The Sunday Leader

Keep The Camel Out Of Our Tent

A foreign policy of a country is said to be a projection of the national interests of a country. Unfortunately Sri Lanka’s foreign policy for decades has been the projection of petty internecine quarrels among political parties that have left open the doors for interference by foreign powers. This pathetic state of affairs continues despite the predicted Armageddon Sri Lanka is likely to encounter in Geneva in March next year at the next sessions of the UNHCR.

The Catholic Bishops on Wednesday reiterated the persistent call that has been made in many quarters when they strongly objected to international intervention in this country and called for a direct dialogue with the Tamil National Alliance.
Foreign policy was not the only national objective that fell by the wayside as governments after 1970 that acquired a two-thirds majority at the polls decided to do away with laws, conventions and even basic human decencies to carry on regardless in the pursuit of their base political interests and those of their families.

Weak and fragmented opposition parties, unable to weather the onslaught of all powerful governments, sought the assistance of Colombo’s diplomatic missions. Even those now in the Rajapaksa government sought such assistance when the UNP ruled with their five-sixth majority. The proverbial camel got his head into the tent then and we are now rendered virtually impotent abusing the intruding camel with no effect whatsoever.

The Tamil issue in the North and East was simmering from the fifties but successive governments adopted an ostrich like attitude and pretended it did not exist. Terrorist conflicts broke out both in the Tamil areas and even in the Sinhala heartland. The strategies deployed were military deployment and intermittent dialogue and negotiations while the core issues were untouched, those being regarded as sacrosanct issues.

Four years after LTTE terrorism was militarily quashed the Tamil and Sinhala communities are still far apart and reconciliation is still beyond the horizon. Infrastructure development in the war ravaged areas has not won the hearts and minds of the aggrieved people. Some of their losses such as that of their loved ones can never be compensated fully. But their dignity should be restored and the recognition of them as citizens with equal rights as all others is a sine qua non.

The inability to reach the hearts and minds of the aggrieved people has been the Achilles Heel of the Rajapaksa government and that is what their enemies and critics are focusing on. Some hardliners in the government tend to look away from this issue and give priority to security concerns. Doing that won’t take the problem away.

Non interference does not mean keeping out that time tested friendly nations such as Japan. Japan has been this country’s biggest benefactor down the years with the bonds of friendship dating back to the San Francisco Conference when Sri Lanka spoke on behalf of that defeated but great nation. Yasushi Akashi, Japan’s special envoy to Sri Lanka is in Sri Lanka now. He may be here for reconstruction and development of this country but the fact that Japan is the only country with a clout with hostile Western nations should be kept in mind. Great care should be taken on Lanka’s stance in the disputed islands lying between between Japan and China. China is today Sri Lanka’s biggest financier but that relationship should not endanger long standing Sri Lanka –Japan ties of friendship.

Western nations like America and Britain are demanding for ‘justice’ even though they had shown little concern for the welfare of Tamils when Tamil leaders were being massacred by the LTTE. They forget that the Tamil diaspora are unabashed cheer leaders of the LTTE still. International diplomacy is unlikely to work with these hounds trailing Sri Lankan blood.
Our strategy should be to take the wind off the sails of these Sri Lankan pursuers. That should be to open a cordial and sincere dialogue with the main Tamil party with the objective of political reconciliation.

Such reconciliation is essential not so much to avoid the international hounding but for the fact that Tamils are citizens of this country and have every right to assert their birth rights.

4 Comments for “Keep The Camel Out Of Our Tent”

  1. Aththa Neththa

    “The inability to reach the hearts and minds of the aggrieved people has been the Achilles Heel of the Rajapaksa government and that is what their enemies and critics are focusing on.”!!!

    Is that why Mr Rajapakse’s government keeps winning the elections the way it is doing?

    What sort of a dumb editor are you?

    Think before write you pandamkara woman who got the job without having any qualifications. Seneviratne should sack you for stupidity.

  2. Sangaralingham

    We are certain there are lot of wise men and women in the country who can solve the problems but I am not certain the elected members can do so by themselves

  3. Sangaralingham

    Media journalists must not bring the LTTe into the equation when dealing with the future of the country as. LTTE is no longer there but there may be sympathy sire at home abroad their role in the country,s future is not for the citizens to be concerned

  4. Malin

    Only way out is for an international investigation into war crimes and the guilty punished at the highest level.

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