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Lessons Learnt at C'wealth forum

3 December 2013 06:03 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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A sigh of relief - CHOGM is mercifully over– but watch for the fallout. Whether a supporter or detractor: unconcerned or uncommitted: that is immaterial- it is the aftermath that matters.

Did we accelerate the process Navi Pillay is trying to initiate at Geneva 2014 in taking our troops before an international inquiry on accountability? Did CHOGM provide a stage for the local/foreign hatemongers to perform to discredit the national image? Did Sri Lanka display to the dignitaries, the value of the peace dividend and its rewarding nature to all ethnicities making Sri Lanka look tidier at the next session in Geneva?Did the distinguished visitor carry away fond memories not merely of great hospitality but also of a country recovering on a proper path after a long war?

Neither side obtained results to satisfy expectations: while the local hatemongers succeeded in becoming more disliked, even by their admired, by holding hands in public with the fiends and bellowing venom homewards. Government succeeded in making its supporters club happier and the rival camp angrier.
Both sides played drab with India being the prime loser by kicking a ball into their own goal. The next ball game is at Park Geneva at the Human Rights Commission sessions in March 2014. Time is indeed short for the crucial session where we are at a greater disadvantage than in 2013. CHOGM was a costly distraction that eased the concentration in the preparations to make Geneva 2014 a success but yet it opened a window to learn lessons.





Lessons IV
We must not shy away from holding domestic inquiries with a degree of transparency on war crimes. If such were held earlier much of the criticism would have been abated and we could have acted from a position of strength. If a domestic inquiry is positively on the cards international inquiry is off the record. In the reconciliation process with LTTE cadres being released and rehabilitated a case for an amnesty if faulted is a justifiable option. However, the inquiries must be worked on according to our schedule and on our terms with guidance from friendly countries to show the British, Canadians and the Europeans that we are not dictated by them. We must ignore India to show them they hold no influence over us. The nationalistic elements must be mindful that international inquiries will be highly prejudicial against us and the threat to take us to international forum is slowly becoming a reality. If some domestic inquiries are held and the LLRC report is implemented substantially - the case against will have to be closed.





Lesson V
We must implement the LLRC report especially its chapter on legitimate reasonable Tamil grievances.
A prime need is to implement the LLRC report with immediate attention given to implement its chapter on assuaging the reasonable Tamil grievances. Tamil people in North/East must be courted notwithstanding their showing no reciprocal gestures or any show of gratitude because they are under political influence of the TNA and funded by the Diaspora. It’s in their character to ask for more and more but they must be mature to understand that it damages their cause in asking for the impossible.
 The problem is our inability to understand the value structure of northern nationalism that does not touch terrorism. Lending helping hands, helps us internationally and if the northerners show no reciprocal gestures, discount it, as it still helps to prove our good intentions. Irrespective of the reaction of the North, however ungrateful they may be, we must do the needful by the people of the North irrespective of their response. Finally northerners will appreciate the goodwill shown as Tamil people have a great value structure built into their way of life.





Lesson VI
Discount the Foreign Ministry (except for the positive showings by the High Commissioners in Great Britain and Australia) to show positive results yet public funds should not be wasted on African Safaris, Caribbean Cruises, Latin American Jaunts and Round the World Girdles but such funds should be utilised to win over the foreign media by placing favorable material in prestigious media sources, even at a price, to improve the country’s image.

We must be mindful not to attract attention on the international platform till we are strong on domestic chores. More prominent we become - more vilification we attract.





Lesson VII
A defensive foreign policy will not work and it is imperative that we must be aggressive where attempts are made to belittle us but strengthen the hands of our foreign friends by getting our domestic policy in proper order by ensuring law and order and good governance are in working order. We have done much to improve our image but the positives have not been sold to the world effectively.

The President must launch a campaign to strike back hard against our opponents with well-researched material on their many shortcomings on the purported ideals and to court our foreign friends to engage on behalf of us by utilising the best of the officers- in the public service and the private sector for the assignment and not limit the function to the Foreign Ministry which is a weak with many divisions within it.





Lesson VIII
 We must establish solid links with the United States by implementing the LLRC report and by working furiously on the abbreviated Action Plan provided to Hillary Clinton. If assistance from USA is forthcoming much of the impediments will disappear. We must work in tandem with Japan, Australia and Malaysia to build bridges to United States.

We must convince the United States with substantial material that we working on an intelligible time frame on a designed road map in the best interest of the reconciliation process in trying to bring amity between the major communities. True, Human Rights, Accountability, Democratic Ideals and Good Governance, needs attention but the time frame in reaching them must not disturb the reconciliation process, which is the prime requirement. However the other issues cannot be placed on a backburner.
Results of CHOGM will be reflected at the prime show in March 2014 in Geneva. That will show whether CHOGM was a success or a failure.





Lesson 1
Forget India’s brotherly concerns with their local elections oncoming. Caution: they will sell any old rope to make us hang ourselves for their political survival. Prime Minister of India lost face and made India look small–demeaned himself and his country by waiting until the last moment with indecisiveness, that showed weakness and brought no gain.His advisors know the response from the Rajapaksa administration is not likely to be favorable for the insult hurled in keeping away. India by their conduct, unintentionally resolved, to make this government domestically stronger by the hostility displayed –that makes people rally round their own flag. Singh created an opportunity for us to react - to show displeasure by combining with the forces against India discreetly. Leave it to Indians to punish its leadership for its stupidity. We need only to move away from them and do the needful unobtrusively.

True, we lost India’s vote at the forthcoming Geneva 2014 –an early confirmation of the obvious. That helps us to turn a deaf ear to any overture. Keep India at a distance and they will make the running- for the moment their posturing is for the general elections.

Forces within India manipulate events for political exigencies, making it impossible for them to formulate a coherent foreign policy, as it’s domestic needs dictate terms in a weakened India. Historically, India never helped in the elimination of terrorism in Sri Lanka but became reluctantly negative after Prabhakaran assassinated their Prime Minister and was declared a convict by the judiciary. Grudgingly India could not, thereafter, be proactive in aiding terrorism in Sri Lanka. That era is over with demise of Prabhakaran. India has to learn it the hard way.





Lesson II
Great Britain and Canada never came to our assistance; never did, during the course of the war, as domestic considerations compel them to swing with the Tamil diaspora to acquire the critical vote in the marginal constituencies. Act tough with them as they do with us, for there is no gain from being overtly friendly; it will strengthen the hand of the government in domestic politics as the opposition will move closer to the anti Sri Lanka forces, as they stupidly did, with channel 4 - and incurred the wrath of the voters.

Nevertheless there is a live danger: Britain and Canada know they made no impact with their implorations and dented their image in the Commonwealth, which is likely to result in greater resolve to act against us in international forums. Bashing Cameron –a national patriotic past time – helps Britain to strengthen the resolve to tighten the screws at Geneva 2014 against us. We erred in not improving our human rights record by being belated in attending to the prime necessities or failing to rectify the existing deficiencies.





Lesson III
We must identify our friends and place material positive to Sri Lanka in their grasp to enhance our reputation. Its more effective attended to by our friends rather than by us, in the international circuit. Russia, Maldives and Thailand have done the most on behalf of us in the past. It’s by strengthening the hand of our friends we strengthen ourselves for they must have adequate material in their possession to defend us. That material must be on the ground to make it effective. Prime sources in this line up to tap are Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia, Pakistan and New Zealand.





Lessons IV
We must not shy away from holding domestic inquiries with a degree of transparency on war crimes. If such were held earlier much of the criticism would have been abated and we could have acted from a position of strength. If a domestic inquiry is positively on the cards international inquiry is off the record. In the reconciliation process with LTTE cadres being released and rehabilitated a case for an amnesty if faulted is a justifiable option. However, the inquiries must be worked on according to our schedule and on our terms with guidance from friendly countries to show the British, Canadians and the Europeans that we are not dictated by them. We must ignore India to show them they hold no influence over us. The nationalistic elements must be mindful that international inquiries will be highly prejudicial against us and the threat to take us to international forum is slowly becoming a reality. If some domestic inquiries are held and the LLRC report is implemented substantially - the case against will have to be closed.





Lesson V
We must implement the LLRC report especially its chapter on legitimate reasonable Tamil grievances.
A prime need is to implement the LLRC report with immediate attention given to implement its chapter on assuaging the reasonable Tamil grievances. Tamil people in North/East must be courted notwithstanding their showing no reciprocal gestures or any show of gratitude because they are under political influence of the TNA and funded by the Diaspora. It’s in their character to ask for more and more but they must be mature to understand that it damages their cause in asking for the impossible.
 The problem is our inability to understand the value structure of northern nationalism that does not touch terrorism. Lending helping hands, helps us internationally and if the northerners show no reciprocal gestures, discount it, as it still helps to prove our good intentions. Irrespective of the reaction of the North, however ungrateful they may be, we must do the needful by the people of the North irrespective of their response. Finally northerners will appreciate the goodwill shown as Tamil people have a great value structure built into their way of life.





Lesson VI
Discount the Foreign Ministry (except for the positive showings by the High Commissioners in Great Britain and Australia) to show positive results yet public funds should not be wasted on African Safaris, Caribbean Cruises, Latin American Jaunts and Round the World Girdles but such funds should be utilised to win over the foreign media by placing favorable material in prestigious media sources, even at a price, to improve the country’s image.

We must be mindful not to attract attention on the international platform till we are strong on domestic chores. More prominent we become - more vilification we attract.





Lesson VII
A defensive foreign policy will not work and it is imperative that we must be aggressive where attempts are made to belittle us but strengthen the hands of our foreign friends by getting our domestic policy in proper order by ensuring law and order and good governance are in working order. We have done much to improve our image but the positives have not been sold to the world effectively.

The President must launch a campaign to strike back hard against our opponents with well-researched material on their many shortcomings on the purported ideals and to court our foreign friends to engage on behalf of us by utilising the best of the officers- in the public service and the private sector for the assignment and not limit the function to the Foreign Ministry which is a weak with many divisions within it.





Lesson VIII
 We must establish solid links with the United States by implementing the LLRC report and by working furiously on the abbreviated Action Plan provided to Hillary Clinton. If assistance from USA is forthcoming much of the impediments will disappear. We must work in tandem with Japan, Australia and Malaysia to build bridges to United States.

We must convince the United States with substantial material that we working on an intelligible time frame on a designed road map in the best interest of the reconciliation process in trying to bring amity between the major communities. True, Human Rights, Accountability, Democratic Ideals and Good Governance, needs attention but the time frame in reaching them must not disturb the reconciliation process, which is the prime requirement. However the other issues cannot be placed on a backburner.

Results of CHOGM will be reflected at the prime show in March 2014 in Geneva. That will show whether CHOGM was a success or a failure.
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