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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2399

Bullies preaching peace and justice

By Janaka Perera

The story goes that during the Vietnam War, a Native American Chief was asked whether the United States should withdraw from that country. He replied that the U.S. should first get out of America!

The Native American’s response effectively sums up how Easterners should respond to Western intrusions in their countries. The European Union’s failed attempt at Geneva to put Sri Lanka on the dock over alleged war crimes once again proves that the ex-colonial ‘high priests’ and their acolytes in the UN have still not given up trying to ‘civilize’ the natives of Asia and Africa.

The 14 countries that stood up for Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council’s special session on May 19 no doubt realized that if they did not back the Rajapaksa regime at this crucial moment, failure to do so would give the self-proclaimed ‘human rights’ crusaders the wrong message that they have the right to meddle in any country that did not follow their dictates. This is exactly what they have been trying in Sri Lanka and elsewhere. The age of imperialism is long past and the age of Western hegemony over the rest of the world is gradually drawing to a close but these bullies seem to be living in a time warp.

In the immediate post-World War II years we were made to believe that the Western democracies were the bulwark against, tyranny, terrorism and despotism. It did not take long to realize how mistaken we were. As events unfolded it became clear that neither democracy nor human rights were reflected in the foreign policies of the much vaunted champions of freedom.

From Asia to Africa to Latin America, the U.S. and her allies backed corrupt dictators and tyrants in the name of anti-communism to protect Western interests. But if a government - no matter if it was democracy or dictatorship - tilted towards the Soviet Bloc it then ‘human rights’ became a big issue.

"Stripped of reference to the law or universal morality, promotion of human rights is a political exercise" (American Dream Global Nightmare)

Even after the end of the Cold War the same Western duplicity has been continuing in a different form as clearly seen in its role vis-à-vis LTTE terrorism in Sri Lanka. Norway's ties with the Tigers is a classic example. While preaching democracy and human rights to the world, the West did its best to give breathing space to the despot Prabhakaran who brooked no opposition and committed mass murder with impunity. At the same time these champions of freedom censured Sri Lanka for deciding to decimate this monster and his gang who called themselves the sole representatives of the Tamils!

But in Afghanistan Washington has increased U.S. troops causing concern among Pakistanis who fear it would add to Taliban’s infiltration into its territory from Afghanistan.

Sri Lanka and India have been South Asia’s only two long-standing democracies. Yet it was India that initially gave succor to Prabhakaran and paid a heavy price for bringing misery and bloodshed to her Southern neighbor for almost three decades.

Pakistan on the contrary has been fragile democracy. At different times she was under military rule. But these domestic factors never affected Pakistan’s close friendship with Sri Lanka. It was this strong bond that prompted the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government to provide the Pakistani Air Force with refueling facilities at Katunayake during the Bangladesh war of 1971 – much to the annoyance of the Indians. When Delhi refused to sell offensive weapons to Sri Lanka and the U.S. cut-off military assistance to the island it was Pakistani defence cooperation with this country that played a key role in the LTTE‘s ultimate defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka’s Security Forces. According to press reports Sri Lankan intelligence sought Islamabad’s help in probing messages exchanged between the Tiger leadership and other parties during the last days of Prabhakaran.

Sri Lanka’s powerful ally China as well as Russia have always been a great source of strength to this island in withstanding Western pressure. Neither of these countries are democracies in the Western sense. If Sri Lanka is moving away from the West and if her human rights record is questionable as alleged, then the blame should go primarily to the so-called international community and bogus peaceniks which prolonged the armed conflict by pressuring successive Sri Lankan Governments to 'negotiate' with the intransigent Tigers when there was nothing to negotiate.

Needless to say the longer a war goes on the greater the erosion of freedoms and rights people enjoy in peace time. Both the Southern and Northern insurgencies in the island contributed to these developments the difference being that JVP had hardly any foreign sympathizers.

It is worthwhile here recall the words of the late H.L. de Silva in his message in connection with the launch of the Website of the Protect Sri Lanka Group in February 2008:

"The restoration of peace and the complete stoppage of violence and the emergence of a truly democratic system recognizing the pluralist values would take a fair length of time. It would take a while before the first practical steps towards inter-ethnic reconciliation are taken by both sides with sincerity and proper understanding and empathy... "

- Asian Tribune -

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