20 June, 2024


(UN)Friendly Fire

By Dayan Jayatilleka –

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

An axiom of professional journalism is that comment is free but facts are sacred. Another is that a story must have balance, in that facts must be checked by getting in touch with all sides to the story, notably the main protagonists.

I fear that a Colombo newspaper has failed to observe either norm, in a story entitled ‘(Un) diplomatic spring cleaning’ in the column ‘People and Politics’ carried prominently on May 10th 2012 in its editorial page, under the by-line of (Ms) Darisha Bastians.

This reporter failed to reach out to me and get my side of the story as a matter of professional ethics and decency when writing a story in which I am prominently featured, but has instead engaged in blatant falsehood and falsification.

For purposes of record, I shall limit myself to correcting those blatant untruths, or to put it less diplomatically, lies.

The story says that “Typically true to form, President Rajapaksa’s meeting with Jayatilleke had been ‘cordial’ according to press reports and the Executive had gently advised his appointee to refrain from making statements about the Ministry publicly and to answer the Overseas Administration Division’s call for explanation as any other serving public official would be compelled to do.”

It is indeed true that my meeting – and luncheon—with President Rajapaksa was indeed ‘cordial’, as all my meetings with him have been for over a decade. However, the rest of the sentence which reads “and the Executive had gently advised his appointee to refrain from making statements about the Ministry publicly and to answer the Overseas Administration Division’s call for explanation as any other serving public official would be compelled to do”, is completely, totally and utterly without foundation in fact. It is, in short, a lie. You would appreciate that I cannot divulge the contents of my conversation with the President, at which the Hon Minister of External Affairs was present, but I can categorically say that His Excellency said nothing to the effect reported by your columnist. The subjects covered in our conversation were entirely different.

The story goes on to say that “Kunanayakam it is now public knowledge, reinforced by her own words during an interview with a weekly English newspaper last week, is a close associate of Jayatilleke and shares his political ideology – a healthy disregard for the “imperialist West” and admiration for socialist regimes in Cuba, Vietnam – and even Venezuela and North Korea…Jayatillake is the foremost voice raised in support of Sri Lanka opening a mission in Caracas, the capital of Venezuela. That intellectuals of the calibre of Jayatillake would view Hugo Chavez’s regime in Venezuela as something Sri Lanka must aspire to, fundamentally undermines everything Sri Lanka has stood for since it inherited a liberal democracy post 1948. That Kunanayakam and Jayatillake view the near-failed state of Cuba, being run for 53 years by two brothers with no iota of hope for the dawn of democracy in the near future, as the way forward for Sri Lanka”.

This is the second lie-and a compound one-pertaining to me in the article. I challenge  the columnist, or anyone else, to provide a single shred of evidence that I have ever (i) expressed admiration for North Korea (ii) advocated the opening of a Mission in Caracas ( which however I support, just as would the opening of a Sri Lankan Mission anywhere in the world) (iii) ‘view Hugo Chavez’ regime in Venezuela as something that Sri Lanka must aspire to’ (or indeed as any kind of model for Sri Lanka) or regard Cuba ( which I admire greatly) ‘as the way forward for Sri Lanka’ ( indeed I have argued the contrary in print, asserting that Sri Lanka does not have the option of adopting a Cuba-like stance).

The story says that “…Ambassadors like Jayatillake and to a lesser degree, Kunanayakam, are liabilities in Sri Lanka’s overseas diplomatic set up, whose voices raised on behalf of their personal political ideologies were jeopardizing Sri Lanka’s relationships with its traditional liberal democratic allies…. That intellectuals of the calibre of Jayatillake would view Hugo Chavez’s regime in Venezuela as something Sri Lanka must aspire to, fundamentally undermines everything Sri Lanka has stood for since it inherited a liberal democracy post 1948. While cultivating Latin America and socialist regimes elsewhere in the world is perfectly acceptable from a strategic perspective, such alliances cannot take place at the cost of our relationships with countries with which we share democratic values.”

This is richly ironic, not only because Sri Lanka’s relationship with a founding liberal democracy, France, has hardly been ‘jeopardised’ by my stewardship. The invitations for me to address colloquia in Paris and at the UNESCO on the theme of the New Humanism, including by prominent liberal democracies such as Spain; my prominent advocacy of the implementation of the LLRC recommendations and the 13th amendment; my recommendation of the Myanmar example of opening up as a response to external encirclement; my commitment to the values of pluralism and the causes of anti-discrimination, power sharing, devolution, provincial autonomy, anti-racism, the strengthening of domestic human rights mechanisms, accountability on issues such as the case of the Trinco-Five; Sri Lanka’s co-sponsorship  on my watch, of the US resolution declaring an International Day of Jazz defined as symbolising ‘free expression’; all indicate a far greater congruency of liberal democratic values between myself and Sri Lanka’s traditional liberal democratic allies, including the largest liberal democracy in the world, India, than between my critics within and outside the system and liberal democracy both in Sri Lanka and outside. I might add that some of these critics are hardly paragons of liberal democratic virtue, and unlike me who has always adhered to and advocated universal values and norms, are reluctant to endorse such universality of values.

Far from being an advocate of the ‘cultivating of  Latin America and socialist regimes elsewhere in the world…at the cost of our relationships with countries with which we share democratic values”, I have repeatedly advocated a policy of ‘tous azimuths’ meaning ‘all points of the compass’, and indeed have been a votary, at some risk to my present employment, of the policies and practice of liberal democracy, such as accelerated political dialogue for a sustainable peace, which would precisely strengthen “our relationships with countries with which we share democratic values”, including the largest of such countries in the world, our closest neighbour, India.

The story moves to its conclusion stating that “Jayatillake has been placed, rather officially, on notice.”  This too is utterly untrue, either ‘officially’ ‘or ‘unofficially’.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 0

    Reading the frequent writings of Mr Jayatilleka I have formed a distinct impression that he does admire Cuba and Russia and of Putin’s solution to the the problem in its ‘near abroad’. I believe Venezuela was included in the list but perhaps I am mistaken.

    Nevertheless Mr Jayatilleka’s fascination with strongmen such as Premadasa, is well known, which explains his admiration for the president.

    There is a term for people who favour the ideology of a powerful state led by powerful me: a fascist.

  • 0

    Dayan Jayatilleke, thanks for letting us know about(Ms) Darisha Bastians’s article!
    She seems to have got the spirit of the critique right even if she did not consult you. Dayan who is a a low-caliber, pseudo intellectual who thinks he is above the law has been has indulging in outdated grand standing using post-colonial leftist rhetoric along with his side kick Kunanayagam to indulge in bashing Euro-America du Nord and now is slowly trying to retract and backtrack since people with a more conciliatory approach seems to be gaining ground at the Foreign Ministry which is indeed good for Lanka at large! Tamara and Dayan wanted to complain against Navi Pillai who heads UNHRC, rather than trying to get the Rajapkse regime to implement the LRRC recommendations! What a joke they are. Both Dj and Tk should be sent packing, but perhaps the jokers at the Foreign Ministry who are taking over are just into PR and they will also get there marching orders soon!

  • 0

    Dayan jayathilake should spread is wisdom on his own account rather than wasting tax payers money living a lavish lifestyle.. He was trying to be ambassador to Geneva rather than doing his job in Paris

  • 0

    H. E. Dayan Jayatilleka

    Don’t waste your time with………,
    just ignore them or take them to courts!

    Good luck

  • 0

    Kapila, you have hit the nail right on its head!

  • 0

    Dear Dayan,

    Leave all the political ideologies..

    You betrayed your own conscience and justified the massacre of innocent tamil men, women and children in the UNHCR in 2009.

    Now you are trying to be an angel..

    What is the reason for this recent enlightenment..

    Didn’t you get any increments in your perks..

    Even Goebbels, the propaganda minister of Hitler was loyal to his master till his death…

    Then why you are stabbing Rajapakshe brothers on their back?????

  • 0

    Dayan’s fascination and emotional involvement in the implementation of 13th shows that he is only a light weight intellectual … He has a big big ego and his emotional side dictates everything regarding the 13th. 
    Implementation of 13th which is the unborn child of a rape done by our neighbour thug,  would not help the rump of LTTE and their friends in SL/tamilnadu/west/UN Mafia/INGOs to deviate a inch from their goal, EEELLLLAAAAAMMMMM.
    Sometimes I wonder how this revolutionary who admire Fidel goes shivering when mentioned  motherr India, the neighbor thug. Yes! Dayan, We should never go against the thug even if he violates all the civil rules including a rape. Just shut up … he will look after you … Isn’t it so, Dayan?

  • 0

    People of Sri lanaka stiil in developieng country,her politics eocnomic social and cultural has to go long way.We have just come over the war after 30 odd years against LTTE,still remmants of JVP anachism exist,and Trostakist political ideologies promoting another AUSTRALIAN TYPE OF SOCIALISM UNDER THE PRMARAN GUNRTAHM OF FRONTER SOCIALIST PARTY,This new type move try to undermine our country sovereginity and Indepepandence,this forces are behind by Dr D,Jayteliake and others as well.
    Dr DJ was advicer of R.Premadsa ,before that IPKF of Indian came island he was with Mahaja Party ,then been implant as North-East Provincial Councial Minister of Something…..?
    DR D J change from Left-advanturies to Right Wing camp time to time.
    He can write well,reading his and teaching and working patten according his persoanl position and vested interest of INTELLGANCE SERVICES of Foreging hegemony powers.He is not HONEST PERSON AT ALL.They play fool with people of Sri Lanka. His dance and tune comes from divine RIGHTS.
    Needless to say many politicial VACCUM OF in the island ,man who can read write and express well in both languages.has NOT CHALLENG by others.Dr D J used ongoing Sri lanaka platform of in favour of Cuban Vietnam or Venuzaula as promoting countries ,creat his own image as LEFT WING POLITICS.Please read carefully not his writinig of idyllically or hypothesesis, BUT his ACTUAL DEEDS.

  • 0

    Any chance to look at Adolf Eichmann´s process in Israel how it is been held and the role of BND and Willy Brandt´s reconcilliation process?

    South America is far away

    People hold Swiss citizenship and live in France can have a better relationship to Europe

  • 0

    Dayan Jayatilleka once again proves that there is a huge difference between shallow cleverness, sophistry and opportunism, on one hand, and intelligence on the other. This mini-Goebbels for whoever pays his keep should write a few more books, even if on the Sri Lankan taxpayer’s dime, which he can, perhaps, have some friend review in laudatory terms. That way, he’ll be less of a public nuisance!

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 200 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically disabled after 5 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.