15 December, 2017

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They Are All The B….y Same!

By Emil van der Poorten –

Emil van der Poorten

Particularly with the visit of Navi Pillay which might well have occurred before this sees print (or the web equivalent), it seems like every columnist and his or her aunt and uncle have brought out their crystal balls or miniature wishing wells for that momentous occasion.

Suffice it to say that it isn’t that important that this submission sees the light of day while that discussion resides in the “matter of burning interest” category.  In response to the obvious question of, “Why so?” let me say that, given past history, the visit is not going to mean a great deal in the larger scheme of things and may end up being yet another (boring) chapter in any effort to introduce even a smidgen of decency into the conduct of Sri Lanka’s affairs.  You will note that I have not so much as made reference to matters of accountability, democratic practice etc. etc.  The reason for that is very simple, we appear to have passed that “best before” date on those issues and it will take more than a Herculean effort to inject some freshness into them at short notice.

This is no reflection on the Louise Arbours and Navi Pillays of this world (and the UN agencies that they represent or represented, as the case may be).  Both of these giants of modern human rights practice did more than most men and women, put together, have done in recent times in that field but there is a limit to what even human genius can achieve in the face of a “do-nothing” set of international powers.

China and Russia, for the very simple reason that they do not want anything resembling human rights established on the world’s stage because they are against that very concept, will torpedo every effort by the Pillays and Arbours of this world.  The hypocritical brigade led by the Brits, the Yanks, the French and Germans will continue their leadership role in what I have previously described as the “Tut-tut brigades,” strutting the world stage while uttering inane platitudes. There is some hope from among the economic second tier of democracies, but nothing to write home about!

As for our neighbouring behemoth, India, it has displayed a singularly unprincipled and unethical pattern of conduct being driven purely and simply by what it sees as political opportunities on its (Federal) scene which are in turn driven themselves by the two major parties of Karunanidhi and Jeyalalithaa in Tamil Nadu who jump up and down whenever sentiment in their state seems to suggest that some political gains are to be made by supporting their Tamil cousins across the Palk Strait.

It seems that it is only some of the non-governmental organizations – much reviled by the Fascist rump that claims to represent “the interests” of Sri Lanka while bludgeoning journalists and “non-believers” left, right and centre – will valiantly strive to keep the flame of decency burning in this benighted nation.

If that sounds (again!) like an apocalyptic vision of the Pearl of the Orient, A Land Like No Other, The Miracle of Asia (take your pick), I make no apology.  Facts need to be stated and reality faced.

Pillay’s visit given her credentials and track record cannot be reassuring to those who shoot unarmed young people down in cold blood for the crime of being in the vicinity of a demonstration in support of safe drinking water.  However, to expect that it is going to seize the high ground of morality and force a government that has displayed nothing less than consistent contempt for the rule of law to change course would be more than a little optimistic.

All that said, events like Pillay’s visit are “the only game in town” and it is up to everyone who wants civilization to return to this land to do whatever they can to reinforce the message to Ms. Pillay that something is particularly rotten in this particular State of Denmark and that we desperately need the good offices of those from outside Sri Lanka because any effort at reform from within this country is doomed from the get-go as experience has shown, time and time again.

The recent attack on Columnist of the Year Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema was an obvious warning  – “a shot across the bows” – for anyone so much as contemplating criticism of the Rajapaksa regime even in a newspaper owned by one of their minions.  The fact that the lady is alive as I write this owes everything to good luck, not bad planning on the part of those who terrorized her, her parents and ten-year old child, and I have it on the best authority that the “official” story is a more than a little economical in the matter of truth.   It continues to describe the event as a common-or-garden burglary.  Period.  In the circumstances, I suppose the fact that a dead cat was laid on the Abeywickrema doorstep shortly before the event and the family car tires slashed have to be assumed to be (an innovative) part of the modus operandi of the current crop of “ordinary” Colombo burglars!  Not to mention the dialogue among the two groups that formed the “raiding party” and their explanation to Mandana of why they were there.

The seeming amateurishness of the attack against her should in no way dilute the seriousness of what was attempted.  That amateurishness is reflective of an impunity and arrogance that has grown and says very clearly, “We don’t have the time to spend on slick planning.  When there’s a job to do, we’ll do it in the manner most convenient to us.  If there are a few casualties along the way, too bad.”  As for silencing any potential ‘squealers’ among those captured, the manner in which they can be dealt with has already been more than adequately demonstrated both in and out of remand facilities in this country for a considerable time now.

While the preceding paragraphs certainly paint a picture of doom and gloom, it is not intended to provide an “out” for anyone of conscience.  Those who fit that description still living in this country must do whatever they can, in whatever way possible, to show resistance to the juggernaut of violence and subjugation.  Much bigger and more sophisticated machines of repression have been pushed off what seemed at the time their inexorable track to crushing whole populations.  There is no reason for Sri Lanka with a history of representative democracy going back well into the last century to be any different.

As Sri Lankans, as humans of decency who believe in law and order and the application of the principles of justice in our lives and those of our fellow citizens we owe that, not only to the generations to come but to OURSELVES.  Without that demonstration of decency we have no right to call ourselves human beings.  The fact that “They are all the b….y same” doesn’t make it any less essential that we continue to fight the good fight for decency in this country.

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Latest comments

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    Which human rights does Mr Poorten lack, when compared with Sumanes and Sumanas who are squatters in Govt land adjoing his Ecolodge?

    And how many Sumanes and Sumnas are there in this Island?

    Isn’t the main game of the NGOs to use these Sumanes and Sumanas to achive their paymasters political ambitions and desires?

    Wouldn’t a house even in Wilpattu precinct and a littlle Nano to take the kiddies to school be the ultimate Human Rights restoration for these Millions of Sumanes and Sumaas?.

    And also hundreds of thousands of their fellow Tamil and Muslim brethren.

    Or would you rather have human rights for

    The NGOs to run around in “Weliveriyas”during the day and drink in their little Tourist pads in the Night with a little exciting entertainment as well?.

    And your Journo mates to write what ever they want and which ever they wish, regardless of repurcussions that their takes can have on security, safety , and religious and communal harmony?.

    For your Western Buddies’friendly local Politikkas to organise Hartals?,

    BTW ,

    Did yoy seek an audience too, to impress the Commissioner how bad you have been treated by the Govts over the last 30 years.?.

    • 0
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      Sumanaspeakara, the forensics found on your pathology of schizophrenia is of no doubt in the acute phase.

  • 0
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    K.A Sumanasekera:
    Let me say that your piffle is just that. However, it is useful to draw attention to what you and your tribe have to say because it is indicative of what amounts to the current “civilization” in a country that has known better days!

    • 0
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      Emil sir;

      Please Give way to this K A Sumanawathy to earn the daily bread.
      They have given him a job to do,
      so KAS must do that to make them happy.

      otherwise he is in big trouble.

      Let him Attain NIBBANA TOO.

      there are some with pseudo doing the same, washing of dirty linen of Jarapassas for a fee.

  • 0
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    NP came saw and went. Now the mice have come out of their holes and are decrying here efforts to get to the truth. The humanitarian war without witnesses left thousands of victims who are still suffering. The peace dividend has been shared amongst the family and their cronies just as the Tsunami dividend was diverted to a private account.

    The fight goes on to stifle the media. The other bastians of democracy, the judiciary, the legislature have already fallen before the onslaught of the dictator.

  • 0
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    The juggernaut of violence and subjugation has still some distance to run before all the people come around to thinking of alternatives. MR delivered on an election promise and now he has vowed to keep the peace and to keep the country from division. He has only to remind people of the great victory that he brought about and to keep warning them of the ever lurking dangers that will take them back to those dark times. There is no politician in sight who can take that mantle away from him.
    It is becoming clear, day by day, that the so called super powers and the institutions that they influence are increasingly hamstrung and ineffective in the face of persistent and flagrant disregard for accepted norms. The GOSL treats well documented and proven transgressions with off-handed denial and derision. High officials of international bodies that we have signed up to are crudely insulted by ministers of state. Crassness is fast becoming the norm to some of our civil servants and diplomats.
    There are indeed large numbers of Sri Lankans who sign up to those universal truths that underpin a just society. However, a much larger number remain afflicted with an apathy borne of ignorance and pig headed adherence to tribal/religious loyalties and the challenge will be to turn this lot round. A long and uphill task I fear.
    But, I agree, we must persist with the job in hand.

  • 0
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    Emil,

    I did not realise that you take so much time and effort to contribute
    to the debate but in the process seem to have lost your sense of timing implied by the following ” Particularly with the visit of Navi Pillay which might well have occurred before this sees print (or the web equivalent)”

    You will note that I have not so much as made reference to matters of accountability, democratic practice etc. etc. The reason for that is very simple, we appear to have passed that “best before” date on those issues and it will take more than a Herculean effort to inject some freshness into them at short notice.

    No I beg to disagree with you on the above and the following bears testimony to that.
    Best before: This applies to something edible but in my view MRs regime is rotten and cannot be eaten except throw in the bin. Garbage only belongs in the bin.

    Democratic Practice is exclusively owned by the people and no one individual has a claim and it is up to the people of Sri Lanka to keep the hope alive. But you may have a point and knowing the nature and mentality of the majority their take on that might be different.

    Accountability in the Sri Lankan context has two dimensions . One is Local and the other one is in the International arena.
    As a minority I have no deciding vote in that field but in the International arena I am happy with the turn of events. It took 7 long years to bring Milosevic to justice and I am confident MR will have his day in Court.

    China and Russia, for the very simple reason that they do not want anything resembling human rights established on the world’s stage because they are against that very concept, will torpedo every effort by the Pillays and Arbours of this world. The hypocritical brigade led by the Brits, the Yanks, the French and Germans will continue their leadership role in what I have previously described as the “Tut-tut brigades,” strutting the world stage while uttering inane platitudes. There is some hope from among the economic second tier of democracies, but nothing to write home about!

    I am not as depressed as you are and I may be selfish and I take comfort from the fact that we Tamils have turned the corner and the future is bright.

    The Nation that holds the key in World affairs is America and I am sure you would have noticed that despite the Rhetoric Russia has now advised Syria to get rid of the Chemical Weapons if she wanted to avoid military strike by America.
    The reason why India decided put pressure on Sri Lanka to hold elections was because of the American pressure.
    If America choses she can go it alone because of the preponderance of Military Power.

    As for our neighbouring behemoth, India, it has displayed a singularly unprincipled and unethical pattern of conduct being driven purely and simply by what it sees as political opportunities on its (Federal) scene which are in turn driven themselves by the two major parties of Karunanidhi and Jeyalalithaa in Tamil Nadu who jump up and down whenever sentiment in their state seems to suggest that some political gains are to be made by supporting their Tamil cousins across the Palk Strait.

    I agree with your analysis of Karunanithi in that he is not interested in the Tamil plight. But I differ with your analysis of Jeyalalitha and I am certain she will deliver Justice Freedom and Equality to Tamils. If BJP win the election she will wield considerable influence and when I was in Tamil Nadu last year I could see she was being seen as CM to PM.
    The reason why India up to now chose to safeguard MR was for two reasons . 1) Didn’t want to be caught for being a partner in Crimes against Humanity in Sri Lanka 2) Every Minister who had any contact with MR was paid handsomely.

    I agree with you entirely that under MR Sri Lanka has descended into anarchy defying all norms of civilised standards.

    Much bigger and more sophisticated machines of repression have been pushed off what seemed at the time their inexorable track to crushing whole populations. There is no reason for Sri Lanka with a history of representative democracy going back well into the last century to be any different.

    I am not sure if I agree with you on the above as I don’t think that the change you are yearning for is going to come from within without oust side pressure.
    The vast majority of the Sri Lankans are inherently racist and they will always be grateful for MR for defeating the LTTE and any one who speaks the language of reconciliation will bite the dust.

    Without Demonstration of decency we have no right to call ourselves human beings and I am afraid I may have to agree with you reluctantly.

  • 0
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    Kali:
    Thank you for that thoughtful analysis.

    Given its substance, I will not attempt to deal with the points you have raised in this response. I would welcome any contact you are able to make with me by email so that we can continue this discussion.

    Suffice it to say for now though, that, even if we might differ on the means by which it is to be affected, I believe that this plague on what was once the Resplendent Isle, needs to be removed.

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