Colombo, Foreign Relations, International Relations, Peace and Conflict, Politics and Governance, Post-War, Reconciliation, War Crimes

ACCOUNTABILITY, RECONCILIATION, DEMOCRACY

Photo credit: Eranga Jayawardena / AP, taken from Christian Science Monitor

At a recent seminar at the Acadamie DiplomatiqueInternationale in Paris, a team from the National University of Singapore’s Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), on a Paris-London visit, presented on ‘Developments in the Arab World and the Impact on Asia: an Asian Perspective’. I attended eagerly, not only because of the subject’s salience but because these were my recent colleagues and friends.

The team’s presentation differentiated the domestically driven developments, most importantly but not exclusively in Tunisia and Egypt, from external military intervention in Libya’s armed civil conflict or civil war. Prof Tan Tai Yong, the Vice Provost of the National University of Singapore (with which Yale has just signed a deal to establish a liberal arts college) and Executive Director of the Institute pointed out that while Asian opinion agreed that the intentional killing of unarmed civilian protestors de-legitimised any regime and constituted a new ‘red line’ for the international community which if crossed would trigger

R2P, Asia with its organically evolved societies and states of long historicity  (contrasting with many an Arab state such as Libya carved out as a patchwork of tribes, clans and ethnicities mere decades ago by colonial fiat, with Egypt a monumental exception), its functioning political parties and use of universal suffrage, its familiarity with and history of street protests, and its better shared prosperity in an era of economic upswing, has states of an entirely different formation and type from those of the Arab world, and does not suffer the same structural vulnerabilities of legitimacy.

By contrast, the dramatic external dimension of the developments in Libya and the resultant deflection/distortion of domestic struggles of democratisation and reform were seen by the delegation to have a marked impact on Asia.

The team pointed to the role played by the most dogmatic adherents of the doctrine of ‘liberal humanitarian interventionism’ and their distortion of the Responsibility to Protect endorsed by the UN Security Council. I had discovered on a recent visit to the USA to present a paper by invitation at a Workshop on Global Leadership at Yale (at which the keynote speaker was Marwan Muasher, Jordan’s former deputy Prime Minister), that these were the same trinity of personalities who had been pushing the case of Sri Lanka’s ‘accountability’ for the closing stages of the war.

With regard to Sri Lanka, the argument is put forward that without accountability there will be no reconciliation. Opinion divides between those who advocate or support an ‘independent international inquiry’ and an independent domestic inquiry.

The question is therefore raised as to what the international standards and best practices of accountability are. What does the overwhelming evidence show? What are the best practices with regards to post-war accountability?

It is further argued that greater democratisation and fuller accountability regarding the war are indispensable complementarities. Therefore it has also become necessary to re-scrutinise the emphatic assertion that post-war accountability, democracy, good governance and post-conflict reconciliation are integral parts of a single package or located on a continuum.

In the first place, let us examine the evidence with regard to democratisation. Even if one were to adhere to the notion of a worldwide trend towards democracy, I would remind the reader that there is no single worldwide or universal trend, there are universal trends (plural), some of which tend to cancel the other out, or combine in a fashion that modifies the outcome. Thus the ‘End of History’ meets ‘the Clash of Civilisations’, with unforeseeable results.  Authentic adherence to pluralism has not only a domestic but also a global dimension; recognising that there is a plurality of global trends, such as democratisation as well as multi-polarity propelled by newly emerging powers, and the Asian resurgence.

This being said, I think the late Prof Huntington was onto something when he wrote of the Third Wave. He was referring to the great waves of democratisation, the first being in Southern Europe in the 1970s, when the long lasting dictatorships in Spain, Portugal and the ‘younger’ ones in Greece and Turkey collapsed. The second wave swept Latin America. The Third wave (or was it the fourth?) took down the Soviet bloc. I would say the fourth (or was it the third?) wave was in East Asia: the Philippines, South Korea and Indonesia. My slight confusion is because the Philippines restored democracy in 1986 and Indonesia in 1998, with the events of 1989 in Eastern Europe and Russia ’91 falling in-between. The Arab world is experiencing the fifth wave.

Now it must be emphasised that in the overwhelming number of these democratic transitions (with the GDR case being a short-lived exception), openings or re-openings, there were no accountability hearings with regard to the conduct of the militaries of those countries. More: an amnesty, or the pledge not to rake up accountability issues, was part of a compact which underpinned democratisation and guaranteed stability and forestalled further polarisation.

So accountability probes were not part of the great waves of democratisation, and were perceived to be counterproductive to the grand bargain that underpinned the project.  More starkly, democracy and accountability did not go together. It was, more often than not, a question of democracy OR accountability.

The picture is no different with regard to post conflict reconciliation. From the Spanish civil war to the Philippines and Indonesia, the post conflict reconciliation process did not involve accountability probes. These were regarded as dangerously lacerating and polarising. Here again, accountability was not understood as a precondition for reconciliation but as a potential threat, and it was often a choice of reconciliation OR accountability.

In some cases, accountability issues have been allowed to surface only after decades have passed. Chile is about to probe the death of President Salvador Allende not only almost forty years after the event but a few decades after the restoration of democracy. Bangladesh is opening an inquiry into atrocities committed by militia during its war of independence in 1971, forty years ago.

Most societies settle accounts with their violent pasts by classically cathartic means such as artistic expression and public debate. Thus, some accounts are better balanced by History and left to what the French called la longue durée, the long term — and to future generations.

Reconciliation is more readily achieved and more rooted through a negotiated compact between all democratic stakeholders. Such a process has already been initiated in Sri Lanka.

The most incisive comments at the Paris dialogue were by the former Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Dr Ifthikar Ahmed Chowdhury, who had been among those in the Security Council who negotiated the consensus on R2P. Quipping that R2P should not be used  in a manner that made for its interpretation not as the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ but the ‘Rush to Plunder’ he cautioned that the most important impact of the intervention in Libya was that it would halt progress in efforts at nuclear non-proliferation. States would note that Libya had given up its nuclear programme and was being bombed, while that would not have been the case had it still possessed a nuclear capacity. Thus, those states that had ongoing nuclear programmes would be even more reluctant than before to give them up, while others would seek to embark on such programmes. On this point, Dr Chowdhury was supported by Emeritus Professor SD Muni of the JNU.

While the most stridently unambiguous criticism of external military invention in Libya has come from the leftwing leaderships, governments and movements of Latin America, which know a thing or two about revolution, counterrevolution, imperialism and national sovereignty, Prof Muni drew attention to the abstention by the BRICs (Brazil, Russia, India, China) and the dissenting remarks by India during the Security Council debate on Libya. Echoing the more recent criticisms made by the BRICs, he ventured the suggestion that these would emerge as the moral, ethical and Realist centre of the world community, not engaged in warlike activism and risking overstretch, but in peaceful economic expansion and cooperation.

The most direct impact of the events in the Arab world on Asia were seen to be economic: the hike in oil prices and the possible diminution of remittances from migrant labour, which could constitute a shock effect on Asian economies and living standards, thereby triggering social unrest.

It is against the backdrop of these developments that the current commentary on the external challenges to Sri Lanka must be embedded.

Governments the world over certainly do point to external threats to shore up domestic power and legitimacy. Sometimes these threats are real, sometimes not. Sometimes they are real but exaggerated. Sometimes the threats could have been better met with a different government or existing governments could themselves have better met the threats had they conducted themselves differently.

One would expect oppositional or dissenting political discourse to differentiate between real and unreal threat, accurately depicted and exaggerated threat, and treated and untreated external problems.  That, however, is not the case in Sri Lanka. Here, criticism of the government with regard to external challenges falls into two equally absurd categories. One is that there is no such threat and that all mention of such external foes or challenges is but a ploy of the Rajapaksa regime which must be exposed and rejected as fake by all brave and discerning souls. Another argument is that yes, there are challenges looming but those external forces are not a threat to Sri Lanka and its people — only to the ruling elite, and liberation through ‘regime termination’ will someday be at hand by the blessed intercession of these external factors and forces.

Taken together, the anti-government discourse is that there is no external threat to Sri Lanka as a country, a state, and if there is, it is to be welcomed as a lever to prise out the incumbent administration.

A dissenting discourse less irrational than this would have yielded a different line of argument, namely that there is an external threat which should be combated but that there are better and worse ways of so doing; choices between projects of defending national sovereignty and defeating the secessionist and pro-secessionist forces in the Cold war being waged against Sri Lanka.

Yet, this is not the case made by the local oppositional ideologues. The decisive and virtually complete decimation of the military apparatus of the LTTE is used as argument that there cannot be any external threat because there is no LTTE to constitute that threat. This argument is absurd on two counts. Firstly, it is manifestly the case that while the Tiger armed force was wiped out, or to put it differently, the Tigers were wiped out as an armed force, the Tiger movement or network based overseas could not be wiped out and remained intact, simply because it was out of the physical reach of the Sri Lankan state.  Secondly, winning a hot war in no way precludes a Cold war.

Recent developments in the global arena demonstrate the truth of the old cliché that lies at the heart of the Realist discourse from Thucydides onwards: the world is a dangerous place. In such a dangerous environment, states must be watchful of their independence, interests and power.

Our old enemies, the secessionists, seek to resume the struggle by other means, and win by them. These enemies are manipulating the dangerous trends in the world arena which threaten national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. The overseas-based secessionists hope to leverage these external trends and factors so as to isolate Sri Lanka.

While the Rajapakse administration may be accused of many a sin of omission and commission, it did not create the Global Tamil Forum, the British Tamil Forum, the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam and the pro-Tamil secessionist tendency in Tamil Nadu. Nor is it responsible for Tamil nationalism’s imprudent refusal to regard the existing Constitutional provisions for Provincial autonomy and power sharing as the point of departure for political dialogue.

There is an inherent contradiction between the call for a so-called independent international inquiry into the conduct of the legitimate Sri Lankan armed forces in the closing months of the war, and the imperative to defend a popular war of national liberation and reunification and the armed forces that waged it on behalf of the nation.

There is also an inherent contradiction between those who claim to stand for greater democratisation and post-war ethnic reconciliation, and the call for an inquiry, with its inevitably attendant lacerating and polarising implications. Developments in the Middle east highlight the crucial role of the armed forces, and those with the armed forces ‘on side’, enjoyed a peaceful denouement or development. It is an impossibility to retain the support or neutrality of the armed forces, itself a bulwark of peaceful democratisation, and simultaneously advocate an external or externally induced wide-ranging inquiry into its conduct in recently concluded, necessary and nationally popular war.

In conclusion I confess a certain perspective. To my mind, the more valuable debate in the Sri Lankan media would be over how external threats should realistically be countered, the armed forces best defended, national sovereignty best protected in the inclement international weather, and the historic military victory made permanent.  This debate is currently not taking place. Instead there is a three way split between those who acknowledge a threat but see it as emanating from every quarter and are unwilling to display the pragmatic flexibility to counter these threats, those who assert that the threats are imaginary and denounce the country’s elected leadership for attempting to alert and resist, and those who, with little hope of electoral legitimacy, are awaiting the landfall of those inimical external trends onto Sri Lanka’s shores.

  • justitia

    These political pundits quoted by the writer,are divorced from the reality of the actual situation in sri lanka.The Global Tamil Forum, British Tamil Forum, Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam and the socalled “secessionists” are highlighting the prevalent injustice and oppression of tamils in sri lanka and this is the reason why they are
    supposed to be ‘threats’ to the regime.
    http://www.tamilnet.com/art.html?catid=13&artid=33805
    Persons are being held in prison for 17 years and more without charges being framed and being tried in courts of law.
    Hundreds are also being held in secret detention camps elsewhere.
    Thousands have ‘disappeared’ without trace.The northeast is like an open prison camp, with occasional killings, bodies being found and relocated IDPs harassed.
    This shows the state of “Rule of Law” and judicial process in sri lanka.All this verbiage quoting as usual,ancient thinkers,cannot bluff anyone.

  • Zorro

    “Reconciliation is more readily achieved and more rooted through a negotiated compact between all democratic stakeholders. Such a process has already been initiated in Sri Lanka”….
    DJ what do you think after two years of end of the war, there is still a massive military presence in the North, and there are permits required from the defense secretary to travel to these areas. No neutral organization or NGOs allowed to travel and however no media personal can report without fear of abduction or death. You mean this is how the home grown solution should look like? In the past all reports of any implemented commissions to find a solution for the ethnic conflict were dumped! the GoSL says the UN panel report is “biased & flawed” like other denials of GoSL, and you know why. There was no real interest in reconciliation from the sides of GoSL, the only interest is to stay in power and using patriotism and nationalism to reach this goal. All comments and interventions from outside were denied under the cloak of sovereignty. By extending the Emergency rule under the presumptuous threat of terrorism all civic rights are run to their minimum. And the ruling party buy MPs of the opposition with the promise of a minister post to achieve the majority in the parliament…. and you call it democracy?

  • Every sensible person knew that GOSL would reject the UN Panel report.

    The Sinhalese mind is totally and irreversably “flawed” and “biased”. It can never see reason and justice on Tamil matters.

    No point in talking to Sri Lankans. Impose sanctions and take them to the Hague.

    The world is in chaos because all the dictators have the same mind. That is why they also started shooting and killing civilians their own citizens after SL did to the Tamils.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Zorro, even the pretty critical US State Dept report calls Sri Lanka “a multiparty democracy”. If it weren’t how on earth was the TNA allowed to contest and win?

  • Bundoora

    Dear Zorro ,

    Satisfied with the DJ’s answer, this is what we call “koheda yanne malle poll “

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Oh no, Bundoora’s back. in action! Zorro’s bottom line is whether I call sri lanka a democracy. I reply by quoting the latest US state Dept report that calls sri Lanka a multi party democracy, and go on to point out that if weren’t, the TNA would not have done as well as it did, nor indeed been allowed to contest . Bundoora thinks that is irrelevant….

  • Sarath Fernando.

    Dear Dayan,

    Some time in the recent past you presented a seemingly academic discourse on how to judge the fairness of a war – delineating two specific components, namely just cause and just means (or actually the Latin equivalents, perhaps to establish credibility).

    You went on to further assert that the means employed by the Government was “just”.

    Could you please confirm if you still believe (a) that both just cause and just means are necessary criteria for judging the war, and (b) whether, despite the current news items, you still have faith in your assertion that the means employed were just.

    It will be nice to get a direct and explicit response, if that is not too much to ask.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Dear Sarath Fernando,

      Yes on both counts. That explicit and direct enough for you?

      • Sarath Fernando.

        Yes indeed dear, dear Dayan – explicit enough and possibly more explicit than you had intended.

        First of all it is exceptionally explicit on your discomfort in having to answer this. The frustration is vivid in the brusqueness – rather unbecoming, I’d say, of either an academic or a diplomat!

        Next, it is also particularly explicit on the duplicity of your argument. On the one hand you concede you have faith in the necessity to judge the war for its fairness, and to do that based on two components, one being the means used.

        On the other hand you suggest that investigation for accountability is not needed.

        How do you suggest that the fairness of the means be verified and validated if investigation for accountability is not conducted?

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    C’mon GV, Sarath Fernando is pretty pathetic even given the average prejudiced GV-er. When i am being ‘ explicit and direct’ I am not being diplomatic, and when I am being diplomatic, i am not being ‘ explicit and direct’.

    As for the ‘ brilliant’ question as to how I can tell that ours was a just war without an accountability hearing, gimme a break. the paradigmatic just wars– the US Civil War, the Second world war, The Six Day war, the Chinese war of liberation against Japan and Chiang kai shek, the Vietnamese Liberation war against imperialisms, the African liberation wars against Portugal– was there an accountability hearing regarding the victors in any one of them? Do we need one to judge these ‘ just wars’? Have you ever read of such a suggestion?

    Sarath Fernando proves Lenin’s point that one fool can ask more questions than ten intelligent men can answer. I don’t have the time and I also confess an allergy to rectifiable ignorance. The best thing he can do is think…and as a preparation, read. ‘ Bye.

    • Sarath Fernando.

      Dear, dear Dayan – I am afraid your reaction is unmistakably reflective of your distress and embarrassment – distinctly lacking in confidence or courage.

      Just the same ruse – when pushed to a corner, scream foul and weasel out. Rather a wimpy attempt that doesn’t exactly rise to any respectability, either as an academic or as a diplomat – politician, may be.

      It was you who made the point there is a need to judge the fairness of the war, and one of the two components to do that was to verify the “means”. You went to Latin-lengths (evidently borrowed from a Google search) to regurgitate your signature academic drivel on this issue not long ago. And now your stand is that investigation is not necessary. My question was simple – how do you suggest one verifies the fairness of the “means” of the conduct of war, if one is against investigating it.

      You take a stand – if it was a principled one, you would have the courage and conviction to defend it. That would be “being explicit” – it is not a yes or no questioning session.

      Come to think of it, your inability to answer responsibly is possibly revealing enough. You got to do what you got to do – else, there may be another fax like that dreaded one that came two years ago – eh?

  • Dear Sarath Fernando ,

     Do not waste your time with this highly venerated political appointee, what do you expect! when was the last time he gave a clear cut answer for a compromising question (apart from his pathetic  yes or no ) ,he will be beating the bush with his astonishing lingo skills leaving a side the real issue , as you said when you corned him , this clever doctor had  no option but to sneak out ,only  blaming you and the GV.  Here is a man who supported 18 th amendment for pure selfishness (Nations are too strong a socio-historical reality to be killed off by constitutional amendments-The Sunday Leader – September 12, 2010 ) , and next day claiming ‘i did not ‘ , may be his hard earned  P.hD might have helped him to utter baloney like this  in order to dupe uneducated fools like us.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Dear GV Editors,

      Please help me out here. Are your pseudonymous contributors seriously challenged by the English language or logic or both?

      How does my point that the 18th amendment cannot kill off a nation ( a reply to a Sunday Leader edit or an AHRC statement which said that it spelled the death of the nation) be a defence of the 18th amendment, especially when I have challenged any reader to quote a single sentence or phrase by which I support that piece of legislation? If I say that Wijeweera andid not kill Richard de Zoysa and Prabhakaran did not kill Lasantha Wickrematunga or indeed Uma maheswaran, is that “a defence” or an expression of support for Wijeweera and Prabhakaran?

      Furtnermore, how come a “yes or no” is “pathetic” and not “a clear cut answer”? In what kind or state of mind can ” yes or no” be characterised as anything but ” a clear cut answer” ? How much more ” clear cut” can one get, than “yes or no”?

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Oh Sarath….by the way, your repeated and surprised references to my Latin phrases reveal that you do not have the slightest idea of the lineage of “just war theory”.

      Can you think of a more unjust means of winning war than the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki?

      Can you think of a war that was more just in character than the second World War waged against fascism?

      Now why don’t you get to the back of the class and work that one out…

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Your question is ” how do you suggest one verifies the fairness of the “means” of the conduct of war, if one is against investigating it?”

    My answer was that it is a dumb-ass question. Were the means used by the Union army in the US Civil war, the Israelis in ’67, the Vietnamese from 1945-75 and in the ovethrow of Pol Pot, the Angolan government forces from 1976-88, etc, “just”, and if so who investigated them and when? And if there was no investigation, are they to be judged unjust and if not why has no one made that “brilliantly orignal” argument?

    By the way, I think this guy should read the recent report, (hitherto uncontradicted)in a non-state paper, of Cardinal Ranjith’s remarks on the subject of such allegations against Sri Lanka. Perhaps Mr Fernando’s view is that His Eminence is worried about a fax too?

  • Sarath Fernando.

    My dear, dear Dayan,
    Yes indeed, both your responses were clear-cut – but contradictory. Do you not see the hypocrisy in taking the position that the fairness of the war needs to be assessed on the basis of “fairness of means” used, and turn back and argue that a “verification of the means used” is not necessary?

    Did you not, in an earlier article put forward the argument that the fairness of the war needs to be assessed on the basis of “just cause” and “just means”, and then go on to assert that the latter was met, without providing any substantiation what so ever for that. Perhaps it is a dementia-issue that is beyond your control at this stage of life.

    Your response was clear-cut – in that it was unambiguous. You really think that is the same as being explicit? And you are the one to boast of a PhD? Well, Marvyn does and the princely siblings do too – so, why not you? Even Chandrika was nearly-one.

    I have no problem respecting your position on any issue, provided you are able to defend it. You project unflinching confidence that the current leadership will pursue democracy – but when asked to name one single act that gives you that confidence – you opt to weasel out with one excuse or another. You were such ardent supporter of the education-reform that was put forward, but when asked to name one item in that policy package that you supported – it turned out to be a Sarah Palin moment!

    It was indeed amusing to see your dumb-ass reference. One interpretation of what a dumb-ass question is that it is one so simple that only a dumb-ass will have difficulty answering! Wow, were you spot on or what?! Even when you are right, that seems to happen only by accident.

    Anyhow, dear chap, was that a “Mommie – help me ” appeal to GV? If you want to pursue unchallenged propaganda for narrow interests, I am sure you can find ample platforms and stooges who operate them in this once-resplendent land. Some of us, even if only a minority, still feel the need to protect and preserve some dignity and civility, and have our eyes set on the long-term interests of the land rather than just the bread & butter (and perhaps some croissants for good measure) that seems critical to you, never-mind that they come soaked in innocent blood.

    Thank God that GV offers a platform to challenge pseudo-intellects, fraudsters, clowns and the like. If you have the conviction and confidence in your thought process, you truly don’t need Mommy.

    GV extended you the courtesy of turning a blind eye to your many, uncalled-for, but now-familiar, characteristic, effeminate (“bitchy”) defensive posturing such as “challenged by the language (how does that matter old chap?)”, “go for your class”, etc. On that account, I am confident GV will not grudge me some laxity or latitude, for some indulgence that I would normally shy away from.

    And as for the Latin reference, how can I forget – it was so amusing. A simple Google search takes one to a Wikipedia page (link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_War) that provides the entire lineage that you had made such fuss about. Given your compulsive need to present 80% of the information in those two pages, it was difficult not to wonder.

    Lastly, dear Dayan – you reference and your show of unquestioned faith in Cardinal Ranjith’s statement (with emphasis on “hitherto uncontradicted”)was not just timely but revealing of your intelligence, integrity and sentiments. Here is a link to an item from today’s Srilanka Guardian you might find refreshingly outside your routine reading-menu. Please hold you breadth on that faith you have – we’ll all be the better for that.

    • Lakshan

      Dear Sarath

      Mind telling us how come a Tamil masquerade as a Sinhalese person
      Any reasons for your decision to masquearde

    • Lakshan

      Also Dr Dayan Jayathilake does not want to hold any one’s hand. He is far better equipped than any phony Diaspora “expert” with his mastery in the art of diplomacy which he amply shown when dealing with Ealamist diplomatic skirmishes against SL in Geneva. I don’t think a guy of his caliber should be arguing with a member of Tamil Diaspora whose ultimate intention is the retention of (fast evaporating)privileges he/she has in West due tough anti immigration laws , specifically there to prevent fraudsters from slipping through loop holes. So what better way than to trash the country of your birth in order win the meal ticket from benevolent liberals of the west( again a fast vanishing brand ).
      Pity when you think what passed for experts in LTTE like late Bala and Thamilselvam, the latter being a barber yet qualified to be a spokesperson for LTTE. Speaks volumes for the standards of (so-called) Tamil Liberation Struggle I guess 🙂 an improvement from being cobblers ,what

      • Sarath Fernando.

        Dearest Lakshan,

        I was not going to dignify your claptrap but unfortunately the humour in this was too good to pass.

        Yes, I confess – you have unmasked me, Oh clever one. I am the son of a cobbler, a high-school-drop out (Dayan will vouch for that), a fraud immigrant now doing “barbering” among my beloved immigrant Disapora in the West at the mercy of the meal tickets from the benevolent liberals (No benevolent conservatives in the West? How come?) Does that confession satisfy you and vindicates your (and Dayan’s) suspicion?

        Now, tell me. You have such absolute confidence that Dayan’s is “far better equipped than any phony Diaspora experts with his mastery in the art of diplomacy which he amply shown when dealing with Ealamist diplomatic skirmishes against SL in Geneva (wow! Was that a mouth-full for this illiterate?!). Well, that is what you said – right?

        But then, you also felt that Dayan would need your help and your authentication of his abilities to defend himself against any arguments from this lowly, illiterate, starving, “Diasporic” high-school drop out barber, the son of a cobbler! Correct? Brilliant logic! Clever Boy (or Girl, as the case may be) – give your self a nice little pat. Or even better, hop over to Dayan’s room and he’ll give you a nicer pat I am sure – you earned it!

      • Lakshan

        Dear Sarath

        You seem to have limitless powers of deduction. Pray what made you think that I was another avatar of Dayan ? ( if you have any doubt in this regard pls ask GV. ) of course when one’s privileges are about to be endangered they might become demented, or as evinced in your case blind with hatred.
        The Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper mercifully maintains strong position agsinst LTTE as the bogus asylum seekers and God forbid, hard core LTTE cadres that are trying to infiltrate that country. The canard of perpetual Sinhalese victimization of Tamils has to be utilized to survive perils that are thrown on the way of hapless Tamil Diaspora.
        Otherwise how can you claim that you are a legit refugee. the Perpetual Victimization Syndrome we call it & our friend “Sarath” seem to suffer from it very much.
        Tell me why you guys with such brilliant powers of reasoning ( what a lark!) became putty in the hands of late unlamented Prabhakaran and his lackeys. Why you guys with such quality education became mindless uncomplaining slaves of a psychopathic murderer who couldn’t even make it up to the eighth grade ??? You , the “intelligent” people were quite content lay at the feet of a illiterate murderer and worship him as if he were the Sun God ( SLA crushed the myth of that deification) Where was your logical reasoning when you cheered video films of LTTE massacring entire villages killing women and babies, claymore bombing school children and contributed to LTTE treasury in bucket loads of cash (think majority of that contribution came Tamil Canadians) so more carnage can be visited upon Sinhalese people.
        You who supported dismantlement of Sri Lankan state now suddenly worried about so-called human rights abuses. In fact I remember editorial of Tamil Guardian , telling Tamils trapped between SLA and LTTE to not to heed pleas by Sri Lankan Government to cross over to controlled areas. To these vain and selfish Diaspora activists self aggrandizement was more important than plight of tamil people on the ground. See the hypocritical advice they dished out from their air conditioned offices in London.
        So much to tell Sarath. Your slip is showing. At least now accept your hypocrisy and join with us to rebuild this country.

      • Sarath Fernando.

        [Edited out.]

        Dear Sarath Fernando, Lakshan et al.

        Please address the topic of the article.

        Thank you.

        GV.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      This guy ‘ Sarath Fernando’ is most helpful as he is so very symptomatic. in answer to his queries I reiterated that yes, I still regard the war as just in both senses. He keeps saying that an yes answer is ‘explicit’ but not ‘unambiguous’. That’s his new definition of ambiguity, one in which a clear affirmative is ‘ambiguous’.

      What part of ‘yes’ doesn’t he get?

      He then wants to know how I can call a war just when I am opposed to an accoubntability hearing into the means used. I reply that the foundational criteria of a just war is just cause; I give examples. He doesn’t get it. I can give others: the Union armies burned down parts of Atlatna Georgia. Just means? Who knows or investigated it? Just War? For sure. The Allies firebombed Dresden. Just means? Any azccountability hearing? You have to be kidding. Just War? Decidedly. In June ’67 the Israelis let the Egyptian soldiers walk around in the Negev desert and die of thirst. Just means? Just War, Certainly according to Michael Walzer.

      Now ‘Sarath Fernando’ revisits my views on SB’s educational reforms. What’s the connection? Only he knows. What do I support in them? As I said then, tough action on ragging, pushing the importance of English and letting in foreign universities.

      Next up, he urges us to read an item on Cardinal Ranjith. I too think all GV readers should read the item. It is full of crude hatred of the Cardinal, and on this Good Friday, reminds me of the mob led by the Pharisees which cried out ‘crucify him’! This venomous attack is the best evidence of where ‘Fernando’ is coming from.

      He wonders if at my age, I have dementia. He thinks that’s a civilised polemical accusation. He should apologise to all dementia patients. So should the GV editors for carrying that line. Well I don’t know, but if I do have it, it was missed by those at the Jackson Institute of Global Affairs at Yale ( where Gen Stanley McChrystal is currently) who invited me to present a paper on Global Leadership, and commented on my presentation. The possibility has also escaped the editors of the journal founded by the present Russian Foreign Minister that has just invited me to write an essay on the evolution of the world balance of forces. (I’ll send it for posting on GV with their permission, once it appears). I daresay that even if I ever do have dementia, I’ll still be writing more sense, with more logic, and earning more recognition, than ‘Sarath Fernando’… and it won’t be while hiding behind an ethnic mask either.

  • Sarath Fernando.

    Dear, dear Dayan,

    Please re-read the following line from my previous note, preferably about five times – “Your (yes) response was clear-cut – in that it was unambiguous. You really think that is the same as being explicit?” That is exactly what I wrote.

    How does my line somehow translate to, as you tried to restate, “a yes answer is ‘explicit’ but not ‘unambiguous’.

    If after the re-reading, if it still remains unclear, then may be it is time to take it to someone who truly understand English/logic that you have illusions of having mastered! I bet there will be revelation — it is never too late to get the basics right. If you still have trouble with it, please let me know, I will be glad to help sort out your confusion.

    Here is what you wrote in November 2010 “two of which were mentioned at the LLRC: the criteria by which a war has a just cause (‘jus ad bellum’) and those by which a war is judged to have been waged by just means and methods (‘jus in bello’). A just war must demonstrably meet both these criteria and ours (demonstrably) did. I repeat “both these criteria” – not “just cause” alone; and also that “ours demonstrably did”. Your statements, precisely.

    Here is what you wrote today, conveniently trimming to just one criterion: “I reply that the foundational criteria of a just war is just cause.”

    Further, in this same thread earlier you made the comment “Do we need one to judge these just wars? Have you ever read of such a suggestion?” Do you now see who made the suggestion and the judgment “A just war must demonstrably meet both these criteria and ours (demonstrably) did”?

    Do these help clarify my concern of possible dementia?

    As for your faked hysteria and dementia-rhetoric – my suggestion was that your inability to recollect was perhaps due to dementia, a condition not infrequently associated with aging. How does my suggesting you may have dementia somehow is insulting to all dementia patients? What logic! If there indeed was an insult in that to dementia patients, perhaps, that will be on account of my comparing you with them, even if only on a single symptom.

    Seems like you got a convenient lackey (or possibly just another pen-identity?) to help you with your habitual “stone throwing.” Do you truly needed a side-support to convince me that you can manage without some “hand-holding”? Really? Come-on Dayan – do you not see the irony in that?

    For you guys, anyone holding a different, civilized view is automatically an enemy of the state: either a member of the despised Diaspora, a terrorist, a terrorist sympathizer, or something of that order – haven’t you done enough with the several, impartial local and foreign journalists, academics, trusted organizations, diplomats, emissaries,… the list goes on?

    You guys have determined my ethnicity – huh! Is it because that becomes easier to condemn and throw stones at? Please grow up and realize that it is not just the LTTE, starving (as you seem to believe) Diaspora or the trapped minority that see you guys for your need to get away with destroying a democracy for selfish gains. There are ample platforms to carry on your propaganda unchallenged – GV is not one. Remember the reasons the “group of eminent persons” gave for not concluding their investigations in the country? And, you guys are the patriots that we are blessed with for our future development and to guide the younger generation? God Bless this land.

    About my identity or ethnicity – here is a little trick. If you guys learn to tell the truth and nothing but the truth – then you will have less to fear and fewer reasons to worry about others lying, masquerading, or what ever, assuming that is indeed your business to start with. Wasn’t it your esteemed colleagues at the foreign ministry who convinced us not long ago that 99% of the Diaspora are “with us” – and that you have ample proof of that from the unending calls you receive on a daily basis? So, it is this one-percent Diaspora that is giving you all this headache – ha? Oh! Damned that one-percent. And, yes, damn me, who is in that one-percent!

    In case you still have not figured out, my revival of the Educational reform issue was to point out your habitual inability to justify or even explain reasons behind the positions you take. Of course you can answer it now, nearly four months or so after being questioned on that – to her credit, Sarah Palin took much less time to learn that Africa was not a country.

    As for your dramatic exclamation on the issue of Cardinal Ranjith’s article, let me ask you — are you “on this Good Friday” calling Rev. Ivan Pedropillai a racist for the comments he made? Is Sri Lanka Guardian also run by the LTTE/Diaspora/Cardinal haters? Is that your point? When did you achieve the divinity to tell all of us which Cardinal is right and which reverend is wrong? My point is, read widely and try to get a balanced view – don’t read merely to pick and choose just what is convenient for your narrow, if not harmful, objectives – harmful to society, civility and democracy. Education was never meant to be used that way.

    I’ll let your trade-mark drum-beating slide.

    Instead, just for good measure, may I ask you for the umpteenth time, from your point of view, which of the policies implemented by the current leadership convinces you that the country is being lead on a progressive democratic path? No rush — I can wait another four or even more months – if that is what it takes.

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      This guy ‘Sarath Fernando’ is just so much fun. When i mention two crietria, it does not mean that I consider them of equal importance: just war theory posits the criteria of jaust cause and just means, but just cause came first and was the foundation. That this is so in actual evaluatory practice is something i proved by the many examples I have given ( WW2/Dresden/Hiroshim etc).

      ‘Fernando’ equates my use of the term ‘demonstrably’, with accountability– in that he posits a contradiction between my point about ‘demonstrably just means’ and my oppsition to an accountability probe. Let’s make this simple: I think that the GV editors should be demonstrably well-educated, but I do not think there should be an accountability hearing or any other sort of hearing into their academic qualifications, and would oppose any such! I do think that Sri lanka’s war was demonstrably just in regard to its means: there couldn’t be so many ex-Tiger surrendees/detainees if it weren’t; nor would world TV have shown those many tens of thousands being rescued by the SLA troops who broke the trench-bunds. If for instance i had ben unable to demonstrate that we had a just cause and used just means , we wouldn’t have won that vote in Geneva. I certainly think that Sri Lanka should further demonstrate, perhaps by means of a White Paper, the basically just and proportional character of the means used. But that in no way means submission to anyone’s accountability hearings!

      Having suppressed what I wrote at the time about SB Dissanaike’s attempts at educatiuonal reform, which I supported in print as an attempt at modernisation, ‘ Fernando’ now invokes something about the Diaspora that is alleged to have been said by my ‘esteemed colleagues of the Foreign Ministry’. How on earth is that relevant to me or this discussion?

      Methinks ‘Sarath Fernando’ has picked up the late Anton Balasingham’s penchant for mobile goal-posts.

      I also notice he has no problem whatsoever with the vicious statement that calls for Cardinal Ranjith’s ‘ de-frocking’.

      • Agnos

        DJ: “If for instance i had ben unable to demonstrate that we had a just cause and used just means , we wouldn’t have won that vote in Geneva.”

        Such fantasy! If you had such a “great victory” in Geneva, why are you charlatans so worried about the UNSG’s panel report on war crimes?
        Face it: the HRC is, and has always been, a joke. Countries like Libya– yes Libya, with Gaddafi at the helm, can you believe it?–headed the HRC. Egypt with Mubarak at the helm supported SL at the HRC. Since then, there has been a massive transformation in the Middle East.

        Your ‘victory’ in Geneva has been shown to be great farce, a fraud. Real things are just starting. Sit back and watch as justice is coming to you all, wherever in the world you and your fellow thuggish leaders seek to hide.

        See what Gordon Weiss says in the latest Australian piece about your kind? About SL’s Srebrenica moment?

        Whatever happens to the panel report, and whatever happened at the HRC, the idea that GoSL committed massive war crimes has been firmly entrenched throughout the world–certainly in all major countries that matter–in the last few days. No amount of obfuscation by you can change that fact. Investigations may continue for the next several years, and justice may come only slowly, but it will come surely.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Will somebody please explain to this guy ‘Sarath Fernando’ that ‘foundational’ ( or ‘ basic’ , ‘ decisive’ , ‘determinant’, ‘dominant’) does not mean single or monocausal? One can have ten criteria of which one can be foundational, just as one can have fifty stories with a single foundation. So also with Just War.

    But let’s get up close and personal with’ Fernando’ and his discourse; let’s unpack where he is coming from.

    He wants to know whether I dare to call fr Ivan Pedropillai a tamil racist. I did no such thing. But i do want the GV readers to know exactly what i take objection to and what ‘ Fernando’ precisely commends, associates himself with and criticises me for taking exception to. Thus the readers and editors of GV can make their own independent judgment.

    Let me quote the report that he refers to. here goes:

    “…When Sri Lanka Guardian contacted Ivan Pedropillai a leading Tamil Catholic citizen of standing, he said: ‘If this report in the Sri Lankan ‘Island’ newspaper is correct, this political Cardinal should have no place in the episcopate of our holy Catholic Church. He does not seem to care about innocent people being killed en masse by the Sri Lankan government merely because they were defenceless Tamils in the wrong place. We should not remain silent in the face of such evil even if the man wore scarlet red. He has prostituted his moral conscience to the evil Machiavellian President Rajapakse’.

    ‘Paraphrasing Cardinal Wolsley in Tudor England, it might be also said of our own repugnant Cardinal ” Had I but served my God with half the zeal I served my President (king), he would not in mine age have left me naked to mine enemies”. Cardinal Malcolm Patabendige Ranjith has brought the Holy Catholic Church into disrepute and should be recalled to the Vatican and sent into a monastery of prayer for repentance.

    ‘Can we start a petition stating that this scurrilous assault by him on a report by an eminent panel of UN experts on war crimes and crimes against humanity in Sri Lanka shows a lack of moral scruples and Christian standards on his part, and appeal to the Holy Father to hold an inquiry and to defrock him if the charge is proven. This is not the first time that this rogue Cardinal has involved himself in the dirty racist politics of the Sri Lankan government’.

    Another pious Anton Soosaithasan was very angry and said: ‘I cannot believe a top Catholic clergy can be so insensitive and selfish. He has now confirmed that he is the Cardinal for the extremist Sinhalese and definitely not the minorities. He has reflected his real extremist Sinhala mindset and I have no hesitation in asking him to join racist JHU, Wimal Weerawanse groups or even he could make his sermons to the war criminals Rajapakse family’.” (‘ Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is Accused of making Cardinal Sin’ SLG).

    This is the nauseating report that Fernando commends , and defends against any criticism by me.

    Let us also read what it was that set off this diatribe. To be fair let us quote from the report itself:

    “It was reported in the government pampered ‘The Island’ newspaper datelined April 19, 2011 quoting Albert Malcolm Ranjith, the Cardinal Patabendige Don. Archbishop of Colombo that ‘a controversial report by a three-member UN Panel on accountability issues in Sri Lanka is part of a conspiracy against the country’.

    His comments published in the controversial anti-Tamil rabid newspaper have invited the wrath of the Tamil community that he has lost his religious senses to make his ill thought political statement to redeem the image of the war crime President Mahinda Rajapakse. The Tamil radio stations and televisions stations in the United Kingdom reflected the anger of the Tamil people in their news bulletin and discussion programmes.

    Cardinal Ranjith in his interview had further said that ‘the country was being harassed by those who couldn’t stomach Sri Lanka’s victory over terrorism. Sri Lanka should be wary of those hostile elements trying to destabilize post-war recovery’. The Cardinal had further said ‘now that the war was over, the country should be given an opportunity to progress’.

    Our source in Colombo confirmed that the Cardinal’s comments was timed to encourage support for the mass May Day rally called by the War Crime President Dr (Lumumba) Mahendra Percy Rajapakse against the UN panel report on Sri Lanka.” (Ibid)

    I leave it GV readers to judge whether the comments made by the Cardinal, as reported here, warrant the savage personally directed hysteria that it evoked– and if not, what that hysteria, plus its endorsement by ‘Sarath Fernando’ says about Fr Pedropillai, ‘Sarath Fernando’, where they are coming from, their ‘enlightened’ perspective on things and what they have in store for Sri Lanka if their cause wins.

    What in my view is the ‘progressive’ thing that Mahinda Rajapaksa is doing, Fernando asks me. Well, for one, having given the political leadership to crush the Tigers, and for another, serving as an obstacle to extremist hysterical whacko elements such as those whose fascist discourse I have excerpted. If not for him, maybe they’d take over through some external conspiracy and some puppet or another.

  • Sarath Fernando.

    Dear, dear Dayan.

    Yup – let’s make this simple:

    First this: “A just war must demonstrably meet both these criteria and ours (demonstrably) did.” (emphasis on the MUST please)

    And now : “When i mention two criteria, it does not mean that I consider them of equal importance”, and “”but just cause came first and was the foundation”. What happened to the “MUST”? Does that mean anything to you? No? Really?

    Not only that but now, “Do we need one to judge these just wars? Have you ever read of such a suggestion?” Let me repeat for your benefit “.. and ours (demonstrably) did” the judgment that you yourself made. See the irony in that? No? Really?

    Who is moving goal posts? I’ll make it simple to follow the progression: “Meeting both is a must…. “, — “doesn’t mean I consider them equal” – “Do we need to judge”? Clear now?

    We all realize your position “I do think that Sri Lanka’s war was demonstrably just in regard to its means” – your thinking does not make it absolute. That is why there is a need for verification so that we all can come “to KNOW” rather than just take your “I THINK.”

    Simple enough?

    • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

      Let’s make it simpler still, for ‘Sarath Fernando’. The use of the term must denotes an imperative, but it does not denote equal importance. Example: if I were to say that the GoSL MUST seek the support of all UN Security Council members, I certainly do NOT mean that it must accord equal weight, value and priority to all members, Permanent/veto wielding and non-permanent. Obviously the P5 count for more. So it is with just war criteria.

      Now this is not mere argumentation. As I have repeatedly pointed out with reference to many wars, from the US Civil war through to WW2 and Vietnam, historical and scholarly evaluation privileges ‘ just cause’ over ‘ just means’ even — or especially- when some fairly questionable means have been involeved ( the firebombing of Dresden, the atomic bombing of Japanese cities).

      ‘Sarath Fernando’ wants ‘verification’ so that those like him can ‘know’. Well, in the first place, humanity and History know that the war waged by the Allies against the Axis was a just one, without the kind of ‘verification’ that Mr ‘Fernando’ wants.

      In the second place, Sri Lanka isn’t dumb enough to open itself up for the kind of ‘verification’ that was conducted by the probes for WMD in Iraq, with the results we witnessed.

      In the third place, it took two commissions, and 38 years for the British citizenry to get the kind of “verification” that enabled them to “know” about Bloody Sunday, Londonderry 1972. Mr ‘ Fernando’ should be a little patient, and who knows, maybe someday he’ll have enough ‘verification’ to ‘know’.

      Finally, he must ponder the possibility that response of the majority of Sri Lankan citizens to his call for ‘ verification’ so he and those like him ‘know’, would be the same as Rhett Butler’s in Gone With the Wind –” Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”– or, to cite a more contemporaneous source, what Arnie Schwarzenneger (said to a devil) in ‘End of Days’ : “I don’t give a rat’s ass!”.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Hey Agnos, I couldn’t agree more. There’s absolutely nothing ‘ great’ about what happened in geneva. This is why I am appalled that the recommendations of the UNSG’s advisory panel’s report– at least in its leaked version– has two references to the UN HRC vote in May 2009 in Geneva, which accords it some kind of landmark status ( not least because it has no similar or parallel references to any diplomatic decision the panel would like re-visited.)

    As for my role, I agree , heck it wasn’t at all significant, so I can’t figure out what DBS Jeyaraj is on about in his deep background investigative piece on the subject of the UNSG-GoSL controversy in the Daily Mirror and his own website, today.

    On both counts, go figure!

    As for your predictions of the future, who knows? maybe they will be as accurate as your [predictions of the past, say pre-May 2009. Whichever way it goes, it won’t be on my watch, and nothing can erase the historical record of what the result was on my watch!

  • Sarath Fernando.

    Dear, dear Dayan,

    I am glad you are having fun.

    Let me help you out with the “mystery of the MUST” based on your elaboration “Will somebody please explain to this guy ‘Sarath Fernando’ that ‘foundational’ ( or ‘ basic’ , ‘ decisive’ , ‘determinant’) does not mean single or monocausal? One can have ten criteria of which one can be foundational, just as one can have fifty stories with a single foundation. So also with Just War.”

    This is nothing but your characteristic pseudo-academic drivel with no substance. Let me very carefully and in very easy steps explain the concept on MUST. (Incidentally, perhaps my previous observation missed the mark – the affliction may not be merely dementia as I suggested, but perhaps another age-appropriate dysfunction may be at play in making logic a bit of a challenge. Perhaps you have already heard that memory is only the second to go. In deference to that I will try to be not just clear-cut, but also explicit)

    (a)Do you have difficulty in understanding “imperative?” – It means absolutely necessary or unavoidable. And you agree a Must is an Imperative. The case should then be closed with that- right? No? O.K. then – to Try # 2.

    (b)Let me use your example and correct it for you. If you were to say that the GoSL MUST seek the support of all UN Security Council members, you certainly do NOT mean that it must accord equal weight, value and priority to all members, Permanent/veto wielding and non-permanent. But it does mean you MUST seek support of all members, independent of how you accord weight. Just “seek;” not necessarily “get” — that is the only flexibility you have. If the requirement is you MUST seek, then you don’t have the freedom to eliminate any member in your efforts to seek. If the requirement is “Must try to seek” then you have flexibility.

    To make it even clear for you, say, if the requirement was GoSL MUST get the signatures of all UN Security Council members, then, likewise you MUST get all signatures, even if you accord different weights to different members. Must means must – imperative.

    They sent you to Geneva without knowing this? Hey, check with GL – He is a nice gentlemen, somewhat stressed out now, but he will still help you sort out this mystery for you unless of course you have burnt some bridges. Perhaps working with the previous FM didn’t help – ha?

    (c)Taking that to the issue at hand, your statement in November that I copied was that “both must be met” – again, imperative that both needs to be met; equivalently, that one or the other alone is not acceptable, independent of which is more important or less important.

    Here is a simpler example: you want to board a plane – you must have a ticket, you must have proper identities, you must have the necessary travel papers, you must be willing to under go a security clearance and you must not carry liquid beyond a pre-determined limit in your hand luggage. Are all of those conditions equally important? Is carrying no liquid as important as having the plane ticket? To paraphrase you paraphrasing Rhett Butler – “Frankly my dear, they don’t care a damn.” If all these conditions are declared a must, then “must” it is — no option at your discretion to separate ‘foundational’, ‘basic’, monocausal or any other rat’s ass you would fancy. Get it?

    (d)Didn’t get it? No? O.K. – here is another way to look at it. My very first question to you was “Could you please confirm if you still believe that both just cause and just means are necessary criteria for judging the war” – and your clear-cut, unambiguous response was “Yes”. Correct? How come now “just means” is suddenly optional, is not foundational, not basic, not decisive, not determinant, or any other rat’s ass (your object of fancy for reference, not mine; I am just doing you a favour)?

    Can I ask you if you understand the concept of “necessary conditions?” Necessary conditions are indeed “must” conditions – meaning they have to be met, and they are not optional (foundational, basic or any other rats ass – my repeated reference is just for your comfort). Frankly, even then, the “necessary condition” by themselves may not be sufficient” – however, with deference to your challenges in logic at this point, let’s not complicate this too much. Just enough for you to know that if there are two “must” conditions, then they both must be met – neither of them can be optionally left out, what ever rat’s ass of relative importance is accorded to each of them.

    (e)An extension of my concern on this issue. Let me re-repeat for your benefit your assertion “A just war must demonstrably meet both these criteria and ours (demonstrably) did.” Can I ask you why you are now shying away from “having demonstrably met both”, and insisting that just cause is the only ‘foundational’, ‘ basic’ , ‘ decisive’ , ‘determinant’ or any other such rat’s ass. Are you now afraid your assertion that “both were demonstrably met” doesn’t hold water anymore?

    Actually you went one step further with a complete right-about-turn from the November assertion, now resorting to “Do we need one to judge these just wars? Have you ever read of such a suggestion?” What happened? Got cold feet? Are you regretting making those presumably pre-mature assertions in November?

    Are all of your assurances coming apart? Worried about a fax? If not, can you explain why the 180 degree turn since November’s assertions? (Remember we are just having fun – hope you are enjoying. Would hate to make any of your conditions any worse – I am sincere in that sentiment.)

    Now, you accused me of “mobile goals.” Here below I list (repeat, actually) how you moved your goal. Now, if your accusation is worthy/becoming of a professional, academic, diplomat or even just a gentleman (not all, even if just one) could you please list what goals and how I moved them? It is just a simple (remember Dumb Ass?) question.

    Here goes your goal positions – let me know if that is not a factual representation of your positions over time.
    1. “A just war must demonstrably meet both these criteria and ours (demonstrably) did.”
    2. “When i mention two criteria, it does not mean that I consider them of equal importance”, and “”but just cause came first and was the foundation”.
    3. “Do we need one to judge these just wars? Have you ever read of such a suggestion

    I assure you, I would not have asked this question if I didn’t feel your accusation was unwarranted – surprise me!

    I will make a separate posting to illuminate you on the Cardinal issue – this is again in deference to my previous concerns of taxing you too much, all at once.

    Take it easy.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Easter Sunday being far too significant and pleasant a day to spend in engagement with ‘Sarath Fernando’ and his strategy of (or instinct for) confusion through convolution, contortion and circumlocution, all accompanied by spluttering and hyperventilation ( we’re back to illnesses as invective, I see) let’s keep it short and focused.

    I have repeatedly cited examples of wars in histry which are regarded as almost classically or paradigmatically just, but also contain the use of means which are not unambiguously so. These examples ahve ranged from the US Civil war against secession, with its scorched earth tactics, through WW II, with its firebombing and atomic bombing, to the Six day war with the fate of the Egyptian soldiers walking in circles dying of thirst in the desert, to the Vietnamese Wars of liberation blemished by the massacre in Hue in 1968.

    Does this imply that just means are not a criteria of just war or that theee were not just wars? The answer to both questions is no. One of the most authoritative recent texts on just war theory by Michael walzer, once more deems the Six day war as Just.

    The conclusion and lesson, which I shall not repeat even out of pedagogical charity on Easter Sunday, is that clearly, while acknowledging and deploying both criteria, historians and theoreticians privilege one of these, that of Just cause, which preceded Just means, in the doctrine of just war ( hence ‘ foundational’). They do not seem to be awaiting accountability hearings or verification.

    ‘Fernando’ has conveniently ignored the volume of references in the original article on GV ( to which he seeks to respond), in which I have pointed to the varied, diverse, and mostly delayed ( by decades) accountability practices, processes and procedures adopted by societies all over the globe.

    I also suggest that it is really a waste of time to debate this, when one of the debaters is pseudonymous, and the other’s book precisely on the subject of The Ethics of Violence is in the Ethics Bibliography (verifiably, online) of the US National War College!

    Happy Easter (and commiserations with Sarath Fernando over the absence so far, of his Easter gift, the sought after ‘de-frocking’ of Cardinal Ranjith).

  • Sarath Fernando.

    Dear, dear Dayan,

    A belated wish for a Happy Easter as well – hope you had a good weekend, away from this discourse that must have caused you so much agony, frustration, and embarrassment in the preceding days and nights. And, it will be hard-hearted of me to deny you the gift you so anxiously await — and deserve, of course.

    Here are the excerpts from your email, in your trade mark bogus attempt to slur – having been exposed and failed miserably in every one of your other “brilliant” attempts over the course of this discussion.

    (c) what ‘ Fernando’ precisely commends, associates himself with and criticises me for taking exception to.
    (d) what that hysteria, plus its endorsement by ‘Sarath Fernando’ says about Fr Pedropillai, ‘Sarath Fernando’, where they are coming from, their ‘enlightened’ perspective on things

    Now, here is the exhaustive set of comments from me to you related to Cardinal Ranjith in the entire chain of communication between us:

    (a) Your reference and your show of unquestioned faith in Cardinal Ranjith’s statement (with emphasis on “hitherto uncontradicted”)was not just timely but revealing of your intelligence, integrity and sentiments. Here is a link to an item from today’s Srilanka Guardian you might find refreshingly outside your routine reading-menu.

    (b) As for your dramatic exclamation on the issue of Cardinal Ranjith’s article, let me ask you — are you “on this Good Friday” calling Rev. Ivan Pedropillai a racist for the comments he made? Is Sri Lanka Guardian also run by the LTTE/Diaspora/Cardinal haters? Is that your point? When did you achieve the divinity to tell all of us which Cardinal is right and which reverend is wrong?

    My point is, read widely and try to get a balanced view – don’t read merely to pick and choose just what is convenient for your narrow, if not harmful, objectives – harmful to society, civility and democracy. Education was never meant to be used that way.

    See your own caveat “hitherto uncontradicted” in your statement “By the way, I think this guy should read the recent report, (hitherto uncontradicted) in a non-state paper, of Cardinal Ranjith’s remarks on the subject of such allegations against Sri Lanka”.

    Doesn’t that “hitherto” indicate anticipation of possible challenges to follow”? The next day I saw an opposing view, and felt it appropriate to bring that to your attention.

    Just to be very clear I also made sure to educate you with ” My point is, read widely and try to get a balanced view – don’t read merely to pick and choose just what is convenient for your narrow, if not harmful, objectives – harmful to society, civility and democracy. Education was never meant to be used that way.”

    I am sure this is ample to reveal your intent, and integrity, in case even a modicum of that is left in you? I will pose you a very clear-cut direct (Dumbass) question – although I know you will again slither away in your customary reptilian style:

    Can you tell me what in my urging you to be open to listen to both sides of the story, both published in open forums, makes you conclude “Sarath Fernando precisely commends, associates himself, (has) that hysteria, plus its endorsement”?

    Sri Lanka Guardian is not a mimeographed publication from a hell-hole in Timbuktu controlled by the Diaspora – it is, I guess, a main stream internet platform read by a majority of SL citizens at home and abroad who also read other non-state papers. The paper opted to publish that article, a contradictory view that you yourself anticipated, and you think you could succeed in slurring me with this outrageous allegation? Your phoniness is not different from that hyperventilation you expressed on the dementia issue, which obviously even GV felt was too stupid to dignify. You’ll never learn – however, I will not stop trying.

    Here is the real issue. The country is divided between three very serious problems – one ethnic group has gone thorough a monstrous horror of war with unprecedented loss of life, property and livelihood and those suffering are trying to get their lives back. The Government understands its responsibility, which is gigantic. The other ethnic group’s pain is no less – having sacrificed lives and limbs in pursuance of that war to rid of a menace. At this time – the internationals are closing up with allegations that they have credible evidence of unprecedented war crimes, unprecedented, at least since formally, democratically recognizing the global need for Human Rights. The country cannot shirk its responsibility and indeed, if human rights were so wantonly violated as per the allegations, then the citizens of the country, the regime, and the world at large has the responsibility to put things right.

    In the midst of this crisis, and holding a senior, representative position, and despite your esteemed education, religious grounding, family values, much-higher than average exposure to democratic values, access to a massive sources of intelligence (in person and in publications), let’s see what your candidly expressed response was at this crucial time on these crucial issues. In your own words, which I can only characterize as black-humor in its most crudest form, you confirm that you align your response with “that response of the majority of Sri Lankan citizens … would be the same as Rhett Butler’s in Gone With the Wind –” Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”– or, to cite a more contemporaneous source, what Arnie Schwarzenneger (said to a devil) in ‘End of Days’ : “I don’t give a rat’s ass”! Not my words – all yours, every one of them!

    First of all, you have no business speaking for the majority – if you have an opinion that you yourself is ashamed of, don’t hide behind other’s skirts.

    Do you sincerely think the readers will be immensely proud that you represent our country and feel blessed that the country chose you to be our Ambassador?

    If nothing else, it will be astounding if anyone who had gone through the formal Civil Service and Diplomatic service requirements in the country would/could make such a horrific blunder. The caliber of Diplomats is the prime cause (monocausal, anybody?) of the fiasco the country is facing. Please, for the country’s sake, we expect our representatives to be honorable; merely faking outrage on pretention, either on patriotism or religion (while holding narrow minded “what do I care” attitude) is indeed just the last refuge of scoundrels, and scoundrels at the helm is an assured curse for any country!

    Anyhow, you have been explicit, finally. I am attaching a paragraph in the hope it could help induce some humanity, appropriate for this time, just past Easter: (let me know if you would like the source for this – I am avoiding imposing sources beyond your tapered zone of comfort, in deference to your desire to keep your head deeply buried).

    “The Risen Lord has already gone before us to ‘Galilee,’ a place where people struggle to find meaningful existence, where the wounded constantly yearn in anguish for healing of their lives, where the broken hearted are restless till they find rest in and through the comforting and consoling presence of the Compassionate One.”

    Perhaps a confession is due – express you inability to truly care for anything except your own self interests. Hope some religious guidance will able to help enlighten you as to why you should indeed care.

    A few quick comments, on the other items you raise.

    (a) With regard to your usual, unsubstantiated accusation “his strategy of (or instinct for) confusion through convolution, contortion and circumlocution, all accompanied by spluttering and hyperventilation” – Please point out one instance of “convolution, contortion and circumlocution, or any other rats ass”. If you like, let me know, and I will be happy to list all your contortions, twists and turns you have undertaken just within this discourse.

    (b) While we are at it, you accused me of moving the goal post – wasn’t that just another red-herring? If not let me know one specific instance. Do you have no honor? In contrast, I have explicitly summarized your progressively evasive stands.

    (c) Your phrase ‘which are regarded as almost classically or paradigmatically just, but also contain the use of means which are not unambiguously so’ is nothing but rat’s ass. How does one reconcile a profound intelligence to decipher that with the inability to master “must”? It is best to give up such phoniness. Obviously you misinterpreted the definition of “must”. Now, grow-up, accept you made a mistake, and move on. Continued attempt at obfuscation in a bid to hide shame is just making a mockery of this and a clown of you. Don’t believe me? – ask your prof.

    (d) As I said earlier, I will let your drum beatings slide – not worth tuppence. However, an advise on the comment “waste of time to debate this, when one of the debaters is pseudonymous.” You don’t think I am either Sarath or Fernando. You think I am a Diaspora, If that suits you better – sure I am willing to go with what ever pleases you (please see my response to the other Sherlock Holmes, Lakshan) provided you can answer questions or clarify issues on your presentation and thoughts.

    (e) Do I want to tell you my qualifications? No, because that has nothing to do with my questions. Here is an even more important consideration. May be, as you suspect, I am a high-school dropout and working as barber – then you will find your nice and convenient “I am more educated than you – so I must be right” defense, to avoid addressing a legitimate question. Alternatively, I may be a nuclear scientist, still interested in the rights and wrongs of war, administration, democracy, even if not fully trained in any one of those specifically. You will challenge me again on my lack of formal training to question you on the subject. If I am indeed a historian like you and reveal that, you will take this discussion to a technical sophistication that will merely interest the two of us, and will have no relevance to the majority of the readers. Now do you understand why there is no need for me to reveal anything except my name, and even that, only at my discretion?

    (f) That leads to the issue of debating with pseudonym users. I have seen you whining on this whenever you are tongue-tied for a legitimate response, which is not infrequent. The point is GV chose to allow, enable and encourage comments to be posted pseudonymously, and I am convinced they did that with very good reasons. Nevertheless, I will desist from speaking on their behalf based on the age-old wisdom of “bhooruwage wade and Ballage wade.” If you make a polite request for an explanation, I am sure GV administrators will oblige. However, I cannot but wonder how a question of that nature will affect the credibility of a senior official who claims to have expert knowledge and view on Sri Lankan affairs. Worth a try, nevertheless.

    (g) A final note, one on your “illnesses as invective” comment. If you go back and trace, you will realize that every distinctly “unrefined” attacks from me followed and was borrowed from your specific insinuations if not insults. I do very strongly believe in the “use a thorn to remove a thorn” principal. It was gratifying to see that your last posting was the humblest one of all, at least in language – and it was not easy getting you there.

    Best to you.

  • Dr Dayan Jayatilleka

    Hallelujah brother, and amen to all that!

    If I need a homily on the message of Easter, it won’t be from an oddball Christian fundamentalist sectarian, but from my ethical mentor and friend the former head of the Jesuit chapter in Sri Lanka, and the editor of the Oxford Pali grammar, Fr Vito Perniola. Or perhaps from my colleague over here, the representative of the Holy See , Msgr Follo, a professor of Greek Philosophy.

    All good things come to an end. If someday misfortune renders me an embittered, Sri Lanka and Sinhala-hating self-exile in the backwoods of Blighty, living parasitically off my family and applauding/imitating colloborators of Tiger fascism such as Adrian Wijemanne and Brian Senewiratne, I too would have the time to respond to such elongated if nonsensical expositions.

    At presnt though, I hardly have time to skip through this stuff.

    There’s a plane to catch…and I gotta see a man about a Report.

    God bless ya!

    • Sohan Fernando

      quote: If I need a homily on the message of Easter, it won’t be from an oddball Christian fundamentalist sectarian, but from my ethical mentor and friend the former head of the Jesuit chapter in Sri Lanka, and the editor of the Oxford Pali grammar, Fr Vito Perniola. Or perhaps from my colleague over here, the representative of the Holy See , Msgr Follo, a professor of Greek Philosophy.

      I have no reason to disagree with the choice of Fr.Perniola or Msgr Follo as good people to get good homilies about the “message of Easter” or any aspect of Christianity… so no problem with that one third of DJ’s opinion of above.

      BUT, how on earth does the fact that Fr.Perniola is the editor of a PALI grammar, have any bearing on his being a good person for such a Christian homily?

      Oh wait: “Oxford” you said!? Was it just the fact of it being an OXFORD produced grammar!

      Or (far less likely, no?) is this just DJ’s back sliding (tsk tsk tsk, so soon after Lent? What a way to start Easter; we Catholics really must give up our bad habits permanently, not just during Lent — ask the Cardinal!) to his previous habit of “name-dropping”/name-and-qualification-dropping!?

      • Dipa Nusantara Aidit

        Now wait a sec !
        Did Sarath suddenly metamorphose himself to Sahan

        How interesting

      • Sohan Fernando

        @ Dipa Nusantara Aidit

        LOL — I had very vaguely wondered if DJ might say something on those lines but not anyone else!
        Nope, I am NOT Sarath Fernando; surname and initials are purely coincidence.

        (More to the point is, how did a Indonesian political leader “morph” from death to life and come online here 45 years after his death! just kidding.)

    • Sarath Fernando.

      Dear Dayan,

      Be my guest — select where you want to put your faith in. Just desist from assuming the divinity to decide that for the others.

      I had not expected you to bow out in any other fashion, other than to weasel out once you realized there was no further room for faked outrages, outrageous accusations or phony defenses. You did not surprise me.

      In view of your candid “damn if I care” declaration let me end this with words, in case it means anything to you – “self-gratification and significance is found in the motive and attitude, not in the task”. May god help.