Dismayed but not appalled - the New Moon on refugees
Does the name Geert Wilders ring a bell? He is the Dutch Member of
Parliament who produced a short film which criticizes the Koran as a
“fascist book”. It is the same person who was denied entry to the UK in
February this year, although had come at the invitation of a British
Member of Parliament, to a member country of the European Union, to show
his 17 minute film to the House of Lords. But, Jacqui Smith, the British
Home Secretary at the time, refused Geert Wilders entry to the UK
because his opinions “would threaten community security, and therefore
There were some who said this was an attack on Freedom of Expression,
but the British Government stood its ground. Geert Wilders had to go
back on the next flight. That was in the country where you find
Westminster, known for long as the Mother of Parliaments, and by some
mistaken people as the Mother of Democracy. But is better known today as
the Mother of Fraudulent Expenses Claims by Members of Parliament -
David Miliband included.
Protests against military operations in Swat Valley are
Fast Forward to June 10, 2009. Location: the Bandaranaike
International Airport in Sri Lanka. Meet Bob Rae, a member of the
Liberal Party, who represents the Toronto Center seat in the Canadian
House of Commons in Ottawa. He is detained for some hours by Immigration
authorities and sent back in the next available flight.
He was refused entry because Sri Lankan intelligence had reason to
believe that his presence here would be a threat to national security.
We may not be the Mother of Parliaments, but we certainly know what
national sovereignty is. Those who support separatism that is sought to
be achieved through terrorism are not welcome in this country. It’s as
simple as that. We have not taken a leaf from any British book. We have
only asserted our right to decide who we want in our country.
In a way it is an irony that a Canadian MP was unable to enter Sri
Lanka along the Canada-Sri Lanka Friendship Road, which is what links
the BIA to the Colombo-Negombo Road. But the road was named to
commemorate a great act of Canadian generosity and friendship, long
before the LTTE was born.
The times have changed since then. Unlike in the 1960s when the road
was named, Toronto now has the largest single expatriate Tamil
population in the world, which is by no means offensive. But Rae
represents large sections of them who are not just vocal but openly
violent in their support for the cause of terrorism in Sri Lanka; those
who support child soldiers and suicide killers; those who support the
assassination of elected political leaders of Sri Lanka, and India, too.
It may be that he was making sure of his vote bank for the next
That is his wish. He is free to have his voters and we are free not
to have him here. This is no reflection of Canada - Sri Lanka
Friendship, as some may like to make it out. It is only a show that we
are determined to safeguard our sovereignty and our national security
from persons who could be a threat to both.
Let’s get back to Geert Wilders for a while. He had urged the Dutch
Government to ban the Koran and warned of a “tsunami” of Islam swamping
Freedom of Expression or unbridled, fanatical extremism, and hate
speech of the worst kind. And what has Bob Rae from Canada done? He,
with his pro-LTTE voter/supporters have wrapped themselves with the
blood soaked flag of the LTTE; the flag of terror, the banner that reads
human shield of citizens; the standard of an organization that takes its
own people hostage (ask Ban Ki-moon for proof, if you need it). The flag
of suffering and hunger that forced 250,000 Tamil citizens to flee the
terror of pursuing tiger liberators into the arms of waiting Sri Lankan
troops who gave them safety, care, and the promise of a new life of
freedom. A promise that Bob Rae and his pro-tiger hoodlums in Toronto
Not unexpectedly, the Canadian Foreign Office is said to have
expressed its “dismay and displeasure” to the Sri Lankan Government at
Bob Rae being detained and booted out of the country. I am glad they
stopped short of being “appalled”. But Bob Rae, the deportee has said
something that is an abominable falsehood, which just shows the tint on
the glasses through which he peers at Sri Lanka.
He is reported in the Canadian Press of June 10, stating that ‘It
[Sri Lanka] is a very dangerous place to be any kind of Tamil right now
and this is nuts.” He also repeated another big lie that during the
final days of the war with the LTTE more than 7,000 civilians were
killed, according to a United Nations tally. The UN has denied saying
that. Its officials have leaked an unverified figure, to Big Lie Rae and
others Sri Lanka bashers, too.
Now who is nuts, Bob Rae, you, me or the Tamils in Sri Lanka, who
after the defeat of the LTTE, hailed President Rajapaksa as the only
true national leader since independence, who is prepared to look at all
communities here as one nation, and one people, while enjoying their
separate cultural, linguistic and religious identities?
If the Federal Government in Ottawa was “dismayed and displeased”
about the unceremonious boot given to Bob Rae from Sri Lanka, the UN
Secretary General has just expressed “dismay” at the rising death toll
from last Tuesday night’s suicide bombing of a hotel in north-west
Pakistan, which killed two United Nations staff, and injured four
Just for the record, Ban Ki-moon, you were saved any such dismay
about events in Sri Lanka taking a toll of UN staffers, only because the
Government in Colombo ordered all aid workers, UN included, out of the
zone of armed confrontation with the LTTE in September last year. We did
hear many howls of protest at that action, but the events could not
disprove the correctness of the Government’s decision that these aid
workers - UN staff too- had to be taken out for their own safety.
They were spared the being bathed in the much warned of blood of what
John Holmes and many other UN people told the world of the ever imminent
bloodbath in the North of Sri Lanka; the bloody prophecy that never came
true. Ban Ki-moon was again spared any dismay.
Do you recall how Ban Ki-moon was sobered and saddened, as he told
the people of Sri Lanka of the condition of more than 200,000 IDPs in
the relief villages in Vavuniya, after a 20-minute spell there, but was
quick to tell CNN that he as “appalled” by the same sights only a few
Each one to his dismay or the appalling; but we have still to hear
the same Ban Ki-moon say, on or off camera, that he is even dismayed or
appalled by the conditions of more than two-and-a-half million refugees
in Pakistan, who have fled the fighting in the Swat Valley, and are
undergoing much worse suffering under tents supplied by, guess who - the
UN, just as in the relief villages in Sri Lanka. It cannot be appalling
over there as those people have been made refugees because Pakistan is
in hot pursuit of the Taliban at the urging of Washington, to make the
US safe from Al Qaeda and the terror of Osama Bin Laden.
Just for dessert, can you guess who will demand independent
international inquiries for genocide or war crimes or crimes against
humanity, if and when Bin Laden, Al Qaeda and the Taliban are finished?
And, are you sure there is unfettered and unimpeded access to all those
2.5 million refugees and others being added to that number in Pakistan?