No need for travel advisories
Sri Lanka was
made to undergo many humiliations and indignities during its
three decades long ethnic conflict by the bulk of the western
nations which was purposely intended to sully its image on the
Many were the ruses and strategies devised to isolate the
country internationally. She was not only hauled before the
coals by the so called international community over alleged
human rights violations but was also singled out for special
treatment in the dispensing of aid and other facilities which in
the normal course of events she would have been entitled to.
All these were done with the sinister motive of painting a
bleak picture of the country so as to attribute pariah status to
By this means all that the West wanted was to get the country
to dance to its own tune particularly in relation to the
prosecution of the war. This sinister motive was finally laid
bare during the final stages of the war when there was an
indecent haste by roving Ambassadors and other busybodies from
the West to halt the operations and throw a lifeline to the LTTE.
That these designs of the Western nations were thwarted by
the single minded determination of President Mahinda Rajapaksa
is only too well-known to need elaboration. Suffice it to say
that all the plans and strategies they devised to get Sri Lanka
toe the line was defeated with the LTTE dealt a mortal blow.
One of the instruments used by the Western countries to
isolate Sri Lanka were the Travel Advisories urging their
citizens give the country a wide berth. True, these travel
advisories may have been issued with the interest of their
citizens at heart.
But the swiftness, nay, the indecent hurry these were issued
even when not warranted showed to any independent observer that
Sri Lanka was singled out for special treatment. By this what
was intended was to deal an economic blow to the country by
targeting its tourist industry.
It was no coincidence that these moves were invariably
followed by credit freezes and other ‘hold backs’ subtly applied
- all designed to bring about an economic crash. Through this
means what they hoped was to peg back the country’s war against
terrorism so it could work out its sinister agenda to divide the
Now it is up to these western countries to prove that their
love for their own countrymen were genuine when they asked them
not to visit Sri Lanka in the aftermath of a bomb attack. For,
the travel advisories are now redundant. Now is the time to call
Sri Lanka’s Ambassador for Brussels Dr. Ravinatha Ariyasinghe
has already called on Governments of the EU member states to
facilitate change of perception on Sri Lanka through an early
revision of Travel Advisories, taking into account the
significantly changed security situation in Sri Lanka.
Inaugurating a Lankan investment forum in Brussels he noted
that with the ending of the 30 year conflict the main impediment
to Sri Lanka reaching its full potential had been removed.
He also pinpointed the potential for investments by the
opening up of the North and the East for development after
decades. It is not just tourism that suffered by these travel
advisories but they also drove away prospective investors to the
The plot by the West against Sri Lanka was certainly
multi-faceted. But like the President said in his victory
speech, now that he has rallied all his people together there is
also need to cultivate the outside world.
He was certainly offering an Olive branch to all. The
President obviously is keen to start on a new slate. A massive
task now lie before our Foreign Ambassadors to market the new
Sri Lanka that has just been unravelled.
There is an urgent need to rekindle hopes for investments
that may have come our way but for the bombs that were exploding
in our midst. In this respect, persons like Ambassador
Ariyasinghe who is an articulate diplomat can do much by
clearing the air so that the world would once again look our
True, we have a lot of ground to cover yet before the country
would be an inviting prospect for investors. There is a need to
rebuild damaged infrastructure and also the once bloodied
landscape in the North which will be the focus that beckons
investors in the future.
Happily, work on the rebuilding process is being carried out
apace under the competent supervision of MP Basil Rajapaksa. At
the same time there is an urgent need to set the ball rolling
overseas to canvass the potential of a wholly new and resurgent
This is the time that our foreign Ambassadors and Envoys
should pull up their socks and get down to a serious job of work
to sell the new product.