05 March 2014

Stars of the Geneva Pantomime (Revisited)

[Go through this -- written 3 years ago -- and you will find the guys making noises are the same guys who've always made noises when they batted for the LTTE.  The exception is of course Sunila Abeysekera, now no more.  Oh yes, and Patricia Butenis has a new name: Michele Sison.  More importantly, you will find that this is indeed a pantomime and should be treated as such.  Applaud if you are duly entertained!]  

The US Ambassador, Patricia Butenis is reported to have invited some people to discuss a report submitted to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon by some personal advisors.  Why Ki-moon has to make public a personal communication I do not know.  It does seem odd that he treats the said notes as documents that have official and legal standing within the UN system.  As odd is this meeting called by Butenis ‘to discuss’ we are told, the above personal communication, in order to figure out ‘how to make use of it as a constructive instrument for reconciliation instead of one of division and polarization’.  
 
First of all, if a representative of the United States Government was to use anything to bring about ‘reconciliation’ in another country, then protocol demands that relevant discussions should be held with responsible and appropriate authorities in the Government of the particular country.   While the Embassy has refused to comment on the meeting or what has been discussed, one of the invitees has revealed what it was all about. 

The report (in the Daily Mirror online version) came under the heading ‘Diplomats, NGO talk on report’.  The identities of the party-goers were embedded in the title, at least as far as those who are alert to political machinations in Sri Lanka are concerned.  There was Paikiasothy Saravanamutt (Centre for Policy Alternatives), Jehan Perera (National Peace Council) and J.C. Weliamuna (former head of Transparency International).  All three organizations are under a cloud suspect regarding financial deals and how and on what they spent enormous amounts of money obtained from various donors including the USA.  That Butenis, who came out to publicly defend (to the best of her ability) these three organizations, invites them to a chit-chat about how Sri Lanka should manager her (Sri Lanka’s) affairs does not come as a surprise.   Not surprising either that Perera subsequently underlined the fact that Butenis had come out in his defense.

There had been three other invitees.  Sudarshana Gunawardena (Rights Now) once engaged in shameless chest-beating, claiming ‘The Government’s war balloon will burst in Killinochchi!’ That was wish, not prediction based on sober consideration of ground realities. Sunila Abeysekera has accumulated considerable credentials as a mouthpiece for Eelamists.  She has campaigned tirelessly to conflate the LTTE and the Tamil Community. Her loyalties are well known.  The third, Sherine Xavier (Home for Human Rights) has openly stated that among her role models was Adela Balasingham, widow of the LTTE’s longest serving ideologue, Anton Balasingham. Adela was not an LTTE sympathizer. She was and is an ardent and unrepentant LTTE activist and an apologist for that organization.  Xavier has made her ideological and political loyalties pretty clear.

These individuals have frequently argued for legitimization of the LTTE and granting of status-parity vis-√†-vis the Government of Sri Lanka, and demonstrated a consistent determination to turn a blind eye on atrocities perpetrated by that organization.   Wikileaks has revealed that Butenis has been one of the biggest advocates for an international investigation into the manner in which the military offensive was executed.  Saravanamuttu has been a cheerleader for the same and one of the first to applaud the love-notes exchanged between Ki-moon and his ‘advisors’.  There are no prizes for ascertaining the identities of the principal sources tapped by these ‘advisors’.  This post-report tea party therefore was scripted a long time ago, i.e. when Ki-moon was prevailed upon by individuals such as Butenis to circumvent and thereby undermine the UN system and all procedural statutes.  In short, it would not be incorrect to say that Butenis had in fact met with the local branch of the LTTE’s rump.  That she invited other diplomats shows attempts to broaden the political base of this insurgent collective. 

Jehan Perera says that the meeting was about turning the advisory note into a ‘constructive instrument’.  He does not dare question the validity of the document in terms of procedural norms of the UN.  He is blind to the manifest double standards embedded in the very exercise.  He does not dare question the reliability of sources.  He will not dare comment on the neutrality-credentials of Ki-moon’s advisors nor acknowledge their slant towards the LTTE position regarding all things Sri Lankan. 

He will not pick out discrepancy, contradiction, exaggeration, meanness of spirit, LTTE-slant, whitewashing of terrorism, lack of substantiation, malice, selectivity, academic dishonesty etc., all of which jumps out of the text at every turn.  That he (and others, probably) believe that anything ‘constructive’ can be squeezed out of such a woefully compromised document says a lot about his intellectual ability and overall integrity. 

I challenge Jehan Perera, here and now, to an open debate at a forum of his choosing, about how such a document can be used ‘constructively’ for reconciliation.  It would be incumbent upon him to prove its worth as an effective instrument against division and polarization. 

The meeting indicates a need to close ranks.  It is the typical response of those who have nowhere to hide.  Now it is official.  It is now established beyond a shadow of doubt that Ambassador Butenis has entertained the local representatives of the LTTE’s rump.   Jehan Perera has confirmed this.  Full marks for his honesty (but will he tell us if the ‘advisors’ consulted him?).  Zero for his intellectual worth. Zero for his political designs.  Zero for his malice. 

msenevira@gmail.com
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