Why is Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister keeping mum when Britain is humiliating Sri Lanka on our soil?
– by Shenali D Waduge –
Why did the President of this country have to end up defending the nation when those enjoying plush positions and virtually in orbit 24×7 roaming Western shores remain absolutely nonplussed about how to respond when the Prime Minister of Britain breaching all protocols insults us on our soil? Why has the External Affairs Minister or the Ministry not responded in any way to the snubs that have come pouring from Cameron both prior, during and even after his departure from Sri Lanka? We can count the number of people holding positions who have come out without being prompted to defend the nation and it goes to show what backboneless people serve as our representatives. Repeatedly highlighted have been instances how people who have been given positions with no electoral backing think that framed foreign doctorates more than suffices to hold position through the back door despite a very traitorous past and with no certainty of traitorous future. We salute Muttiah Muralitharan for coming out to defend the nation as he did direct to Cameron himself.
We were well aware of Cameron’s likely behavior. It was nothing he kept hidden and even otherwise when we knew the type of lobbying taking place by pro-LTTE groups and the manner that British parliamentarians have succumbed we should have known that arriving to a welcome of Kandyan dancers would not have changed his mind when Cameron met the GTF before arriving in Sri Lanka! Cameron came because he had to come as Prince Charles was attending in lieu of his mother, The Queen. Though we repeatedly keep saying that CHOGM is nothing but an event remembering we were once slaves, countries have made a tamasha out of it. It would have looked rather ridiculous for Cameron to be blowing hot and cold and not turn up while Prince Charles came. However, we would have been all the happier if Cameron had not turned up and Prince Charles attended for both he and the Duchess enjoyed the hospitality given and their body language showed none of the signs that Cameron displayed not out of inbred arrogance but because of cheap politics which gives us the last laugh in reality! All we can say is that we expected every bit of drama that came from Cameron because we know where his instructions came from and probably his conversation with Chief Minister Wigneswaran ended with ‘OK, I did my part’.
Returning to the topic of defending the nation – the Sunday newspapers are all about the failure of the Foreign Minister’s Africa policy, however we must say that while it is good to forge new ties with the African continent, we cannot expect Africa to come to any aid because all of Africa’s leaders are now being targeted by the ICC sponsored by the West. Yet, the Foreign Minister is guilty of completely ignoring our traditional alliances and totally distancing the country from the Buddhist block of nations and refusing to even open a Buddhist desk at the Ministry. With Asia’s rise, China and the Asian world means the influence of the Buddhist nations of the East will come into effect – why has our man taken us to a bankrupt, value-less West that is slowly falling apart where natives of these countries are now up in arms with the way their Governments are governing their country – Cameron or Obama are not going to win any popularity contests if both go for a vote nowadays. Sri Lanka cannot and should not be taken away from Asia.
When the President declares that people in glass houses should not throw stones – he now needs to ask the External Affairs ministry to remove the clause in its website which reads as “British rule lasted for almost 150 years and it was the first real experience of foreign rule over the entire Island. Reflecting on it, a fair verdict on British rule would be that while, like all alien regimes it had its drawbacks and limitations, especially in the economic and cultural areas, these were balanced, if not outweighed, by positive contributions on the political side which were primarily, the peace which the British regime brought, the administrative unification of the country, political experience in the development of parliamentary institutions, the rule of law, the growth of a commercial economy albeit a dependent one and the creation of a Western educated intelligentsia through the teaching of English which prepared the country for independence. Political institutions like the Legislative Assembly and the State Council became an arena where future leaders learnt the art of self governance. “http://www.mea.gov.lk/index.php/en/foreign-policy/historical-context
The External Affairs Ministry has been given the sole role of defending the nation and when Cameron on returning claims to have attended an ‘imperfect’ Commonwealth we do not expect the man in charge of the Ministry to say the ‘merits outweighs the demerits’ in reference to British colonial rule leaving the country to be defended by the President and the Defense Secretary. Had patriotic nationals like Mr. Gomin Dayasri and Mr. S L Gunasekera held similar roles they would have give unto Cameron who would not have known what to say or do. It is because we act like servants that Britain is treating us like servants. If he was attending CHOGM he has no business to within hours of the opening ceremony to be dashing to the North. Why is he concerned about the last phase of the war what about the 30 years of bloodshed that his new found friends did in the South? Why not visit these families too and have a look at how they were killed by the LTTE ? Why not lay a wreath for them like Prince Charles had done in Kandy – that is diplomacy and that is tact.
Of course, only gentlemen can behave like gentleman – Prince Charles has shown us where Cameron hasn’t which is why his racism was evident in the manner he addressed questions only from foreign press.
If Cameron thinks that anyone takes seriously any of his retorts on accountability after blocking the Chilcot Inquiry results finding Blair guilty of taking Britain to war without cause we just burst out laughing because Britain’s strategy is obviously to point at others to hide its own crimes and these crimes are too long to list covering the entire world and virtually every country including America.
If Cameron was to accuse Sri Lanka’s leaders of inefficiency in appointments inability to pull up the public sector, waste and corruption from top down and bottom up we would have wholeheartedly agreed. But when Cameron and others take the side of the tiger using silly notions that do not make sense we will not tolerate these lies for this Government did something that no previous government had the pluck to do and this government gave some dignity to our armed forces one that they deserve.
Yet, in knowing what Cameron was out to do why did it have to be the country’s leader having to come out and say ‘people in glass houses should not throw stones’ after nothing has come so from the External Affairs minister. It does not need prompting to issue a very strong message that the British Prime Minister has breached protocol and if he is feeling shy to offer such what is this nonsense of equality and sharing at the same level whether countries are large or small?
The current situation that faces the country has shown us, the ordinary citizens that we need to be wary not only of our enemies but the friends within. Let us remind Sri Lanka’s leaders that it has been the nationalists and a handful of expats living in foreign climes who have used their own resources to defend the motherland across the electronic and print communication channels while within the Government circle pockets of people promoting liberal and secular ideals funded by foreign sources are attempting to recolonize Sri Lanka to a level that it was ruled by Western Christian nations and that is why they take every opportunity to promote the notion that Sri Lanka has to be saved from the Sinhala Buddhists when it is this factor that is SOLELY protecting the country and keeping the country together.
Visibly clear at the CHOGM event ceremonies was the distinct culture of Sri Lanka that showed in no uncertain terms Sri Lanka’s identity something that does not link itself to any foreign or western identity or culture. So long as Buddhism remains a term of reference the people will never agree to bow down to colonial rhetoric and this is what the coterie of western-funded promoters are out to promote and create in Sri Lanka.
We have been facing these same music by private channels like channel 4 who seem to think that simply because they put edited pictures together and create a story they have credibility though of course they have won awards for it. However, when truth is on our side why has it not been a special effort of the External Affairs Ministry and Minister to set up a unit to quickly run through the allegations and have prepared question and answers in formats relevant to different parties making the allegations. This does not need a doctorate to do and we can assure anyone that nothing has been prepared by the External Affairs Ministry to respond to any of the allegations been made. Even if that was not done with the allowances and other entertainment that the Ministry budget has allocated have they even nurtured a single foreign journalist or academic to speak or write on our behalf when we are well aware that all those speaking for the LTTE are doing so because they are paid to talk and reading out statements prepared for them?
When we have all the evidence in our favor why have we allowed the LTTE with their bogus propaganda to get the better of us? Our missions should have been best placed to respond and negate these allegations at different levels to different target groups in official capacity – why has it not been a strategy to counter LTTE?
We have landed ourselves into a very sorry situation one that we never should have had to face. A country that faced terrorism and has 32 countries banning the terrorists including Britain should be told where to shut up when it keeps the very woman who trained children to kill and to commit suicide.
Yet, we never expected miracles from this appointment for this is the very person who had been claiming that we faced an ‘unwinnable war’ – he was the man that promoted regional councils, framed legislature to remove the status of Buddhism from the constitution and was a key player in the most treacherous document to have virtually handed over territory to the LTTE. When such a man went round the world promoting the CFA betraying our armed forces can we expect him to feel an iota of gratitude for the men who saved our country from terrorism? If it is not in him to defend the nation why is he kept in this key position?
In deed all of us are extremely disappointed. Despite our reservations it was a proud moment to view the ceremonies arranged by the Government and the well choreographed dances that depicted clearly our identity and brought delight to the invitees who said it was a relief to listen to acoustics without blaring noise of rap music.
Nevertheless what must be repeatedly said is that the Government needs to now relook at the workings of this key Ministry. The President or the Defense Secretary does not need to be coming to the rescue all the time. Officials are paid to do their job even if they do not have the inherent patriotic passion to deliver. If they cannot do that it is now time to think of replacing them with patriotic people who can deliver punches where diplomacy is not reciprocated. This is what Putin, Hugo Chavez and Castro did and no country fooled around with them for they gave in the same language they got. We need more leaders from Asia with such characteristics for Asia is in search of people to look up to.
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While highly appreciating the sentiments of this article, it is also noteworthy to remember (being fair by FM), when a PM of country who’s arrived at the invitation of our President, makes a statement the response should be from the Head of state of the host nation rather than anyone lesser in rank which our President has done so effectively and swiftly.
It is also helpful to understand what looks like hypocrisy of Mr. Cameron praising and call for patience with SL in one hand and calling for HR probe by April 2014 in the other, which I feel is due to the immense pressure he is in by attending CHOGM ignoring his potential vote bank and fund raisers for his campaign (Diaspora – stronger as in any country) and to face criticism of his opposition back home as well when he returns.
Our President’s response has been over and the way he exhibited his inclusiveness and tolerance of media was certainly an example to his British counterpart.
However our gut feeling will remain that a punch on the face would be the best response for such statements and to their media men (C4 specifically).
third para i ment ” Our President’s response has been over and above, covering all critisism”