16 September 2011

On freedom of expression a la Sunanda Deshapriya

Sunanda Deshapriya: Hoofed out of the CPA for pilfering funds (CPA called it 'Clarity-Lack')
Sunanda Deshapriya is reported to have been snubbed in Geneva when offering his two cents’ worth subsequent to the screening of ‘Lies Agreed Upon’, a rebuttal to the inglorious Channel 4 production, ‘Sri Lanka Killing Fields’.  Given the man’s fondness for bucks, one can only wonder how much he got for this two-cent interjection, but I doubt he expected the earful he received from the President of Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed.
Deshapriya, whose track record warrants the insertion of an extra ‘a’ in his name with a hyphen separating the a’s, in case people have forgotten, was hoofed out of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) for doing things that ‘lacked clarity’ (the sanitized term for ‘theft’ preferred by the CPA, which, by the way continues to remain silent about allegations of financial hanky-panky and keeps things under wraps despite moralistic posturing about transparency).  In Geneva, however, it was not about bucks, but patriotism (of all things!).
Deshapriya is reported to have asked Nasheed what right he had to speak about Sri Lanka.  The Maldivian President had informed Deshapriya that not only does he visit Sri Lanka for medical treatment, but is fluent in Sinhala and very well informed about things and processes in the country.  He added that it is generally expected of citizens to defend their countries and not hobnob with the enemy. 
Well, Sunanda does much more than hobnob in the current incarnation of his mercenary persona, but that’s not really news.  What caught my attention was his question to Nasheed. 
The implication of the question is that non Sri Lankans don’t have any right to talk about Sri Lankans.  Now this man, who calls himself a ‘journalist’ (and a senior one at that!) and is described as such by ill-informed ‘journalists’ such as Sara Nic, seems to have forgotten that what applies to Nasheed applies to others as well.  So let’s play with the idea.
I am imagining Sunanda telling off people like Susan Rice, Navi Pillai, Louis Arbour, David Miliband, Bernard Kouchner, Robert O Blake, Barack Obama, Ban ki-Moon, the jokers he appointed to conjure a ‘reality’ about this country, Patricia Butenis and other former Sri Lankans now happily domiciled and ‘citizened’ in other countries.  In fact I am imagining Sunanda standing before a mirror and engaging in finger-pointing. 
Sunanda to Sunanda-MI (Mirror Image):  you have by your admission (to Sarah Nic) admitted that your stories (good word-choice, by the way) are not ‘flesh and blood’, meaning they have no substance; you’ve robbed money from the CPA; for all your talk of transparency and accountability, you continue to balk when asked to submit relevant documents pertaining to financial matters in the Free Media Movement during your stewardship as ‘Convenor’.  What right do you have to talk about Sri Lanka?
Sunanda-MI to Sunanda: you are one to talk, brother:  have you forgotten how you always pandered to the LTTE’s agenda, whitewashing in any way possible its crimes against humanity?
Sunanda looks at the mirror.  The mirror-image looks back. They hang their heads down in shame, as though on cue or on account of a sudden bout of self-realization.
Sunanda will be Sunanda and that’s fine with me.  What worries me is that those who took over the Free Media Movement continue to enjoy sweeping things under the carpet.  They know that Sunanda is guilty of double-billing-pilferage. They know that he suppressed documents relevant to an investigation into financial fraud.  They’ve said a proper investigation would be too costly, i.e. ‘at least 1 million’.  I offered to find that amount (IF they can’t get a pro-decency funding agency to help them).  Not a word from the FMM. 
Maybe the FMM is speechless, which is pretty sad considering that ‘media’ is its middle name.  Maybe it’s just that touching Sunanda would force the current leadership to submit itself to similar touching.  Maybe they are as ticklish as Sunanda is.  It is all sad.  As I’ve pointed out (see ‘Does the FMM love old wine,’ in the Daily Mirror of September 15, 2011: http://print.dailymirror.lk/opinion1/49866.html) my only concern is that advocacy organizations that engage in odd operations only make true advocacy difficult. Sunil Jayasekera seems to have lost his voice.  I hope he finds it.  If not, he might end up in Geneva or some other part of Europe or North America having conversations with his mirror image.  On the other hand, considering what a great career Sunanda has made out of mis-journalizing, that might be a mouth-watering prospect.  

As for Sunanda Deshapriya, he could release evidence of tossing to other foreigners (friends included) the question he put to the President of Maldives.  Will he? Naah!



manuri said...

just in time Malinda...this is why I love reading you....thanks a million...........................

mis -journalizing...ha ha very true..indeed

Jia Roach said...

seems to be that he is Wicramabahu Karunaratne's big brother
We are proud to be SriLankans,what about you?What a shame,Sunanda.