Sunday, May 06, 2007

imperial delusions, aid, and reality

it seems politicians everywhere are prone delusions about their own power. one such example was on display in uk's house of commons on 2nd of may, when they debated about the situation in sri lanka.

in actual fact british empire has long gone and the ability of uk to interfere in sri lanka is very limited. we are not as poor or dependent on aid as some people here and there believe. while we sri lankans may give in on small things due to such allegedly attempted arm twistings (see below for actual situation) we will not give in on bigger things come what may. failure to recognize this difference means that any such attempt may backfire on them and their sri lankan supporters badly.

nor is it in uk's interest to see sri lankan government's position vis-à-vis ltte terrorists deteriorate, from both moral as well as real politick point of view. do they really want to see the power of ltte, the teacher of many terrorist groups grow unhindered? imo no. their actual actions in the form of continuing the ban on ltte and in recent crackdowns on their money collection activities and scams (as in other countries) clearly collaborate that opinion.

while some sri lankan peaceniks, following their masters the pussies, clearly want foreign intervention, nobody with any real sense anywhere is going to mistake ltte tigers for ragtag darfur rebels. nobody wishing to go anywhere in any field is going be caught dead publicly supporting ltte and its suicide bombers whatever they may think of sri lankan government

however with some labour mps depending on the support of tamil constituents they want to be seen as working to bring about a solution to sri lankan conflict. hence the meaningless sops offered on may 2nd

the debate

there has been all sorts of reports on this. you may read the (rather long) debate here straight from the hansard. the amount of ignorance displayed by british mps was astonishing, but perhaps typical of politicians everywhere. when they quoted bbc to back up their arguments you know they were not going to get to truth. most of the speakers were mps with tamil constituents and. with ltte terrorist lobby working full time their position and motivation was all too clear. primarily they wanted to lift the ban on ltte in uk and to create a moral equality between ltte and sri lankan government. other mps (mainly from the conservative party) pointed out the adverse implications of giving into ltte demands and the fact that ltte continues to engage in terrorist acts.

uk government ministers were clearly not in favor of lifting the ban on ltte or as the minister for the middle east, dr. kim howells characterized it 'suicide bombers, murderers, torturers and rapists'. though with predictable lack of principle, they still want gosl to talk to the ltte and to fully implement the already discredited cfa. however uk government is well aware that if gosl refuse to do that options available to uk government are very limited ( unless uk wants to be termed a terrorist supporting state which they clearly do not want).

old news recycled

this impotence was clearly demonstrated when uk government went so far as to say that it is withholding part of a debt relief package ( worth 41 million pounds over 10 years or about £4 million a year) to sri lanka until discussions between sri lankan and uk governments about certain conditions( relating to 'human rights, hostilities, defense spending and accountability') attached to the package is finished. however this decision was not something new, this was made known in february of this year. after some sri lankan papers reported on this, british high commission in sri lanka clarified this in a press release dated 18 february, basically saying the same thing that uk government said on 2nd may.

truth about foreign aid

to put this in perspective, sri lanka receives over $500 million in foreign aid (in actual fact loans) annually. british aid is comparatively very small. the package referred is the main component of british bilateral aid to sri lanka, even it was due mainly because of tsunami. normally uk gives next to nothing.

in recent years sri lanka has successfully resisted the attachment of conditions to aid. political conditions (as opposed to economic ones) as quite unheard of. this particular package signed in 2005 is mainly the result of aftermath of tsunami when the sl government probably took its guard down.

in any case the main problem with foreign aid to sri lanka has always been their non utilization due to sri lankan red tape and sheer inability to get going on projects. only around 15-25% of the aid pledged annually is actually used, though recent sri lankan governments have allegedly tried hard to increase that percentage.

in light of all these factors the debate and the announcement about aid on may 2nd can not have much of a real impact on sri lanka. they are essentially sops for the benefit of labour mps with tamil constituents who may be influenced by ltte.

in so far as that goes let them have their delusional debates in order to mislead their tamil constituents if they want to.

real interference

while debate and the non news about aid may not have any real impact, the 'all-party tamil group' (sic) formed by some british mps chaired by keith vaz (labour mp for leicester, east) may try to interfere in sri lanka for real. according to him they want to visit north and east and to invite terrorists' chief negotiator tamil chelvam (aka toothy pussy) to address them. while their actions are unlikely to change the uk policy towards sri lanka, they can be used by the ltte as a propaganda tool

government of sri lanka must make it clear that british mps do not have power here. only people who should have power here are sri lankan public and their democratically elected representatives. and as i said before they will not give up certain bigger things even if they give up small things in the face of alleged attempts at control

some sri lankans (sort of parasitic individuals who did not find anything objectionable in amnesty internationals' disgusting campaign against sri lankan cricket) to whom all things foreign (esp if white skinned foreign) are literally god given, will no doubt object to that. however sri lanka is not an oligarchy run by english speaking pseudo elite whiners. this is a functioning democracy. as such it would reflect public's view on such interference

pro-actively turning the propaganda on its head

all that does not mean gosl should reject the british mps out of hand. instead sri lankan government should if possible try to turn this attempted ltte propaganda effort on its head.

sri lankan government should demand that if mps are allowed to visit, they should agree to be covered fully and transparently by all media even in ltte controlled areas, and that mps and media have free access to ordinary people there. gosl should demand that representatives of non ltte parties (tamils as well as non tamils) be given equal opportunity to make their case if ltte representatives are given a hearing here or in britain.

sri lankan government's aim should be to bring out the reasons why terrorist ltte should not be part of any power sharing solution as long as it remains armed and uses its current methods. it should point out why ltte cannot be considered a representative of tamils in sri lanka. ltte claim to be such rests solely on oppression of tamils and physical elimination of any alternative democratic tamil leadership. after all if anyone is really concerned about human rights in sri lanka they would not have any option but to support the defeat of ltte. gosl should also point to the clear double standards exhibited by the british mps if they engage is any sort of moralizing on behalf of ltte.

above all sri lanka should confront them with ltte atrocities and methods in all their documented and grisly details. if they are here on good faith they would realize the truth if they are not they will be exposed for what they are.

it is only by aggressive pro-active engagement that hypocrites like keith vaz and his ilk can be exposed and discredited. going on the defensive won't work here, anymore than in the battlefield.

here (1, 2) are details from uk parliament's committee on standards and privileges about corrupt dealings of keith vaz mp referred above. clearly he is uk's answer to mervyn silva. curious how peaceniks and terrorists appeasers always prefer such people. remember how mervyn silva and all the leading sri lankan peaceniks organized a pro appeasement protest march and rally that ended in fisticuffs? on the other hand it is not all that surprising. corrupt people probably like to hang around each other.


Anonymous said...

Delusions indeed!
Read Neville de Silva's "Thoughts from London" column from Sunday Times today

sittingnut said...

anon at 5/06/2007 4:50 pm
thanks for the link