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The US Womens-Affairs ambassador’s visit to Sri Lanka

| by Bodhi Dhanapala, Quebec, Canada
Letter to the Editor

( February 13, 2014, Quebec, Sri Lanka Guardian) I was interested to read two letters that appeared in the columns of the Island Newspaper and other newsmedia, one by Linda van Shlagen, and another by a former Lady principal of an International school in Colombo, pointing out the very aptness of the government's decision to thwart the attempt by Catherine Russell, another US diplomat trying to visit Sri Lanka, just on the eve of the Geneva meeting trying to indict Sri Lanka.

I was also very surprised to see a letter from Prof. J. Jinadasa. I can only presume (and this presumption may not be correct) that he was one of our teachers as a young junior staff member in zoology at Vidyodaya University, when I was a student there many decades ago. However, I was even more surprised by his assertion that "Our Foreign Ministry must realise that in developed countries, unlike Sri Lanka, almost all activities are well programmed and officers’ visits are scheduled well ahead of time. It’s the case even the academic programmes of the US Universities..... According to the US Embassy, her visit here had been coupled with her visit to other south Asian countries,..., it’s not possible for her to make a special trip to Sri Lanka to help ... Therefore, requesting her to reschedule her visit is totally unfair".

If the US Women's affairs ambassador's visit was planned so much ahead of time, why did she wait till the last moment to apply to visit Sri Lanka? Who asked her help anyway?

Or was it an after-thought of the US State department, just to claim that she saw 'with her own eyes", the 'rank discrimination of women in Sri Lanka'. I remember that Mrs. Hilary Clinton accused our troops of rape of Tamil civilian women, with little knowledge of the actual facts. This was at a time when the number of reported sexual abuses, rape etc, within the US army was close to 2000, while vastly many more went unreported for fear of reprisals from senior officers who were using young women GIs as they sexual toys.

Prof. Jinadasa also touches on the problem of a lack of schedules and fixed programs in the Sri Lankan academic sphere. During my days at the University, I remember that most of the disruption was due to JVP, LSSP, CP and such Marxist groups clashing with each other, and with the teaching staff as well, in order to impose their will on the University system. Similar problems existed in US campuses during war (e.g., when the US invaded Vietnam, a nation that never threatened it).

But we haven't still come out of the penumbra of our Eelam wars. Catherine Russell's visit is still a part of that war.

Prof. Jinadasa seems to forget that Sri Lanka was at war for three and a half decades, and had also a history of political violence (JVP etc.) going all the way back to the inception of the Universities. So his judgmental scale of values is completely incorrect and unrealistic. American prosperity, and its "programmatic existence", are based on exporting its problems out of its lands, and extracting the wealth, oil and minerals of poor and defenseless nations. So this 40 million dollars that Prof. Jinadasa is talking of is nothing but ill-gotten American loot.

As a dignified nation, we should ask the US to keep that money, and we should follow a foreign policy of dignified non-alignment, while noting the good help (without strings) that we have get from some nations, notably, Japan, South Korea, and China. US is not practicing diplomacy, but coercing and under-mining Sri Lanka, as we saw with Ambasador J. Rapp who just left, after arranging secret meetings with ex-Tiger fighters and some NGOs who may have hidden agendas with respect to Sri Lanka.

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