Listen to Sri Lanka’s mandate for change
On My Watch - Luden Rajakarunanayake:
An important aspect of democracy is recognition of a mandate by the
people. If there had been any doubts regarding the mandate this
Government has from the people for the key policies it is carrying,
there was enough reason given last Saturday to erase such doubts.
The voters of the Western Province not only endorsed what the polls
in five other provinces had shown, but also added convincingly to the
strength of that mandate.
The key policy of the Government being the determined pursuit of its
policy of eradicating terrorism from the country through the defeat of
the LTTE, the verdict of the Western Province, which has a very good
ethnic and religious mix, has given it the most resounding mandate for
the purpose, as well as approval of how this task has been carried out
so far. It is a mandate for change for being subjugated by the forces of
Yet those who preach democracy to the world, and are even ready to
carry our regime change to this end, do not appear to listen to such
popular mandates. The current surge of Foreign Ministers and special
envoys to Sri Lanka to pressure the Government into a pause in its
actions to defeat the LTTE is clear indication that listening to the
will of the people, is clearly not the policy of the power brokers of
the world today.
To these advocates of a ceasefire or a temporary pause in the
military operations to free the civilians who continue to be held
hostage by the LTTE, what matters is not the desire, determination and
mandate of the vast majority of the people of Sri Lanka, coming from the
ethnic and religious mix that make up this nation, and from a clear
spread of regions.
Their ears are not tuned to the voices and feelings of the people of
Sri Lanka. Instead they are only tuned to the voices of those who
wrongly claim to be the Sri Lankan Tamil ‘Diaspora’, in their need to
keep the LTTE and the war in Sri Lanka alive.
The message of all these clearly interfering pleaders for a pause in
military operations for allegedly humanitarian reasons, which show much
more concern for the safety of the ruthless Tiger holed up in its ever
shrinking hunting ground in the North East of Sri Lanka, than the people
for whom they claim to shed so much tears.
Whether it is a David Miliband whose capabilities in diplomacy came a
cropper with his comments on the Kashmir Issue, or a Bernard Kouchner,
who has long departed from the days of socialist humanitarianism and
Medicines sans Frontiers, and is today one of the most vociferous
advocates of the modern version of gunboat diplomacy, especially in the
Middle East, the message they bring is the same.
It is one of pressuring, arm-twisting, even threatening the
democratically elected and sovereign Government of Sri Lanka on how it
should get about finishing off the battle against terrorism in Sri
Anti-LTTE demonstration in the Hague
This approach is not confined to the Old World of Europe; it is seen
in the New World of the Americas, too. The voices being heard from
Washington are certainly not an echo of the ‘Change We Can Believe In’
that gave such a huge mandate to Barack Obama, before he chose Hillary
Rodham Clinton to be his Secretary of State.
The sounds that emanate from there are much more tuned to the
unchanging and continuing voices of the highly pro-LTTE pressure groups
that campaigned hard for Hillary Clinton to defeat Obama in the
Democratic Primaries, and also contributed financially to her campaign.
In fact she had even accepted donations from these pro-LTTE groups
for her campaign and returned them only after it was pointed out that
these donors were in fact supporters of an international terrorist
organization, identified as such by the US Government, and banned in
It is obvious the pressure on her keeps mounting from these Forces,
whether they are in Minnesota, Pennsylvania or Washington DC.
It is the same with Canada, with Ottawa lending its ears more eagerly
to the shrill and often violent voices of the pro-LTTE lobby with its
stronghold in Toronto, where one sees the actual realization of quasi-Eelam
anywhere in the world; and not the voice of the Sri Lankans who have
gone through this tragedy of terror, that Canada has joined with the
United States and Europe, via NATO, to stamp down or wipeout from the
mountains and valleys of Afghanistan.
The demand that all these forces make, for that is what they are -
though they come in the garb of friend and concerned partners in the
cause of humanity, or move through the United Nations which has a bigger
mandate to fight terrorism than please the Western powers - is the same.
Allow a UN mission or any other such mission from the EU or a group
of nations willing to bow to the pressure of the financiers and
supporters of LTTE terror through the past three decades, to enter the
No Fire Zone. It is a common purpose they all have.
To help end the bloodshed, prevent and impending ‘bloodbath’ because
the fight at the end is known to be the toughest, and bring the Tamil
civilians trapped there out to safety. Of course, as Bernard Kouchner
did it the other day, they will quietly bowl doosra about having a third
party mediator, which had to be rejected outright, or as we now see
being said more often, talk of a some form of amnesty, as the Co-Chairs
have suddenly found it is time to talk about, and the untiring Yasushi
Akashi will most probably mention with bowing Japanese courtesy today
The answer to all this is very clear, and in the open. It is in the
188,000 plus Tamil civilians who have now come over to government held
territory, and at present living under somewhat difficult conditions no
doubt, due to the very size of the influx.
These people have come without any interested, concerned, worried and
possibly interfering groups going into the NFZ to ensure their safety or
prevent a bloodbath.
They have come through the military strategy so far adopted by the
Sri Lankan Security Forces, and have shown that they certainly prefer
even the temporary difficulties of IDP transit locations to the
frightening conditions under the LTTE’s terror in the NFZ.
If the Sri Lankan Government could get all these people out so fast,
and in comparison to their numbers with a minimum of bloodshed, death or
injury, there is no reason why the same security forces can not ensure
that the balance several thousands held there cannot also be helped out
That is the firm position of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, articulated
so well at his timely address to the public at Embilipitiya last
Whether it is to he physician Bernard Kouchner or the new brownie in
diplomacy David Miliband, and any others who come with such formulae for
the situation of the Tamil civilians held hostage by the LTTE, the
answer must and will remain the same.
Physician heal thyself. Just take a look at Iraq and how you have
been saving the people there for at least five years and more, and also
look at Afghanistan and what the US donors are doing to civilians in the
Swat Valley and the mountainous regions of the Pakistan- Afghanistan
Do not preach to us, what you do not practise elsewhere. This was the
clear and succinct message from the President, who had received such a
resounding mandate last Saturday, and in all preceding Provincial
Council polls since the battle to liberate the North and East from the
grip of LTTE terror began.
That is a mandate that outside meddlers, however much they may be
electorally dependent on a so-called ‘Diaspora’ or economically
interested in having more than a toe-hold in Sri Lanka cannot ignore.
It is best that they use their energies being spent in trying to save
Prabhakaran and his close accomplices in terror from the fate of those
who take to arms, the laws of Sri Lanka, and the wrath of the Tamil
people who have at last been liberated from their bloody claws, for
One such pressing need, in minding the interests of their own
societies, is to get back and preach to the Pro-LTTE organizations that
are waiting to raise more funds and give new life to a war that is
almost over, to practise democracy in all its forms, including the right
to protest, without resorting to violence and the glorifying of terror;
matters that are frowned upon if done by a Muslim cleric or a supporter
of Osama bin Laden, but not when it comes from supporters of the LTTE
and Velupillai Prabhakaran. Stop them from demonstrations that cause the
toppling and damage to the bust of a great Asian leader such as
Jawaharlal Nehru, stop attacks on the High Commission of India, the
world’s largest democracy, and the violence directed at Sri Lankan
embassies in Oslo, Berlin and possibly soon in other capitals too.
Put your own houses in good order and then let’s talk of how you can
possibly help the Tamils of Sri Lanka, who prefer to remain in Sri Lanka
lead a better life in their motherland for years to come.
It is necessary to remember that these Tamils have over the years
come in their hundreds of thousands into the midst, and of late into the
caring arms of Sri Lanka, where they are said to face the threat of
As Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona described it so aptly when asked
about this threat of genocide by a foreign journalist at a media
briefing last Thursday, all of these thousands of Tamils must be
suicidal if they come in such large numbers to areas where they face
There is certainly more respect needed for the psyche of average
Tamil citizens by those who mouth such cheap allegations, whether they
are UN officials here or abroad or foreign correspondents having
associated and pressing links with UN officers to spread obvious
falsehoods and unverified evidence of death and injury in Sri Lanka.