By Malinda Seneviratne –
When Barack Obama was named winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize for Peace, I laughed. I likened the decision to offering a ‘Man of the Match’ before the toss of coin in a cricket match. When Liu Xiaobo was named as winner the following year I was amused. It was “for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China”. I was amused because no North American or European Union writer with ten times Xiaobo’s skill writing extensively on the horrendous crimes against humanity perpetrated by the governments on these continents would ever get a Nobel Prize.
This year they gave it to the European Union and I laughed and laughed and laughed. The EU is on the verge of bankruptcy and its global role has been reduced to one of raising hand to whatever the USA proposes and defending verbally or with silence when silence is a crime all manner of terrorist acts authored by Washington and executed by its potent massacre-squads. The EU is complicit in crimes against humanity and genocide in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, not to mention the orchestrated violence in Arab, which Washington spin doctors had the audacity to call ‘a spring’! Rev. Jesse Jackson said ‘Those who own the drones are guilty (of crimes against humanity)’; the cheering squads are guilty too. ‘Just another of those things,’ I told myself and duly forgot about it.
I had forgotten about the Nobel Prize until last week, when I received an invitation from Bernard Savage, Ambassador, Head of Delegation of the EU to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, no less. It was for a cocktail reception. And the occasion….(hold your breath now!)….’To celebrate the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize 2012 to the European Union’. No, I didn’t puke. I guffawed. Uncontrollably. ‘Just another of those things,’ I told myself and duly forgot about it.
They didn’t let me forget. Two days later I get a ‘gift pack’ from the same office; a card holder, a desk calendar, a t-shirt and a pen drive (see pics). I stopped laughing at this point.
Why on earth should I wear a t-shirt with an EU logo? I am not a citizen of an EU country and moreover people like me (brown skinned, born in Asia, Africa and Latin America) are not just discouraged from applying for citizenship but are obstructed, legally. The racism in Europe against non-white is matched only in North America. So this was not a come-hither, do-this, now-wear-the-t-shirt kind of invitation. It’s more like some nosey-parker coming here, doing ‘that’, getting the t-shirt and saving the story in a pen drive, except that the EU Mission in Colombo wants me to be brand ambassador of sorts.
The desk calendar had beautiful pictures, all drawn by a Sri Lankan child from Mawanella, all ‘signatured’ with the EU logo and ‘European Union’ in large font (English) and smaller fonts in Sinhala and Tamil. It’s not that the child or those depicted in the drawings have anything common with Europe or that they are on the same footing with children in that part of the world. The EU has graphically ‘owned’ these people and got an innocent Sri Lankan child to endorse the fact!
It is not one of those things. It is no laughing matter.
It didn’t end there. The EU Mission then sends me a greeting card. ‘Seasons Greetings,’ it said. What season, I wondered. Perhaps they believe this is the season for humiliation and plunder, the season for taking me for a fool and the season for getting me to inhabit their version of my reality.
I thought this was it. I thought wrong. On Thursday I get a ‘Media Pack’ from the EU about the Nobel Prize, replete with a ‘fact sheet’. It detailed ‘how the EU works’, the policies and activities of the EU, and how the EU ‘spreads peace and democracy’. It took the cake. A sunshine story if ever there was one! Nothing of its considerable track record in plunder and genocide, the unwashable blood of all the continents on its hands, the policy of supporting tyrants and endorsing genocidal action in the name of democracy, in the name of peace, and the rampant racism and Christian fundamentalism that defines these countries.
To cap it all, the ‘media pack’ had a beautifully done cover of a white boy and a Sri Lankan girl placing ‘EU stars’ on a Sri Lankan beach.
I had long since stopped laughing. It was tough not to puke.