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Lesson’s from GTF’s Geneva stunner

| by Ceylon Today

( February 23, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) In a worryingly portentous assessment of how things will pan out in Geneva, come the crucial UNHRC vote in March, the Global Tamil Forum (GTF) has claimed, as revealed in Friday's issue of this paper, that 23 countries (all named) would vote for the US sponsored resolution, and that the resolution would be based on the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay.

When one considers the work put in by the GTF to arrive at the conclusion, the emerging picture is that of an organization more attuned and sensitive to the current international thinking and its inexorable trends than a well-organized government, which Sri Lanka claims to be. The Forum's assessment, more a prediction, is supposedly based on scientific data collated from intense campaign results, historical propensities and contemporaneous news and information originating from the world capitals, particularly Geneva, Washington DC and London.

If the GTF assessment holds good, then only the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Kuwait, Maldives, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia, China, Congo, Cuba and Venezuela, none of which could be classified as traditionally 'democratic' except perhaps the Philippines and Indonesia, would be voting for Sri Lanka.

We have written about this dismal failure on the part of the Sri Lankan regime to make friends with those countries, which are regularly hailed as not only 'democratic' but also as very open and 'modern'. By no means are we advocating parting of ways with any country, but it wouldn't hurt the country or its image, whatever it is, to make constructive overtures to the so-called unfriendly nations. On the contrary, indulgence in parochial politicking to satisfy the local fringe groups can be irreversibly harmful to the country's image abroad and the repercussions of such short-sighted practices would reflect very badly only when Sri Lankans travel overseas.

Even at this eleventh hour, it is not too late to rebuild the splintering relationship with India, a country that should be our most important international partner. Making an adversary of India is one of the most myopic and imprudent transgressions this regime has committed in its diplomatic dealings. A genuine attempt needs to be made to neutralize that factor, if the giant neighbour is to remain a good friend, if not a staunch ally of Sri Lanka. Even Japan's stance, which the GTF predicts would be abstaining, is a humiliation and indicates the depths to which the sheer inadequacies of diplomats and the External Affairs Ministry.

One can understand the stance adopted by South Africa. A country that showed the world that it has within its reserve an enormous amount of patience, dignity and humility when it displayed unprecedented understanding after gaining independence from the 'Whites' who governed them through the brutal 'apartheid' regime, South Africa today stands as a very distinguished nation having friends on all sides of the fence, North, South, East and West.
Sri Lankan rulers must realize that making enemies is far easier than winning friends, which is extremely hard and requires enormous amounts of reserve, humility and strength of character. The present regime does not seem to possess any of these statesmanship qualities. Stark evidence of this is the manner in which our exalted elected representatives conduct themselves in the House of Parliament.

Being friends with some 'rogue' States is no achievement. To be in the same soup with some well-known human-rights violators is a great insult to the freedom-loving people of Sri Lanka. However, the ruling circles seem to thrive on being castigated with dictatorial regimes and the most astounding feature of the foreign policy the current regime is adopting seems to point towards delusionary politics, to say the least.

Self-deceit is one of the most destructive human failings and when a set of rulers get caught up in such a suffocating web of deceit, lies and hallucinations, the subject people are the ones who suffer inadvertently. Opening the eyes and minds to the vagaries of wrongful governance is something the people of this country need to do, if they don't want to be made fools of, on a regular basis.

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