Cometh the UN chiefAugust 31, 2016, 9:27 pm
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has arrived in Colombo. The last several months have seen the arrival of many foreign dignitaries for various purposes. It looks as if western diplomats and political leaders were falling over themselves to rush here. One must be wondering how on earth a speck of a country in the Indian Ocean receives so much of international attention.
Besides, three US Navy vessels have made port calls in Colombo so far this year. How many more American vessels are scheduled to do so is anybody’s guess. Speculation is rife in political circles that some western forces are scouting out the lie of Trincomalee, which the British reluctantly left more than half a century ago.
Minister of Fisheries Mahinda Amaraweera, a one-time Rajapaksa worshipper, has claimed to know what actually caused his erstwhile boss to call a snap presidential election and commit political hara-kiri in the process. Echoing the views of his current boss, President Maithripala Sirisena, Amaraweera has sought to debunk the widely held belief that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s downfall was caused by the palace seer’s wrong predictions.
Amaraweera says Rajapaksa was left with no alternative but to seek a third term prematurely because the latter was perturbed by an economic crisis on the horizon and being cornered on diplomatic and human rights fronts, especially in Geneva. Addressing a media conference in Hambantota on Monday, Minister Amaraweera said the international community had softened its stand on Sri Lanka after the fall of the Rajapaksa administration last year.
One is intrigued. If what Amaraweera says is true, then the western governments used the accountability issues to create conditions here for the defeat of the Rajapaksa administration. What logically follows from his contention is that the West led Rajapaksa a merry dance on the question of alleged war crimes not out of any concern for human rights but for political reasons. Else, how can it be explained why turns of the screw stopped for all practical purposes in Geneva after the collapse of the Rajapaksa rule.
It is doubtful whether the outgoing UNSG’s visit will be of great help to this country. He ought to be more focused on flashpoints in the region, which require urgent UN attention. It is hoped that he won’t lose sight of the predicament of the Kashmiri people crying out for justice. Women in Kashmir, unable to bear untold suffering anymore and miffed about the UN inaction have gone so far as to offer their bangles to the UNSG by way of an affront. This, we believe, is a damning indictment on the UN on his watch.
It is hoped that the UNSG will keep an open mind, without standing pat during his brief stay here, and refrain from refusing to see the dividends of the defeat of terrorism. There have been no terrorist attacks on civilian centres since the end of the war in 2009; in the North and the East children go to school without fear of being abducted by the LTTE; civilians no longer have to pay protection money to terrorists; there are no child soldiers today and democracy has been rekindled in the former conflict zone so much so that the TNA, which stooped so low as to serve as the LTTE’s mouthpiece out of fear, now engages in democratic politics. Moreover, the UN workers can operate in the North and the East without being abducted and harassed by the LTTE. Envoys representing western nations are moving about in the North and the East freely without fearing terrorist attacks on the whirlybirds they travel in. We are sure the UNSG would have been reluctant to visit here let alone bring along his charming significant other if the LTTE had been around carrying out attacks.
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Last Updated Aug 31 2016 | 09:19 pm