Lanka David Vs World Goliath
heading for a David Vs Goliath confrontation — Sri Lanka
Vs the United States of America and Europe or in short
Sri Lanka Vs the Rest of the World. The US State
Department is to present a report on ‘war crimes in Sri
Lanka’ allegedly committed during the last phase against
the war against terrorism. There is also a special
report by European Union investigators on the extension
of GSP Plus concessions to Sri Lanka (amounting to $ 3.3
billion) that had made adverse comments on the violation
of conditions stipulated about human rights. The fallout
of these adverse moves could bury the little Lanka
indeed ironic that from biblical times, in stories about
little Davids and giant Goliaths, little David’s
supporters have been numerous and few or none had rooted
for the Goliaths. But in this David Vs Goliath
confrontation the Lankan David stands almost alone while
the giant Goliath has the backing of all the universal
only support for the Lankan David comes solely from Sri
Lankans. Sri Lankans whether they like their President
Mahinda Rajapakse — who has stepped into the shoes of
David — or not, have no other option but to back him for
otherwise they would be letting down Sri Lanka —
permitting interference in their internal affairs,
violation of their sovereignty and being treated as a
third rate nation.
rights and wrongs in this controversy have been
subjected to scorching debates on TV and the press and
need no repetition. While desperate Sri Lankans have
vented their spleen in the media to no effect, the
question to be posed is: Can this little island with
scant resources afford to take on this confrontation?
And if so for how long?
country with meagre resources such as ours can alone
take on the Western industrial countries particularly
when they happen to be our top ranking trading partners.
It is time our leaders decide to unlock the locked horns
and think of alternative strategies. The mood right now
is upbeat — one of righteous indignation but those at
the helm must consider where all this froth and fury,
however justifiable it may be, will take this country?
starting point would be to consider where it went wrong.
How did Sri Lanka and these Western countries who were
friends and allies begin to drift apart? The West and
Sri Lankan governments differed on how to resolve the
ethnic problem from the very commencement, the West
calling for a political solution while governments found
it impossible to drop the military option with
Velupillai Pirapaharan hell bent to carve out a state
with the force of arms.
Jayewardene, the pro American ‘Yankee Dicky’ was
thwarted from exercising the military option only by the
intervention of India. Yet, relations with Western
nations remained firm as ever with these countries
funding the massive Accelerated Mahaweli Project and
other development projects.
Friction between the Rajapakse administration and the
West was apparent from the very beginning and came to a
head during the final stages of the war on LTTE
terrorism. The West was manifestly wrong in demanding
the end to the military operations at the climax of a 30
year old war. How could they have expected the war to
have been called off at that stage? Was it the failure
of Sri Lankan diplomacy that brought the Lankan-Western
clash to a climax? Or were there other reasons as
Failure in diplomacy
the LTTE been successful in lobbying/buying/ or
convincing the West as alleged although the West still
considers the LTTE a foreign funded terrorist
organisation? Has not the West cracked down on the LTTE,
even during the final stages of the war, on financial
operations in those countries?
LTTE, under trying conditions during its dying days, was
able to lobby and influence American and European
governments what were the efforts made by the Sri Lankan
Foreign Ministry and its missions abroad? If these
allegations of LTTE lobbying are true is it not an
admission of the abject failure of our Foreign Ministry?
rights violations were and still are cited as reasons
for the Western crackdown. These violations have been
denied outright by the Sri Lankan government. Why are we
not able to produce documentary, photographic evidence
to disprove these allegations? Mere harsh editorial
rhetoric and articles by intellectuals spotlighting the
hypocrisy of the West in the press will not do. Western
hypocrisy has been rubbed into them from colonial days
but colonialist skins are impervious to the truth
keeping out the media — particularly the Sri Lankan
media — from areas of conflict a gross mistake? The
independent Sri Lankan media could at least have
justified the government’s claims, if they were true.
the past few weeks Sri Lankan leaders and the media have
been lambasting the British TV Channel 4 for screening a
horrendous video where some people alleged to be Sri
Lankan security personnel are shooting unarmed Tamils.
Sri Lankan experts have declared the video to be faked
but Philip Alston, the UN Secretary General’s Special
Representative for Extra Judicial Killings has called
for an independent investigation into the authenticity
of the video.
should ask the UN to go ahead and conduct such an
investigation. Dilly-dallying on this video will only
result in international audiences accepting it was true
even though we Sri Lankans will scream denials in our
little island till we are blue in the face.
Speaker W.J.M. Lokubandara has called upon parliament to
make a vigorous defence of the country against the slurs
made. But alas, can the parliament claim to have any
credibility or expect respect from the outside world if
they are to go by the way members of the supposedly
august assembly have behaved? Does the Speaker expect
the opposition to support any move made by government
members considering the gross manner in which the
opposition MPs have been treated?
Human Rights in General Assembly
itself is pressing hard on protection of human rights
of Tamils particularly those IDPs held in camps against
their will. The government bragged quite a lot about
their diplomatic success in thwarting moves to condemn
this country for violation of human rights against
Tamils at the UN in
The man who worked out the strategy and led the charge
to defeat the Western move appears to have treaded on
the toes of the high and mighty and is no longer a ‘war
hero.’ He has been brought back to the lecture rooms of
the Colombo Campus.
there no strategy to defend Sri Lanka at the current
General Assembly sessions on allegations of violation of
human rights? Even though we have only China and Russia
who may cast their vetoes in Sri Lanka’s favour in the
Security Council what of the General Assembly where we
are expected to have mass support. Have they been
canvassed and asked to take up Sri Lanka’s cause?
Finally, it is alleged that there is a vast conspiracy
led by Western powers and backed by NGOs against the
Rajapakse administration to destroy it. Is it because of
President Rajapakse developing close relations with
China and also with regimes such as that of Ahmadinejad
of Iran, Gaddafi of Libya, the Burmese military junta
and Hugo Chavez far away in Venezuela?
has very close relations with many other countries but
it is not known whether America and other Western
nations have conspired against governments of these
China-friendly countries. With friends like Gaddafi,
Ahmadinejad and the Burmese junta, are conspiracies
necessary? Or is it that President Obama leads the
Western nations with the objective of combating the