19 October, 2017

Will The South African Model Of TRC Suit Sri Lanka?

By Bandu de Silva

Bandu de Silva

Bandu de Silva

Many seem to think that an inquiry of the type of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is appropriate to be applied to the post war reconciliation process in Sri Lanka. This is based on a mistaken belief that TRC provides a magic formula which could be advantageously applied to the Sri Lankan situation or any other situations arising from conflict.

Who are the advocates of this? Doesn’t  one see the Western hand in it now picked up especially by pro- Eelam lobbies overseas? During and before CHOGM held in Colombo, the idea of the South African TRC seems to have been put across to the Sri Lankan government by the South African side. President Zuma was seen right at the centre of these on-going suggestions. Here we may pause for a while to ask “Who is President Zuma”? Does he represent Nelson Mandela’s ideals? If so, at the funeral ceremony in the Stadium when Zuma’s picture appeared on the screen after that of the deceased Nelson Mandela, why did the audience ‘boo’?

Prof. Horace Campbell has also asked why the stadium where the memorial service was held was half empty when the memory of the departed leader, Madiba was being honoured? Over 90 world leaders had been present. President Obama was given the honour of making the funeral oratory, not the head of the OAU, or the new Chair of CHOGM although President Rajapaksa had expected, quite rightly that he would be given a slot to speak on behalf of the Commonwealth leaders. No CHOGM was recognized there. It was Prince Charles and David Cameron who shined, if at all, after Obama. That is the reality which post-Mandela South Africa is. In other words, it is a regime which closely collaborates with Western Capital.

If the Sri Lankan government thinks that President Zuma is projecting Mandela’s ideals, it is mistaken.  So do any others who so believe.

The recommendations now pouring in for Sri Lanka to emulate South Africa’s TRC process is then could be seen as another trap laid for Sri Lanka over which the government has to tread very carefully before it puts its foot into another mess like the LLRC.

Why do I say this?

Firstly, the South African situation was entirely different from that in Sri Lanka. Secondly, the TRC’S mandate did not extend to investigate the most vital issue – the horrendous period of the cruel persuasion of the Apartheid policy by the Apartheid regime of South Africa which violated all basic human rights and practiced a vicious kind of racism even worse than that pursued by the Fascist regime of former Germany.

The investigation by the Commission held under the Chairman ship of Arch-Bishop Desmond Tutu, was confined to a period from 1960 to 1994. That is, it covered only a part of the Apartheid era and the years of the transition period.

Reading in between lines of what has been claimed as its positive side, (see Wkepedia) , its real objective was nothing but to prevent any extreme form of dealing with the past and the situation arising in the post Apartheid period from transition to the establishment of democratic rule. As Prof Campbell observed, “In the three years after the release of Mandela, the international media was predicting a bloodbath in South Africa if Blacks were to emerge victorious from the first democratic elections in 1994. Those with strategic control over the means of violence sought to make this bloodbath a reality right up to the moment when Mandela was inaugurated in May 1994 as the first Black President of a Democratic Society.”

It was against this fear of a black uprising against the minority Afrikaaner and their African collaborators in [against] the background of suppression under the Apartheid and earlier colonial regime- acknowledged/apologized/compensation paid as the majority of South Africans expected. The Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No. 34 of 1995 was passed to give the legal framework for the establishment of TRC.

Was it then an exclusively, Mandela/Tutu/ ANC initiative? It cannot be so. In my view, judging from all presently available data, it was a compromise, though the former President Ian Botha refused the summons of the Commission calling it a “ Circus” and earned a fine and a suspended sentence for that but acquitted in appeal.

As I wrote elsewhere, when I met Nelson Mandela, in my capacity as Sri Lanka’s most senior serving professional diplomat, soon after he was released from prison, he was undecided. Even if the African ideal of Ubuntu,(reconciliation)  like the Buddhist ideal of of “Nahi-verena-verani”, or the higher ideals of Metta and Karuna,may have been present in Mandela’s mind, and even Archbishop Tutu might have made a profound impact on him, the demand of the oppressed majority Africans was not out of his mind when I met him. The force of vengeance demanded by extreme sections, which Campbell described as “those with strategic control over the means of violence … seeking to make this bloodbath a reality right up to the moment when Mandela was inaugurated in May 1994 as the first Black President” was also not out of his mind.

Ubuntu in practice, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)

Commenting on the establishment of TRC, Campbell observed that “one of the sterling contributions of the South African struggle was to be able to clarify the differences between restorative justice and retributive justice, based on Ubuntu. In fact, Mandela not only embraced Ubuntu, under his political leadership, there was an attempt to bring the ideas of Ubuntu from its philosophical level to the level of practical politics in ways that helped avert bloodbath to form a better society, however imperfect. And this was in part done through the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission.”

The TRC was then established against the background of a predicted blood bath in South Africa which could emerge from the first victorious democratic elections held in post- Apartheid South Africa. One year after Mandela became President, the Parliament of South Africa established the Promotion of National Unity and Reconciliation Act, No. 34 of 1995 to provide the legal framework for the establishment of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Mandela threw his international weight behind the process of Reconciliation.

While the TRC was holding sessions, Mandela made a number of public gestures to demonstrate the fact that he supported full reconciliation between the oppressed blacks and the oppressors. Of the two most public of these gestures were the visit to have tea with Mrs. Betsie Verwoerd at Oriana in 1995, and donning the jersey of the segregated South African rugby team in the World Cup in South Africa.(Campbell).

Mandela took the bold step of travelling to this all- white town of Orania to demonstrate to Mrs. Verwoerd that the new South Africa was based on forgiveness and willingness to share, core principles of Ubuntu. This gesture was relayed all over the world by the local and international media as Mandela sat down to have tea with the people who were responsible for arresting and incarcerating him, Campbell observed.

Earlier, Mandela had orchestrated another public act by going to the Rugby World Cup Match and putting on the jersey of the South African team. As Campbell observed, sporting activities had been one of the strongest bases for segregation in the society and in all areas of sporting activity Mandela inspired South Africa to rise above the structural violence that had become part and parcel of South Africa.

Legal view

At the legal level, South Africa’s post-apartheid constitution is seen as one of the most progressive in the world, and one seen as drawing on Ubuntu to enshrine equal constitutional rights for all – black, white, coloured, women, youths, elderly people and same-gender-loving persons. Bringing in Ubuntu here can be seen as a clever strategy to pacify the extremists mobilizing public opinion to create violence.

This effort at Reconciliation at the legal level and at the public level went side by side as the TRC started hearings in Cape Town in 1996.

The Mandate of TRC

The mandate of the Commission, to put it  in summary, had been to bear witness to, record, and in some cases grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, as well as reparation and rehabilitation. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings. Perpetrators of violence could also give testimony and request amnesty from both civil and criminal prosecution. Witnesses who were identified as victims of gross human rights, violations were invited to give statements about their experiences, and some were selected for public hearings.

Restorative Justice

Campbell observes that a new concept was being developed in the context of seeking restorative justice beyond the Nuremberg Model of winners’ court. The healing power of the process was manifest in the rituals that emanated from victims and oppressors, creating a space that could be the basis of holding the society together. This ritual of the TRC with the spiritual underpinnings of forgiveness and healing was utilized as a powerful antidote to the three hundred years of white racist oppression. He quotes:Malidoma Some: Healing Wisdom of Africa: Finding Life Purpose Through Nature, Ritual, and Community.

It was in the TRC where one saw some of the ideas being worked out. During the Hearings of the TRC there were public hearings as the narratives of perpetrators and victims moved in  a constant motion across time (from present to past and present to future) and space (spiritual, social, physical, emotional) in a movement that may be called recursive.

As Campbell summed up: “Here was a profound moment in the history of South Africa as the African people offered a crucible for healing the society. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu will go down in history as individuals who opened up the possibilities for another form of society. This healing process offered by the TRC, despite its imperfections, placed Ubuntu on the philosophical map breaking the ideation baggage of individualism, greed, competition and revenge.”

The recent critic Campbell was not the only one who saw the purpose and results of TRC in negative terms. There were others which Wikipedia has listed. The BBC itself observed that the mandate of the TRC was to “uncover the truth about past abuse, using amnesty as a mechanism, rather than to punish past crimes.” So, the TRC was no more than what Botha called a “Circus,” not for the reasons he thought, but for reasons of its appearance and content. The success of the “TRC Method” versus “Nuremberg Method” of procedure is open to debate, as Wikilpedia observed.

Hijacking of Reconciliation by the West.

As Campbell says, “If the Black people and the oppressed majority were willing to turn a corner, international capital was not. Plans for the Reconstruction and transformation of South Africa were shelved in the face of the timidity of the political leadership in calling for the cancellation of the apartheid incurred debt. The repercussions of managing the neo-liberal programme of international capital cut off the top leadership of the ANC from the rank and file. Questions of the social reconstruction after apartheid had to be shelved until new emancipatory formations arise in South Africa.

“International capital took the lessons of South Africa to heart and sought to promote a neo-liberal agenda where a small minority collaborated with international capital in the new template for the exploitation of the majority. This form of class rule came to be understood as the globalization of apartheid without its racial baggage.”

The above observation of Campbell seems to stand in somewhat contra-distinction, if not contradiction to Campbell’s earlier assertion that “those with strategic control over the means of violence sought to make this bloodbath a reality right up to the moment when Mandela was inaugurated in May 1994 as the first Black President.”

Hijacking by the West?

The crimes committed by the apartheid regime were such that it would have called for an international investigation considering the way the West, using the UN as a tool is pressing for international investigations elsewhere. By supporting, if not directing Mandela/Tutu/ANC to a programme of reconciliation, the West and the former Apartheid leadership succeeded in avoiding such a step. The ideals behind Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials by the victorious nations after WW II, were not brought in to apply to a far more heinous form of racial segregation programme under Apartheid, applied by a minority Afrikaner against a majority Africans in their own country. As Campbell put it and quoted earlier: “Plans for the Reconstruction and transformation of South Africa were shelved in the face of the timidity of the political leadership in calling for the cancellation of the apartheid incurred debt. The repercussions of managing the neo-liberal programme of international capital cut off the top leadership of the ANC from the rank and file. Questions of the social reconstruction after apartheid had to be shelved until new emancipatory formations arise in South Africa.”

One can then understand why the people booed when President Zuma’s picture appeared on the screen at the memorial service. That was an expression of feelings against what obtains in post–Mandela  South Africa as a collaborative regime with close links with Western Capital rather than with the suffering masses of South Africa. As Campbell puts it, Mandela’s  membership of the ANC “pointed to the differences between the promises of the anti-apartheid struggles and the realities of the enrichment of a new class of African exploiters. It was appropriate that this celebration of the life of Mandela [at the funeral] marked a new stage for the corrupt leadership of the ANC.”

The Stadium had been half empty. The African people had not been provided facilities to attend but some had walked long miles to be there. The assessment is that the present leadership feared a mass mobilsation, a common occurrence during the anti-apartheid struggle at funerals, by controlling attendance at the mass attendance at the funeral of the popular leader.

Mandela was “Caged” again

If Mandela gained his reprieve in 1990, a few months before I had the privilege of meeting him, he became a captive again, this time of a strong section within his own party, the ANC, which had capitulated to Western Capital. He was subjected to Western Capitalism indirectly through this section in the ANC. Where Desmond Tutu stands in this project is unclear. Whether or not Tutu was harking back to principles of Christianity mixed with the African traditional concept of Ubuntu, or whether he too despite his external image, in the final analysis, succumbed to Western pressure is yet to be made clear. There can be more than the God-man element in this whole affair if the totality of circumstances is taken into account.

Why Mandela left after first term

It is hard to think why, as Marxists might wont to say, Mandela, a man who was the product of South African agony, and symbolized their aspirations, left after his first year term as President. Altruistic and noble qualities have been assigned for this.  Circumstances leave room for doubt. He left the ideals of serving his people he had very much in mind, which he told me when I met him, unfulfilled. Why? He was seen throughout his Presidency, engaging on behalf of the people trying to liberate themselves in other lands in a pro-active role when he opposed the Western designation of [these] states as sponsoring terrorism and “openly supported Fidel Castro of Cuba, Yasser Arafat of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) the Saharwi Arab Democratic Republic and the political leadership in Libya,” as Campbell remarked.  He was very critical of U.S. intervention in other states in Africa. On the part of US, its Defence Department did not remove him from the list of terrorists until very recently, though the State Department de-listed him only a few years back.

These postures began to show a marked accentuation after he left the Presidency than when he was in office. So did his concerns over the problems that the African masses faced, like the problem of standards of living, health, sanitation, education, begin to be expressed in sharper terms after he left the Presidency. Was it because they were not being addressed as he expected?

How can one explain this dual frame of mind? Doesn’t it point to Mandela speaking his mind again once he was released from the ‘cage’ he was entrapped as President of post-Apartheid republic?

Was it like President J.R.Jayaewardene paying lip service to Non Alignment while hobnobbing with the West, particularly, U.S and Israel? Could the ANC have permitted him to continue with his attitudes favouring liberation movement in other lands and his anti-US policy in person, while its pro-Western section ensured that the rhetoric did not affect the handling of internal policy, and the regime for all effective purposes could go along with its internal policy of collaboration with Western capital and former Apartheid elements?

The question then is: ‘Was Mandela disenchanted by the caged situation he was placed in, unable to redeem the problems that the African masses faced, even if he had moved towards Ubuntu in the management of social relations’?

This might look as if a lesser over-all role is being assigned by me to Mandela in the management of South African affairs in the post -Apartheid phase under the first African Presidency.  But that is a reasonable deduction to make looking at the reality that a close examination of available evidence, one could make.

Can we then conclude that Mandela was left a disenchanted man, unable to fulfill his mission in the Presidency?

Relevance to Sri Lanka 

The above discussion provides the background to South Africa’s TRC process. Its mandate was limited and was not intended to investigate causes of the most serious human rights issue that South Africans faced, and provide ‘justice’ that the South African people expected. Its objective was primarily to prevent a blood bath taking place by going into post- Apartheid issues over a limited period.

However, its objectives and the whole environment surrounding it as has been mystified along with Mandela’s personality, when it was clear that he had clearly held different views from reconciliation when he stood for Cuba, Palestine, Libya, Yemen  and others, and was harshly critical of US. Are we to then believe that his personality was imported into a West –sponsored project of reconciliation which was meant to save the Afrikaner minority and for Western Capital to continue with the economic exploitation of South Africa with African collaborators within and outside ANC?

What is then the magic of TRC which Sri Lanka can derive?  Is it just the misleading nomenclature  given to the South African project? Let us de-mystify it.

Sri Lanka’s Post-War Situation

The post- Apartheid conditions which obtained in South Africa do not exist in Sri Lanka. Though there was no post-war blood-bath here as was expected in South Africa where it was sagaciously avoided, there have been two different trends in Sri Lanka . One was to treat the LTTE terrorists leniently. Except for those who were found guilty of serious crimes against whom Court actions were proceeding, others have been rehabilitated and have now joined the mainstream of the society. Former LTTE stalwarts, Muralitharan (Karuna), Chandrakanthan (Pillayan), K.Pathmanathan (K.P) and Tamilini stand as distinctive symbols of that healing process.

The other trend was to proceed on a path of victory celebrations by the state, which took the shine away from, if not vitiated the effects of the ‘healing’ process introduced by the lenient treatment of former terrorists.

Negative Effects of Victory Celebrations 

A mistake which this writer did not hesitate to point out many times, was the holding of grand- scale victory celebrations after a national disaster of an unimaginable magnitude, with much cost in terms of loss of human life, loss of property and retarding development for near 30 years and the continuation of these victory celebrations going on year after year, some in the form of wasteful projects, which are also questionable and seen not helping the healing process. There might have been reasons for that like retaining the morale of the armed forces but that need not have gone to these extensive proportions.

The other I pointed out was the construction of a Victory monument in Mulliaweli, the last theatre of the war. That was, as I wrote, an unnecessary and undignified affair to come up in the midst of a majority Tamil area, however much it was defended, which ignored the far more important aspect of loss of human life all round and against our national culture and religious ethos. That national ethos was exemplified by the way emperor Asoka, turned Buddhist, conducted himself after the massacre in the Kalinga war launched by him, and of our own hero king Dutugemunu who built a monument for his fallen adversary.  What should have been constructed was a national monument of remembrance to commemorate the evil of armed conflict and of the dead all round, as Spain built in Esqurial after the Civil War. That was my view.

The celebrations, then are a serious mistake we continue to repeat. We cannot do the way Christian nations celebrated war victory annually after destroying much civilian life and property in Japan and Germany by aerial bombing after the war was won. We need to apply our own yardsticks according to our cultural ethos.

It is human nature to expect negative reaction to such exuberant manifestations which lead to friction and conflict rather than reconciliation. The US did not gain by dropping two Atom Bombs on two highly populated cities in Japan. The negative response to the dropping of Atom Bombs continues as the Japanese people continue to demonstrate to this day, not in violent demonstrations but in peaceful [Buddhist and other] ceremonies to remember the dead and the holocaust, where the reciting of the Saddaharma-punadrika Sutta (Namyo Horenge kyo) by millions of participants was a principle feature. (I was a willing participant in these ceremonies in Nagasaki and Hiroshima). That was also a way of protesting against U.S.’s own inhuman atrocities and racial discrimination even in war.

The victory celebrations in Sri Lanka do not contribute to reconciliation, but rub the people in the wrong way.

What is the reason for these celebrations then? Aren’t they are a means by which political propaganda is carried out by the government, i. e., to use war victory as a tool to continue to remain in political power, by appealing to a baser element of human nature?

Applicability of South African Model

Whatever the circumstances in which the South African TRC was brought about, and proceeded with its investigation, it helped to control a volatile situation from erupting. We did not face such a situation here. Over-celebrations were the only negative element. Perhaps, it might be argued that it took away any element of extremism that might have been present, and erupted but everything was well under control. But why continue?

As far as the mandate is concerned, there appears to be very little to draw from the mandate issued to the South African Commission. Bereft of its underlying implications, taking only the outer manifestations, like the nomenclature (title), the TRC process can have a meaning only if Sri Lanka is prepared firstly, to tone down on these negative-resulting celebrations, as far as reconciliation is concerned.

The objective of South Africa’s TRC has been, apart from recording, in some cases, to grant amnesty to the perpetrators of crimes relating to human rights violations, as well as to provide reparation and rehabilitation, and to receive amnesty from criminal prosecution. That is not the expectation of the West and of others in Sri Lanka.  That may not be the objective for holding a South African type TRC in Sri Lanka where the issues are different. The roles of both sides to the conflict here have to be investigated as these have given rise to serious grievances, not the way it was done in South Africa, but in a far more meaningful way. There should be no interests to protect like the Western Capital in the South African situation. To imitate that would be a mockery.

In my view then, there is nothing to gain from South African experience, “no pervasive weight,” except its mystifying name now enthroned by the West as an example of noble human conduct. That is because it served their purpose, the protection of the former perpetrators of Apartheid and interests of Western Capital. Even Jay and Eric Vera who wrote on the effectiveness of the TRC observed its usefulness only in terms of bringing out the truth of what happened during the Apartheid regime, [but the whole truth nothing but the truth, was missing]. Many witnesses were found to be lying.  5, 392 amnesty applications were rejected; only 849 were admitted and over 2000 others were withdrawn.

Sri Lanka has enough human resources and historical, religious and cultural resources of its own besides, accumulated legal wisdom to draw from, in formulating its own mechanism if the LLRC process needs to be taken forward. We need not go to South Africa’s Ubuntu values, if that were the base that provided the inspiration of its TRC process, or , realistically looking, the Western agenda hiding behind it which was to safeguard interests of Western Capital, and hide the horrendous human right violations in that country over decades under apartheid, if not over three centuries of repressive colonial rule.

One should see that behind this projection of the South African model to Sri Lanka lies a subtle programme to gain support to the West’s attempt to market a project to popularize that deceitful strategy in order to continue exploitation by Western capital while at the same time proceed with raising human rights issues in other countries, which is but a ploy to hide the West’s own human rights violations. That is a new way of continuing with the colonial agenda to keep certain countries under perpetual subjugation and pressure.

*The writer was Sri Lanka’s former senior Diplomat accredited to a number of countries in Europe besides France the Vatican and UNESCO, and later the country’s first Resident Ambassador to Iran. Since retirement, he has turned writer and writes to the printed and electronic media and academic journals. 

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Latest comments

  • 2
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    What former Ambassodor has explained about the TRC is the truth. After involving with the ANC and the Anti-Aparthied Movement, it is my personal view the TRC is not suitable for Sri Lanka and we have passed the time limit for such a Committee.
    In SA TRC worked as most people who took part in the TRC were Christians and they venerated Bishop Desmund Tutu and beleived on him to do the corect thing for the deprived people. The people in SA are quite differnet to the Sri lankan Sinhalese , Tamils and Muslims as every one in Sri lanka try yo look for their own good and not the good of the country.
    In my opinion appointment of a TRC will take GOSL, LLRC solutions to the back burner and as long as Mahinda Rajapaksa as the President allowes others to control the country’s destiny it will never work.

  • 4
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    This sycophantic clown’s babbling has to be put in context. It is yet another useless time-wasting debate to circumvent what can and must take place: an investigation of our murderous regime and its actions both up to and after Nanthikadal. What all of these people want us to forget is that the TRC model was proposed at the end of “the conflict” and rejected out of hand by the very same fascists that are now pretending to give ear to the suggestion from Zuma and co.
    This is simply yet another time-wasting tactic by people who are totally unscrupulous and are only interested in building up their already-huge bank balances in off-shore financial havens.
    First it was “zero civilian casualties,” then it was “those who were killed were Tigers in mufti,” then it was, “maybe a few thousand were killed in collateral damage” etc. etc. A whole book would be needed to document the lies and half-truths uttered by this government and its minions in its efforts to deceive and hide the facts. Let’s stop this nonsensical waste of time and let the chips fall where they may.

    • 3
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      International investigation will start soon, get prepared to provide all evidence, details of murders committed by the thugs of Srilankan army, how many children were murdered, how many girls were raped, all information needed.

    • 3
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      Well said. let’s take the perpetrators of atrocities to humanity to the Hague , and let the judges decide, whether it should be reconciliation or separation for the good of all concerned.

  • 3
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    The West is interested in resolutions at UNHRC: March 2012, March 2013, ….. March 2014…

    Hasn’t the President been doing his best NOT to implement LLRC recommendations:
    ‘’President Mahinda Rajapaksa is to lead a campaign organized by the government to muster the support of the people against the Resolution passed at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva’’ -.MR To Lead Campaign To Get People’s Support, 1 April 2012, http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/04/01/mr-to-lead-campaign-to-get-peoples-support/
    ‘’The Government yesterday reaffirmed in Parliament that it did not concur with the US-sponsored resolution adopted at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions on March 22. Responding to a statement by Opposition United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris said therefore the Government would not hold talks with anyone on the matters contained in the resolution’’ – Govt won’t comply with UNHRC resolution: GL, 9 April 2013, http://www.dailymirror.lk/news/27940-govt-wont-comply-with-unhrc-resolution-gl.html

    He wasn’t prepared even to pretend to be doing anything to the Tamils – he wanted the votes from Sinhalese to stay in power:
    “If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, 13A Plus, Minus, Divided or Subtracted, it will be curtains for me” – Sri Lanka: Indian Delegates go Home Empty Handed, Kumar David, 15 June 2011, http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/%5Cpapers46%5Cpaper4558.html
    SL won’t accept S. African offer: Post-war mediation offer by South Africa, 15 August 2012,
    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=59297

    As March 2014 draws closer and closer, it’s our President who has begun to show ”interest” in the South African TRC in the last few months. It isn’t because he’ll do anything seriously about it but make others talk about it till March 2014 session when it can be ”assured” by the SriLankan delegation that the Sri Lankan govt is ”seriously working on a TRC”.

    Till the military assaults of 3/4 yrs up to May 2009, APRC was appointed and it ran for three years over 128 sittings wasting so many people’s time and was wound up as soon as the war was over. APRC was duly asked to submit a report which was duly submitted in 5/6 weeks. What happened to the report? It wasn’t even published! Along with nearly 16/17 other reports locked away in the President’s cupboard!!
    When he began to be questioned about the APRC report he ”appointed” APCDR in July 2009! As soon as the war was over even Udalagama Commission was wound up though Judge Udalagama offered to continue with the investigations as only seven out of the 16 cases entrusted to the Commission wwere finished.
    During the course of the Commission there was a marked reduction in crimes. Appeals to make the Commission a permanent feature was ignored by the President! He couldn’t wrap up the armed forces with impunity to carry out crimes?
    Under international pressure the government then had a series of ”talks” with TNA. TNA tabled its proposals as the government didn’t put any offer on the table. Then it began to talk about PSC……

    Has the President ever condemned or even admonished the extreme Sinhala Buddhist forces attacking the ”other”?
    In fact BBS was entertained at Temple Trees and when they asked President to terminate certain Family Planning Unit the President instantly obliged them by asking the Unit to be closed down even without asking the professionals involved in it!

    Please wake me up when the President will allow national anthem to be sung in Tamil at any function he attends.

  • 0
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    Why you are envious at exposing the truth about a regime which pushed Nelson Mandela out? They got the right boo from the people at the Memorial service held for Mandela. What are you A-to -Huka trying to say?

  • 4
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    LLRC and another TRC cannot be used as a smoke screen to apease the international community. The rulers amply demonstrate their lack of sincerity of purpose and do not have the courage to release the Tamils from presidiential and military rule. The simple steps that could be taken to reconcile and rehabilitate the displaced people are not being taken.

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      The best rehabilitation is those kallathonis who sneaked into wanni, from Tamilnadu, during the LTTE time should go back to where they came from.

  • 0
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    Very good article and has explained the reality.

    Just like LLRC,TRC is also to frame Sri Lanka.

  • 0
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    When the west had their own way, see what they did to JAPAN, see what they did to GERMANY.

    Mr. Mandela did not become anti-western. Instead he became a Real African and showed they also can forgive instead of seeking revenge.

    Anyway, buddhist like approach says something.

    • 0
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      JimPissa:
      “See what the West did to Japan and Germany!!”
      Are those two countries banana republics like the one your paymasters run called “Silly Lanka?”
      Is your tongue so full of Rajapassa boot polish that you have to write to CT instead of licking their …..

  • 2
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    It is disappointing that a person of ambassador de Silva’s intellect, learning and wide experience has not been able to free himself from the shackles of identity and parochial nationalist pride that underlie his belief in Sri Lanka having “enough human resources and historical, religious and cultural resources” to deal with national reconciliation. The only resource that was needed at the end of the war was to place the national interest above petty personal gain, and the honesty and vision to act on that.

    There is no sense in talking about western agendas when it was hundred percent within the control of our leadership to settle the national question, for which the defeat of the LTTE was a golden opportunity. All it needed was (a) a frank admission that mistakes were made on both sides and (b) taking steps at some devolution of power. I would go so far as to say that, with magnanimity and statesmanship through which the hearts and minds of the Tamils could have been secured, we could have continued the status quo, and remained a unitary state, as we so well did during colonial times.

    The reason why things went wrong is not that there was any western conspiracy, but that the leadership saw in the victory over the LTTE a different opportunity, that of re-feudalising the society and the state, and staying in power indefinitely through dynastic succession. Ambassador de Silva is perhaps right about his analysis of South Africa, and undoubtedly right about “victory celebrations”, which have been more accurately called “triumphalism”. Victory celebrations become triumphalist exercises when they are consciously designed to dupe the masses into accepting subjection in place of citizenship.

    Ambassador de Silva represents the best of the country’s intellect, and commitment to the urbane values of Buddhism. It is one of the sociological facts of the war and post-war periods that we have in that combined period an erosion of the conscience of the elite to which the ambassador belongs. It is never too late for that elite to reflect on this failure and act to regain it, making known their convictions to the powers. The masses of the people have neither the intellectual nor the ethical sense to make that reflection.

  • 1
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    What a waste of time writing this article.
    The question is, does the Srilankan government have the honesty and the will to investigate the problems in this country?
    Is armed occupation necessary 5 years after the war?
    Can the government stay away from interfering with the judiciary?
    Why does the government use ex-militant criminals like Karuna,Pilayan and Douglas as ministers when they have been accused of murders and continue to murder dissidents?
    What about the killing and abduction of famous journalists and editors who criticized the government?
    Now, how can we assume that this goverment will deliver justice without international investigation.

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    I thank Scott for his forthright comments and also for complimentary personal references, though I do not claim such quality as an intellect. His problem is my saying that the country has enough human religious and cultural resources.” He calls this nationalistic pride on my part. He thinks that the only resource needed was to place national interest above petty personal gains and the honesty and vision to act. If one reads my article carefully one would see that the essence of my arguments was about the same, though using different terminology. This is clear from my discussion on “negative effects of celebrating victory” and the reasons I adduced saying that is for “political propaganda of the govt.to use the war victory as a tool to stay in power, by appealing to a baser element of human nature”. Scott has used the words “petty personal gain”. The emphasis may look different but we are going in the same direction.
    I have no problems with other ideas expressed. His remark about the “erosion of the conscience of the elite” in which category he has included myself, is his own opinion. Opinions may not represent the truth. Legally speaking, they have no standing.
    Thanks, Scott.

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    “the horrendous period of the cruel persuasion of the Apartheid policy by the Apartheid regime of South Africa which violated all basic human rights and practiced a vicious kind of racism”

    Sounds quite familiar to me when you replace “apartheid policy” with sinhalese bhuddhist policy,and “apartheid regime” with sinhala bhuddhist regime.What is the difference that this [Edited out] talking about.Both the aparheid regime and sinhala bhuddhist regime were making out that the country belonged exclusively to them only and others could continue to stay only as well behaved guests.When they reacted by saying that the country belonged to them too and they were not guests both regimes unleashed violence which was of the worst kind of racism to cruelly persuade the other race in the country that they were indeed guests by violating all their basic human rights.The only difference is the oppressors lost in south africa while the oppressors won in srilanka,hence they think a truth and reconciliation commission is not necessary because they can continue to oppress the tamils and make them understand that they are guests in this country and to behave in future or else…….

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    The UN Human Rights Commissioner has given the SL government time until March 2014 to come up with a so-called credible investigation into the conduct of the closing phases of the war in 2009. Britain’s David Cameron has issued a similar ultimatum. Both of them know that despite their strong rhetoric, it will not be practicable to take any real action if SL does not meet that deadline. In the meantime, they and the SL government would now like to have some sort of circuit breaker that will help to diffuse the situation and provide a mutual face saving formula to extricate themselves from the predicament in which they find themselves.

    This is where South Africa’s TRC becomes attractive. If SL was to initiate something on similar lines it may provide SL with a ‘way out’ of the current impasse, and the UN Human Rights Commissioner and David Cameron will be ‘satisfied’ and be able to note that SL has made ‘real progress’ in the area. And everyone can live happily thereafter!

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      Fred,totally agree with you except for one minor point.That nothing can be done to punish srilanka is a fallacy because a independent international war crimes investigation can be ordered by the UN.The noose will start to tighten around srilanka’s neck as every year progresses if they are stubborn and tell the IC to fly a kite.The only outlet as you rightly claim for srilanka is a truth and reconciliation commission like in south africa,but if the ball rolls too far the diaspora will not let it roll back and srilanka should grab that option now without taking on the whole world like prabha did.

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    TRC T stands for truth. In LLRC L stands for Lies.

    They suite for their respective counties. Please don’t change anything

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    Mr.Silva,

    The South African TRC falls far short of what is needed in Sri Lanka. To start with the South African TRC was set up by the Late Mr.Nelson Mandela as he recognised the need for such a Commission. He was a clever man and he knew that he had to reach a compromise with the white rulers despite his bitterness of long year of Captivity to prevent the catastrophie similar to what Zimbabwe faced when Mugabe kicked out the whites.
    But he was able to do forgive and forget as he was the victim and from a position of Strength.
    What we had in South Africa except for the Soweto Massacre and discrimination was nothing compared to the Genocide we had in Sri Lanka .
    What we need in Sri Lanka is is not

    Truth and Reconciliation Committee ( TRC) BUT

    Accountability and Reconciliation ( ARC)

    MR cannot be part of it and we have to wait for a change at the top in India.

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      Are we to take it that since you are not commenting as grieving soul,you are no longer intoxicated and we can take your present comment as one emanating not from a drunken stupor.The time of good cheer is still not over until tomorrow.

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    only thing that will suit sri lanka is nuke.

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      You are of course another grieving soul in a highly intoxicated state.

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    One has to be realistic. Society and the World is nt perfect. We must concentrate on the ptresent and future and move on. The president is doing just that abley assisted bty rthe proime minister. The policy is to forget wrongs after obtaining compensation to form unioty. Together againts the World we will survuive. dividedw willfall. We can not exit wuthout the help of the west.National peace with all party government is essential Peace in Asia india china ,pakistan isw necesary to stop the west. Unity is what we have to move to. RW has indicated that peace in sri lanka and western asia is needed.
    The principal of forgiving eah other is important.
    Do not be polarised by Party, religion ar ethnicity. That will give you tunnel vision.

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