Guardian gambit and claim of genocide: What next?


By Dr Upul Wijayawardhana

The British newspaper ‘Guardian’, which started life as ‘The Manchester Guardian’ in 1821, has become the mouthpiece of the liberals and lefties, unfortunately, and the spreader of doom and gloom. Admittedly, it was responsible for many a good ‘scoop’ in the past but during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, when people isolating themselves needed some cheer at least, almost all the headlines it carried were depressing. Perhaps, to lift the mood, they printed lovely photographs and quizzes; one of their quizzes on island nations earning notoriety. Though ancient Lanka may have been referred to as Eelam, by some groups of Tamils, and may well be a corruption of the word Sihala, according to some authorities, it has never been accepted as an alternate name for Sri Lanka. Further, Eelam assumed a new meaning due to the atrocities committed by a terrorist group that sought division of Sri Lanka. In this context, a renowned newspaper like the Guardian to associate Eelam and Sri Lanka in the manner they did, at best, is poor journalism and at worst, a gambit in the ongoing campaign by the Tiger-rump. Whatever it is, the fact that the Guardian was forced to remove the said question, on the protest of our High Commissioner in London, highlights the need for excellence in our foreign service together with vigilance eternal.

Eleven years after their total defeat, the rump of the LTTE, unsuccessful with promoting many a campaign of falsehood, have come out with a new campaign. They have started promoting the myth of a Tamil genocide, especially in Canada, where many mayors of towns with Tamil voters are joining the chorus, singing from the Tiger hymn-sheet. The latest to join is the idiotic, ‘acting joint-leader’ of the UK Liberal Democrats. Yes, it is a party like a double-bullock cart, having two acting leaders since the beginning of this year, as its leader lost her Westminster seat in the December 2019, UK General Election. He had sent a video message, on 18 May, for the Mullivaikkal Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day. I use the term idiotic with great responsibility; party leaders are obliged to verify facts before associating with and promoting political causes. He should have wondered how, what was once called Mullivaikkal Remembrance Day, suddenly transformed to something much more sinister with the interpolation of the words ‘Tamil Genocide’. A party leader, before accusing another sovereign nation of genocide should get his facts correct. Instead, he is demanding an international investigation into the Tamil Genocide, stating that he is well aware of what happened in Sri Lanka: maybe, by the lies fed to him by some of his voters! Unfortunately, these liberals are supporting terrorists, by their vote-catching actions.

True, President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is saddled with many a problem but in the few months he had been in office, has shown to be a leader of grit. Not that he has not made an occasional mistake, after all who does not, but his overall performance has been outstanding. The way he handled the Covid-19 pandemic has won him plaudits, nationally as well as internationally, which has made his opponents envious. Imagine what Sri Lanka’s plight would have been if the indecisive, infighting Yahapalana regime had been in power. We would be burying the dead whilst they were blaming each other. Even during this crucial period, when attention is keenly focussed on beating a deadly virus that has wreaked havoc in many affluent countries, more has been done to get to the bottom of the Easter Sunday terrorist attack last year, which Yahapalanaya totally mishandled. When a lawyer was taken into custody there were protests. International human rights groups started protesting and our own body woke up from a slumber to protest. Their flawed assumption, perhaps, is that a lawyer cannot be guilty of terrorist offences!

When Covid-19 crisis is over, the biggest challenge before the President and his government will be revitalising the economy of the country, which is in the doldrums. The havoc perpetuated by a tiny virus is threatening a global recession, the like of which we have not seen before, and Sri Lanka too is bound to suffer. However, Sri Lankans are resilient by nature and will help the President to get us out of the mess. After all, we have surmounted far bigger obstacles. But obstructing his path will be international do-gooders. While Sri Lanka was celebrating the defeat of terrorism, Canadian PM, Trudeau proffered unsolicited advice! He is trying to enlist the support of the pro-LTTE groups in his country.

Mangala Samaraweera, recently, came out of CID, saying how happy he had been to authorise the payment for the transport of ‘internally-displaced voters’ during the last presidential election and took the opportunity to bash Buddhist monks. But his biggest insult was to those who had sacrificed their lives to save the country from terrorism. By the way, during the election, Rishad Bathiudeen claimed all the monies spent for the transport of his displaced voters had been voluntary contributions but Mangala claims he proudly spent public funds. Who is telling us the truth?

Whilst our top diplomats like Palitha Kohona and Tamara Kunanayakam were defending the honour and integrity of Sri Lanka from false accusations, Samaraweera, at the behest of the Obama administration, decide to co-sponsor a resolution against Sri Lanka.

Let us not forget, Prabhakaran did not fight for the rights of Tamil people. What he did was carrying out a ruthless terrorist campaign, for thirty years, to establish a separate state. He fought to divide Sri Lanka. He assassinated moderate Tamil leaders who disagreed with him. Every ceasefire was an opportunity for him to increase the ferocity of terrorism than for negotiations, had he been interested in the rights of Tamil people. He conscripted youth, got an Australian woman to hang cyanide capsules round the necks of misguided young girls and was responsible for wiping out a generation of Tamil youth. When he used civilians as a shield, Sri Lankan forces sacrificed their lives to save the innocents. They slowed the advance to avoid civilian casualties, and suffered more casualties as a result.

How can we expect true reconciliation when, unfortunately, even educated Tamils who held or are holding positions of great responsibility, seem to be behaving irrationally, the best example being Justice C. V. Vigneswaran, a retired supreme court judge, who is endorsing what Prabhakaran did.

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