By Patali Champika Ranawaka
“There is now an attempt at social imperialism to impose social values…” Yoweri Musevei – Ugandan President, responding to Western criticism and threats to impose sanctions on Uganda after the President signed a bill that penalised homosexuality. (10 March 2014).
Finally, the US government distributed its draft resolution on Sri Lanka, based on UNHRC High Commissioner Navanethem Pillay’s country report which had been published on February 24, 2014. In her report it is noted that “the High Commissioner recommends the establishment of an independent international inquiry mechanism, which would contribute to establishing the truth where domestic inquiry mechanisms have failed.” Recalling her recommendation, the US draft resolution reiterates that “the UNHRC establishes an international inquiry mechanism to further investigate the alleged violations of international Human Rights Law and Humanitarian Law…”
At the early stages (2009), the US and its cohorts confined only to accountability issues related to the final phase of the war. But now they keep changing the goalpost, adding issues such as, full implementation of the 13th Amendment, to provide the Northern Provincial Council and its Chief Minister to govern the province with autonomy. The infamous 13th Amendment is a Bill that had been thrust upon us and its implementation based on ground realities is the responsibility of the Sri Lankan Parliament where people’s sovereign rights are vested with.
However, disregarding this important fact, the US and its cohorts are making concerted efforts to impinge on the sovereign rights of an autonomous country. On the other hand they also have introduced many other issues such as religious intolerance, rights of religious minority groups and other members of the civil society. Based on biased and doctored reports she had received, Ms. Navi Pillay has categorically stated in her report that Sinhala Buddhist groups had incited violence against minority groups and have asked special procedure mandate holders to visit Sri Lanka in 2014.
It is now very clear that Western countries with the tacit approval of India are widening the “charge sheet” against Sri Lanka, based on bogus reports financed by them. Also, it is their aim to create a situation where they could interfere using the concept as a shield, Responsibility to Protect (R2P) minority groups, similar to what the French Army is now doing in Central Africa and Mali.
Since this strategy of containment, derailment and conquering is now evident, without much strategic thinking, two groups are proposing two divergent approaches to face the situation.
The first group is of the opinion that we should extend economic and if possible even military concessions to the West and India since the underlying message of these countries is economic hegemony and military presence in Sri Lanka.
The opinion of the second group is that the prevailing problem is authentically rooted in a Tamil ethnic question and therefore, the Sri Lankan government should fully implement the 13th Amendment, discuss devolution based on Federalism and fully implement the recommendations of the LLRC report.
When one considers the first opinion one should note that we have already exposed our market and economy to unfriendly countries and their investments. Our share market, bond market, credit card facilities, dollar banking, export market, high tech imports, energy and other vital sectors of the economy are dominated by Western or Indian investors. Under these circumstances, if at any time the investors’ pullout from their positions, there is a possibility of our economy getting derailed or unsettled.
A similar situation prevailed in Indonesia (1996), Malaysia (1997), Thailand (1996 and 2013), Iran (2012), Maldives (2012), and Bhutan (2013) and so on. Therefore, if we further expose our sensitive sectors of the economy, the vulnerability to our getting derailed would be enhanced. Further, we should not allow the US or India to have their footprint here after the Diego Garcia deadline (2016) and should canvass for demilitarisation and nuclear disarmament in the entire Indian Ocean.
The second opinion is clearly a psychological operation against the society at large. The promoters of it are the same persons, groups and parties that have been, since 1980, urging the Sri Lankan government to devolve powers to Tamils and segregate the civilians from the combatants (water from fish) and they are also of the opinion that a Federal solution should be treated as a prerequisite to defeat the LTTE. Their theories and attempts during the period, ‘war for peace’ (1989-2005) were proved wrong and disastrous and the Sri Lankan society at large was aware of the fact that it was the constant coherent nationalistic policy which brought about the final war victory. Empowerment of Tamil Neo Nazis to hold the Northern Provincial Council will one day lead to their agitating for a referendum to carve out a separate country.
If we were to take on the prevailing challenge, we should understand the real motives of the USA, India, Tamil Nadu and the neo Nazi Tamil separatism.
It should be noted that the USA became the world’s number one manufacturer, exporter, market economy and military power in 1875. However, in 2010, China surpassed them as the biggest manufacturer, exporter, investor and perhaps the owner of a shadow capital market as well. By 2020, China would be the biggest economy (GDP) and market if the present trend persisted. However, the US still dominates space technology, maritime security, WMD capability and perhaps cyberspace. The present strategy of the US is to effectively scuttle the Chinese strategy of acquiring real estate properties of other countries and also to scuttle the Chinese attempts of dominating the Indian Ocean from Iran to Indonesia. It was with that hidden motive that the US was very eager to wage a proxy war against our country using Tamil neo Nazis. Its containment strategy in Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Maldives, Thailand and perhaps Sri Lanka is aimed to dominate the Indian Ocean militarily and maritime-wise.
On the other hand India would not tolerate an economically powerful Sri Lanka. They know the kind of challenge posed by Taiwan and Hong Kong to their mainland China. Therefore, they are very much in need of a weak Sri Lanka and to establish a tributary state in merged Northern and Eastern provinces. They also want others to recognise their sphere of influence in the Indian Ocean.
On the other hand Tamil Nadu is also haunted by memories of the Dravidastan movement initiated by E.V. Ramasami and Annadorai. They were the first separatist campaigners against Hindu, Hindi and Hindustan. While accepting the Tamil Nadu aspirations, the Tamil neo Nazi movement wanted to instigate civil unrests to be followed by international interference and finally a popular referendum to carve out a separate country.
In order to draw out an effective strategy to face the present challenge, we should first clearly identify the true goals of these international and local forces.
Firstly, we should adhere to non-alignment principles and always stand for a nuclear free demilitarised Indian Ocean.
Secondly, we should redirect and reorganise our economy, so that no country could be able to derail or unsettle our vital economic sectors.
Thirdly, we should adhere to one set of rules-of-law in our country and those who are advocating separatism, social segregation and preparing ground for foreign interferences should be severely dealt with, according to prevailing law.
Fourthly, all perpetrators of violence and illegal killings should be brought to book and equality among communities and civil groups should be established.
Fifthly, a coherent and consistent policy, strategy and actions must be implemented internationally and locally to bind the nation together.