25 September, 2020

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Tiger, Still Burning Bright?

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“For the enemy to be recognised and feared, he has to be in your home or on your doorstep.” – Umberto Eco (The Prague Cemetery)

The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, an alleged ‘secret-plan’ by Jewish leaders for world domination, took the occident by storm in the early 20th Century. Even after it was exposed as a forgery perpetrated by the Tsarist secret police (a sham culled from two works of literature – a French satire and a German novel), it continued to excite the fanatical imagination of anti-Semitics and became a major influence on Adolf Hitler. [i]

gota-and-mahindaAn ‘us vs. them’ metanarrative is dependent on an enemy who is ubiquitous, both geographically and temporally, who never ceases to live, lurk and loom, who can be summoned across any barrier, whenever its exculpatory or terrifying presence is needed.

That is why, even if the Tiger is forgotten by every Tamil, he will live forevermore in Rajapaksa propaganda.

When asked why the regime failed in its lobbying campaign in America, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga did not blame the Rajapaksa kith and kin festering the Lankan Embassy in Washington – understandably; nor did he mention Colombo’s inane decision to hire an unrated, miniscule and extremely expensive lobbying firm headed by a political-has-been from the Reagan-era. He laid the blame squarely on the Tiger, the same Tiger his political masters annihilated almost five years ago. “I must say that the LTTE has hired a lobbying company which is one of the strongest groups and is already in the White House. Its head is one of the closest associates of President Obama, so they are well placed. And the Sri Lankan government has not been able to reach that level.”[ii]

So almost five years after the entire LTTE leadership was killed/captured the Tiger is thriving.

The Tiger is the Exhibit No. 1 in the Rajapaksa political gallery. The Siblings base their claim to eternal rulership and unconditional impunity on the argument that they liberated the country from the Tiger. According to this logic, Lankans must willingly agree to a lifetime of Rajapaksa rule, as payment for the debt-of-gratitude they owe to their liberators. (No such gratitude is owed to the war-winning army commander who became a national enemy when he opted to oppose the Rajapaksas).

And whenever the Siblings are in need, the vanquished and annihilated Tiger is presented as a real living threat with undiminished destructive strength and wrecking capacity.

So in the Rajapaksa metanarrative, the Tiger is the defeated-enemy and the omnipresent bogeyman, the evil which was wiped-out and the threat which never dies. Thus Lalith Weeratunga can indicate that the defeated Tiger has more resources and more capacities than the victorious Miracle of Asia and can afford to hire the best of the lobbyists while Colombo is reduced to scraping the bottom of the barrel: “The LTTE has taken the Podesta Group… They have John Podesta who is almost an advisor to President Obama…”[iii]

Are we to believe that the Rajapaksa regime failed to be heard in Washington because Sri Lanka, which spends the largest chunk of its budget on defence, has less financial resources than the organisationally non-existent LTTE? Are we to accept that this monumental failure has nothing to do with the total incompetence of the Lankan embassy in Washington, which has become a haven for political appointees? Do the Rajapaksas and their glib Laundrymen think that Sinhalese are stupid enough to gulp the ludicrous claim that various pro-Tiger Diaspora entities have more resources and capacities than the Lankan state?

Are they right? Are we that gullible?

The Podesta Group was certainly not hired by the LTTE (which, apart from being organisationally non-existent, is banned in the US) or even the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam but by the Tamil American Peace Initiative[iv]. The Tamil American Peace Initiative paid the Podesta Group US$ 90,000 in 2010[v], US$ 80,000 in 2011[vi] and US$ 90,000 in 2013[vii]. Thus the Tamil American Peace Initiative spent US$ 260,000 for three years to retain the ‘well-placed’ Podesta Group, which according to Mr. Weeratunga, is headed by a man who ‘has the ear of the administration’.

In 2013 Sri Lanka signed a contract agreeing to pay US$ 792,000 for just one year to Thompson Advisory Group (TAG), which is headed by Robert Thompson who may (or may not) have had the ear of President Ronald Reagan (diseased) and President George Bush senior (retired), on the recommendation of Mr. Thompson’s Lankan-born chauffer! Also in 2013, Presidential-kinsman Ambassador Jalyiya Wickremesuriya hired the Majority Group[viii], for US$ 50,000 a month (US$ 600,000 per annum).

That is a grand total of US$ 1.39million, for one year, for two lobbying groups which pale into insignificance besides the ‘well-placed’ Podesta Group.

And to retain that super-influential Podesta Group for three whole years, a non-famous small Tamil group paid just US$ 260,000 (less than US$ 87,000 per year).

Was Colombo’s failure to ‘reach that level’ due to lack of resources or lack of brains – and a superabundance of nepotism and chicanery?

Politico-Developmental Failures

The Washington debacle is a microcosm of the larger Lankan debacle. The truth is that the Rajapaksas have used the post-war years not to lay the foundation for a Lankan future based on national reconciliation and a consensual peace but to destroy democracy from within and set up a familial state. The current problems the Siblings face in the international arena are primarily sourced in his essential nature of Rajapaksa project.

The Rajapaksas do not want to share power even with fellow Sinhala-Buddhists. They have spent the post-war years undermining the provincial councils and evading a more comprehensive political solution. Since they do not believe in the existence of an ethnic problem, and because they do not want to permit the existence/creation of any alternate power-centres (including the judiciary), they have opted for a militarised and a majoritarian peace (peace as the continuation of war by other means).

This political nihilism could have been mitigated had the regime prioritised the livelihood, health and education needs of Tamils. The gross neglect of human and community needs in the war-torn areas has led to the creation of dangerous socio-economic trends. The latest case in point is the high rate of school dropouts in the North and the East due to financial and economic reasons: “Most of the dropouts are from poor families who find it difficult to make ends meet as humanitarian assistance dries up…. This situation is being aggravated by an acute lack of job opportunities and a rising cost of living.”[ix] If the regime does not address this issue fast, it will find itself facing problems on another international front. The ILO has already expressed concern about the proliferation of child labour in the North and the East and the appalling working conditions these children face, including very low pay[x].

Currently the most potent challenge faced by the Rajapaksas is a result of their reductio ad absurdum approach to the ethnic problem and the anti-democratic nature of their dynastic-project. The Theatre de bouffonnerie that is Rajapaksa-diplomacy is no help, but even the most effective lobbying firm cannot turn non-reality into reality.


[i] The Protocols first appeared in an abbreviated form in 1903 in the Russian paper Znamia (The Banner). In the US, Henry Ford published and distributed 50,000 copies in 1920, after anti-Communist Russian émigrés presented copies of the Protocol to American politicians, judiciary and intelligence community. In 1921, Philips Graves, a reporter for the Times discovered that the Protocols was a fraudulent document largely culled from a political satire by Maurice Joly and an anti-Semitic novel by Hermann Goedsche.

[ii] Lanka’s fate hangs on tough lobbying on US: Lalith – Daily Mirror – 14.2.2014; emphasis mine

[iii] Small countries at the mercy of lobbying groups – The Sunday Times – 16.2.2014; emphasis mine

[ix] http://colombogazette.com/2014/02/11/high-number-of-school-dropouts/

[x] http://colombogazette.com/2014/02/11/high-number-of-school-dropouts/

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Latest comments

  • 3
    1

    Tisaranee:

    Without wishing to take anything away from your excellent Article there is one important piece of evidence your Investigative work has missed.

    One of Obamas Legal Advisors is a Tamil from the same village as Prabakaran and he has more influence than the Lobbyists used by the Diaspora which explains why we have been able reach the inner sanctum of the US administration.

    1) All the theories about the video footage being fake is beggars belief and Mahintha knows the evidence against him is overwhelming.
    All the evidence that is in the public domain has been verified by Experts of ICC and proven to be authentic.

    2) There is further bombshell for waiting to hit MR as Channel 4 are about to air evidence in which up to 150 injured female fighters were taken in lorries raped and killed in cold blood.

    “That is why, even if the Tiger is forgotten by every Tamil, he will live forevermore in Rajapaksa propaganda”
    But this piece of evidence is much more potent than Rajapakse propaganda. The soldiers who provided all this terrible Crime Committed under orders by MR & Gotha are under the protection of the Western Intelligence and are ready to testify and MR will be facing them from the Dock at the HAGUE.

    3) When asked why the regime failed in its lobbying campaign in America, Presidential Secretary Lalith Weeratunga did not blame the Rajapaksa kith and kin festering the Lankan Embassy in Washington – understandably; nor did he mention Colombo’s inane decision to hire an unrated, miniscule and extremely expensive lobbying firm headed by a political-has-been from the Reagan-era. He laid the blame squarely on the Tiger, the same Tiger his political masters annihilated almost five years ago. “I must say that the LTTE has hired a lobbying company which is one of the strongest groups and is already in the White House. Its head is one of the closest associates of President Obama, so they are well placed. And the Sri Lankan government has not been able to reach that level.

    *** I have already touched on this in No 1.

    So almost five years after the entire LTTE leadership was killed/captured the Tiger is thriving.

    4) And whenever the Siblings are in need, the vanquished and annihilated Tiger is presented as a real living threat with undiminished destructive strength and wrecking capacity.

    *** The fallen King Mahinthas subjects might be prepared to buy the above but the World is not prepared to buy any more except a few like Mugabe and the Mullahs of Iran.

    5) Are we to believe that the Rajapaksa regime failed to be heard in Washington because Sri Lanka, which spends the largest chunk of its budget on defence, has less financial resources than the organisationally non-existent LTTE? Are we to accept that this monumental failure has nothing to do with the total incompetence of the Lankan embassy in Washington, which has become a haven for political appointees? Do the Rajapaksas and their glib Laundrymen think that Sinhalese are stupid enough to gulp the ludicrous claim that various pro-Tiger Diaspora entities have more resources and capacities than the Lankan state?

    **** I agree with bits of the above and disagree with others but the failure by Weeratunga to win his argument was the result of him saying that any attempt to initiate a War Crimes Inquiry will have terrible consequences at home meaning there will more race riots. He further alienated India by asking for the atrocities committed by the IPKF to be investigated.

    6) The Washington debacle is a microcosm of the larger Lankan debacle. The truth is that the Rajapaksas have used the post-war years not to lay the foundation for a Lankan future based on national reconciliation and a consensual peace but to destroy democracy from within and set up a familial state. The current problems the Siblings face in the international arena are primarily sourced in his essential nature of Rajapaksa project.

    Rajapakse Project:

    *** The Rajapakses set aside £100 million of Nations money to bribe their way through to hide their Crimes but it has come cropper and they are about to face their day of reckoning.

    *** The Rajapaksas feel that they are born to rule but the Kingdom has Crumbled

    Currently the most potent challenge faced by the Rajapaksas is a result of their reductio ad absurdum approach to the ethnic problem and the anti-democratic nature of their dynastic-project. The Theatre de bouffonnerie that is Rajapaksa-diplomacy is no help, but even the most effective lobbying firm cannot turn non-reality into reality.

    *** The Rajapaksas came to power promising to ethnically cleanse Sri Lanka and have pawned the last silver to the Chinese and have plunged the Nation to both Moral and Financial Bankruptcy which is the fault of those who elected them and elevated them to power.

  • 1
    1

    “Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) Awarded $53,000 in Successful Defamation Lawsuit Against Rohan Gunaratna

    Prior to the final military onslaught of May 2009 in Northern Sri Lanka which resulted, according to UN estimates, in the massacre of 40,000 to 70,000 Tamils, the Government of Sri Lanka set out to brand all Tamils and Tamil diaspora groups, and anyone who disagreed with or spoke out against them, as terrorists. In an effort to gain the support of Western governments and its citizens, the Sri Lankan government undertook this ploy using its widespread power—through its various embassies and consulate officials, lobby firms, sympathizers and other agents. This smear campaign by the government and its sympathizers had a profoundly adverse effect on many Tamils and continues to do so today.

    One such smear was made by Sri Lankan born academic and “terrorism expert” Rohan Gunaratna, head of the International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. In a February 2011 article published by Lakbima News titled “Gunaratna says only 1400 people died in final war, warns Canada is emerging as a LTTE hub,” Gunaratna was quoted as saying, “the LTTE is operating under the name of the Canadian Tamil Congress, which is the main LTTE front organization in Canada.” Gunaratna went onto state, “the Canadian government is aware of this and currently investigating.”

    Upon becoming aware of these patently false remarks, and amidst negative media attention, Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) commenced legal action against Rohan Gunaratna for defamation. On January 21, 2014, after the case found its way through Canada’s justice system, Justice Stephen E. Firestone of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled in CTC’s favour, awarding $37,000 in general damages and $16,000 in costs against Gunaratna.

    In his written reasons, Justice Firestone stated, among other things, “the statements were clearly defamatory, either directly or by innuendo, because they imply CTC is involved in the commission of violent and illegal activity.” He further stated, “it is unequivocal and uncontroverted that these statements were, in fact, false and untrue”.

    David Poopalapillai, National Spokesperson for CTC, applauded the court decision. “The Court’s decision is a vindication to CTC and its members and supporters. The surest way to attempt to destroy an ethnic group is to make its members afraid to even admit that they are part of that group for fear of being labelled terrorist sympathizers or terrorists themselves,” Poopalapillai continued. “The Sri Lankan government and its sympathizers have labelled all Tamils as terrorists for far too long—this judgment is a victory not only for CTC but for Tamils everywhere.”

    Daniel Iny of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP, legal counsel for CTC in the trial against Gunaratna, stated, “For a not-for-profit organization like CTC, its reputation is its lifeblood and its currency. The Court’s decision was an affirmation for CTC and its supporters in its recognition that Gunaratna’s words were plainly defamatory of CTC.”

    With the UN Human Rights Council convening in just under two weeks, the human rights situation in Sri Lanka has again become the focus of increased international attention. The Sri Lankan Government has in response accelerated its propaganda campaign against Tamils in an effort to steer attention away from mounting evidence of war crimes and crimes against humanity. At this critical juncture, CTC remains committed to ensuring that the image of Tamils will no longer be tarnished by the Sri Lankan government and its sympathizers.

    VIDEO:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53_cgHvq77c
    http://www.canadiantamilcongress.ca/article.php?lan=eng&cat=pr&id=123

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