Hypocrisy wrapped in gobbledygook
Close on the heels of the Tokyo Co-Chairs' statement on the Sri Lankan situation has come a joint communique from the US and the UK, signed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and British Foreign Secretary David Miliband. They have only reiterated most of what the Co-Chairs said. But, while claiming to subscribe to the Co-Chairs’ statement, Clinton and Miliband have, in highlighting the salient points thereof, left out the call for the LTTE to disarm.
Was it due to an oversight?
Clinton and Miliband have left much to the imagination of readers in their joint statement which contains some ambiguities. They say, "The time to resume political discussions is now and we will continue to work with the Tokyo Co-Chairs, the Sri Lankan government and the UN to facilitate such a process."
Whom should the government of Sri Lanka have discussions with? Is it with all stakeholders or is it only with the LTTE?
If Clinton urges Sri Lanka to have talks with the LTTE, she is contradicting her government's position that it does not ask Sri Lanka to negotiate with the LTTE, which is a banned terrorist outfit. On Jan. 07, 2009, the US government had this to say:
"The United States does not advocate that the Government of Sri Lanka negotiate with the LTTE, a group designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation…" (The Island of Jan. 08.)
A clarification is called for.
The humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka's northern theatre of war is bad, as the LTTE is keeping a human shield there. It is only natural that the rest of the world is concerned about the predicament of those captives exposed to danger.
Shouldn't Clinton and Miliband put their house in order before expressing concern over the humanitarian and human rights situations elsewhere? They have Iraq and Afghanistan to mind, don't they? The Gaza conflict also needs their urgent attention and action.
Clinton and Miliband have asked the government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE to respect the international law of armed conflict. If they think the LTTE will heed their call, they are living in cloud-cuckoo-land. How is it that they are oblivious to the fact that terrorists are no respecters of humanitarian law?
Perhaps, Clinton and Miliband may not be aware that Sri Lanka is the only country in the world that provides food and health care to the enemy it fights. Successive governments have been paying salaries to state officials forcibly recruited by the LTTE as combatants, as revealed by captured LTTEcadres.
UNICEF Executive Director P. Grant once referred to Sri Lanka's conflict as a civilised one, as the LTTE's wounded cadres were treated in state-run hospitals. How the LTTE has helped itself to food, fuel and medicine sent by the government, with the help of certain corrupt humanitarian organisations, could be seen from the large stocks of those materials recovered from its bunkers and hideouts during the past few months.
Had Sri Lanka resorted to the same brutal methods as President Lincoln in fighting war like starving the enemy and massacres, the terrorist problem would have been over many years ago.
Lincoln's army gave full cry to the scorched earth policy and killed hundreds of thousands of people in the name of safeguarding America's territorial integrity. Its ruthlessness yielded results and in the end Lincoln became a national hero. Even Barrack Obama, a man of peace, used Lincoln's personal bible at his recent swearing-in ceremony! (However, he forgot the good book at the following day's do-over).
Clinton and Miliband should be happy that Sri Lanka has also not taken a leaf out of Britain's book in quelling rebellions. In 1817/18, the British resorted to genocide and gendercide in Sri Lanka to put down the Wellassa uprising against the colonial government. Over 30,000 people were killed and lush paddy fields reduced to rubble by way of deterrent punishment. All the males including children were put to the sword mercilessly and all fruit bearing trees felled.
It was nothing but a holocaust. Britain is lucky that Sri Lanka has not asked for reparation.
Sri Lanka must, no doubt, respect international laws. Similarly, Britain must stop sponsoring terrorism against other states and urge its allies to follow suit. Funds for terrorist activities in Sri Lanka are raised in western capitals including London. If the EU, Canada, Norway, Australia etc. had cracked down on terrorist groups on their soil, the LTTE terrorism would have withered away a long time ago and tens of thousands of precious lives could have been saved.
Foreign Secretary Miliband has a pivotal role to play in protecting human rights in Sri Lanka. Charity, they say, begins at home. He ought to persuade his government to abandon double standards and deal with the LTTE activists in Britain who are openly supporting the LTTE's terror campaign in spite of a ban on the outfit.
If it is in order for Britain to harbour terrorists who unleash hell on other countries simply because they pose no threat to British interests, then other countries must have the same right to sponsor Britain's terrorists like Al Qaeda.
Clinton should take action against former US Deputy Attorney General Bruce Fein and other Americans who are working for the LTTE in violation of the US ban on the LTTE.
Then only will they have a moral right to express concern over the humanitarian situation in Sri Lanka.