| by Pearl Thevanayagam

(March 19, 2014 , Bradford-UK, Sri Lanka Guardian ) Call her illiterate which she is not, and call her pro-LTTE but Ms Ananthi Sasitharan made us Tamils proud with her forthrightness and fortitude our erstwhile Tamil diaspora could not muster with their vast funds and campaigning.

Chief Minister of Northern Province and former Supreme Court Judge C.V.Wigneswaran in his wisdom and far-sightedness endorsed her to represent Tamils at UNHRC and she did it not disappoint him as she performed her duty with gusto and conviction.

There is nothing the West like more than down to earth testimonies and the UN is no exception. Ergo Ms Sasitharan’s speech at UNHRC would carry more weight than all the Human Rights NGOs put together.
She spoke from the bottom of her heart and to add kudos she is a war victim, survivor and a mother whose husband’s whereabouts is unknown not unlike many women who are groping in the wilderness seeking justice wherever it may come from, as long as they have a semblance of family life which is not too much to ask and which is their right by all means.

That she is not articulate in the English language is irrelevant. UNHRC has enough funds to engage an interpreter and they would have done this. Japan was reigning supreme without uttering a word of English and it played centre-stage in world economy almost taking on the West until recently. Chinese spare no sleepless nights wanting to master Western lingo.

What Ms Sasitharan did at the UNHRC was to go further than time allocated to push for reprieve to Tamil grievances and focus on urging UNHRC to listen to their plight post war and she had every moral authority to do so. UN ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha went ballistic that she took up twice the time allocated to NGOs and he spared no time in speaking to any media that would listen that Ms Sasitharan had exceeded her boundaries.

The saving grave for Mr Aryasingha is that he did not make a fool of himself like his predecessor and SL President’s chosen ambassador who shot off her mouth denouncing eminent UN representatives they are braying for the blood of the SL President. Even Mahinda Rajapaksa was placed in an embarrassing situation not-withstanding the fact that Ms Tamara Kunanayakam hailing from the Tamil minority although not entirely from North East, would side with the government and and swing votes in SL’s favour.

But then, she was a loose cannon unleashed without reins and her mental health was in question according to External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L.Peiris as she derided the UNHRC High Commissioner in the crudest language possible in last year’s sessions.

There is nothing the West like more than down to earth testimonies and the UN is no exception. Ergo Ms Sasitharan’s speech at UNHRC would carry more weight than all the Human Rights NGOs put together.

Now that the government feels it cannot carry on its merry and impudent way incarcerating dissenters while it is being held for world scrutiny it has better prepare itself for international intervention and possible indictment in Hague for war crimes along with its extended family members and cohorts who comprise its cabinet. All good things must come to an end.

(The writer has been a journalist for 25 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 pearltheva@hotmail.com)


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