By Sarath Wijesinghe

Image building

(March 05, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Image building of Nationhood is paramount to a “Nation” in the world family which needs respect and recognition of the colleges of the group of Nations. Nation is a territory or country as a political entity or a grouping of people who share real or imaginary common history culture language or ethnic origin often seeking or possessing its own government” There is no dispute that we are rich in culture, values, warmth with full of smiles, peaceful peace loving believing in and practicing individual and collective human rights- Democracy, Rule of Law and Due Process. Nations are led by human beings and it is natural for them to act with different agendas in their own interest. Humans are basically selfish. It is our obligation to sell our vision on foreign policy and relations and agenda to serve our people to the best possible, enhancing our Image and goodwill with other members of the world family.

International Relations and Diplomacy

Image and International Relations are interconnected as much as these concepts have direct bearing on Economy, Development, and Governance which governs the day to day existence, the future of the Nation and the Peoples’ living within the territory. A golden era of Diplomacy with excellent Image of the nation of the world has been the time this “Perl of the Indian Ocean” has had close relations with India and King Asoka who once conquered the entire Indian subcontinent - yet Sri Lanka was left alone due to close personal friendship and diplomatic and international relations with the leaders and the Nations. We had diplomatic relations with Middle East and far East through traders so that diplomacy was not alien to us. Our international image is of such high esteem over thousands of years that we existed all through out as an independent entity and a small Giant until British Empire cheated Chiftens in the Hill and conquered our independence and the Great Nation. King Asoka sent his most precious son and daughter as emissaries to his unseen but close friend King Devenampiyatissa in order to propagate Buddhism he embraced having gone through a victorious battle to conquer the whole India killing millions. Next golden era of successful foreign policy has been during Madam Bandaranayaka who with the best of foreign and civil servants successfully headed the powerful Non - alignment movement representing a major part of the Globe, lifting the Image of Sri Lanka to the peak. Today President Rajapaksa is introducing a unique foreign Policy unique to himself to Sri Lanka with his international personality and a vision to lift Sri Lanka to the best in Asia politically economically and a leader in the world family. Currently Sri Lankan President as the emerging of world leader of Asia is heading SAARC and many more international organisations representing a major part of the Globe and heading for the next Golden Era on Diplomacy and International Relations.

Global Issues

International relations or international studies represents study of foreign affairs and “Global Issues” among the states within the international system including IGOs, NGOs and Multi National Corporations notwithstanding the concept of sovereignty which means there are no equals within a definite territory and the external superiors have unlimited authority within the territory of sovereign boarders. This is shown in classical Greek and Roman concepts in a simplified version as “I am not allowed to tell you what do and you are not allowed to tell me what to do.” Still there are schools of thoughts in arena on International law and relations that other countries of the world family and the United Nations Organisation and subsidiary bodies have a legitimate authority to intervene in Domestic Affairs in relation to gross violations of individual and collective human rights in very special circumstances. What are these special circumstances is a moot issue as it depends on the world opinion created on the member country concerned based on the international media which has the network worldwide including the country in question. To the disbelief amassment and surprise to the world we successfully eradicated LTTE terror smell of blood and death that has engulfed our Nation, region and the world for thirty years in a short span of three years to the relief of the peace loving members of the world family enhancing our image as a liberator possessing the most professional security forces, when in Iraqi Afghanistan and other turbulent areas war crimes and unprofessionalism was rampant. We saluate our close friends China, India, Middle Eastern, African Sub Continent and the Peoples of EU, UK and USA not necessarily sharing the views of some misguided personalities such as Milliband, Gorden Brown, and with whom Sri Lankan President is bound to mend patches and fences in due course, once the domestic issues are cleared shortly and makes personal diplomatic missions to that part of the world and meeting world leaders . President Obama’s offer of close and further ties and friendship with Sri Lanka, Senators statement that USA can not afford to loose Sri Lanka and warmth of ordinary United Kingdom citizen pouring to Sri Lanka to enjoy liberation and beauty mixed with friendship, words of goodwill from EU to reconsider the decisions of GSP are positive signs of regaining our Image shattered by statements made and steps taken by some of our politicians and powerful government servants who were responsible of politicizing the Army and the Judiciary due to their personal ego and hidden ambitions discretely implemented to achieve their ambitions even during the tenure of office heading the Army and the Judiciary.

World Opinion

History has proved that the world opinion is not necessarily correct and adverse situations of tarnishing the image of a country, especially in sensitive human right issues will give rice to drastic consequences to the country in question when it is economically not sound and small in size wanting international support. In such situations powerful nations and organisations tend to flex muscles and twist arms of the weak, in order to discipline small nations. President Rajapaksa won the battle as he could not be subjected to pressure of interested groups as his non negotiables such as undivided country, unitary state and love to the motherland are non negotiable at any cost. He was steady and firm. Currently Sri Lanka a very senior member of the world family is in a dilemma on remarks made and the steps taken by the retired Army Commander and Retired Chief Justice, on the “Image of Sri Lanka” before the eyes of the world family both of whom are controversial and leading political figures in active party politics today. Fonseka took the unexpected sudden decision to contest the Commander- in – Chief supported by one time arch enemies UNP, JVP and former Chief Justice his legal advisor and chief promoter who was active in the famous TV chat shows, attacking President Rajapaksa by quoting his own ongoing cases which is quite unusual and unethical. On the TV and political platforms Silva exerted vigorous and venomous pressure and attacks on President Rajapaksa, his conduct on governance and matters connected to law and order. Fonseka’s public statements on the “White Flag Episode” prompted UK, USA, and some NGO’s and UN agencies to inquire into the matter as a matter with grave concern based on the statements made to Sunday Leader, public platforms and BBC of willingness to give evidence before an international forum on Sri Lanka and the conduct of Gotabaya Rajapaksa - the powerful Defence Secretary. Silva’s speech as the Chief Guest promoter and the first signatory of the online Website to free Fonseka which has given wide international publicity by BBC has aggravated the grave and aggravated situation of still deterioration of the world opinion on Sri Lanka. We have to work hard to get over this mess created by those do not love the country.

Sovereignty

Silva - the only and the most controversial Chief Justice since inception of the Supreme Court from 1802 has commented at his political speech at the launch of the website of Fonseka on the lawlessness Sri Lankan Society and non adherence to UNHCER which he himself has one time declared not applicable to Sri Lanka and a threat to our sovereignty. He has quite erroneously referred to article 13 that the detention is illegal on the grounds that he could be arrested only according to procedure established by Law and kept only for 24 hours, without referring to the power of detention. Army Act and the Public Security Act too are par of the law and the procedures adopted under any subsidery law according to law are good in law. He is wrong in stating that Fonseka can not be tried under Army act. Under S 51(c) of the army act a person subjected to army rule, very simple and basic.

Silva’s remarks at the function published worldwide via BBC and all international channels are full of controversy, factual inaccuracies and inflammatory in the context of damaging the image of Sri Lanka, the country has developed with many sacrifices of Diplomatic Community and Expatriates worldwide. His statement “General Fonesks who led the Sri Lankan Army is a political prisoner today. The government is trying to demoralize Fonseka as a politician.” This damaged the good image of this respected Nation created with sweat and hard work of our great leaders for decades and the diplomatic and expatriate community worldwide. “Political Prisoner is someone held in prison or otherwise detained for his involvement in political activity”. Fonseka is held on charges under military law which is a part of our legal system on violation of military rules, Bribery corruption and many other charges and not on political grounds. A person retired from the army could be tried under military law six months after the retirement. He is not a threat to the ruling party and his party and supporters are in shatters. He is an unfortunate man disowned and abandoned used him for their political gains by others using his weakness for vengeance.

Dangerous Signal

This gives a dangerous signal to the world as few are aware of political activism of politician turned former Chief Justice. Matters becomes worst when the statement happens to be on the former army Commander turned politician by the former Chief Justice turned politician. It is time for us to be cautious and protect the freedom and liberation achieved with blood and sweat of thousands who sacrificed lives property and hard work.

Silva’s statement at the inaugural that Fonseka is a political prisoner if inflammatory and sends a dangerous signal to the world tarnishing our image when we need a good image especially when EU is reconsidering to give us GST facility.

Politicians are exposed to the Public

Politicians are subject to eternal and strict scrutiny by the public and they have no separate private life. It is their choice to belong to the people and are prepared to disclose the entire life to the people they intend to serve Now Fonseka and Silva has become naked objects in glass boxes on the top of a huge mountain watched carefully by the masses as they have chosen to be active in the maize of politics subject to the supervision of the public long awaited for their opportunity. In that context Silva no longer could hide behind the concept of contempt of court which is to be changed in due course to be more fair and reasonable and prevent misuse based on personal agendas. Now the media lawyers and the public can scrutinize the present and the past conduct if it is alleged that the one time leaders of the Judiciary and the Army were planning to be in active politics whilst in service. One can not be an active politician in a day or two. They must have planned for years and months as budding political animals, as Silva has declared on Lakbima on 3/1/2010 that the only vested interest he could have is political which a broad statement . One could do any dirty thing and come down to any level to be a politician. If Silva has conducted himself and manoeuvred the public duties with the intention of becoming a politician his conduct is subject to strict scrutiny. Same applies to Fonseka and his previous conduct. Fonseka and Silva did not see eye to eye though great buddies now joined against president Rajapaksa - the common enemy. Both had skeletons in cupboards which is being revealed day be day in courts, Bribery Commission and the future commissions to be appointed to scrutinize misuse of power, bribery and corruption. Silva’s decisions on Lodgers, Barriers, and Prevent searches in the nights antagonized Fonseka who wholeheartedly and ruthlessly eliminated possible opposition in all the areas even outside his preview if he thought it is a threat to him personally or politically. Both Silva and Fonseka had different and controversial personal lifestyles well known to the public. The public and even lawyers had to gulp the inhuman treatments due to fear and misuse of power. Both had the same ego, same ambition, and powerful positions when the country was in turmoil. They had a field day as country was under pressure. These people should not be allowed to tarnish the good image of our motherland we love and ado so much. But the good news is that Sri Lanka is always fortunate. We were blessed with the leader who foresaw the dangers and acted carefully and swiftly with the vision and the experience backed by the masses that today enjoy and benefiting the seeds of peace developments and prosperity. Now we are out of danger. Once 2/3 majority is given by the people a constitution based on Mahinda Chintanaya and Home Grown model will be in force. We are the first among 31 best tourist destinations. Stock market is booming day by day and the influx of tourists are growing. Five Harbours, Airport, the road net work as good as UK, major irrigation and power projects, are nearing completion. We are elevating to middle class from poor. English Education and IT is given priority. We have a Tamil Speaking president who loves us and the country taking us to the next generation with rapid development prosperity and happiness. This is the image that we need to transmit to the world for us to be elevated to be the best in Asia.

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