Malinda Seneviratne, likely presidential candidate in 2020, wrote to US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin on the subject of Syria. The following is the full text of the letter:
April 17, 2017
President Vladimir Putin
His Excellency Alexander A. Karchava
Russian Ambassador to Sri Lanka
404 Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
President Donald Trump
His Excellency Atul Keshap
US Ambassador Extraordinary to Sri Lanka
210 Galle Road,
The dead don’t blink, boys
Let’s cut to the chase. It’s not about right and wrong. It’s not about joy and sorrow. It’s not about the living and not about the dead either. Syria is a stage and its players, the citizens I mean, are dispensable.
Now there are theories about how this is a win-win situation for both your countries and in particular for the two of you, politically. There are theories about oil and other strategic ‘interests’. Then there’s the United Nations, the Security Council and relevant protocols.
Let’s face it, the world is not flat. Multilateralism is not about one country having one vote and the triumph of the numerical majority. I need not tell you boys about the history of voting patters in the UN. I am sure you would have heard of the speech Ernesto Che Guevara delivered on March 25, 1964 at the plenary session of the now defunct United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) where he talked of numbers, integrity and how power works in these so-called august chambers.
We know how legitimacy is manufactured and made to stick. We’ve heard the tunes of justification, the expressions of horror, the firm lip-lines of indignation. They are old songs lipped ad nauseum by your predecessors. We know what’s what in Syria. We are not impressed, boys.
Now let there be no illusions about the sizes of boots and the incongruent nature of alluding to David and Goliath. The world is not flat. And equality is a lie. We know all this, boys.
But let me say it as it is. We know that you know that we know that you don’t give a damn about the people of Syria, just like your predecessors didn’t give a damn about people in countries you’ve waged proxy wars.
We must say it nevertheless. You can play ‘let’s see who blinks first’ until the cows come home, but this you must know that we know: the dead don’t blink; not in Syria and not anywhere else.
Sincerely and with much compassion,
[Signed] Malinda Seneviratne