The dual reality of the present time - some comments

Reference article by Jehan Perera (JP) in The Island of 12th April titled, ‘The dual reality of the present time’.  

Under the heading, ‘Limited Freedom’, JP  says, "...A high powered inter-religious delegation from Colombo visited the North... delegation was given military escort... this would have dissuaded the war displaced people being open in their expression of dissatisfaction... When the delegation met with religious counterparts in Jaffna they were able to hear a critical expression of views... militarization of governance... Freedom of expression  has its limits in the North was very clearly made..." 

Compared to the above, a person named Mylvaganam(M), from Jaffna, participating in a dialogue in Lanka Web on April 11 says, "...My ‘periya appa’ (72), father’s brother, now works with his children in his paddy fields at Pungududivu, after 20 years. Free from air bombs from SLAF. No more Army checking. No more hassels from the Navy. No more recruitment of children as fighters, harassments and 

collections by the LTTE. Thank you President Rajapaksa and the Sri Lanka Army. God Bless you..." And he continues the dialogue with other contributors.  

The views expressed by M and JP are poles apart. M and his family are ordinary citizens in Jaffna and are trying to make a living,  minding their own business. JP is a visitor to Jaffna from Colombo and Director, of a foreign funded NGO, The National Peace Council. And people know the role played by NGO’s during the war. So it is obvious that JP is singing for his supper.  

Further, JP has also not made it clear as to which religious denominations were in this group and who were in his ‘high-powered inter-religious delegation’. At the height of the LTTE power we had similar religious delegations visiting Sri Lanka from Australia, New Zealand etc., funded by the LTTE  and sympathetic to them. 

At the time, it was a matter of public knowledge, that Christian clerics from western countries come to Sri Lanka for short visits to study the ground situation and then write adverse reports  against the government and heavily tilted in favour of the LTTE and damaging the image of the country. Much of the blame in their reports was on alleged human rights abuses by the security forces with hardly any mention of the planned and premeditated acts of inhumanity of the LTTE. After their visits to Sri Lanka, they travelled to other countries addressing social and religious gatherings and collecting funds for the LTTE.  

It is also an open secret that some members of the clergy in the North sympathised with the LTTE and this is confirmed by Mr. S.Dixit, former High Commissioner for India,  in his  book, ‘Assignment Colombo’. 

Therefore, it is not surprising that when JP’s ‘high-powered’ religious delegation met with counterparts in Jaffna they were able to hear a critical expression  of views about life in the North. 

 JP now comes as ‘saviour’ of the people. But towards the end of the war, when these people were held as a shield by the LTTE preventing them from escaping to freedom and when the government was involved in a ‘Humanitarian Rescue Operation’ JP did not have the same feelings for them. He was then operating on a different wave length.  So it is not difficult to separate the chaff from the wheat. 

P. A. Samaraweera,


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