believe it.

The only way to proceed then may be for the implementation of the commitment to be strictly time-bound, giving GoSL, say, six months, to comply i.e. until the September 2014 session of the UNHRC.

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Latest comments

  • 3

    With due respect to Dr. DJ and his own honest opinion and advice, whether it’s possible or not, or listened to by the authorities, no body seems to care. His public announcement is only a vain attempt to convince MR and Co but to show the others that he’s a very patriotic person. Enough of his racially biased patriotism.
    Even at this critical situation, he’s only giving advice about how to break the resolve of the IC/UNHRC, or persuade them to give more time, dilute the resolution or get out of the whole situation by hook or crook. He’s not at all genuinely thinking in terms of solving the burning problem, but finding an escape route. If this educated person of his caliber can think this way, how could we blame uneducated Rajapakse to take any genuine action ? Why this hypocrisy again ? Why only call Australia, South Africa, Japan for mediation ? So he wants the festering problem to continue for ever and allow people of the North, East and even south to continue suffering under this draconian rule ? Be a gentle man Mr Dayan Jayatillke, just think about your late father as to what he would have done toady if he was alive. Wake up and smell the blood still oozing from the butchered lot, for a change ! We cannot expect you to be a non-racist but you can be a human at least!

    • 4

      How can you ask a man who would not dare to criticise the dictator in the power, to become a gentleman ? Is this not like – that the pigs might fly

      Has DJ ever been like consistent with his views of great importance ? Telling all walwataram, not telling the truth asa it is, being only stuck to his kind of publications of incidents. Anyway, I was somewhat interested in the man before, and I try to get more about what he has to say to lanken TV channels in both Sinhala and English, there I really feel that the man in his person is very like BILL CLINTON of the early of term the presidency. Media named hiim as very self discriptive, self proclaimed etc. Even at the time, Angela Merkel was elected the the first female BUNDESKANSlerin, outgoing predecessor was attacking her loudly, because she was very modest though achieved a lot in her academia and politics. Having said all this, I feel some of our senior professionals are not honest enough to call spade a spade.

      He is not patriot: just one another making every efforts to get posted by MR.
      Else, give me one reason, what made him not to have criticised MR but CBK and RW.
      He further says, popularity of MR is at its height even today. I really dont think that will surely fall in the months tocome. JvpERS and all other right thinking people of the society are very interested in the collosal amounts that the man has grabed sofar from taxpayer´s funds.
      Latter is reported to have exeededd the levels of Mugabe, as some challenged.

  • 1

    It is rather strange to watch, unlike other political writers here, who are analyzing the political situations, making their prediction; DJ’s article turns out to be direct consultation to the Royal Government. There is a story told of a Weaver-Bird and the monkey in panchatantra style. DJ knows it’s not just a story for him; the weaver bird’s story is his personal experience. If things have worked out between him and the King, he might have been the one after Navi Pillai- who knows? He advised monkey in the story that rain may get server, so it is better to have a nest like his one, for to be safe. But, the monkey tore off his nest too. Now both are out in the rain. This is a story for second grade child. Certainly is not for PhDs like DJ.

    Then the question remains unanswered is why DJ writes these. Is just because he is an academician, read, think, writes all what he does? Is he still having hope for the lost job (greedy and selfish)? Is he a low grade racist that is why he is trying preserving the military victory over the Tamils as permanent by consulting the Kings government? Read too much, now upset minded, should be in Angoda? Is this a senile dementia – confused of what to do? Or is he simply just a faithful servant- another GLP? If not, on the good side, seeing a right opportunity to make Tamils and Sinhalese to forget about the 2500 years of antagonism and make them to live together peacefully in this beautiful land? There is need to figure out if to honestly comment on the themes in DJ’s writing.
    There are many things he is throwing in all of his articles. Each of the articles may need a 4-5 chapters of a book if not a quarter volume of that need to fully analyze the contents. . So there many things go without meeting commentators opinions.
    Just simply look at the notion the “Last Chance”. How accurate is it? Is he trying to say here is an end being born to the 2500 years fraud, cheating….. that are practiced by these type of anarchists in this island nation ? Is this last chance from the UNHR Commission is much different from the one that DS stood up refusing to cooperate with England’s Soulbury Commission? Could one point out the first chance so that one can call this as the last chance? When these chances started? Is it when Vijaya came 2500 years and married Quvani and decided to throw her out? Is it when Mahanama wrote the Mahavamsa inserted permanent the wedge between the communities? Is that when DS throw out of the country the upcountry Tamils who have been toiling for the land while others were importing free rice from moon? Or is this last chance was not spoiled at UNHRC in 2009 may? If any of my questions are wrong let me to reverse start? Are any of these incidents are the start of chances or in contrast they all were last chances in their own dimension? Let slightly peel it a little bit more into that? Are these numerically countable first to last chances or in analog fashion unceasing steadily following gifts for these rulers?
    As far as for Tamils are concerned, so far not just internal negotiations did not work, even the foreign involvements like, Soulbury Commission, India’s interference, previous UNHRC’ Eminent Persons Commission, previous three resolution nothing stood as a last chance for the Sinhala anarchy to stop.
    DJ, clearly insisting that there can be only one way. That is his way. So he is coming out with this last chance notion. But, we Tamils have seen many of the last chances given to Sinhala anarchist are keep tuning out to be fist chances. In addition to that they not countable, they are steady flow of streams.
    From the time Vijaya landed in this Island, power hungry, selfishness, cheating…. are norms of this country.
    As one of the commentators wrote on this tread, it is DJ like people, who has the ability to consult, has to work with international governments to seek a solution for this problem. Unfortunately they are trying save these dictators and preserve this culture without facing an end. That is really disappointing.

  • 1


    is it your imagination that the Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution calling for talk with the murderous MR govt or is it your wishful thinking? Northern Council never passed such a resolution, and why are you cheating yourself and the world?

    Do you want to save the killers and prevent justice? Can you sleep peacefully at nights? You will do anything to protect your previous masters just because you all are Sinhalese and the victims are just Tamils? Do you have any sense of what’s right and what’s wrong?

    Or, do you fully represent the Sinhalese minds that the Tamils have seen in the last 65 years?

    No matter what you preach to those killers and to yourself, the Tamils have the justice and reasoning on their side. The Tamils will be soon out of the domain of your crazy masters and will be able to determine their own destiny. Its a matter of time, and sure will happen in your lifetime…save your writings.

    • 0

      Have you not been sleeping your sun god killing thousands of tamils and sinhalese alike. When did you wake up?

  • 1

    The Govt has made an unprecendented spectacle of the UNHCR 25th session at Geneva to make political capital at the PC elections. From chest beating and talk of the ‘electric chair’, to the public display of the gallows at Bogambara, these are all designed to whip up public emotions and influence the PC elections. In fact the President has now gone on record stating that the nation should vote for the Govt at the PC in order to send a powerful signal to the International Community.

    What is deplorable about all this is the blatant attempt to confuse and mislead the public. Whereas PC elections should be fought on issues of good governance and economic management, the regime seeks to distort the entire process by talking about nonsensical, diplomatic and international issues which have no relevance at local govt level. The whole scenario resembles a local thovil ceremony with the regime dancing in a frenzy trying to drive away an imaginary demon by dashing coconuts and killing a cock.

    I hope the intelligent and educated public will see through this brazen attempt and give a powerful message to the regime by voting for any opposition party of their choice. Or will they prefer to remain the modayas’ and kavun kanna yodaya’s of yore.

    • 1

      Safa ,

      “Or will they prefer to remain the modayas’ and kavun kanna yodaya’s of yore. “

      majority of the gullible SL population falls under the above category , if for some reason regime or any religious leader announces tomorrow , that there will be some “kapila wasthu ” at display in a far remote corner of the country , majority of the people would hire some form of transport (pawning their gold Jewelry )and will rush to the scene to get the blessings , but at the same time if an innocent mother with a baby comes to any of those houses seeking some sort of help (food or money) ,not only majority would turn their back on her but also cursing at her for not being employed ,that is even without knowing the real circumstances of the poor woman.

      • 3

        This means that facts and figures of MR performance are kept away from those gulible/gaping folks ?

        Did you see the reactions of MR immediately after CBK came with that report against religious violence ?
        I agree with one point made by DJ – if parties criticise us, we nevertheless need to find ways to explain them ground realities about which we feel are right to behave our way. But MR has never allowed anyone to say anything about his regime. Nor has he given chance to the OPPOSITION of the country to express their views specially in country´s alarming issues.
        I think ther PERSON MR is suffering from INFERIOR COMPLEX to reject all these. May be his reactions in the war end strategies worked well towards good, but SINCE then to fail do any single issue correctly, makes me veryclear that the bugger is a FOOL.

        The very same administration to be away from peace talks in today´s context is incomprehesible to anyone. Let alone, has he made any basic efforts to do so since NPC election is over and the candidate is appointed ?

        May be he has talent to keep heterogenous political parties together for UPFA sake. But for what purpose he needs to do so, while the most important issue – solving tamil problem is being given no enough priority.

        • 1

          Ms Thalanabatu ,

          The bottom line , Majority of SL people are deaf & dumb , all politicians know this basic fact and react accordingly , pseudo patriotism and 2500 year old Sinhalese Buddhism version of Buddhism override every thing , so the order of the day is , come forward to protect the country & its religion from LTTE & western world ! ,

          • 4

            but how come the very same people stay in the same mode even if they are the ones be fallen that deep due to the tyrannial state.
            At least now to think otherway around in terms of the sky rockted prices of daily needs. Are the folks that stupid as once a CT writer accused them being of ” Literate but stupid”.
            Just palatable rhetorics like – Adambara thathatha, in the same time doing the opposite, as always s been sofar, by hittin the the poorest of the poor that hard, I really dont get this.
            I dont think that PC election results would give a sign to opposition – stupid folks interpret it the way stupid leader reiterates it ( we are going to be cornered ).. anyway, who are this “we”. They are none other than MR administration.

            • 2

              Ms Thalanabatu ,

              “but how come the very same people stay in the same mode even if they are the ones be fallen that deep due to the tyrannial state.”

              remember that notorious PS chairman ” Saruwa Sunil” who molested and raped a little girl? believe it or not the relatives of very same little girl (victim) went on organizing a protest rally and demanding the immediate release of the very same pedophile who raped their own little girl on a mere promise of Rs 500 bribe! remember CJ impeachment saga, successive Geneva protests etc ,of course secret is Rs 500. imagine what can be achieved with a mere promise of an employment from these patriotic forces.

              “At least now to think otherway around in terms of the sky rockted prices of daily needs. Are the folks that stupid as once a CT writer accused them being of ” Literate but stupid”. “

              when there are more than enough regime generated “Hot topics” circulating 24×7 , who bothers to think of those unwanted topics like “COL”

              “I dont think that PC election results would give a sign to opposition – stupid folks interpret it the way stupid leader reiterates it ( we are going to be cornered ).. anyway, who are this “we”. They are none other than MR administration.”

              any election under this junta is going to be the same ( of course with the exception of NPC & CMC, as there is a threshold), only fools will focus on these one sided elections.

  • 1

    You mean last chance for you to go to Geneva ?

  • 1

    Tell me one country that the US cowboys have honestly assisted in running a democracy from a military state? None it only created another banana state military.

    Samare says the resolution will be passed but SL won’t budge and would only carry out its own investigation.

    Suma says resolution will give a time limit for SL to complete
    Therefore SL the US/UK planned winner.

    Next year India would be in a state of TRO (Time Run Out) and would not get an extension to vote and US last chance.

    Sly Turd USA: Sison is a coward Patton padda and Nisha is Kerry padda both political appointees living la vida saying the opposites with time lapses expecting folk to forget.

    Make no mistake the US will keep on training the SL armed forces come what may- enjoy your stay folks.

    Passa and co will hold sway and make Lanka the American rendition centre SARC like Thailand for ASEAN – the Theravada- Tortoise Head.

    Die-ass-mora-pora will stop India from assisting the whole nation as it did with Bangala.

    Mugabe loves you kallathonies.

  • 0

    Looks like the clique of Mahanayakas have at last opened their mouths on a matter of national importance. Who and what brought them together this time when the climate in Geneva is hotting up. They are sharpening
    their knives on poor Dayan J. Does he have the freedom to defend himself against this gang. Does this Conclave have any voice at all that will be heard in a representative and respected body like the UN. They pass a censure on Mrs. Navi Pillay. But will this have any effect at all. They must recognise their highly rated self-importance is only within the country – and does not carry punch outside.

    R.J. de Silva

  • 1

    The country needs a leadership change, but it is very unfortunate to bring a change through the international community. The elections are between the powerful and deceitful government vs powerless political parties. I don’t believe that democratic system will help us to change the leadership of the country. The Sri Lankan media editors won’t publish my comment, but happy to betray the country for their own perks and benefits. They will only publish comments that are appreciated by them once they have comprehended through their racist and foolish thinking. They can fool the Sinhalese. but not the world. What a coincidence; Gobi just came into the action just a week before the voting of the UNHRC. Trust me the Rajapaksa regime will pay for their stupidity. We all know that Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa orchestrated a drama to arrest the human rights activists, in order to silence the people who speak-out against the human rights abuses in Sri Lanka. Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has his own way of dealing with issues that bother him, but the foreign affairs staffs have to dance according to Gota’s actions. Sri Lanka never had this dangerous situation ever before; it is a disaster. Gota’s actions are the worst foreign affairs blunders in the history of Sri Lanka. It will cost the country.

  • 1


    You have hit the Nail on the head. The problem with MR is that he is a prisoner of his own Prejudice and he cannot change course as that will interfere with his agenda of ethnic cleansing and he is well on his way to completing it. But with Divine intervention a Tornado is about to hit MR in the form of UNHCR and the change at the top in India and the later will seal MRs fate. With the resolution at the UN likely to be passed it is not only MR who will pay a heavy price but the people.
    It must be obvious to the educated Sinhalese that you don’t need a UN mandate for the West and USA to impose Economic Sanctions as was made clear when Sanctions were imposed on Russia recently. When sanctions are imposed which will happen after the UN vote Factories will close and Economic Development will slow down but it is up to the people to see the danger signs and vote against MR at the forthcoming Provincial Elections to send a clear signal.
    But sadly for Sri Lanka King Mahinthas subjects have the highest admiration for the king and they will be prepared to make the Sacrifice and pay a price but the Iron Lady will calve out Sri Lanka and I hope will deliver Freedom Justice and Equality to the Long suffering Eelam Tamils.

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