Arresting Performance: Shelling Sri Lanka’s zone in Geneva

Photo courtesy Janikissima on Flickr

“He who tries to defend everything, defends nothing”- Sun Tzu (‘The Art of War’)

With the arrests of an outspoken middle aged Tamil woman activist with no history of violence, her detention in Boossa under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, the handover of her 13 year old daughter to the child protection authorities, the detention without acknowledgement of two human rights activists, Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen reportedly also under the PTA, the Sri Lankan authorities just torpedoed Sri Lanka’s chances at the ongoing crucial 25th sessions of the UNHRC.

The latest revision made in the US-UK draft resolution requests the Office of the High Commissioner to undertake a ‘comprehensive investigation’ into abuses by both sides. This means that there is no time limitation. This also means that anyone who served in the Sri Lankan armed forces in each and every one of the Eelam wars going back to the first troop deployments and incidents of the late 1970s and early 1980s would come into the net of a comprehensive investigation.

If the resolution goes through with Op 8 (b) in place —the request for ‘a comprehensive investigation’ conducted by the OHCHR— then, the entire war and the entire armed forces are wide open. Thus this clause has to be removed either through negotiation or defeat in a vote. The stakes are sky high. Any concession that can get this clause removed must be made. Any failure to make the necessary compromises is irresponsible. Anything that risks diminishing the votes in favour of Sri Lanka is profoundly counterproductive. Anything that is certain to do so is irrational to the point of lunacy.

This latest round of arrests in Kilinochchi-Vavuniya is not just outrageous, but also decidedly irrational. Apart from the ethics, the optics are all wrong. Detention under the harsh PTA of Tamil and Christian activists simply makes the case that the regime is targeting minorities. This impression is reinforced by the invective against the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress. When it takes place under the Geneva UNHRC searchlight, the impression is one of arrogant regime impunity masquerading as the defence of sovereignty; an impunity that invites a retaliatory response by Sri Lanka’s powerful and unfair critics while embarrassing and alienating potential friends. Thus the behaviour of elements of the regime actually makes Sri Lanka less defensible internationally. It jeopardises national sovereignty while rendering the security forces less secure.

When the timing is all very wrong because that vote pertains to so poisonous a clause as ‘a comprehensive investigation’ by the OHCHR, one cannot but notice that this is not Mahinda Rajapaksa’s usual style. Who decides? Is the Minister of Defence, who is also the President, really making the decisions? Or in the ultimate irony, has there been a dangerous degree of devolution of power?

A crackdown in the North won’t deter dissent. It never did and never will. The decision of then Perm Secretary of Defence and External Affairs, the Sinhala-Buddhist hawk NQ Dias, to send Major Richard Udugama to the North to disperse a peaceful Satyagraha in 1961, which the latter did by cracking heads with rifle butts, didn’t dissuade Tamil nationalism. Nor did the arrest and detention a decade later, of youth who hoisted black flags to protest the 1972 Constitution. Ask Mavai Senathirajah or Vardarajahperumal, who were jailed for several years for that non-violent protest. A policy of zero tolerance of dissent in the North will only catalyse civic protest which, if met coercively by the State, will trigger a huge Tamil Nadu response, which in turn will bring India down on our heads.

Similarly, the repeated insults to the SLMC will only drive Muslim sentiment in the East into the arms of the TNA, changing the balance of forces to the detriment of the security interests of the state.

Coming as they do at this very moment, the worst from the standpoint of the vital interests of the Sri Lankan state and the Security forces, these arrests reveal that there is something almost pathologically wrong within the System. This streak of unreason seems to be uncontrollable. Since the necessary restraining cannot come from enfeebled institutions or a chronically self-destructive Opposition, it can arguably only come from without— from the international system as a whole.

While the runaway unreason within the regime needs to be contained and constrained, by an external counterweight if necessary, such external means have to be ‘smart’ not dumb. A dumb or half-crazy regime cannot be constrained by dumb policies on the part of smarter international players. That would be the equivalent of a smart drone engaging in a dumb strike that kills an entire wedding party of civilians, alienating all their relatives and the tribe as a whole.

This is why I argue that the international community must not re-visit the war, which enables the regime to wrap its unreason up in the flag, the collective emotions against the fascist Tigers and for the heroes who fought to liberate us from them. The idea of an external investigation into the war must be refocused. The OHCHR and the UNHRC must be re-targeted to the present and the future; not the emotive and unalterable past. Thus the call should not be for an OHCHR investigation into the war years and decades, but for a robust OHCHR presence to be established in Sri Lanka, to monitor, report on and thereby deter or reverse ongoing future threats to human rights and international humanitarian law.

The regime is placing all its bets on electoral performance. The Opposition is betting on the deepening of the crisis. Both are in serious error. Elections in and of themselves do not deter, still less resolve crises. As President Jayewardene found out in his second term, neither his re-election nor the frozen two thirds majority in parliament could prevent the destructive ferocity of the ethnic crisis and its external aspect which culminated in a large presence of foreign troops and threatened to capsize the government and state. Conversely, as Madam Sirima Bandaranaike found out in 1988, no crisis, however catastrophic can obliterate negative memories and ensure a comeback, if the other side has a more popular (or populist?) candidate.

We are living through a transition to a new period after both the UNHRC Geneva vote and the Indian elections of May 2014. In that new period the regime, and also, unfortunately, the Sri Lankan state, are in danger of being caught in what is known in economics as a “scissors crisis”. This happens when two factors act as two blades of a pair of scissors and begin to close of an object. In the Sri Lankan case one blade is the Western thrust manifesting itself in a sharper resolution in Geneva. The other blade is the Jayalalithaa-driven threat from the neighbouring North, with her slogan of a referendum on Tamil Eelam. Let’s call it the Kosovo-South Ossetia-Crimea scenario. Over the next several months, the blades of the scissors (which are garden shears in this case) will begin to close.

The Sri Lankan regime seems to believe in nothing but its own preoccupations, prejudices and preconceptions; its own ‘false consciousness’. It can only go a relatively limited distance for a relatively limited period before it encounters the “seismic shock” (as Mervyn de Silva put it after the ’87 airdrop) of external material reality and the actual balance of forces.

  • Dev

    Still trying to paint the TNA in a negative light?

    Similarly, the repeated insults to the SLMC will only drive Muslim sentiment in the East into the arms of the TNA, changing the balance of forces to the detriment of the security interests of the state.

    What’s wrong with the Muslims voting for the TNA? Why does that to the detriment to the security interests? Oh I forgot, you wanted the north handed over to Douglas right? Maybe you should read your own regime’s LLRC report to know more about the EPDP !

    Why so scared about investigating the past? Worried about any skeletons in the closet? I thought the army marched forward with the human right charter in one hand and the gun in the other? After all, it was a “humanitarian operation”, who knows maybe UNHCR might recommend the nobel peace prize for your king after the investigation :-)

    Also it covers the LTTE as well, I have mentioned this before but it bears repeating ! The atrocities of the LTTE might make the army’s crimes look like child’s play ! Are you scared to find out?

    • srivanamoth

      Not so when some 150,000 civilian Tamils were murdered by the state over 30 years commencing from Jan. `1984 to May 2009 and yet on-going in slow mode. The LTTE and its allies ( some in government now!), according to reports, murdered 5000 innocent Sinhala civilians. It’s a downright disgrace not only to the State but also to some 40 countries and the Tamil diaspora (some of its leaders are now bosom pals of this government!) who supplied arms, armaments including WMDs to a failed state possibly to make good money and enhance their economies while all the time the UN looked on! What a world we live in? To these numbers must also be added thousands of Tamil civilians who were murdered and what not from 1956 to 1984 in race riots all starting from Sept 1956 onwards after the Sinhal Only Avct was passed. Not one Sinhala rioter had been ever prosecuted. Now what does all these mean in a country yet in the throes of getting away with mass crimes? Time to get real for a change and use the human brain!

      • Kalu

        Your reports are blatant lies. LTTE murdered way more than 5000 people, they even murdered Tamils and Muslims. The northern provincial council (which is anti GoSL) reported 8700 people missing in a census conducted in 2009 so the army couldn’t have killed 40,000. I am not pro government, it is violent, inept, incompetent, corrupt and racist no doubt. But so are the Tamil diaspora that funded the LTTE that sent 10 year old children into war. There is no going back from such a crime amongst the many others the diaspora and LTTE has committed.
        Genocide did not take place in Lanka. Two thirds of lankas Tamil population live in the south and west, but they are not being rounded up and killed, and have been living in peace since 1983. Genocide is the attempt at extermination of a race. Tamils in other parts of the country are living in peace. Anyone who accuses the Lankan govt of committing genocide is a liar.
        Having said that, Sri Lanka needs a govt that promotes peace and reconciliation and they need to investigate the entire war for atrocities committed by the LTTE, army and the IPKF. Otherwise peace will never be achieved.

      • Manoj

        i wish what you say was true..it’s only logical if someone tries to kill us in our own country. Should have wiped out all of them. Problem was it came too late. Better late than never right!!

    • Kalu

      The woman who was arrested got caught red handed hiding a terrorist who later shot a policeman and then escaped. Furthermore weapons were found in her house. I’m not a GoSL supporter but this is a legitimate arrest. Human rights organizations that seem to care more about the human rights of terrorists rather than people affected by terrorism need to start being more balanced. However the arrest of Ruki Fernando and Rev. Mahesan shows how irrational, oppressive and stupid the current Govt is.

  • Piranha

    “If the resolution goes through with Op 8 (b) in place —the request for ‘a comprehensive investigation’ conducted by the OHCHR— then, the entire war and the entire armed forces are wide open. Thus this clause has to be removed either through negotiation or defeat in a vote”
    Dayan’s aim is to protect the barbaric Sri Lankan military from punishment for the war crimes they committed. This in itself is an admission the barbaric Sri Lankan forces committed war crimes. Dayan wants to try and block justice to the tamil civilians killed and their relatives. I am glad Rajapaksa is behaving in an irrational manner when his regime is in the dock in Geneva. The whole world is watching the arrogance and impunity with which Rajapaksa is acting. If anyone is going to expose the SL armed forces to a criminal court it will be Rajapaksa and he may very well do it to protect himself.

    • GypsyOwl

      You have put my thoughts in words – exactly as I wanted to.
      Dayan is a downright [edited out] pretending to be ‘neutral’. He doesn’t care if the whole country goes down but he just wants the ‘sinhala’ army ‘protected’.
      What kind of decent man would oppose an investigation into ‘all’ the crimes and atrocities?
      Yet ‘groundviews’ and other websites give him the importance he doesn’t deserve!!

      • Kalu

        You’re right. all crimes need to investigated, including the army, terrorists, IPKF and certain diaspora individuals. Dayan however is very critical of the govt. Even admits the army needs to be investigated. I don’t know any where that he has defended the army element that committed war crimes. Maybe I’m wrong.

  • Metteyya Brahmana

    The writer of this article is clearly delusional and full of hate.

    The bottom line is, just like with Israel, the Sri Lankan government can thumb its nose at the UNHRC since they have not ratified the Rome ICC War Crimes treaty like Israel, India, and the United States. Only the UN Security Council is authorized to investigate and prosecute war crimes in countries such a Sri Lanka who have not ratified the Rome treaty, and we all know China and Russia will veto any action against Sri Lanka.

    The Tamil Diaspora is getting PLAYED by their white former colonist sponsors with the UNHRC theatrics, just like during the days of colonial rule. Now the former colonists can say “we have done everything we could”, which obviously will not be good enough in bringing about a separate Christian Eelam in Sri Lanka which is an absolute non-starter with 97% of the population.

    If the Tamil Diaspora were as smart as they think they are, they would come back to Sri Lanka and participate in the enormous post-war development and prosperity rather than being part of the supporting cast in the white countries they have sought refuge in that will always consider them ‘black’ regardless of where they come from. Separatism was doomed to fail from the start, and it is high time to recognize this fact and get on with life rather than pretending you have some sort of ‘power’ to undermine the Sri Lankan government and impose minority-rule on the Sinhalese Buddhist majority.

    • Include and Prosper

      If people were allowed to come back it might help. But the dual citizenship process has been frozen for several years and the process to come back (other than as tourist for short trips) has been made so difficult/impossible that those who care very deeply about this Island and want to do what they can to make things better are forced to stay out and rail. And so rail they will at anyone who will listen. The option seems to be to either include people, ALL the people who are born and/or whose heritage and family are from this Island. Include them and let them speak and build and prosper together. Or crackdown on truth, dissent, diversity and sink further into a self destructive spiral of accusations and blame.

    • Kalu

      Correct. Eelam is a farce. We had Eelam here for 30 years under the LTTE. They ran that part of the country like a another state, with their own administration, hospitals, army, police, judiciary and so on. And we all know what that did to Sri Lanka. The Tamil diaspora are not innocent people, it was they that funded the LTTE. Now they are hell bent on revenge. They don’t want peace in Lanka. They want revenge upon the Sinhalese, who themselves are definitely not innocent either.

  • David Blacker

    Actually, opening the investigation to cover the entire 30-year war (practicality aside) is what many people in the military want (if there is to be an investigation at all), rather than simply focusing on the last year or so. a full investigation will also have to look into both sides, not just the Armed Forces, and in the context of 30 years, there’s more than two sides; there are current allies, members of parliament, foreign nationals who once allegedly committed crimes here, and of course India, who have quite a few blots in their copybook. so yes, that would be the just thing to do.

    I do agree with you that the UN should focus on the present rather than the war, the latter being a great rallying flag for the GoSL, but i think the recent arrests are an indication of the GoSL’s confidence in a positive outcome at Geneva. it certainly doesn’t look like they’re worried.

    • Keynes!

      “the recent arrests are an indication of the GoSL’s confidence in a positive outcome at Geneva”

      The american academic Barry M Staw has studied such decision-making extensively. Ever since he published his classic paper in 1976, it has been used extensively by behavioral economists to explain the universal phenomenon of hawkish decisions during conflict situations. Daniel Kahneman, one of those chaps who continued Staw’s tradition, went onto win the Nobel Prize in 2002.

      Kahneman summed it up brilliantly in a Foreign Policy article. Here’s an excerpt:

      “As the hawks and doves thrust and parry, one hopes that the decision makers will hear their arguments on the merits and weigh them judiciously before choosing a course of action. Don’t count on it. Modern psychology suggests that policymakers come to the debate predisposed to believe their hawkish advisors more than the doves. There are numerous reasons for the burden of persuasion that doves carry, and some of them have nothing to do with politics or strategy. In fact, a bias in favor of hawkish beliefs and preferences is built into the fabric of the human mind.”

      • David Blacker

        I’ll take it that you agree with me, then.

        • Alex f

          I think The regime is setting the scene for a year of repression. They already assume that this years resolution is a fait accompli. They are sending a clear message to domestic activists that no one can help them and in Sri Lanka they have total control over their lives. They hope that in the space they have (until the next UN report) they can crush internal dissent and with it deny the IC a beach head in Sri Lanka. I.e. If no one cooperates with navi pillars report then what can she do? If no witnesses come forward then no report?

          • David Blacker

            i’m not sure that’s really a fair picture you’re painting. DBSJ Jeyaraj, for instance, claims that the TID policeman was shot and injured by a subversive in the house of this “middle-aged activist” who was sheltering him: http://dbsjeyaraj.com/dbsj/archives/28949

          • Human

            Not so fast David, DBS does NOT ‘claim’ that . Looks like you haven’t read it in full. Here is what DBS says at the end
            “This then is the version of events according to Police sources and informed sources affiliated to the defence establishment. There is however a counter narrative to this official narrative. There have been also other related events subsequent to the shooting incident at Tharmapuram and the detention of Mrs. Jeyakumari Balendra. These events and the counter narrative will be dealt with extensively in a forthcoming article.”

          • David Blacker

            i did read it in full, but the fact that DBSJ only relates one version of events in his article is significant isn’t it? if he gave all versions equal credence, wouldn’t he have set all these versions out?

          • human

            Remember he did say “… the counter narrative will be dealt with extensively in a forthcoming article” If he really believes one version to be to be true he would have said so. He didn’t. We can always speculate about if DBS gives equal credence to both versions or if he feels one version seems more likely to be true than the other in his openion. Only DBS can answer that question. But that is a far cry from saying “DBS claims that the TID policeman was shot and injured by a subversive in the house of this “middle-aged activist..” He does not! He says clearly that he was stating what he calls the “‘official narrative”. We all know how good official narratives are right? That point I was making is we just can’t say ‘DBS claims’ just because he says ‘Here is the official narrative from the Police and defense people’ Isn’t it obvious?

          • David Blacker

            if a journalist publishes a story, he is giving it credence with his byline. he may say, “look, there are other versions of this and i will tell you about them later,” but the fact that he is giving this version priority adds to its credibility. if a journalist — especially DBSJ — had doubts about the version he was publishing, he wouldn’t publish it or, if he did, he would unambiguously say that it wasn’t credible but was being published because it was the only available one. publishing one version while stating that there are other unpublished versions is definitely giving credence to the published version, and therefore it is correct to say he claims it. if you prefer to believe otherwise, you are welcome to your opinion, of course, but your argument is incorrect.

          • David Blacker

            it is now roughly two weeks since DBSJ made the claim and promised to publish the alternate narratives, but so far these haven’t been forthcoming, and adds doubt to whether they ever will.

          • human

            “if a journalist publishes a story, he is giving it credence”
            Yes I agree. But you as a reader should pay attention to what the story is. Sometimes the story is “XYZ happened”
            At some other times the story is “The version according to Sri Lankan government is XYZ ”
            Now the journalist does NOT claim “XYZ happened”. He only claims “SL goverment says XYZ happens” Isn’t it simple?

            You can always go beyond what the journalist says and speculate along the lines of

            ‘Since he is writing this version first, He is giving it priority. And since he is giving it priority he must be thinking this has a good chance of being true.’

            You could be right there. Or may be DBS decided the second version needs a little more work to finalize so he wants to write it later.

            Similarly. You could say ‘If he really thinks this version is false he would have said so’
            Again you could be right .. or not
            May be he wants to wait until he has given both version before giving is verdict. Or may be he himself is unsure about it so wants to remain neutral without giving any verdict until he gets more information.

            You argue “it is now roughly two weeks since DBSJ made the claim and promised to
            publish the alternate narratives, but so far these haven’t been
            forthcoming, ”

            But does that really help you claim that “DBS claims bla bla bla”?

            May be he was busy with something else.

            You and I can sit and argue about this kind of speculation all day. But that is not going to take you anywhere close to your original claim that ‘DBS claims bla bla bla’

          • David Blacker

            yes, one can speculate on what DBSJ might be planning, or try to read his mind, but it’s better to analyze what he has actually written. to reiterate, he has indeed made the claim by quoting a source, because when a journalist quotes a source without any alternate sources, he is in fact making a claim and staking his name to it. i think that is beyond reasonable argument.

            your only possible alternate argument is that DBSJ is saying nothing whatsoever, because quoting a source means nothing. then, the question will be, is DBSJ reporting nothing that he gives credence to. from a journalistic point of view, this cannot be. you may negate his current claim by speculating on what he might possibly say on an unspecified future date, but that isn’t really an argument.

            as i said before, you may choose to believe otherwise and, of course, belief, like religion, requires no argument. and usually has none.

          • human

            To give you an example
            Remember when the SL government
            claimed there was ‘zero civilian causalities’? This was widely reported
            in the media. Would you say every journalist who reported this was
            claiming that there was ‘zero civilian causalities’ or would you say
            they were ‘making the claim quoting sources’?

            And you seem to be in a hurry to make me ‘religious’ now David :-)
            For the record, I don’t have any beliefs regarding the accuracy of this version of events.

            They could well be 100% correct – Or not. I think the tendency to jump to conclusions when faced with insufficient information is one of the biggest problems with the human mind. And I try my best to avoid it. That is my ‘religion’ if you like :-)

            My position is we do not yet have enough information to come to a conclusion on this. So don’t assume I have any religious position with regards to any version of the story please. :-)

            But the point I am making here is different.

            All I am saying is it is just not logical to claim ‘DBS claims xyz ‘ at this point. Simply because

            1) He states clearly that this is the ‘official narrative’ according to the police and defence sources

            2) He acknowledges that there are different narratives

            3) He promises that “the counter narrative will be dealt with extensively in a forthcoming article”

            4) He avoids saying anything that would indicate which version seems more likely to be true in his opinion

            So in short DBS is effectively saying ‘Police and defence sources say XYZ happened . But there is another version of the events”

            And you say ‘DBS claims xyz’ Is this really a fare thing to say?

            When you try to back your position by arguing DBS wrote this version first. therefore he thinks this is true you are getting into very shaky ground. You are the one trying to ‘read his mind’ when you do this. Not me. I just wanted to give you some counter examples to show you that the ‘mind reading game’ can be played both ways and is not reliable. I made this clear that this is all pure speculation by beginning each of my counter examples with ‘May be’

            For the record, I agree that the ‘official version’ could well be true. Is it possible that a crazy former tiger decided to restart the ‘struggle for liberation’ ? of course it is!

            On the other hand is the SL government capable of staging something? Of course it is ! And does the SL government have any reason to spread such a false story?’ of course! Elections, (The war is such a great vote magnet isn’t it) and the need to justify the huge military presence in the North especially when questions are being asked in Geneva.

            So all I am saying is we need to stay balanced in these things. Without rushing to conclusions. DBS could write an article tomorrow saying ‘yes the official version is true’. But until then he hasn’t made that claim.

        • Keynes!

          Spot on. It’s good to note that that this country has public intellectuals like you who know their onions about war, behavioural psychology and international relations.

    • Burning_Issue

      You have changed your tune; from no inquiry at all to “the entire 30-year war”! The problem is that, there is going to any form investigation or not, it will be a hell of battle to getting rid of the Rajapaksas. If there is any form opposition, it is coming from the TNA and Tamils. It will all depend on how serious the West is in conjunction with a possible Modi government.

      “..but i think the recent arrests are an indication of the GoSL’s confidence in a positive outcome at Geneva.”

      On the other hand they may be damn stupid!

      • David Blacker

        I have certainly not changed any tune.You have often been unable to hear my tune, but that could be your own tone-deafness. I have never been against an investigation per se, just the nature of it. Nor is it a for/against issue, and it is important not to polarize debate by looking at things in an overly simplistic manner.

  • Antany Peter

    The Rajapaksa regime claims that Sri Lanka is part of the Non-Aligned Movement, but the truth is the Rajapaksa brothers get rich by getting commission on the Chinese development projects. The Rajapaksa [edited out] are getting rich while they have been passing the debt burden to the poor Sri Lankans. I am 200% sure that Sinhalese will punish the Rajapaksa brothers in due time. Whatever goes around comes around. I really don’t think Sri Lankans are stupid as North Koreans. China can fool the Sri Lankans for a while, but eventually Sri Lankans will wake up, and punish the Rajapaksa brothers for their [edited out]. China will lose its grip on Sri Lanka. China may put a pressure on Sri Lanka by increasing its loans’ interest rates, but India, Japan and the world will come and rescue Sri Lankans. The Rajapaksa brothers will be remembered as the most [edited out] leaders in the history of Sri Lanka.

    • Kalu

      The regime needs to be kicked out no doubt. But the international pressure is making them stronger. People are forgetting the rising cost of living, corruption, govt officials peddling narcotics, nepotism, oppression. They are more concerned about a western plot to divide the country so they will keep voting the incumbent In thinking that only he will stand up to the west.

  • Antany Peter

    This is not surprising at all. They were shooting the innocent people who asked clean drinking water just before the human rights commissioner’s arrival. While facing all kinds of accusations in Geneva on human rights issues; the [edited out] are attacking the street performers and arresting a mother and her teenage daughter. It is very clear that Sri Lanka is rule by [edited out]. The people will face huge consequences in the near future for electing the [edited out] second time. It takes a thief to catch a thief, once the people got rid of Prabhakaran using Rajapaksa fools they should have got rid of Rajapaksa fools as well. Keeping the Rajapaksas in power is not smart move, it is against the justice and morally wrong. They will be a huge stumbling block for the true reconciliation. It is extremely vital to punish the Rajapaksas ASAP, in order to win the Tamils and International community. It is necessary to punish them, because Sri Lankans do not want a stinking shadow follows them wherever they go.

    • Kalu

      They were not innocent as such. This was not a black and white case of the army shooting peaceful protesters. The protesters were hurling petrol bombs, rocks and tried to set a factory on fire. The factory In question was not polluting the water as it was though earlier because the deluge was tested. The pollution came from up river.

  • alex f

    “The necessary restraining …. can only come from without – the international system as a whole” – this is an important shift in the authors position. Previously he was a staunch defender of absolute sovereignty – sine qua non. Now he seems to be simply be negotiating the type of international intervention is necessary.

    • Dev

      Let us while reading this piece also remember that the author has his own motives. Notice how he does not point directly to MR? He wants to make sure that he does not ruin his chances for a future Geneva call or even the foreign ministry.
      Does he actually think that MR is a powerless weakling? He is the EXECUTIVE president with unlimited powers (2/3 majority + 18th amendment). Why not point the finger at the pathetic situation this nation is in directly to MR?
      In his previous article (published on Colombo Telegraph) he wanted the 18th amendment removed albeit WITHOUT the unlimited presidential term, he wanted that kept !!!
      I think that clearly shows the motives of this author.

  • Jayalath

    I have no objection with the idea of this article . BUT we as Sri Lankan must be humble And intelligent to realise that how and why as a state has to face a mountain of problems after successfully defeated separatists and save the country to breath freely for every one in this magnitude . Thus ,the government is in a trouble today not because of human rights accountabilities, (in other words the falling of great sympathy of west on innocent Tamils in Sri Lanka ) but it is the tool is used by internal and external hypocrites to teach a lesson to an out spoken and brave leader who comes from a country where people mainly survive by sewing cloths to western and producing slaves to Middle East countries . So, the west is gone mad today of thinking how a man come from a such level of island and tamed the separatists terrorists who were thriving very well in the west with their benefits for decades .

    I do not know much about this Tamil and Christian activists but I know there are many many activists are operating in the country to meddle the country .and the state has sole right to question or arrest a person regardless his position or activity , or the Geneva . I strongly believe what west has put on our shoulder is not some thing new to the rest of the world , therefore ,they ask you two questions , one is , will you listen to west and do what we ask you to do or do you do what you want with their enemies and isolate from the west . ? This is the simple question of whole drama . Unless do you really believe they are tearing for North Tamils ? You must be terribly insane person to think such way .

    However, the west can do lot harm to us economically and politically which inevitable , therefore we have a choice . Whether we realising what west is going to do and refuse unanimously their targeted plans together as a nation and start every thing fresh to resolve ourselves our problems or unanimously support to the plans of west that lay out to reverse the victory that gained defeating separatists for ever .
    We have pretty simple questions and we cannot afford to have both .where I find ., although we have abrasive and contentious issues to resolve within the country that we must give priority to defend what we achieve four years ago and refusing the international plans which only can obtain through united slogan regardless an ethnicity or religion . Or else giving priority to personal perceptions or objective could lead to new wave of conflicts . Because there are chances that the Geneva could consider to give a federal type of rule to North and East with unanimous referendum in the area , like Russia did to Crimea last week . Therefore, if the situation rose into that level that JVP and other parties who against to give a federal rule also will have to fight along with state to defeat a such notion . Which can be much more detrimental than we imagine.
    And I agree with certain proposals of this article which clarifies what must Geneva realise to forward if they are genuinely want to support the reconciliation in the country without push it to be another North Korea .

  • srivanamoth

    ” He who defends nothing defends more of the same in a notoriously failed state including bloodbaths unlimited under cover of the PTA”! Wake up for the sake of innocent civilians, for saner democracy, for human rights, for justice and for the country’s own future!

  • Gus Mathews

    I am an admirer of Dayan and his political
    analysis. But this time Dayan has mistaken the ‘wood for the tree’. While Dayan
    argues against the seminal ‘Op 8 (b) in place —the request for ‘a
    comprehensive investigation’ conducted by the OHCHR’ if in the unlikely
    event it goes through the voting, then I am afraid it will open up a bag of
    worms about the involvement of India and the human rights elements that India
    itself will be confronted with – that would be India ‘shooting itself in the foot’
    or ‘turkeys voting for Christmas’. Despite the machinations of the ‘Tamil Nadu’
    element would you seriously think that the Central Government of India will
    ‘hoist its own petard’?

    International politics is replete with such instances in order to get a
    watered down resolution the initial foray is to put forward a resolution that
    is unlikely to be passed. It then transpires; a compromise amendment that will
    be acceptable for the majority is then envisaged. Last time around India
    watered down the resolution and the USA being afraid of a vote against the
    resolution agreed. Even now the Diaspora is making their voices hoarse against
    the current resolution as it stands.

    The arrest of the middle aged woman is a ‘red herring’ and defies
    comprehension for Dayan to bring this up as the full story of this arrest is
    being magnified out of all proportion by ‘Channel 4′ and their Diaspora
    acolytes. I am made to believe that the arrest of this woman was made after a
    shot was fired at policemen from her premises. I cannot vouch for the veracity
    of this story as the authorities on the ground will have all the details and
    not Dayan nor Channel 4 who sit in judgement.

    What Dayan is erroneously alluding to is that all hell will break loose
    because of this seminal incident – throes of the assassination of archduke
    Ferdinand that precipitated the ‘First World War’ springs to mind. Dayan
    is ‘crying wolf’ unnecessarily, and making a ‘mountain of a molehill’ for the
    detractors of Sri Lanka and for consumption back home’.

    In conclusion I agree with the comments of Metteyya Brahamana and David
    Blacker. What irks me most is the mockery of the UNHCR and the false altruism
    and morality it portrays to engineer a situation that is favourable to the
    west’s political, economic and military agenda vis-a-vis the influence and power
    in the Indian Ocean.

    In the end Sri Lanka will ride through the storm as it did before and
    now with Ukraine and Crimea in the news the west has bigger ‘fish to fry’. Also
    the Syrians are winning against the west inspired insurgents. As
    for Libya a country that was stable during Gaddafi we have US navy
    seals boarding a ship with oil bound for North Korea – how cynical can one
    get!!!!

  • Real_Peace

    Dear Dr. Jayatilleka,

    Thank you for sharing some good insights, including:

    “The decision of then Perm Secretary of Defence and External Affairs, the Sinhala-Buddhist hawk NQ Dias, to send Major Richard Udugama to the North to disperse a peaceful Satyagraha in 1961, which the latter did by cracking heads with rifle butts,”

    So repeated non-violence(Satyagraha) was met by violence…even in 1961? Wow, Sri Lanka’s war seems more complicated than others

    ================================
    Can you, any reader please recommend:
    ================================

    1. any other ‘balanced’ books on this ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka? I see lot of ‘biased and/or ‘theoretical’ books in libraries.

    2. Memorial: Is there any place where the names of people who died have been recorded, as a MEMORIAL?

    3. Media Freedom in Sri Lanka: Can you please recommend any INDEPENDENT video documentary/books that shows about the Media Freedom in Sri Lanka? One recommendation was the Norwegian Director Beate Arnestad’s : “Silenced Voices”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFdjT8SfciM

    Thanks.

  • Jayalath

    It would be a delusion if the Sri Lankan regime is named that they do not know what they are doing or incapable , the defeating of invincible separatists alone is disclosed the size of daredevil . And I cannot name any one been capable to such level in the Sri Lankan history for centuries , that is why the whole world is upset about , but the lack of excellent professionalism in many areas working in the regime is a tangible evidence .
    However , if we consider to Sri Lankan crisis today which proves the essence of culminating any crisis in the world in the interest of west and USA at last . Which seems like a domination of West . it further concedes to the world that every motion creature in the world needs to breath in the interest of USA and the west .this is what we must understand today .therefore the lack of professionalism like normally the west does is one fault and the next fault was not doing the war in the interest of west and USA which is the second fault we committed where Rajapksa confiscated piece of Kosova to the West in South Asian territory which was humiliated west by Rajapaksa . And it is unforgivable and unforgettable .

  • Jayalath

    “ Dead, living, free, or in prison on the orders of the colonialists, it is not I who counts. It is the Congo, it is our people for whom independence has been transformed into a cage where we are regarded from the outside… History will one day have its say, but it will not be the history that Brussels, Paris, Washington, or the United Nations will teach, but that which they will teach in the countries emancipated from colonialism and its puppets… a history of glory and dignity. ”
    Patrice Lumumba .octomber 1960.

    How long has been gone since this greatest man and his voice been silenced for ever , who unanimously devoted for the African and Congo unity and prosperity . I hope our dear readers will think for a moment who ruined the Africa and it’s innocent people by colonial masters . Therefore , we must not forget the venomous snakes who are gathering in the Geneva today to decide our fate . We have differences , heart breaking , and provocations ,perhaps, they may be to our personal benefits or the ignorance .but if we forget today the real enemy of whole humanity who antagonising us and Shamelessly staring at us to exploit and loot us in new form as they did in the past that would be another unavoidable disaster . Therefore , open your eyes and heart and see the real enemy who motionlessly stay behind you .

  • Jayalath

    Firstly think about the purpose of LTTE and JVP . How they were murdered is a different story .

    • Keynes!

      The JVP wanted to control the entire country while the LTTE wanted to control part of the country. If that’s what you mean?

      Somawansa Amerasinghe publicly admitted to killing a whopping 6000 persons in the late eighties alone.

      • Jayalath

        The idea of the JVP was against the corrupted government and it’s inequity and suppression which was overwhelmed the society at that time . Also They did not necessarily appear for the ethnicity . But the way they execute was controversial .the LTTE was based on the ethnicity and to separate the country which except the Tamils every body else against ,this is the different of both. I do not believe necessarily just because of Tamils that they only have grievances to address in Sri Lanka . But this is my view and you have sole right to express your view which I do not undermine .

  • Thilina Rajapakse

    Yes. Peace can not be found in the bangging of fists, but in the shaking of hands!