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Urination and its discontents

By Malinda Seneviratne

(April 19, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) I have for a long time been convinced that all nations have approximately the same percentage of saints, rogues, men and women of wisdom, morons, geniuses and intellectual pedestrians. I feel now that the tragedy of human affairs and in particular relations among nations, is that the decision makers, the movers and shakers, are not exactly the saints, the wise and the pragmatic, but rather the morons and the rogues. I am referring particularly to India’s External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, David Milliband, the would-be Viceroy of Sri Lanka, and a set of international meddlers who are headquartered at some place called the Global Centre for R2P.

Mukherjee’s language, in a missive to the Government of Sri Lanka, is particularly offensive. This is what he says: "Continuation of precipitate military actions leading to further civilian casualties at this time would be totally unacceptable. While it is incumbent on the LTTE to release all civilians and IDPs under their control, the Government of Sri Lanka cannot be oblivious to the evolving human tragedy and the fate of the Tamil civilian population caught up in the so-called No Fire Zone."

‘Unacceptable’? ‘Cannot be oblivious?’ What gives Pranab the right to decide what’s acceptable or unacceptable? And who is he to ask Sri Lanka to be concerned or oblivious? In the first place, the government is clearly not ‘oblivious’ to civilian concerns. If it was, Pranab, this war would have been over months ago. Secondly, Pranab, your government in dealing with the terrorists who made you people piss in your pants a few months ago in Mumbai, was clearly oblivious to the fate of civilians and thereby abdicated the right to wax lyrical on the morality of such issues.

Most importantly, Pranab, we owe you people nothing. Of course, as you said, your government has extended ‘humanitarian assistance’ to civilians held hostage by the LTTE (you don’t use that terminology, true, but that’s saying it as it is). We are grateful. On the other hand, your tax payers wouldn’t have had to pick up the bill for your humanitarian assistance had India not nurtured terrorism in the first place.

The problem is that Pranab is accountable only to the people of India. He can be pardoned for his ignorance, but only partly since India knows what happened to the IPKF. We know what the LTTE is about, what it is capable of and what it can and will do if given half a chance. Humanitarian pauses can be translated into innocents being killed in bus bombs, suicide attacks and so on. We have to deal with the body parts and the tears, not Pranab, not India.

The government could, arguably, play the wait-and-see game, but it has to factor in the possibilities of another parippu-dropping, if not from India, then from some other country led by people with pea-sized brains and mountain-like egos. The thing is, Pranab, we have learnt to treat the ‘international community’, so-called (yes, you like that term), with justifiable suspicion. For years, Pranab, they said the LTTE cannot be defeated militarily. For years they (your government included) refused to acknowledge that the LTTE was a terrorist organization. You lost a Prime Minister to the ‘rebels’ (so-called) didn’t you? For years we were told to ‘negotiate’ with the LTTE when your country never entertained the idea of negotiating with your terrorists, nor the USA or UK with the Taliban or Al Qaeda or with the Somali pirates (so-called?).

Pranab does not use the R2P (Responsibility to Protect, so-called) terminology of course, but the threat is clearly evident when he says ‘unacceptable’. If we don’t operate within the contours of Pranab’s ‘acceptable’, what will he do? Take a piss? No. He has done the literary finger-wagging; he has said ‘you-better-not’. India obviously has the power, the ego and idiocy to charge in. That won’t help Sri Lanka. It won’t help the Tamil people. It will probably help the LTTE. More problematic is that it will make India the kind of invader that no sensible invader would want to be; a pain-in-the-behind invader.

Pranab Mukherjee, for all this, does sound ‘decent’ and even (mildly) intelligent compared to Jan Egeland, Gareth Evans, Juan Méndez, Mohamed Sahnoun, Monica Serrano, Ramesh Thakur and Thomas G. Weiss, the R2P (Resposibility to Piss?) outfit. Oh yes, let me acknowledge, these ladies (so-called) and gentlemen (so-called) have lovely CVs, which makes one wonder how moronic the people who educated them, granted them degrees and gave them jobs must have been (by the way).

Now these Responsibility-to-Pissers, in their ‘open letter’, pin their plea on a thing called ‘grave risk of mass atrocities’ and neatly apportion equal responsibility to the LTTE (guilty of ‘mass atrocities’) and the Government of Sri Lanka (not guilty of anything of the kind and in fact have suffered heavy casualties on account of a kind of restraint that India, the US, the UK and other big players have never shown their enemies). They throw in a number: 100,000. A few months ago, the ‘approximate’ (so-called) figure of civilians was 350,000. Some 250,000 have vanished into thin air, but the pissers continue to empty their extensive bladders regardless.

The pissers want the Government to treat IDPs as per international standards. They don’t acknowledge that nowhere in the world have IDPs been treated so well, nor that the LTTE sent suicide bombers disguised as ‘civilians’ and that one of them was actually a child. They don’t acknowledge that this has not deterred the Government from downgrading any of the facilities provided to IDPs.

The pissers argue that when states are ‘manifestly failing to protect their own people, then the international community is obliged to act’. Yes, that ‘failed’ word again. Well, we were supposed to have failed some three years ago (grin). Are we failing? Protecting our people is firmly (not solely of course) tied to eliminating the LTTE. We are not exactly failing in this regard, are we? The greater flaw in that argument is that the international community has failed in the mission to help Sri Lanka fight the LTTE internationally. Yes, the LTTE has been banned, but has certainly not been stopped. London, Oslo and other unhappy cities are paying a heavy price today for confusing terrorist with liberator. So the pissers are pissing on the wrong country, wrong set of concerns and badly need to see an urologist.

The pissers want the UN Security Council to "bluntly characterize the violence in Sri Lanka as ‘mass atrocity crimes’". See the sleight of hand. They move from ‘grave risk of mass atrocity’ to ‘mass atrocity’ without qualification. They want a) humanitarian groups and media personnel to be allowed into the conflict zone, b) a special envoy to be dispatched into the region, and/or c) to impose sanctions. Note: none of these recommendations would hurt the LTTE or persuade Prabhakaran to forego his human shield. In fact the pissers are operating as though they are the ultimate and most loyal human shield that Prabhakaran has. This is punishment meted out to the people of Sri Lanka and essentially a hands-off-the-LTTE proposal. Well, the Government could invite these morons to check things out for themselves and even facilitate their movement into the no-fire zone so that they can become an ‘on-the-ground human shield’.

As for sanctions, I am persuaded to say, ‘do your worst’! This is a post-Bush world order and one where the USA is slipping into the ‘third world’ and fast. This is a world where us Sri Lankans (fortunately, one might argue) will soon have to depend on rice, sweet potato, manioc, kos and del, with or without sanctions. Sanctions would force us to live within our means and force us not to pawn the futures of our children to obtain things that are not only non-essential, but the purchase of which ensures only the sustained development of societies that are not really are benefactors.

The key issue here is sovereignty. None of these people are accountable to any of us in Sri Lanka. They don’t have to deal with the sick babies they father and drop on our nation’s lap. Our sovereignty (or what’s left of it) is tied to the securing of our borders, of having control over our internal situation and security against anyone threatening our nation. "Sovereignty is not given, it is taken", Kemal Ataturk once said. Perhaps our problem is that we have for too long we have twiddled our thumbs while others took mouthfuls of our sovereignty, chewed it and spat out whatever couldn’t be digested in our faces.

We can’t, like the LTTE, turn our backs on the world and lift our collective sarongs at them. We can, when someone pisses in public, show him/her (politely) where the toilet it. I am, for the record, being as polite as I possibly can, under the circumstances.

Malinda Seneviratne is a freelance journalist who edits the monthly magazine ‘Spectrum’. He can be contacted at malinsene@gmail.com.
-Sri Lanka Guardian

1 comment

manuri said...

very well worded,thanks malinda

keep it up

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