State media bought out with laptops
| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(December 02, 2013, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) Daily Noise is spewing out venom on Tamils commemorating their dead in the war. Rajpal Abeynaike, the new editor of CDN (Ceylon Daily News) who was quick to grab a laptop from the President is forever indebted and the only way is to return the favour with honeyed editorials. Abeynaike has not a single shred of self-respect and he is too imbibed to make rational use of his talents as writer. His only crutch is cowing down to the government in power.
He informs us morons that JVP is a legitimate political party now that is has joined hands with the government and left behind its Marxist rebellion. The LTTE is on the other hand a proscribed terrorist outfit. Karuna, Pillayan and KP too should be made persona non grata; except the government lives in serendipitous hope the stashed diaspora funds given to the LTTE are in the bank accounts of KP. Post-war, the LTTE funds have gone into private accounts of those the LTTE entrusted with. Overnight they are buying businesses and properties like there is no tomorrow.
White Pigeon donations for Tsunami victims came from hard-working Tamils who ran shops, petrol sheds and restaurants. They donated in thousands of pounds by way of palettes of goods to help their brethren who were sidelined by the government. The government instead rebuilt Galle as if the East which was most affected did not exist. Even foreign media were ensconced in Galle’s luxury hotels since the East was too remote and without comforts.
The diaspora Tamils collected enough to commission a ship to the tune of £60,000 and goods such as essential items, food and medicine. But the government stubbornly refused to allow it inshore cautioning they would be used by the LTTE to strengthen their war machinery.
This writer was present to help out Tsunami victims on Boxing Day in 2004 and Angayatkanni (Douglas Devananda’s friend) and Dr Moorthi took charge of electronic transfer of funds from Tamils abroad.
How White Pigeon escaped Charity Commission probe begs belief.
Having said that it is true Tamils are no saints or patriots. Not unlike the Jews, their ambition is to accumulate as much wealth as and when possible. Go to any Tamil Hindu home and you will not see Saraswathi but Lakshmi. Saraswathi is the Goddess for education and Lakshmi is for wealth. Diaspora Tamils are not the Tamils who lived in the North and East whose hospitality is the same as those Sinhala villagers who would not hesitate to feed their guests even with their last morsels.
Perhaps having managed to flee from Sri Lanka leaving their lands and loved ones made their hearts grow stone-cold to the plight of others and they are hell-bent on accumulating, accumulating and accumulating. They truly and sincerely believe they should show-case to their impoverished and trapped brethren in Sri Lanka they have achieved and own properties abroad.
One will not get even a cup of tea in their homes and yet they plead poverty when it comes to paying for services such as home-help. While the government provides them with funds they will pay £3.00 an hour whereas the minimum wage is £6.10 to failed asylum seekers most of whom are students whose visas had expired. This includes impoverished Sinhala and Muslim youth. Should they argue they would simply inform the UK Border Agency they are overstaying their visas.
Racist politics apart and getting back to the prostituting journalists who in Mangala Samaraweera’s words that some could be bought with a bottle of whisky, Abeynaike sticks out like a sore thumb. The grin on his face as he received his laptop speaks volume for his subservience and respectful journalists cringe at the sight.
Callum Mcrae, the Channel 4 documentary maker, who was pilloried in the press for speaking out for the war victims in his three documentaries and Frances Harrison, former BBC correspondent in Colombo, who dared to make her own investigation in torture and sexual violence of captured civilians during the last stages of war were branded stooges of the diaspora propaganda.
Callum talked about the ingenious ways Sri Lanka independent journalists managed to convey to the outside world the curb on news getting out at Frontline Club in London yesterday during a panel discussion. They only touched the tip of the iceberg. Either they were constrained in their efforts to capture the full scenario of the media freedom in Sri Lanka or they had to protect their sources.
If there is any hope for freedom and justice in Sri Lanka it would be through fearless journalism. As long as we have cheque book journalists in the pay of the government no amount of international pressure would resurrect its populace from slavery and subservience.
(The writer has been a journalist for 24 years and worked in national newspapers as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)