panel’s report and strippers it spawned
most positive about the report drawn up by the panel
appointed by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to
advise him on Sri Lanka is that it has helped a lot
of arrogant, ill-informed (or partially or fully
blind), doubled-tongue individuals to strip
themselves in public. No surprises in terms of the
identity of the strippers of course, not to those
who are alert about these machinations.
First off, there’s PaikiasothySaravanamuttu, in
clearly reduced circumstances these days courtesy
funding dry-up and questions regarding inordinate
amounts of money obtained from multiple sources for
the same project with little to show by way of
delivery or indeed who got what for what and when.
Now it is no secret that most ‘experts’, whether
commissioned or not by respectable or dubious
organisation come fortified with pre-conceived
notions about Sri Lanka and the conflict. It is no
secret that one of their key informants is
Saravanamuttu and that courtesy calls are duly made
on arrival, notes compared, etc. So when
misinformation with pernicious agenda that
include(d) deliberate moves to downplay LTTE
atrocities and grant that terrorist outfit parity of
status vis-à-vis the Government of Sri Lanka hurrah
the comments made by a recipient of hospitality and
(mis)information-largess and says ‘see, see, even
they are endorsing what I’ve said for a long time’,
it is time to ask Charlie Chaplin to roll over.
Then there’s a woman called Meenakshi Ganguly,
South Asia Director of Human Rights Watch, saying
‘If India wanted to emerge a leader on the global
political stage then the leadership would have to
take a position on Sri Lanka’s war crimes’. This is
in response to the above report. Cute. First of all,
the panelists themselves aren’t sure whether such
crimes were committed. The report talks of
‘allegations’, whose ‘credibility’ is of course
predicated on the (un)reliability of their sources.
Ganguly has deftly twisted allegation into fact.
What’s funny is that Ganguly has not called on India
(or anyone else) to take a stand on India’s crimes
against humanity, for example in Kashmir. Neither
has Ganguly made note of the fact that India funded,
trained and armed the LTTE.
Ganguly wants India to ‘show intention of
protecting the rights of people over Government’.
This would require Dr. Manmohan Singh to engage in
self-flagellation. Ganguly’s meanness is pretty
naked when she says, ‘There are people in Tamil Nadu
who also care about the issue’. So it is not about
Sri Lanka and Sri Lankans, it is not about the
victims of a war, it is not about the perpetrators
of proven war crimes (the LTTE) as opposed to
alleged transgressions (the allegations coming
mainly from those associated with known terrorists).
It is not about enhancing the dimensions of
reconciliation or expanding the democratic space. It
is about malice. It is perhaps even about revenge
for preventing a preferred outcome.
Then we have former UN spokesman in Sri Lanka,
Gordon Weiss telling Jon Snow that the said report
indicates a ‘Srebrenica Moment’ for Sri Lanka. This
man was found guilty of leaking totally
unsubstantiated information about the conflict to
the international media, causing much damage to the
country’s image. He quoted the so-called ‘doctors’
serving in LTTE-held areas. The UN later retracted
all these statements, including a horror-mongering
one about 20,000 people having been killed in a
matter of a few weeks. As for the ‘doctors’, they
all confessed later that they were forced to lie by
the LTTE. Weiss and others did not, as reasonable,
impartial people might do, adjust picture. Weiss
went with the misinformation. Called it ‘fact’.
Naturally, a set of panelists with dubious track
records engaged in a pernicious witch hunt, found
these cooked up numbers delicious. With no regard
for the ethics pertaining to source-reliability,
they took fiction as fact. And now we have Weiss
saying (like Saravanamuttu), ‘see, see, even they
are saying what I said two years ago!’
I am perturbed, though, that David Miliband hasn’t
joined the clown-wagon yet. He has all the
credentials to outstrip Saravanamuttu, Ganguly and
Last but not least, we have the United National
Party, not knowing whether to strip or dress. We had
some initial statements condemning the report. This
was followed by a novice parliamentarian saying that
the party can’t reject the report for it would
amount to rejecting the charges against the LTTE.
Now that’s good for a thousand guffaws! It is clear
that the ‘LTTE’ part of the story had to be thrust
into the report for reasons of balance-cosmetics.
What is most important for a responsible political
party to do is to assess the credibility of the
exercise in the first instance and then to examine
whether or not the contents add up to stated mandate
and relate a cogent story that is flavoured with
fact and integrity.
This is no Srebrenica moment, folks. This is a
Sri Lanka moment. As Sri Lankans we need to ask some
questions from ourselves. Here goes:
Are we better off today than we were in April 2009?
Are we happy or sad that the LTTE is out of the
political equation? Was it possible to end the war
in any other way? Do we want the affairs of our
country to be run by a bunch of people who are
clearly hand in glove with the LTTE rump overseas
and others who entertain fantasies about dividing
our country? Can we respond to the above-mentioned
strippers in any better way than to live, breathe
and act the truth that we are best when we are
Malinda Seneviratne is a
freelance writer who can be reached at