|The international community gonibilla strikes again
When the Prime Minister of the country releases a May Day message to the press without once mentioning the word "worker", it is clear that his mind must be preoccupied with other things. One cant blame Ranil Wickremesinghe because he has allowed himself to be drawn into unfamiliar territory.
On the first of May, the Prime Minister came up with a question and expressed a certain sense of fear, both of which warrant commentary.
Without mincing his words, Ranil Wickremesinghe acknowledged that matters were out of his hands. He passed the buck onto what he calls "The International Community". He says, "If we put too many conditions, the LTTE will back out. If we dont go for talks, international opinion will abandon us. We cannot find a solution without international opinion. To maintain the ceasefire we need international opinion. To go for talks, we need international opinion. If all fails, to fight again, we need the international opinion with us."
The government is probably trying to explain its deafening silence in the face of repeated provocation from the LTTE when it says that conditions are not being put because antagonising the LTTE might prevent talks from happening. The government is forgetting a lot of things here. Given its track record the LTTE is not going to be persuaded in any direction simply because the government doesnt want to antagonise them. The government is also, by implication, acknowledging that the LTTE really doesnt care if talks happen or not. Otherwise, the LTTE would, in return, do their best not to antagonise the government because "if too many conditions are put, and too many wrong moves are made, the government might back out of talks". It is clear then that it is the LTTE that is calling the shots.
Ranil is worried about a gonibilla called "the internationalcommunity" which, we are told has some kind of well-articulated "opinion". Interesting. Ranil Wickremesinghe comes from a family that has long engaged with the politics of opinion-making. He ought to know that this is an industry and that power plays a key role in all the constructions that make up the business.
The government ought to have remembered that during all those years when its propaganda machines were working overtime to quell the opposition, the LTTE was working hard to generate preposterous histories about the plight of Tamils in the country. They were smart enough to convert myth into history. The LTTE, a largely servile Tamil intellectual community and the easily purchaseable Left (over) "intellectuals" among the Sinhalese, in fact made international opinion. It took the likes of Lakshman Kadiragamar and other patriotic Sri Lankans abroad to counter these brilliant lies that the Eelam Lobby was disseminating among naive white people whose ancestors have through their actions denied them any right to the moral high ground about anything. "International opinion" therefore is not the preserve of the United Nations, for example.
Sadly, in our country, our leaders have gone out of their way to allow some to play ball with the "international community" gonibilla.
Radhika Coomaraswamy toldtheLankadeepa last week that "The international community wishes for peace, not war". There is more. "The international community will take all steps to ensure that the peace process becomes a reality," she said.
In this age of communication, it is hard to believe that she has not heard about how this very same "international community" blasted Iraq into the middle ages. Or how it reduced to dust a country already reduced to rubble. Thats Afghanistan. Or how it looked the other way when the United States of America declared war on the peoples of Latin America, openly and covertly supporting tyrants, military juntas and dictators who would give Prabhakaran a good run for his money in the matter of terrorising populations.
Has she not heard of the Middle East? And Israel, which, despite having repeatedly defied the United Nations, is allowed to murder Palestinian children with impunity?
The good people who make up the international community, according to Radhika, are like class monitors, school prefects and principals. She says that the international community will make sure that any organisation working against the peace-process suffer dire consequences.
All I know is that there was no International Community that was willing to muzzle Prabhakaran when he was evicting Sinhalese and Muslims from Jaffna, was there? Where were these people when they brutally killed Muslims in Eravur and Kattankudy while they were praying at a mosque?
Would Radhika Coomaraswamy, tell us village idiots who and/or what this "International Community" is? And while shes at it, will she let us know how one obtains membership in that wonderful club? Please?
But, to his credit, Ranil Wickremesinghe, asked what is a pertinent and valid question: "If we do not need talks and we do not need international opinion, what is the alternative?"
As I said, "international opinion" is not god given. LTTE-fearing "intellectuals" like Valentine Daniel and Stanley Thambiah and others devote all their time to shape international opinion. It can therefore be argued that dealing with international opinion involves showing up these avowed anti-intellectuals.
It goes without saying that peaceful resolution of any conflict is better than processes that necessarily result in death and destruction. The LTTE has already talked of pre-conditions. Radhika recommends that the government give the LTTE about 1-2 years to "give up Eelam". The government should therefore, to be "equal partners in the process" (how humiliating! But then again, pride is never conferred, it is asserted), the government should give itself a similar time-frame to allow the LTTE to roam around in areas it does not control. A similar period should be taken to even think about deproscribing the LTTE. Fair is fair, isnt it?
It takes two to tango. (And brother, is Prabhakaran a lousy dancer or what?) In Sinhala we say, "Thani athin appudi gahanna bae". If the government seems to believe this is possible. Maybe this is why Thamilchelvam smiled all throughout the infamous media conferene in the Wanni. He was laughing at all of us.
What is the alternative, Ranil asks. The answer has several sections. First, let us be clear that hostilities have not ceased. The incident in the Vakarai seas exploded the myth of the ceasefire. The abductions, extortions, Eelam chest-thumping and talks about celebrating May Day in "Eelam" next year, by TNA parliamentarians (and these people are still not tried for treason!) are spilling over the censorship being subtely imposed by the "Peace Secretariat". Time to wake up. Thats the first thing.
The alternative includes a deconstruction of Eelamist myth-mongering. This should not shy away from all the contributions made by successive governments to tear asunder inter-communal amity, but should also insist that the considerable fuel added by Tamil communalists dating back to Ponnambalam Ramanathan and G.G. Ponnambalam, be recorded. The war is also ideological and when the country is put on a war footing (as it should have been done a long time ago), it is imperative that all those working for the enemy be dealt with.
There is a carefully crafted myth that this war cannot be won. What is correct is this, "This war has not been won". And there are reasons for this. One cannot fight a war when the government devotes a significant amount of energy to demoralise the troops and allows all kinds of organisations to work for the enemy in the name of peace.
One cannot win a war when the resources are being syphoned off by racketeers from top to bottom, i.e. from the Ministry of Defence and the military top brass to the Grama Niladhari. Anyone caught pilfering should be arrested immediately because he/she is a direct threat to national security. This is not a game.
Fighting the LTTE includes that all the thick curtains of naivete and myopia be removed. It involves demystifying gonibillas like the International Community.
The government must realise that "international opinion" NEVER supported us and perforce cannot "abandon" us. If people dont have an opinion, or does not want to have one, they should say so, without pointing to some mythical creature and adding their mite to myth-making.
Finally, you have to realise that no war can be one without the support of the people. One can win the support of the people, only if you have faith in the people. That is the hardest part of any war. It is not a project for the lily-livered, the naive and the acquiescent. Those who run to the international community gonibilla are necessarily going to be disappointed. Thats what the historical script says. Let us do a little reading. It wouldnt be time wasted, for when the bombs start exploding closer home we need to be ready for the long haul.
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