Patten visit: A slap in our faces!

I read with great delight your editorial "Keep Patten out of the country" in the Saturday Island of 22.11.2003. I had been unwell and doctor had advised me rest. But how could I, after reading your trenchant editorial? Patten is scheduled to meet the President and the Prime Minister and finally the "serial killer," Prabhakaran in the Vanni, on the terrorist’s birthday! You appealed to the people in their thousands to come out to the streets and protest at the insult that the European Parliament and the British Embassy was throwing at us Sri Lankans. Since I could not be joining in the protests, I thought it my duty to give more strength to your elbow, by sending this letter.

As you ask, who could have been responsible for making these arrangements for Chris Patten’s visit on Tuesday the 25th? As you say this it is by the Head of the Delegation of the European Commission in Colombo and the British High Commissioner. This is understandable, because the Brits who are the great masters of divide and rule, would want to push Prabhakaran’s image and support his Interim Self Governing Authority (IGSA). But was not our Foreign Ministry cognizant of Chris Patten’s itinerary, if they had not even initiated this idea altogether? If so at what level? It could not have received the nod from a middling official. It obviously had to be a VVIP as did happen in the case of the fingerprinting of Sri Lankans when applying for British passports. It is beyond belief that our Foreign Office, was unaware of this. This is not just a gaffe, but a traitorous act. The mole responsible, as you rightly say should be exposed and punished as a traitor. Of course this never will happen. Readers will remember when the Rupavahini with the approval of its former Chairman, Professor Dissanaike, had the gumption to feature this murderer on State Television. Although there were countrywide protests, this government did ignore this. Fortunately this traitor got his deserts for this by the President taking over this the Ministry of Broadcasting and Television. (Her opponents are asking why on earth the President took over this Ministry, striking a blow at the freedom of information and the press? Really the guilty Chairman should have been punished as a traitor).

What beats me is that the UK, the European Parliament, Japan have banned the LTTE as a terrorist organization as the US and India have done but with a difference. In the UK, Balasingham is safe to get about in the UK. So do known LTTEers who seem to have a free run in Europe and may be in Japan, which however the US and India will not allow terrorists on their soil. India refused a visa to Balasingham to fly through India to Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, the British and Japanese and now the E.U. Parliament take a dichotomous attitude to terrorists. They find the wolves turned into sheep! Only the US and India take a steadfast unrelenting attitude. Give up violence, stop recruiting children etc. All the same, the US does not, as it is said in local parlance, serve all terrorists with the same spoon. They provide a measure of lip service only.

The LTTE is not Al Queda, though the LTTE massacres have been over a thousand fold more heinous and numerous. To name only just four instances. The massacre of 64 Buddhist novice monks all under sixteen, the bombing of some 100 odd Muslims while in prayer in mosque in Ottamavadi, the bombing of the Buddhist holy of holies, the Dalada Maligawa and the Central Bank, where over a hundred people were killed.

The "global network" that Ranil is expecting to come to our aid is poppy cock. The Americans and the Indians will move in only if their interests are threatened. Only time will tell. In the meanwhile, I do hope the people will get out into the streets and protest this insult of running with the hare and hunting with the hounds - a slap in our faces.

Amaradasa Fernando