'Appalling' propaganda

That the international media are functioning as hired guns of some western governments, hell bent on giving this country a bad name for the crime of having demonstrated to the world that terrorism could be neutralised militarily, is evident from yesterday's CNN report on UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon's visit to Sri Lanka. Under a screaming headline on its website, Ban tells CNN: Sri Lanka sites for the displaced 'appalling', CNN tries to have the world believe that the UN Chief's reported revulsion is at the conditions of the welfare centres for the displaced. One may have been baffled to read/ hear that comment, as Moon had said nothing of that sort either at his meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa or at a subsequent media briefing.

The obfuscating UN Chief, however, does not refer to any 'sites' according to the original CNN video clip containing the relevant section of the interview, (the transcript of which we publish today). Instead, his reference is only to 'scenes' by which he apparently means the scenes of the war zone, especially that of the final battle in Mullaitivu, he saw from an Air Force chopper. CNN report says, quoting Moon: "I have traveled around the world and visited similar places, but this is by far the most appalling scenes I have seen," Ban told CNN. "I sympathise fully with all of the displaced persons." It is the juxtaposition of the sentence in which he sympathises with the displaced that creates the impression in one's mind that the UN Chief is appalled by the conditions at the welfare centres. Subterfuge, eh?

Moon, we are afraid, is not articulate enough and when he says something he does not make sure he has said it. Thus, his statements oftentimes leave room for spin doctoring. The CNN report at issue is extremely damaging to Sri Lanka in the context of today's Human Right Council special session. That may be why the western media are going hell for leather to cast Sri Lanka's welfare centres for the displaced in a bad light. Now that their governments have egg on their face having failed to scuttle Sri Lanka's war and save their pet terrorists, they are giving Sri Lanka a bad name to facilitate its 'hanging' in typical Wild West style.

Interestingly, the UN Chief urged President Rajapaksa at their meeting to open roads, remove checkpoints and ensure people's freedom of movement. Neither Moon nor his Colombo office worthies could say boo to a goose while the LTTE was ruling the roost. Now he wants roads opened! Does he think he would have been in a position to make that request, if terrorism had not been defeated militarily? Freedom he is rightly advocating – though some roads cannot be reopened in a hurry for security reasons – is one of the dividends the war has paid in spite of the unfortunate short-term civilian suffering, without which no war has ever been or will ever be fought.

Moon should also take cognisance of the human cost of the on-going war in the Swat Valley at the behest of the US. He must be told that the UN workers are now in a position to operate in any part of this country without being harassed and/or abducted by terrorists. The LTTE once stormed the UN compound in the Vanni and desecrated its flag. In 2007, the LTTE abducted two UN workers for helping some civilians escape from the Vanni and this year the terrorists forcibly held 15 UN employees and their families in the war zone as part of its human shield. The UN opted for self-castration, unable to take any action against the LTTE.

UNICEF could not save child combatants in the LTTE's clutches. Even if UNICEF had gone on campaigning for the release of those unfortunate children till kingdom come, the LTTE would not have budged an inch. But, thanks to a successful military campaign against that terrorist outfit which is on the UN List of Shame for child abuse, there will never be child recruitment in this country. Therefore, it is not backstabbing and vilification but praise and assistance that Sri Lanka deserves from the UN, its Secretary General and the so-called international community.

When President Rajapaksa shot for the moon and sought Moon's help to have the notorious LTTE arms smuggler KP, who is at large overseas, arrested and deported together with other terrorists operating freely in western capitals, the latter (Moon), true to form, pretended to be a deaf-mute.

What has Moon got to say to that request? Will he at least tell CNN?

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