ONE -A: Jeewaka Dias, 23 March 2021 …. with coloured emphasis added by The Editor, Thuppahi, whereas ‘black’ is the authors
Cuba is one of the most admired countries in the Global South. Cuba stood up for Sri Lanka at UNHRC, with a speech calling for defiance and resistance. These are the hallmark attributes of Cuba which have won global admiration.
Sri Lanka is on the right side of history. With China as an ally and support of the rest of Asia (bar one – South Korea) which did not vote in favour of the Resolution against Sri Lanka, the signs are clear of the Global Split. Between the rapacious Colonial countries of the Global North and ex-colonies of the Global South.
Sri Lanka must be congratulated for requesting a Vote. We showed that we are not prepared to bow our heads down to Western Imperialism masquerading as paragons of Human Rights.
In Nuremberg and Tokyo Trials what prevailed was Victor’s Justice. For the first time in history the only country which defeated brutal terrorism ( LTTE – that is responsible for killing thousands of innocent Tamils, and the Prime Minister of India, Rajiv Gandhi) is being subject to the Justice of the Defeated.
This is a retrogression or must be treated as an Aberration.
UNHRC is now engaged in a shameless and morally indefensible exercise of white washing the LTTE and giving the status of Martyrdom to Prabhakaran. How would India respond if the UN system recognized Godse, who killed Mahatma Gandhi, as a Martyr? The LTTE is no different. Its hands are stained with the blood of Rajiv Gandhi and over 1500 lives of IPKF soldiers. Yet the Foreign Minister of India, Jayshankar (a Tamil from Tamilnadu) is totally indifferent to the sentiments of millions of Indians who have not forgotten the crimes of the LTTE perpetrated against Indians both on the soil of India as well as Sri Lanka.
Jayshankar wants India’s foreign policy to be forged by looking at Sri Lanka through the lens of Tamilnadu. This is suicidal for India. Tamilnadu is no longer an exclusive Hindu state. Like the LTTE it pushes the Agenda of the Global Church.
India will rue the day if a Dravidastan is formed. It will lead to the break up of India. By supporting Tamil aspirations for a Tamil Eelam, India is committing hara kiri.
India no longer can claim leadership of South Asia. It failed to give support to a fellow South Asian country i.e. Sri Lanka, when three others namely Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Maldives ( all three Muslim countries) showed South Asian solidarity and voted against the Resolution.
India is pushing all it’s regional neighbours to the warm embrace of China.
Asia needs countries that have a spine to lead this huge continent and stand up against the colonial West, its Historical Adversary.
The East is East and the West is West. India is geographically in the East. Why did it not give voice to the concerns of Sri Lanka and join China, Pakistan, Philippines, Venezuela, Russia, Cuba, Bolivia?
Why did India join UK and USA and forget the history of humiliation and plunder under the British occupation? The natural allies of India lie in Asia and not in the West. How can India forget this reality?
The image of India as a lackey of the West is causing enormous harm. Thanks to Jayshankar’s tribal driven agenda of foreign policy making for India.
Posterity will never be kind to Indian Prime Minister Mody for having allowed a Tamilian (Jayshankar) to destroy India’ s millennial old links with Sri Lanka through a flawed foreign policy.
Singapore’s Foreign Affairs Minister is always an Indian or a Malay. Never a Chinese. Likewise a Tamilian Foreign Affairs Minister for India will not win the trust and confidence of Sri Lanka in respect to the latter’s existential problems.
Tomorrow belongs to China, not India.
Pakistan, Bangladesh, Maldives and the rest of South Asia know that. The pattern of voting at UNHRC showed that clearly.
Defiance should be the hall mark of Sri Lanka’s response to bullying tactics by Western colonial countries.
The UN is a tool of Western Colonialism.
Sri Lanka can win the admiration of the entire world and put the leadership of India to shame for showing spine when needed.
Sri Lanka can become the Cuba of Asia to the accompaniment of applause of Asia’s teeming millions yearning for leadership with backbone.
ONE -B: A Critical Response to Jeewaka’s Memo from Fair Dinkum in Australia, 24 March 2021
B1–This is a very idealistic essay, somewhat superficial and lacking in depth. It made little impression on me due to the excessive idealism.
One of the things we can admire about Cuba under Fidel Castro is that for 30 years he presented a counternarrative to the US and got away with it. The US tried to eliminate him, imposed sanctions, and overthrow him, but these actions were unsuccessful. The US have responded with vindictivenes and hate, [doing so] to appease the voices of Cuban exiles living in Florida.
I wouldn’t say the UN is Western colonialism, particularly with Russia and China having such a strong voice there. In fact Israel and the US want to reform the UN which they claim has been hijacked by “bad forces” like Africans and Palestinians.
I don’t agree that we can dismiss India in this way. It has a place in South Asia and a voice. Historically, India was important in the anti-colonial movement and non-alignment but it has drifted away from the values it had in the 40s and 50s towards alignment and a colonial mentality with regard to its neighbours. It has always had problems with China but there have been times when the two have worked well.
It was an aim of the Buddhist centre at ISEAS in Singapore to bring China and India together through Buddhism which is common to both countries. One project towards this end was by resurrecting Nalanda university. It had small successes but in recent years not so much.
I agree with the implication that Cuba and Sri Lanka have similarities but not for the reasons put forward by the writer.
“East is East and West is West” is from the Kipling poem, but if you continue reading the poem that isn’t the meaning of those words.
B2: I didn’t expect India to be sucked into Australia’s strategy for the Indo-Pacific. Some Sri Lankan diplomats I have discussed this subject with didn’t think India would go so far, but they did. It all started when Tony Abbott made a trip to India around 2016 or thereabouts to persuade the Indians (run by a populist) to join the anti-China group called QUAD. So much for Nehru’s vision for non-alignment. Gandhi did not approve of India being at war with Japan, and I don’t think he would approve of the path India is now taking against China. Times have changed. India has chosen a different path to the one it set out on at independence. I don’t think Tony Abbott has much care or understanding of India, except as a tool for Australia’s national interests.
The thing about alignment is that it is very much built into the DNA of Western nations from the 1800s. It is not an Asian value. Australia’s DNA is so Western and thus it thinks treatises and alliances are a good way to achieve its goals. Somehow, that’s not the way Asia works, and I think it is one of the reasons Australia can’t get Singapore on board the anti-China train, while Malaysia will never accept it. The Malaysian government have little time for what Australia thinks. Malaysia has built close ties with Africa and the Middle East due to the influence of Diam Zainuddin, former Finance Minister, who made a fortune out of those regions and built people to people links.
Indonesia has since the 1950s been more open to US influence in return for favours. Sri Lanka’s response is more complicated.
TWO: IMMEDIATE THOUGHTS in an Email Comment from Gerald Peiris in Kandy 24 March 2021
Michael, … I am in agreement with much of what Jeewaka Dias has said. It is generally
known that, after the ‘Core Group’ lost the UNHCR vote on its original resolution – a resounding and
unanticipated setback – some of its members made a desperate attempt to save face by:
(a) presenting a revised resolution containing a series of general allegations of HR violations
by SL, and (b) bringing pressures intense on those who had supported the Sri Lankan case.
That apart, a few among the countries that had sizeable Muslim populations were irritated by
Sri Lanka’s wayward approach towards the burial of Covid-infected cadavers.
It is against the background of the foregoing facts (along with Sri Lanka’s recent policy stance
of strengthening its economic ties with China, Bangladesh and Pakistan) that I find the voting
on the revised ‘Core Group’ resolution quite remarkable. Ten members among those who
voted against the original ‘Core Group’ resolution opted to ‘Abstain’, and not support
the second resolution, despite the fact that most of them have close economic links with the
global stalwarts of the ‘West’.
For PM Modi the entire UNHCR fiasco presented a dilemma in the sense that, while he had to
strengthen India’s continuing economic encroachment of SL, in the context of the rising tide of
anti-BJP forces in West Bengal, the Gangetic lowlands (especially the states of UP, Delhi and
Bihar) and, to a less formidable extent, in the “Saffron Belt” of western India, Modi cannot
afford to antagonize the powerful anti-Sri Lanka groups in Tamilnadu. Thus, my interpretation
of the Indian abstention last Tuesday is that it had much more to do with the emerging
re-alignments of its electoralpolitics than with his serving as an acolyte of the US a
its main allies.
The government of SL ought to be content but not complaisant with the outcome.Needless to stress what
I have stated above is quite extempore.
Best regards, Gerry
THREE: Further Clarifications by “Fair Dinkum,” 24 March 2021
I wish to clarify the points I made in an earlier email written at 3am this morning.
The problem with alliances is they can quickly become a mechanism for dragging countries into a world war, as occurred in WW1, which was triggered by the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria. The conflict that emerged out of this assassination might have been localised to Austria and Serbia and one or two other countries, but due to treaties and alliances, many countries in Europe were quickly dragged into war with the main protagonist being Germany resulting in futile and terrifying battles being fought in trenches in France, Turkey and other places. How that played out is fascinating, but there is a good case for Asian and African nations to join the Non-Aligned movement to avoid being dragged into global wars. Another factor that caused the conflict to escalate into a world war in 1914 was a tragic series of mistakes and miscalculations by both Germany and Britain in terms of reading each other.
Sri Lanka shouldn’t takes sides over US-China tensions but remain free to enjoy good relations with both for the best interests of SL, not the US. What has caused a problem recently however, is US’s demands that Sri Lanka make “tough decisions ” as Mike Pompeo put it, which was a silly attempt to bully and force SL into ceasing its relationship with China and aligning with the US. Sri Lanka should not buy into US geopolitical game-playing with China, nor India’s for that matter.
That the US is a democracy and China a communist country politically, but very capitalistic economically (more so than the US and Australia put together), need not be a factor in how Sri Lanka manages its relationship with both. Nonetheless, Sri Lanka needs to be mindful that the US is into regime change and its goal is to remove or overthrow the CCP by whatever means necessary and install Taiwan in Beijing. The government of China isn’t going to allow that to happen. But the point here is that Sri Lanka should not be a party to toppling the government of China for US interests. It is not just China that America seeks regime change. The US is trying to eradicate communism from the planet to be replaced by a global utopian neoliberalism system of government that sees all the wealth, money and resources of the world find its way into the pockets of a handful of super-wealthy Americans.