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Palitha Kohona, Please take note!

Since the defeat of the LTTE by the Sri Lankan military, Sri Lankans should be aware that the propaganda war of the LTTE, run very efficiently for the past 30 years from outside the country, has redoubled their efforts to attack Sri Lanka. The most visible attempt to save the LTTE was the thousands demonstrating in capitals throughout the world. In Canada they are still on the streets! LTTE supporters in Canada have taken on the government of Sri Lanka by demanding that the Canadian government hold  Sri Lanka accountable for civilian deaths and that a war crimes investigation be held immediately. They claim that the displaced Tamils in the camps are not fed, not given medicine, that the soldiers are raping displaced women, aid agencies are prohibited from entering the camps to hide these various acts of revenge on the Tamils, and that there is genocide taking place now that the LTTE is not able to protect the Tamils. These accusations are repeated inside parliament and outside parliament on a regular basis by politicians who have been supportive of the LTTE in Canada, who have attended fund raising events, rallies, memorial services for suicide bombers and are now regularly contributing to the media attacking Sri Lanka on the basis of the claims mentioned above.

This is the background of what is taking place. Just this week, on June 2, 2009 Mr. Bob Rae spoke in parliament calling for an investigation into Sri Lanka, and referred to 20,000 dead/missing and was followed on June 3,2009 by Mr. Jim Karygianis speaking on behalf of his LTTE Tamil constituents calling for an emergency debate on Sri Lanka.

Mr. Bob Rae and Mr. J. Karygianis are members of parliament of the Liberal Party of Canada who are the opposition in parliament. They are from the greater Toronto area where the bulk of the Tamil voters sympathetic to the LTTE live and from where tens of thousands of Tamils waving the LTTE flag and carrying pictures of Prabhakaran have been demonstrating both in Ottawa and Toronto. Further, as Mr. Rae is the current foreign affairs critic in parliament he will use information from this visit to harass the government of Canada which will not be good for Canada-Sri Lanka relations.

These are the same members of parliament who spoke on the first emergency debate on February 4, 2009. These are the words of J. Karygianis recorded in the Hansard. "Mr. Speaker, last week I held a round table with my constituents on the issue of Sri Lanka. These are some of the actions they want the Government of Canada to undertake - condemn immediately the slaughter and genocide of innocent Tamil civilians in the northern part of Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan army...When is the government going to rise and say that if Sri Lanka does not change its ways, it is going to be kicked out of the Commonwealth?"

Given the above, imagine my surprise when I received information that the Sri Lankan High Commissioner to Canada has requested and got secret approval from some individuals in the Foreign Office in Colombo to send Mr. Bob Rae to Sri Lanka from June 10-12 and asked that he be treated as a "cabinet minister". He is NOT a cabinet minister but an opposition member of parliament and the foreign affairs critic of the current government of Canada. Karygianis may also make a surprise visit. The current government in Canada designated the LTTE as a terrorist organization. Mr. Rae and his party has opposed this, and criticized the current government on many occasions because on account of this. For the mission in Ottawa, to approve a visit by Mr. Rae and possibly Mr. Karygianis to Sri Lanka on a fact finding mission is going to be disastrous for Sri Lanka because we are sure that he will return with a damning report on the government of Sri Lanka and push for war crimes investigations, publish media reports that there is discrimination etc. For J. Karygianis to be permitted to go to Sri Lanka is beyond belief and in my view the height of stupidity given that he has gone to Sri Lanka in the past, and has come back to condemn, criticize and accuse, using the same language as the LTTE.

Mr. Rae is due in Colombo on June 10th. There is still time to ask him to postpone his visit to a later date. I need not tell you that Canada has delayed visits for many people from Sri Lanka even cabinet ministers (Mr. Champika Ranawake comes to mind as he was invited and then not given a visa to attend a conference in Montreal on time). I am laying out all the facts and requesting your help to negate this act of foolishness by the clueless people in the mission and some individuals in the foreign office in Sri Lanka. 

It is high time we had people who have a good knowledge of the politics of the countries they are sent to, pay attention to what politicians in these countries say and do and protect Sri Lanka. Mr. Allan Rock, who also was sent to Sri Lanka with the blessings of the mission in New York, was a member of the same political party as Bob Rae and J. Karygianis. It is a good example of this type of careless, ignorant action that was a public relations disaster for Sri Lanka. When are we going to learn to be pro-active and not reactive? To expect competence and dedication to Sri Lanka from its foreign service seems to be a dream that will not come true any time soon. 

Ira de Silva
London, Ontario, Canada

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