By A True Son of Mother Lanka in London –
Many felt dejected and in despair of the disunity amongst their community. All were viewed as agents of the Colombo government. Keen and long standing activists were not spared by those suspicious minds. Confusion created near street fights, sometimes for real. Big Diaspora initiatives were threatened with legal action by their own. The Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) was split and near breaking point. Questions of misuse of funds and mistrust made fund raising a nightmare for many genuine projects. Television debates have become like soap-opera with personality clashes in public view. International Diaspora lobby organisations such as Global Tamil Forum (GTF) and others were running out of steam.
This was when President Mahinda Rajapaksa came for their rescue as a unifying force in December 2010. Let alone he ignored the wise advice given to him by former judge, Justice Jayasinghe who was not only the then Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in London but was also a friend for many years, the President announced of his arrival well in advance. External Affairs Ministry on advice from the Bell Pottinger, theUKbased lobbyist went public in a big way to announce the arrival of the President and portrayed the event at the Oxford Union as a historic one. The build up was unparalleled.
What actually transpired was a shameful diplomatic disaster that no Sri Lankan would want to be reminded of. This diplomatic blunder gave the Tamil Diaspora particularly in the UK the lifeline they desperately needed.
Groups came together, Tamil media got distracted, lobbying got revived, old contacts became alive, and unity in action was remarkable. With a united front they gave a good hiding to the President who was almost chased away in shame a day early fearing further embarrassment of an impending legal challenge against one of his security men alleging to be a war criminal.
Being chased away felt so bad that the President’s siblings and the entire cabinet came to the Colombo airport to receive and console him. The next Sunday Times in Colombo summed up well with a photograph of President’s arrival rushing in with a hand on his forehead.
The entire Tamil Diaspora around the world cheered in joy of a successful operation well executed. That perhaps was the turning point that has continued with many other vital successes for the Diaspora worldwide to date. Global Tamil Forum’s (GTF) successes are a classic example.
If this self inflicted grief was not enough, the Defence Secretary like clockwork opens his mouth to credible international media putting his foot in his mouth periodically.
What is this about the Rajapaksas who could have been revered as a family of saviours of uniting the land but will likely to go down in history as dividing the people.
When the Tamil Diaspora were gloating after the decisive blow they gave the Rajapaksa regime in Geneva in March 2012, President Rajapaksa hands them over yet another opportunity. This time he declares he is coming to be with the Royalty. If he had just stuck to the plan, may be the damage could have been limited. It’s not to be! He wants more. More of what one might ask. Although he might have wanted more of publicity, instead he got seriously negative publicity indeed!
Not being invited is one thing, but being invited and the entire session being cancelled because of you, must be a hard message to swallow.
Tamils took their old script, brushed away the dusts and implemented the same plan to precision. This time there was a ‘kick’ in their attitude. They knew what they were doing because of the trial run that was given to them courtesy of our President. The same old airport protest with LTTE flags and a lot of them this time, the legal action against accompanying staff, releasing of war crimes evidence, media exposure with disgruntled Channel 4 being the cheer leaders, demonstrations, protest marches, leaflets, emails, texts, twitters, face book links you name it.
Chased away yet again in shame! President Rajapaksa and his associates may shrug away counting the blessings as they see it but the price and the pride was paid buy us the real people of that beautiful island.
Little by little the Tamil Diaspora through their legal initiatives has blocked senior military personnel travelling to Europe or North America. Politicians who have been involved in the war are now scared to travel including the head of state.
When all other national leaders and representatives arrive with dignity and honour in their own vehicles with their national flags flying in with pride, our president has to be smuggled in an unidentified vehicle without our national flag for a formal lunch in an overseas country.
What has come to our country’s pride? Do we actually deserve this? For the mistakes of a few the entire nation pays a price.