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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 1801

Lalin’s Column : More Ministerial Howlers and 3 wise men

By Major General (Retd.) Lalin Fernando

This was the first time that the SL public has heard that it was the Rajapakse ’regime’ alone that waged ‘war’ on the terrorists. Successive SL governments, starting with the UNP in 1977, had done it ‘their way’.

Rajapakse Regime: This included giving JRJ’s relative and not the Commander of the Army the task of wiping out the insurgency in 1979, a dream that ended in a nightmare. It included considering extra ordinary methods learned from books like ‘re settlement’ (re location of Northerners to the South) as in the 1950s Briggs plan in the Malayan Emergency. One President gifted weapons and ammo etc to the terrorists hallucinating about making friends with the terrorists- treacherously.

Then there was the signing of a much reviled and questionable ‘Cease Fire Agreement’ (CFA) with the terrorists. The CFA elevated them to the same status as the Government. A signatory had been led to believe by an alternative policy planning NGO among others, that the terrorists could not be defeated. It may have led to over one third of SL being under the terrorists had it not been revoked by the ‘Rajapakse regime’. The concessions in the CFA led to the near decimation of the elite under cover troops of the Special Forces. Those responsible were not charged with treachery. SL were stunned again when in 2002 they also saw their military officers on TV shaking hands and even saluting the terrorists. This was encouraged and desired by the government!

How can they have the arrogance to dictate to us where we should go or which countries should be our friends. Gaddafi is my friend. He supported us when we were alone and when those who tried to prevent my visit here today were our enemies. They have no morals. We cannot accept that a state assumes the role of the world’s policeman’’ (Nelson Mandela – on his visit to Libya for the African Council Meeting- 1997Minister (political) Eran Wickramaratne (EW) on 19th or 20th Aug, in response to a Al Jazeera TV interview question on the plight of the Northern Tamils after the 2015 general elections, dismissively and off the well worn cuff said ’It was the Rajapakse regime that waged war on the Tamils’ or words to that effect.

This conflict was not against the Tamils but the Northern Terrorists. However it was President Jayewardene (JRJ) from the same party –UNP- who in 1977 during the race riots that declared ‘war’ on the Tamils. It was not MR 20 odd years on.

The Northern insurgent movement had not resorted to terrorism in 1977. After the last communal riots in SL In 1983 under JRJ’s watch, tens of thousands Tamils seeking retribution if not revenge were driven out of the South, mainly Colombo. They queued up in thousands in Jaffna to join a roaring terrorist movement. Those tens of thousands that fled abroad began to provide the terrorists with money and propaganda. They looked to avenge their kin in their now desperate search for Eelam (separate state) and to escape any more communal frenzy and lesser national status. Fortunately the majority, not the government, woke up. Their actions had boomeranged horribly on innocent Sinhalese. They never attacked Tamil civilians again.

SL was called a ‘pariah ‘state for decades by these very same ’friendly’ states less India, but no one else. India believed at that time that SL was becoming a US vassal state and undermined SL’s efforts to overcome the ‘terras’ as the troops called them.

It was the Rajapakse government (regime?) on 19 May 2009 that brought the conflict to an end suddenly to usher in peace total and complete. Captured terrorist cadres numbering 12,000, being about 30% of the terrorist fighting cadres, were rehabilitated and released within a year. It was a giant step towards national reconciliation.

Paradoxically SL was accused by its ‘western friends’ of ‘war crimes’ advised by some local 'policy' collaborators. It is a supreme irony that the USA DOD now says that the deaths of civilians used as human shields when attacking defences held by terrorists is not a crime. The original accusation was invalid in international law as repeatedly stated by Dr Neville Laduwahetty and confirmed by Sir Desmond de Silva QC.

What then was this Rajapakse ‘regime’? Unless of course all governments of SL that are democratically elected and have a 2/3rds majority are called ‘regimes’ when or after combating and defeating terrorists.

One can be vague and wooly, dismissive and derogatory when unable to give credible answers or appear completely clueless but still offer inane responses.

‘Traditional Friends’. Earn W switching to foreign relations said that SL would now get back to her “traditional friends in the West” and India as well. SL had never ever gone away from India to begin with. China it was said would no longer play an important role. They may be taking bets on this during the IPL in India. Some SL ministers have a strained sense of humour.

The Westerners were colonizers at first. SL was under colonial rule for nearly 500 years. The colonial rulers left behind a well established, rich, English speaking, Anglicized elite it could rely on in the future. In the Philippines it was Marcos. They have done so now.

When the SL conflict was ending, the West attempted to interfere and rescue the terrorist leaders. If they had succeeded, the terrorists could probably have regrouped and made preparations to continue the fight another day.

The Malayan ‘Communist Terrorists’ (CTs) did so under Chin Peng who had escaped during General Templar’s command (1952-4) returning after the Emergency was declared ended in 1960. Thankfully the western ‘friends’ were rightly spurned in SL by the Army, SLN and SLAF that knew, spoke, thought and acted totally unlike the Anglicized civilian elite.

Over the past 5 years SL was also pilloried at Geneva by the ‘friends’. Would that those who pray to Western Gods remember when on TV what 3 gifts they brought to the East. They started with ‘social diseases’ that decimated populations from Asia and Africa to Hawaii. They became rich on the labour of slaves-a act more heinous than genocide. What right, God given or not, have they to try to enforce Human Rights in 3rd world countries (only those that do not have nuclear bombs) especially the USA that violates them by the hour, all around the world, beginning from USA itself?

Subsequently ‘friendly’ India ‘invaded’ SL in 1987. The human rights record of the IPKF equaled that of the terrorists. They were hated in Jaffna. It lost 1,200 soldiers at the hands of the very same terrorists it had ironically trained, armed and supported logistically. Individual acts of bravery could not hide their mediocre performance. It gave the terrorists world wide publicity and later misled the USA especially.

SL’s long time Eastern friends meanwhile were fully supportive through thick and thin, good times and bad and worse. Especially so when SL was taking heavy casualties, both military and civilian, from 1983 to 2009. Pakistan, China and Malaysia stood out prominently as true friends even after the conflict ended.SL was successful because of its servicemen and women in the defence forces, its political leadership and its Asian friends.

Ministers are welcome to be selective about what they think the war achieved to boost their Government. So can the citizens who however remember, think differently and care for the nation.

Grandpasser. Who was it, to belittle his own army, when the terrorists were driven out of Elephant Pass in 2008 that said it was actually Grandpass and Killinochi was Madawachchi? He thought he was funny. Others described his act differently as it was in time of war.

He said another mouthful about 2 weeks before the 2015 elections, when rival gangsters had a shoot out while a UNP election effort was taking place at Bloemendhal,. Two people, totally unknown to the general public, were sadly killed. The minister was only interested in alleging that it was the work of the UPFA. The Police determined it was gang warfare. They did not shift from that stance despite pressures exerted.

If what the minister alleges was true, why was it that he, a mountainous target dwarfing his supporters and their leader to boot, not even shot at? Did the gangsters not recognize him?

The Minister also alleged that there was a coup attempt in January 2015. Since then there has been nary a word on that most serious charge. He and credibility remain poles apart. Does he care? Who does?

Sirasa TV and Gaddafi (G)’s death. The leader of the entertaining ‘Satana’ trio on Sirasa TV decided at a Brains Trust after the general elections to emphasize a particular point – ‘gratitude’. This was to show that great development works are not necessarily always appreciated. He analogized about fate of the defeated SL Presidential candidate Rajapakse and Libyan ruler Gaddafi’s death (by murder).

Gaddafi, according to him, was confronted by a rebel militant (in Sirte) when he was hiding/stuck in a sewage pipe. Apparently a civilized exchange took place with Gaddafi reminding his captor(s) what he had given to the people. He pleaded not to be killed.

The Satana TV leader explained that it was Gaddafi that provided his people what Arabs, living in barren desert land desire most, water. This was provided free on tap to every Libyan. The rebel apparently retorted that Libya however did not have democracy and freedom. That was the end of Gaddafi, said on TV by a British broadcaster many years ago, to be the only incorruptible if not popular national leader in the world.

Actually Gaddafi provided not only free water, but free education, fuel, electricity and hospital care etc too. Twenty (20) loaves of bread could be bought for less than a dollar. There was interest free housing, farming development and vehicle purchase advances and marriage incentives including houses for newlyweds among other benefits. But under his predecessor King Idris, who Gaddafi overthrew, the western (USA) oil companies and Idris took everything. Idris left the Libyans having little water even to drink, dirt poor, miserable and angry.

The water was piped from nearly 3,000 kms away from an aquifer found by accident when digging for oil in Sarir. It was the longest man made ‘river’ ever built. The aquifer may last 1,000 years. Some others say it will last only 60 years. Whatever.

But Gaddafi while lavishly sponsoring nationalist freedom movements in many parts of the world, also sponsored terrorists. He was held responsible for downing a passenger plane over Lockerbie in Scotland. His time had come according to the western ‘friendly nations’. However the downing of an Iranian passenger plane by the USA Air Force, killing all the passengers over Bander Abbas in the Persian Gulf, was not considered terrorism! He was on the assassination list of some western nations. He survived numerous attempts especially by the USA until he was overthrown by western conspiracies.
In Libya gratitude takes different forms.

As soon as the rebels knew it was Gaddafi they started torturing him as only the Arabs well know how. He had earlier been injured by grenade fragments. Bleeding and weak he pleaded for his life ‘Please don’t shoot’. They “stabbed him in the rear with some kind of stick or knife”. He called out “God forbid this. Do you know right from wrong?” He was murdered in the West’s ‘battle cry’ for an Arab Spring, supported righteously by their drones and bombers.

A few years later the US Ambassador who may have been led to believe liberty and democracy existed in Libya, was brutally killed by Libyans. Did his killers ask for ‘freedom and democracy’ too? Was that gratitude for giving ‘freedom and democracy to Libya, US style? Pity Gaddafi.

- Asian Tribune -

Lalin’s Column : More Ministerial Howlers and 3 wise men
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