1 November, 2020

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PM Must Act With Firm Resolve

By Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

Prof. Kumar David

The crucial clause in the UNHRC September 2015 Resolution on Sri Lanka reads as follows:

“Welcomes the government’s recognition that accountability is essential to uphold the rule of law and build confidence in the people of all communities of Sri Lanka in the justice system, takes note with appreciation of the Government of Sri Lanka’s proposal to establish a Judicial Mechanism with a Special Counsel to investigate allegations of violations and abuses of human rights and violations of international humanitarian law, as applicable; and affirms that a credible justice process should include independent judicial and prosecutorial institutions led by individuals known for integrity and impartiality; and further affirms in this regard the importance of participation in a Sri Lankan judicial mechanism, including the Special Counsel’s office, of Commonwealth and other foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorized prosecutors and investigators”.

The paragraph is cleverly and convolutedly worded. The crucial linguistic transition worthy of a Wittgenstein follows after the second semicolon and says “; and further affirms . . . the importance of . . . foreign judges, defence lawyers, and authorised prosecutors and investigators”. All else prior to this is anodyne and GoSL can affirm it with eyes closed. The transition phrasing is ambiguous whether GoSL also “further affirms” foreign involvement, or whether this refers only to the views of the Council, leaving GoSL free to go ahead with, but not necessarily committed to foreign participation. The ambiguity is intentional; GoSL is fearful of a backlash of Sinhala chauvinism, the domestic version of a universal phenomenon I call narcissistic-nationalism. Nevertheless, this verbal conjuring will not keep chauvinists at bay nor dampen the bloodlust of rabble-rousers; have no doubts about that. The realistic choice for the government is to steel itself and confront the menace head-on.

Ranil Wickremesinghe 1The Prime Minister has affirmed his commitment to the, albeit watered down, Resolution at his 27 September press conference but retained the ambiguity. President Sirisena and External Affairs Minister ManSam (MSx2) have given him their fullest backing. It is the PM, not the President (though the former wisely observes correct protocol at all times) who is the de facto source of political power in the country at the present time. Therefore if a GoSL plus MSx2 core team led by the PM has made a firm decision, it is crucial. Surely they must be aware that the Resolution is the signal for MR’s henchmen and the WUDU djinn-band to foment trouble. (WUDU = Wimal-Udaya-Dinesh-vasU). For the PM to set out on this path sans firm resolve to subdue possible mobs is defeatism in advance. Since GoSL has co-sponsored this paragraph we must also assume that it is ready to face the consequences on the streets.

In several previous pieces I have made disparaging references to “R&S” as backing away in the face of communal rabble-rousers and not having the nerve to act firmly against MR-era crooks and criminals. I would be delighted if I were proved wrong; but let’s watch for a while. I go further and say it is the duty of progressives (civil society and political parties) to be the intellectual vanguard against false ideologues and the physical wall against provocateurs. The police force was exemplary during the elections and on the whole has done well since January 8, but old habits may linger. Sections of the military may be confused that some colleagues could be named as war-crimes suspects; some discontent is possible. It will take time to build respect for human rights and subservience to the Constitution in our military, but it is necessary and must be initiated as a matter of urgency. Taking into account this background and the emerging scenario, my point is that mass action led by civil society and radical progressives should form the leading edge in the mobilisation to quell the racist-fascist black-hand.

To give it balance I should add that TamilNet and even some non-LTTE-rump Tamils in the diaspora decry the Resolution as a sell out of the Tamils, by the West and the international community, to the Sinhalese state and war criminals. The give away, they say, is that the mechanism to include a foreign element is discretionary and is to be managed by GoSL. Actually it is possible that a chauvinist blitz may force GoSL to back down irrespective of any type of wording. In any case to work out what’s in the minds of these Tamil actors one needs to appreciate that these assorted grumblings are more an effervescence of pet prejudices and hobby horses of entrenched interest groups than reflections of reality.

A lot of rubbish is being regurgitated on the interpretation of the text. The text matters less than reality. Tamils, many Sinhalese, UNHRC members (except rights abusers Russia, China and Cuba) and of course this correspondent, hold that Lanka’s judicial and prosecutorial systems are abysmal; it is irrational to expect them to handle grave war-crimes allegations against the military or the last regime. The system is too far compromised, deplorably unreliable and cannot be trusted. Conversely, apologists on the MR side of the fence are bent on acquittal of all but LTTErs, irrespective of whether guilty or not – that is if they agree to have their “heroes” investigated at all. This is the core contention; all the rest of the debate is sophistry; nothing can mediate or meliorate this divide. This is no time for debate and disputation with djinn-bands and MRs; instead it’s time to make ready to crush them.

Sinhala rabble rousing

Provocation and incitement got under way without a moments delay. Wimal and Udaya froth that “sovereignty has been betrayed”. A guttersnipe pontificates: “Which is larger: hypocrisy, cowardice or moral outrageousness. Is the hypocrisy of the West larger or smaller than the supine cowardice of GoSL? Are either of those factors smaller or larger than the ethical travesty and moral outrageousness of what we have signed up to?” Another similar trashcan declaims: “For today, the vital question is which political and social forces in the country are on the side of Sri Lanka’s national interest? Are they ready to stand up?” These are examples of open calls inciting civil strife – what else to do in the face of “ethical travesty and moral outrage” by a despicable government bent on selling the nation into imperialist bondage? “Stand up”, overthrow it and bring back MR! The two commentators are frontline fall-guys of the WUDU djinn-band; loot and burn mobs will be unleashed by heavyweight MR-group politicos later, at the opportune moment.

I am in two minds about Ranil’s purposefulness. Many less charitable than I fear he is up to a game of cat-and-house with Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Or maybe he is an example of the Brutus syndrome. Allowing Mark Anthony to address the Roman throng after assassinating Caesar is history’s (or at least Shakespeare’s) supreme example of suicidal munificence. This “noblest Roman of them all” was a gentleman to his fingertips but a strategic idiot to the depths of his sainted soul. Anthony turned Rome around thanks to Brutus. The uncouth slime balls of the Paksa era may have another day of glory courtesy our respected PM and our dignified President, both of whom seem short of an essential political ingredient, the killer instinct. Poor observers of the Paksa siblings they have been! This is the context in which one needs to encourage Ranil to stand firm and, what is more important, ensure that he has the political forces backing him up to take on and defeat a racist assault. If the Prime Minister is prepared to stand and fight it will help enormously; but the people’s movement must stand firm irrespective.

The big picture

Stopping the mobs and subduing inciters is the superficial side; the real struggle is to nurture democratic and pluralist consciousness in the people. If the mobs are chased, but the hearts and minds of the masses are not transformed, it is only postponing the evil day. A massive educational thrust, using every available avenue (schools, media, eager religious entities) must be launched. The objectives should be to teach pluralism (Lanka is the home of many religions and races), an appreciation of devolution, and a commitment to punish wrong doers be they perverted child abusers, molesters of women and tourists, or war criminals on both sides, whether in uniform or not.

I am disappointed that neither government nor civil society have kicked-off a campaign to achieve these objectives. NGOs did some good work on a small scale in the past; the government has and is doing nothing. There are some 90 ministers sitting in cushioned comfort, warming their posteriors, enjoying their perks and doing bugger-all about this the most incandescent issue of the day. One would expect them to be in every nook and cranny of the island, visiting every hamlet and town, working their guts out to break the chains of narrow mindedness. They have no such intention, so the PM has to instruct his ministers to get off their idle backsides, go out into the field, mingle with the people and break the back of chauvinism. Yes, they have never undertaken such a task previously; if anything 90% of UNP and SLFP parliamentarians have spent their lives singing the opposite tune! So it’s going to be tough on them. Yes tough, but do it! Otherwise what are they doing as ministers? Slurping over their perks?

Bale bedeema is an unfortunate term; its auditory resonances are close to rata bedeema. A better term has to be invented to convey the essentials of the devolution concept such as redistributing power from the apex to the grass roots, strengthening regions instead of centre, endowing local people with more clout in running their affairs, and finally in the Lankan context, ensuring that national minorities have administrative authority and decision making power over their cultural, education and welfare related, and economic affairs. Public awareness has to be raised on all these matters. Chasing out racist mobs without completing this task is like taking aspirin without curing the root of the ailment. Civil society and government must together evolve a programme to educate the nation on pluralism, ethnic and religious tolerance, recognition of minority status and a bold commitment to stern justice. Many people may not understand and accept the UNHRC related processes that have been set in motion without this effort. It will be time and money well spent and there is not a moment to lose.

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Latest comments

  • 3
    8

    firs this Jordanian UN official must have said, whether he was credible, Impartial, full of integrity and established the confidence of Sri lankan people or the govt.

    Every knows knows both his country he himself is puppies of the USA and he did what the US wanted to do.

    • 7
      0

      Impunity reins with full vigour when Tamils are killed/abused/raped by the state armed forces/agents. It’s a very disgusting phenomenon, but it’s firmly entrenched in the mind-set of the vast majority of the Sinhala leaders, police and the armed forces. This is clearly illustrated by Ranil’s ‘assurance’ to the heads of armed forces that they would be ‘protected’ in war crime trials as reported by the Sunday Times. How can a head of state give such idiotic assurances to the alleged offenders of extremely serious criminal offences even before the trial commences. You can see that instead of educating at the village level what these leaders saying to the offenders.

      Before the Vanni crimes, did the GOSL punish a single culprit for Welikade massacre of over 75 Tamil prisoners, murder of 5 students in Trinco or massacre of 17 aid workers in Mutur? In ’87, SL navy burnt down ALL Tamil shops (ONLY the Tamil shops) in Trinco – did the GOSL punish a single person? Never!! With such a track record, how on earth the GOSL conduct a credible judicial process regarding the alleged war crimes. Ranil’s utterances say it all! It’s interesting to see how the international community is going to respond….???

  • 1
    2

    Why foreign judges lawyers have to involve.

    We know how Sri lankan lawyers. they do murders for money.

    International Jurists are a political organizations.

    Why Sri lanka can not tell them that they can only observe and not involve.

    I don’t trust even the Sri lankan lawyers because there is a group bought up by the west. for the west, simply it is cheap labour.

    Sri lanka has NGOs, Media organizations, politicians, lawyers all working for the west.

    • 3
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      Jim softy

      “Every knows knows both his country he himself is puppies of the USA and he did what the US wanted to do”

      “Why foreign judges lawyers have to involve. We know how Sri Lankan lawyers. they do murders for money. International Jurists are a political organizations. Why Sri lanka can not tell them that they can only observe and not involve. I don’t trust even the Sri lankan lawyers because there is a group bought up by the west. for the west, simply it is cheap labour. Sri Lanka has NGOs, Media organizations, politicians, lawyers all working for the west”

      So what you are suggesting to Sri Lankan Citizens? Live and sleep with the crimes of evils of the Sri Lankan society even if the puppy of the USA gives you a wake up call?

      • 0
        1

        So what you are suggesting to Sri Lankan Citizens? Live and sleep with the crimes of evils

        You Tamils were cheering and watching very happy, only thing asked was political solution while LTTE was killing and destroying from every directions.

        LTTE was treating Tamils like stray dogs. Evidence in the web. Even UNHCR acknowledged this time.

  • 5
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    One doubt arises in my mind. Does Ranil wants MR and his cohorts to keep going in order to keep the SLFP split? Unless the SLFP remains split, the chances of the UNP winning again may be rather remote!
    Sengodan. M

  • 2
    0

    David,
    You are on the ball.

    The government should start a mass education/information campaign to educate the public about the benefits pluralism, devolution,respecting human rights and need to punish perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity to avoid future problems like what we faced for the last 67 years.

    Mano Ganesan heads a ministry which has a title something like national dialogue,Former president CBK has a position something about national reconciliation, even better PM or Presidents office initiates a program in the interest of peace and reconciliation.

    Funding can be sought from UNHCR and various well wishing nations around the world.

    (SL has gone with begging bowls for wheat etc.so no shame in begging again for a better cause).

    Campaign must be run professionally by involving a team of psychologist,Sociologist and media personal among other such as educationist,constitutional experts etc.
    It should available on all electronic and print media including cinema houses and radio and TV.

    Hope SL has caught up with 21 ST Century.Changing mindsets and perceptions with persistent, good advertising campaign,like what Singapore did in the 70-80-90 about cleanliness courtesy etc, will re engineer the society.

    This is the need of the hour.

  • 2
    4

    There are 80,000 Tamil war widows. 160,000 Tamil orphans and 140,000 Tamils without homes and any income.

    I would have thought dealing with this is where the priority lies. Strangely with this fella the focus seems elsewhere.

    The underlying objective of this exercise seems to be “guarantee of recurrence”. Then I suggest talk to India first. They are responsible for cross-border terrorism that created the situation.

    • 0
      1

      Tamil politicians in Tamilnadu, Tamil politicians in Sri lanka, high flying Tamil gypsies all over the world are for they themselves.

      Even after the war, openly they said, for a political solution,they would forget every thing.

  • 0
    4

    [Edited out] leader Mr Prabakaran’s famous quip about our great majority is a Ripper…

    He said “Sinhala Buddhists have only a 7 day Memory span”.

    Prince Zeid has been extremely generous to set the starting date to 2002 for his Hybrid Investigation of Sinhala Buddhists for War Crimes on Tamil Terrorists..

    Here are some of the sweetners which Batalanada Ranil offered the Tamil Terrorists ..

    * Total control of the North and the East.

    * All powers to collect income, value added and any other taxes from the inhabitants in all 8 Districts.

    * Total control over Marine life and fossil resources in the Seas along the coast from Kalpitiya to Yala coming past Settu Samudran. .

    * Borrow money from the Diaspora and the Vellalas.I mean both local and overseas financiers.

    After the Hybrid Silks on the Bench, as well as Hybrid Big Wigs in the front find out this generosity of the last UNP Regime, Batalanda Ranil will be declared as a Lily White Leader who could have saved our motherland 13 years ago.

    Wonder what they may say about Batalanda’s current mate and gofer, Sirisena whom I believe was sitting in the Defence Minister’s chair when the brave Soldiers were belting the crap out of Mr Prabakaran and his Tamil Terrorist brigades.

    Will they discuss these details in parliament before Batalanda Ranil fulfils Dr Kumar’s and his mates wishes and give full clout to his Hybrid Big Wigs to find the Sinhala Buddhist Armed forces carrying out horrible War crimes while eliminating Tamil Terrorists.

    They may even give an A Plus for Batalanda Ranil’s ISGA as the lost golden opportunity to prevent the loss of life and property from 2002 to up to Nanthikdal.

    And this Resolution sponsors lead by the US may even recommend Batalanda Ranil for a Noble Prize.

    • 2
      0

      Jim softy

      “Every knows knows both his country he himself is puppies of the USA and he did what the US wanted to do”

      “Why foreign judges lawyers have to involve. We know how Sri Lankan lawyers. they do murders for money. International Jurists are a political organizations. Why Sri lanka can not tell them that they can only observe and not involve. I don’t trust even the Sri lankan lawyers because there is a group bought up by the west. for the west, simply it is cheap labour. Sri Lanka has NGOs, Media organizations, politicians, lawyers all working for the west”

      So what you are suggesting to Sri Lankan Citizens? Live and sleep with the crimes of evils of the Sri Lankan society even if the puppy of the USA gives you a wake up call?

    • 4
      0

      K.A Sumanasekera
      There are some sweetened tit-bits that sweetens memory of yours!
      RGOSL refers to Responsible government of Sri Lanka
      1. Failing to arrest Veluppilai Prabaharan and his accomplices when they were having dinner of hoppers at Amirthalingam’s house, immediately or later following gunning down Alfred Duraippah, at Ponnalai.
      2. Failing to apply a return ambush at Kadju Farm Murungan Mannar Road when Veluppilai Prabaharan and his accomplices ambushed a radio-car with few CID officers at the same farm, despite of its close proximity to Thalldi Army Camp, Mannar one of the biggest then existed.
      3. Bringing an abrupt halt to the Vadamarachchy Operation Liberation in May 1987, when General Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Brig. Wimalasundra’s battalion have managed to isolate the civilians from rest of the fighting groups including Veluppilai Prabaharan and LTTE, and thus for failing to arrest or shoot down the most wanted people of the law by then and failing to avoid catastrophe in succeeding years by that abrupt halt of Operation Liberation
      4. Failing to uphold the Sovereignty of Democratic Socialistic Republic of Sri Lanka, which is uttermost responsibility of a Responsible Government at the most required time, by halting the Operation Liberation at a crucial juncture at the behest of India another Sovereign Independent Nation (Could have finished the job swiftly said in above 3. and then sign the agreement)
      5. By the action said in above 4 the Responsible Government of Sri Lanka (here in after referred to as RGOSL) wasted an opportunity to tear the Indian Super Power attitude and its’ face mask for the betterment Regional Independent Nations’ Sovereignty; worst of all RGOSL allowed Veluppilai Prabaharan to be carried off to Delhi by an Indian Helicopter from the shores of Sri Lanka, then to return by same means instead of to Colombo on both occasions – with ulterior motives unveiled later as a war.
      6. By the actions above said 3 and 4 of RGOSL, the siege by the LTTE as well as by other groups over the entire population lived in the North and East of Sri Lanka and over the defense installations there in were allowed to recommence swiftly, though unfortunately for entire Sri Lanka population

      Ultimately Dinzil Kobbekaduwa was killed with the connivance of another Sinhalaese! Why? Ask the National Security Council for the rest

      • 0
        1

        Vetty,

        Statements of the obvious .. Aren’t they?

  • 2
    2

    KD says “Tamils, many Sinhalese, UNHRC members (except rights abusers Russia, China and Cuba) and of course this correspondent, hold that Lanka’s judicial and prosecutorial systems are abysmal”

    The Tamil Marxist is at it again, speaking on behalf of many Sinhalese & Tamils !!. But KD probably has more insight on the corruption of SL’s judicial system given his family connections.

  • 1
    1

    It’s a sad fact if the judicial system under Yahapalanaya is still corrupt. This was not what was promised, to continue the judicial climate of the past government. So the excuse now is nothing can be done, we need foreign involvement. To judge us fairly. It is ironic that countries with the worst human rights records are now proceeding to advise us, will we end up in a greater mess than before.

    “Lanka’s judicial and prosecutorial systems are abysmal; it is irrational to expect them to handle grave war-crimes allegations against the military or the last regime. The system is too far compromised, deplorably unreliable and cannot be trusted. “

  • 4
    0

    Kumar David,
    I agree with your prediction.. Even with only a Domestic process your prediction will happen. Your recommendation for the various actors to effect propaganda will not get off the ground and even if they did will count for nothing.

    When the first draft by the USA and others came out I informed HC Zeid and US Ambassadors the consequence. It is in substance the same as what you have written more eloquently and a style unique to you.

    I am afraid I don’t share your optimism of the PM on convincing the South not to protest the Process and prevent the unleashing another 1983.

  • 0
    1

    Bernard Shaw would have called this crucial clause in the UNHRC resolution as Tweedledum and Tweedledee.
    The Lumpens will say Bombay looking Chicago going!

  • 4
    0

    One great attribute of Prof:Kumar David,from the Efac days,is his intellectual optimism.I used to often wonder whether it is this optimism that charges his Battery.
    I too find it difficult,like n.ethir,to share this optmism.
    Frankly,it would be easier for the PM [Ranil] to win the next Wimbledon Championship-Summer 2016 rather than convincing the South!

    • 2
      0

      Ditto here, I too will vote with N. Ether and yourself in saying the same because there is no evidence that anything tangible is being done to deal with the oft repeated mantra about racist discrimination without first dealing with it’s root causes.The recent 19th Amendment falls miles short in ensuring that.

  • 0
    2

    My advice to the Southerners: You are going to be raped and there is no way you can escape from it. You might as well lie down and enjoy it.

  • 1
    0

    ”PM has to instruct his ministers to….”??????

    He doesn’t want them to:
    He told trade uniosts on 1 October: ”Sri Lanka would officially request the European Union to restore the GSP plus Status today as the human rights issue, which the country had been facing for the past few years had come to an end, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said today. ……………”

  • 3
    0

    Definitely MR and the gang of four at any cost will create either a July 1983 scenario or a 1958 Kelaniya – Kandy March and aborting the BC pact scenario followed by riots. Also poor SWRD becoming a victim scenario.

  • 0
    0

    Tamil extremist in Tamil Nadu of so-called Frontlines and adventurist turn Trotskyist of theologies are bargain with Right -Orthodox forces of UNP-RW to be partition of an island for five province.
    Namely Federal state granted by SWRD of SLFP Banadarakeyas- Tamil decant of sixth generation Tamil blood group.

    SWRD had no any people mandate given to him granted Federal state for FP -SJV.
    SWRD was taken lopsided that decision by Influence his own Tamil blood relativities.

    This barging cheap for peace for land for Tamil Eealm is lobby by
    so-called Tamil thinking tank back by Indian -RAW and US-CIA.
    The Country partition and split is priority of David’s school of thought new political agenda!

  • 0
    0

    Ha!Ha!

    D.Nimal is on the saddle.Its a saddle point where dabba squared y upon dabba squared x equals 0.
    I have of-course identified D.Nimal.He is very proficient in English but pretends otherwise,to camouflage identity!

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