By Malinda Seneviratne –
A few weeks ago, the word from Delhi on US-sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka the UNHRC Sessions in Geneva was ‘yes’. Let us translate: ‘Yes, we will vote ‘yes’ on the resolution’. No surprises there because a) India voted ‘yes’ in 2012, and b) India is India (read ‘Not Sri Lanka’s friend) and c) this is an INDIAN Resolution, an INDIAN doosra although it is being delivered by the USA.
The latest though is that India is ‘undecided’. Now, in diplomatic circles, this indecision would be correctly read as evidence that the main protagonist is trying to extract the maximum juice from the Sri Lankan orange while not appearing to be anywhere near the fruit.
Delhi has a problem. It is called ‘Tamil Nadu’. No, it is not Tamil Nationalism, which has been safely offshored to Sri Lanka. It is about elections and related arithmetic. It’s a political reality that figured in the calculations of all Indian political leaders. So Delhi needs to ‘deliver’ something that’s at least halfway sweet to Jayalalithaa. On the other hand Delhi has to do this without appearing to be the bad guy that Delhi is because that might constitute the last brick in the Great Wall of China that India is building. So Geneva 2013 would ideally (for India) end with Sri Lanka agreeing to India’s ‘solution’ (plus some other benefits, just like the Indo-Lanka Accord was not just about sorting an ‘ethnic’ conflict) for the price of the resolution being ‘watered down’ or even withdrawn (by the USA, not India, of course!).
Sri Lanka’s main strength at this point is the fact that it is weak. In other words Sri Lanka is in ‘Nothing to Lose Land’. There’s no way that the Government can agree to India’s proposal (a re-hashing of the various Eelam proposals or Interim Eelam proposals) and still hope to retain popularity among all ethnic groups.
Equal rights by definition cannot exclude anyone. A 13A Plus, in the way India envisages, would concretize an Eelamist myth regarding traditional homelands. That would threaten the Sinhalese. That would exclude the Sinhalese. Equal rights can be obtained in other ways and should be obtained too. Sri Lanka doesn’t need India’s permission or India’s recommendations on such matters.
We must recollect at this point that those who ruled India (either as whole or in part) have always attacked the Sinhalese; one remembers the Chola invasions and the tyrannies of the likes of Raja Raja and Magha. Dr. Manmohan Singh is but a 21st Century avatar of these gentlemen.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa observed recently, ‘Sri Lanka is like a volley ball; everyone is taking turns at punching it to cover up their sins’. He did not elaborate, but here’s a list that ought to be read by whoever is negotiating defeat for Sri Lanka in Geneva:
We have the German SPD needing to cover up history of killing millions in the 20th Century. We have the USA, wanting us to forget the monumental crimes against humanity in all parts of the world as well as against the First Nations in America and African Americans. We have Britain’s genocidal conduct in colonies and subsequent crimes against humanity as partner-in-crime of the USA. We have India and the Kashmir they want the world not to talk about.
The bottom line though is that given the amount of bucks and weapons of mass destruction these countries possess and given Sri Lanka’s poverties in these respects, the ‘cover up’ will continue. But since Sri Lanka can only be expected to be goaded to sign agreements against Sri Lanka’s interest, each one more pernicious than the ones that came before, this is as opportune a moment as any to call India’s bluff.
Sri Lanka can take the following position:
‘Go ahead. Table the resolution. We’ll face the vote, we’ll face the music. All we can do is do our best and we have. We’ve done what you have not done, ever. Try rescuing 300,000 people held hostage by the Al Qaeda (or by the US Marines), trying feeding them 3 meals a day. Try thinking about releasing over 10,000 terrorists after rehabilitation. Stop. Don’t even try. You cannot. So let’s cut to the chase. Let’s take the vote. We want to see who are friends are. Ms. India, go ahead, vote. We want to know where you stand, so that we can decided in which direction we should move. Wait, did we hear someone mention China? Maybe we heard wrong. So, to get back to the point, vote. We have little to lose, but even in defeat we would like to see the face of the enemy, we would like to know the names of those who did us in. Simple.