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Is Sri Lanka heading in the right direction?

By S. Akurugoda

(February 19, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) It is learnt that the British Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, and US secretary of state, Hilary Clinton, called for an immediate “humanitarian” ceasefire and the need of a ‘political solution’ two weeks ago and last week, the British High Commission announced the appointment of British parliamentarian and former defence secretary Des Browne as Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s special envoy to Sri Lanka.

Des Browne, speaking of his appointment, had said he welcomed the opportunity to act as the Prime Minister's Special Envoy and was looking forward to contributing to the UKs efforts to improve the ‘serious humanitarian situation’ and liaising with all parties that may have a role to play in taking forward work on a sustainable ‘political solution’ in Sri Lanka.

Western governments are pretended to be the great supporters of humanitarian issues— provided that the issues involved are not those of their own citizens. These ‘owners of the human rights, champions of interpretations of anything to their own benefit’, are adopting a different policy towards smaller developing nations such as ours, Sri Lanka.

The people of West appear to be peaceful but the leaders of governments of the U.S. and of Britain have a proven taste for carnage, as we see from their actions over the most recent years towards Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Sudan etc (the list goes on), even if we exclude the indiscriminate killing of innocent civilians though out the history by these perpetrators.

Let us take one out of several recent examples of disrespect for human lives by these two economic and military powers, just to see if there is any significant change in their taste for carnage with time.

The US-Britain led war against Iraq did not begin in 2003, as many people believe. In fact the US and Britain had been waging an undeclared war against Iraq more than a decade. The aim has been the destruction of Iraqi society enabling the US and Britain to gain control of Iraq's huge oil reserves. As a result of economic sanctions against Iraq, the prevention of the delivery of much-needed medical and other supplies because of US vetoes in the U.N. Security Council, and the carcinogenic effects of depleted uranium left over from the 1991 Gulf Slaughter, over a million people have died including an estimated 600,000 children .

As the entire world is aware now, the alleged "weapons of mass destruction" is just a lame excuse to bomb Iraq several times a week and to maintain sanctions which are slowly killing many of the people of Iraq. This policy by the US and Britain has truly been inhuman, slow genocide certainly, and no amount of hypocritical moral posturing on the part of their leaders can disguise this.

In the military process, it is reported that U.S. and British pilots slaughtered at least 200,000 Iraqi men, women and children. And of course all these murdered human beings were dismissed by the Pentagon as "collateral damage." BBC does not give publicity to these figures, although the broadcaster is all-out to mislead the world when a terrorist ‘in journalist’ cloth was arrested by the Sri Lankan police.

Apart from their ability to dismissals of any crime committed by themselves out rightly, these super powers are champions of justifying and regretting after committing such crimes. Few such justifications and regrets (typical) are;

"The pilot attacked what he believed to be military vehicles, but he dropped his bomb in good faith, as you would expect of a trained pilot from a democratic country. ... The bomb destroyed the lead vehicle, which we now believe to have been a civilian vehicle."

"NATO deeply regrets" the deaths of 80 people which occurred when NATO attacked two refugee columns in Western Kosovo on April 14.”

"NATO deeply regrets" the deaths of thirty nine civilians killed when a NATO missile hit a bus crossing a bridge at Luzane on May 1.”

Thus judging by the above records, the obvious question we have in Sri Lanka is, what moral rights do the leaders of these countries have to advice us on how to improve the so-called ‘serious humanitarian situation’ and to work on a ‘political solution?

‘Humanitarian issues’ and ‘Political solution’ are the last trump cards of the game played by the LTTE propaganda machinery. Almost all printed and electronic media supportive to the outfit are full of statements and media releases issued by the NGOs funded by foreign interests, few notable academics and politicians who are in the payroll of LTTE. These groups appeared to have intensified their battle for their own survival since a successful military action against terrorism may deprive the income of those waging PEACE.

On the other hand, Tissa Vitharana, the Chairman of the ‘FPRC’ (Few Party Representative Committee) appears to be busy in finalising his so-called ‘Political Solutions to Terrorists Problems’ or ‘Square Pegs for Round Holes” as ‘APRC’ (All Party Representative Committee), for a non-existing problem, just to provide the moral support to those holding the ‘Political Solution’ trump card. According to media reports, Vitharana’s ‘FPRC’ is proposing full implementation of the 13tth Amendment and to establish another Assembly consisting of Provincial Members. He is getting ready to put forward these proposals at the end of this month. The 13th Amendment was made to the Constitution amidst fear of Indian invasion and the extent of opposition to the treacherous Indo-Lanka pact was notable when a sailor attacked the Indian PM while the latter was receiving the guard of honour.

Prior to the signing of the 13th Amendment, there had been a belief that the ‘Official language policy" of 1956 was the root cause of the conflict. The 13th Amendment made Tamil an official language overnight as a solution but the charges against discrimination and demand for self-determination continue to be made based on those lines. If official language is the root cause, the conflict would have resolved itself with the implementation of the 13th Amendment language policy.
There is hardly any difference between the Quasi-Federal Indian government and the form of government forced on us by the Indian constitutional draftsmen. In fact, some argue that the Indian Constitution has vested more powers with the Centre than those made under the 13th amendment in this country and when implemented in full Sri Lanka’s system will surpass the Indian’s quasi-federal system.

Thus, the unitary nature of our Constitution was shattered with the establishment of Provincial Councils. The powers once devolved, especially along ethnic lines, though the Centre has the power to dissolve any provincial council, will be irreversible and, if an attempt is made to reverse them, the consequence would be disastrous.

An additional Assembly consisting of Provincial Members will add more burdens to economy similar to the Provincial Councils and will help only the politicos who have nothing else to do.

Is Sri Lanka heading in the right direction?

-Sri Lanka Guardian

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