Too little too late in Geneva

22 March 2012 07:06 pm - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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Despite double standards; the US  garnered a 24 vote victory

Losing in Geneva partly caused by our own undoing makes it imperative now to stand firm in safeguarding our sovereignty and protecting Sri Lanka from foreign interventions. 
 
Message is short – defy it diplomatically. No unwanted interference is permissible in our domestic sphere. Now is the moment for Sri Lankans to stand up for the country against the impending foreign peril. Mahinda Rajapaksa has to rally the country and give leadership; foreign footprints of a regime change are getting closer home.
 
President must clean his stables and put the house in order because the West will continue to destabilize the country relying on the extent of domestic dissatisfaction. Sri Lankans will not stand up to nonsense whether it originates from the West or from the Government. There are limits to tolerance.
 
The LLRC report has to be administered according to the needs of the nation synchronized to our timetable and not to the tune of the Washington-New Delhi alliance. Make no mistake, it was well coordinated and timed to perfection, with the underground cabal running from the Indian to Atlantic Ocean through Chennai orchestrated after the Clinton visit. We were caught napping by failing to monitor till India dropped the bombshell.
 
Colombo needs to be told sternly never more are we to repeat this performance in diluting the glory the war brought and place the country and its military in jeopardy? Disastrous decisions made in Colombo proved costly: hostile forces obtained a stick to beat when it was avoidable with smart diplomacy, a forgotten ritual.  
 
After the event it is easy to sit back at home and sully those who fought the big boys in Geneva. Let the dust settle before the spring-cleaning begins. Few worked hard, more dawdled easy in Geneva.  Too little was done too late. Tamara Kunanayakam, our lady in Geneva, had the spunk to speak her mind with diplomatic finesse. For once, a straight bat with a straight face was shown to a bodyline attack that more experienced old hands ducked under.
 
The campaign of 2012 was grueling in Geneva with US leading the rival pack commandeering the wavering to come on board. Unlike in 2009 when the vote was taken at the UNHRC a few days after Prabhakaran’s demise, when we were triumphantly riding on a crest of a popular wave on dismantling terrorism against an uncoordinated opposition originating from the softer bank of the Atlantic. A victory was there for the asking with a strategic campaign well conducted from Colombo. All that has evaporated with time and poor forward planning.
 
Any comparison of the situations in 2009 and 2012 is unfair: the present team was engaged in a battle reminiscence of a Goliath and Appuhamy. Local lads are smarter and came up smelling sweet during the more difficult days of the war. No more. Don’t under-estimate the Sri Lankan mentality when pasted against the wall to find ways to wriggle out victoriously. How did we lose our way this time? 
 
 The smoke signals from the United States, which the External Affairs Ministry’s smart set, residing in cuckoo land, failed to interpret correctly, proved disastrous.   Dispatching the Minister on a jaunt to exotic destinations in Africa than heed to an invitation from Hilary Clinton to visit Washington was bizzare. That was a final call to negotiate an acceptable modified resolution across a State Department coffee table that would not compromise or humiliate Sri Lanka, if such was the inevitable. The other option was to have the resolution differed forwarding our track record and a road map executed on our terms. The decision to be in Africa to pick votes was based on a wrong reading of the ground situation: confident of defeating the resolution than to defer it or deflate its intensity? What would have been a private pinprick has reached proportions of a public body blow. 
 
It was the opportunity to place on record in Washington the many untold achievements in the post-war period that had been poorly marketed. G.L.Peris excels in extolling our virtues in refined language to a foreign audience as a super salesman but needs an automated thinking-man’s pathfinder.

Pieris plans to pay a courtesy call on Washington after the event, displaying the minds of the Foreign Office helpmates!! 
 
America’s double standards on Human Rights and Democracy must be exposed and exploited but that is the function of nondescript unofficial commentators of whom we have an effective patriotic surplus in Sri Lanka and abroad- a function they perform more effectively than the government.
 Officialdom should follow diplomatic channels of engaging the ‘hostile nations’ with tact, in finding solutions without conceding national interest in facing confronting challenges. Instead, Ministers morph into master blasters wielding the long handle to reach the maximum distance for political expediency. Diplomacy is an art, if handled with care by the skilled in a bi lateral process, can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
 
 The problem we face is more fundamental- have we acquired credibility in the international circuit? Procrastination and double speak does not help in a crisis. We present more of the sellotape to temporarily cover breaches than show the admirable results gained by our performance, as a long-term safeguard.
 
This government has done much in the rehabilitation process that should receive international acclaim but has not been marketed adequately for a global spread. It’s not easy with the inclination of international media to gun down Sri Lanka. A few of our expatriate intellectuals have successfully reached their local media while some of our embassies in key regions have failed miserably. 
 
An ongoing accountability process of a Military Board of Inquiry – a process that is a prelude to a court martial-is off the ground following the identical trends in UK and US against allegations on war crimes. Even those at home were unaware the procedure was in motion, until the US resolution surfaced. We fail to play to our many pluses and lose out on a few minuses due to an inferior publicity network.       
 
A cardinal error was the time wasted in attempting to send the LLRC proposals to a Select Committee instead of pressing the fast forward button to place them on course. After the dismal showing at the All Party Conference can reliance be placed on a Select Committee with the presence of the TNA, UNP and JVP to deliver a result helpful to Rajapaksa?
 
The best response to a regime change is an endorsement from the People. The search must extend from the South to the North without wasting time on the TNA instead investing in the people including those living in the North and East – it is insignificant how they vote at a forthcoming election.
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