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LLRC report will be buried without final rites

" The Indian media is powerful because its democracy allows them to criticise. Hence the media brought even Rajiv Gandhi down. The vociferous media in India constantly criticises the injustices against suppressed classes."
by Pearl Thevanayagam

(March 28, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) There are journalists who take a stand and there are those who sit on the fence not wanting controversy. I still recall these words of the late veteran journalist Ajith Samaranayake who belonged to that rare calibre of independent and honest Sri Lankan journalists. Then there is yet another breed who profess to being journalists when in fact they have obtained a doctorate in social sciences (the last refuge of those who failed to get a degree in natural sciences which require a modicum of cerebrum) and who believe they could do a better job than the illiterate hacks.

Victor Cherubim writing from Canada professes that Mahinda Rajapakse needs time to redress the grievances of the Tamils and the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) will bear fruit whereas the UN Panel would go nowhere.

Had he taken the pain to research into all the Presidential Commissions conducted so far he would no doubt find they had been mere showpiece acts to placate the public the governments are interested in investigating wrong-doings.

Cherubim can be classified as a Dayan Jayatilleke sans academic drivel. Dayan kept on pummelling the media with his alliance with Tamil rebels (He once engaged with EPRLF) and at the same time throwing his Sinhala nationalism as the trump card to get what he always desired; a diplomatic posting with all its perks and privileges.

Dayan finally managed to become the ambassador in France without passing a single Foreign Service examination. But then this is Sri Lanka andd he will jump the burning hoop and genuflect before any ruling regime to keep him in his happy enclave with all the perks and privileges he feels he deserves.

The Cherubims of this world and the Seraphims may close their eyes and look through rose-tinted spectacles that the 30 year old war has come to an end but not all is well within this island which is now reeling from a spiralling cost of living and a media, watchdog of governance, handcuffed so much so that dissenters’ voices are suppressed to the point of murders and incarceration as we have seen since President Mahinda Rajapakse took the mantle of power.

The fate of Prageeth Ekneliyagoda, the cartoonist, is still unknown and there is serious doubt as to whether he is alive.

President Rajapakse’s acolytes, Douglas Devananda, Karuna ad Pillayan not to mention KP are wielding their beach boy tactics in white van abductions, rape and murder and money laundering openly and with the blessings of the government.

Victor Cherubim states, “Let me take just one issue. There is no quieting of the war crime issue by international bodies. Sri Lanka’s own LLRC is in progress and scrutinising any and all transgressions. The UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts is also simultaneously as we understand, investigating this issue. No conclusions have been reached as yet, but for some reason, world opinion wants to be both judge and jury on this issue.”

Is this man for real? Could he provide one single example of a commission report produced by the government and published for public scrutiny?

The reason we elect governments which are corrupt is our blind belief in the intelligentsia who manipulate their intellect for narrow political or personal gains. The government never imposes ban on academic publications; rather it muzzles the media which tells it as it is. Although politicians seek common votes they do not seek their opinions. Opinions are fed to them through these filtered intelligentsia rather like the ministerial secretary in the popular TV comedy ‘Yes Minister’.

The Indian media is powerful because its democracy allows them to criticise. Hence the media brought even Rajiv Gandhi down. The vociferous media in India constantly criticises the injustices against suppressed classes. It was media agitation which led to the government allocating places in government jobs and universities to the oppressed castes.

The impotency of the LLRC will be revealed by May 2011 when the commissioners make their final report which does not have judiciary powers and which only makes recommendations. Unless a civilian or a body take the recommendations of the LLRC to court the commission will die a natural death as we have seen in previous commissions.

I am no Nostradamus but I will cross my heart and swear to die that this LLRC will not seek to redress the wrong-doings committed on the Tamils in Wanni in the last throes of war. The commission is seeking evidence not from those who wish to be witnesses but which the government wishes to be witnesses.

Latest Wikileaks report says both the President and his brother Basil Rajapakse were clueless as to what went on in the last stages of the bloody war which ended almost two years ago. This comes as no surprise.

For example, when I visited Jaffna in 1996 after it was `liberated ‘ from the LTTE the media contingent comprised those who could not speak or understand Tamil except for just Veerakesari reporter and myself.

I had to translate for them as well as for foreign correspondents. It was an Island reporter who reported quite the opposite of what the Jaffna VC said even after I had explained the gist of his statement in Tamil!!

For all they knew I could have recited Psalm 91 and they would have believed me.

Should Cherubim wish to obtain favours from the government he only needs to write to the President and express his wish. The President loves sycophants. Take a leaf out of Dayan and his uncle Neville de Silva. He need not use the media for his purpose.

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