It has been reported that US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh have ‘agreed to work closely in expediting the Sri Lankan peace process (sic)’. That ‘decision’ had been taken when the former visited the latter in New Delhi on Tuesday.
By Malinda Seneviratne –
First of all, neither Clinton nor Singh are representatives elected by the people of Sri Lanka. Nor were these individuals mandated to ‘expedite’ any process that concerns Sri Lanka. Neither of them have bothered to explain what ‘peace process’ means. Most importantly, neither of them has the moral authority to pass judgment, forward proposal or even comment on things Sri Lankan. Let us explain.
In March this year, the USA sponsored a resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council. It was a resolution that Sri Lanka objected to, vehemently, and perforce was one roundly seen as an unfriendly move on the part of the USA. It was a resolution that India supported, thereby dispelling all illusions about that country’s friendship claims.
If one were to go back further in history, then we can talk of how India ‘expedited’ the ‘peace process’ in Sri Lanka by funding, arming, training and giving refuge to terrorists. We can talk of how India PREVENTED the vanquishing of the fascist LTTE organization in 1987, postponing that eventuality by 22 years and thereby facilitating that many years worth of carnage. That act of thuggery also helped unleash an insurrection that left 60,000 dead in less than 2 years.
The USA, for all its anti-terrorist rhetoric, actively sought (through its local representative, Robert O Blake) to throw a lifeline to the fascists in the last days of the conflict, showing generosity of a kind that was and is patently absent in how that country dealt with its armed detractors in Afghanistan, most notably al Qaeda and Taliban operatives including Osama bin Laden.
Both countries were very active in supporting a largely pro-terrorist Ceasefire Agreement signed in 2002. There was no ‘expediting’ of anything other than destabilization, chaos, anarchy and separatist drives.
Despite all these spokes in the wheels, Sri Lanka did defeat fascism. Sri Lanka opened the doors that the LTTE had closed to peace, normalcy and reconciliation. Singh and Clinton may have their own definitions of ‘peace’, and they are more than welcome to apply them to themselves, Singh in Kashmir and Clinton in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and other places where massive crimes against humanity are perpetrated in the name of democracy.
Sri Lanka, however, is not another state of either India or the USA. Guns, bucks and inflated egos do prompt people to be presumptuous, that’s human of course. But this without-any-by-your-leave attitude will not help heal strained relations between these countries and Sri Lanka.
There is reference to a ‘stalled peace process’. The wording is telling. There was a stumbling block to peace in Sri Lanka: the LTTE fascists. That obstacle was removed. There are unresolved grievances, yes. Not all of them are Tamil-specific. Not all of the articulated ‘grievances’ are myth-free. Neither are they un-tainted by ‘aspiration’. There’s nothing among these ‘grievances’ that come even close to the suffering of certain communities in India and the USA. Indeed if there has been ‘stalling’ it is because of the TNA’s intransigence, its long history of supporting LTTE fascism and its absolute reluctance to come to terms with political realities and historical facts.
In May 2009, Sri Lanka closed a chapter, the long and bloody story of fascism, spawned by chauvinism of all kinds but especially that of the likes of Ponnambalam Ramanathan, S.J.V. Chelvanayakam and G.G. Ponnambalam, and nurtured by the evil designs of Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv. The meddling of the likes of Blake didn’t help at all. Singh and Clinton can walk that path. They have the power to push Sri Lanka back into those terrible times. That’s not helping ‘peace’.
Given their histories and their abilities to rupture old wounds, if they really want to help, it’s best they keep their distance. Rebuilding is easy and is happening. Curing a nation of old suspicions and animosities that are naturally birthed by conflict takes longer. If Singh and Clinton are impatient, hard luck! They can look at their own examples if they really want to know about ‘inability to resolve’ and ‘insufferable delays’. This is Sri Lanka. It is a country that has its own pace. Own way. Those who prescribed, dished out bad medicine. When that happens, such physicians are not re-visited.
Dr. Singh and Ms. Clinton are not citizens of ‘peaceful’ countries. They are both leaders of countries at war; at war with other countries and peoples and at war with their own people. They are hardly in a position to prescribe solutions to others.
Peace in Sri Lanka is the business of people who live in Sri Lanka. They can’t find fault with anyone who says ‘Thank you, but no!’