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Western media and terrorism in Sri Lanka

The editorial of the 25th instant was on the subject of the global Tiger empire. Very important issues have been raised including the consolidated terrorist threat to the Indian sub continent. Jane’s Intelligence on Tigers’ multi-million dollar business empire documents states most what we suspected all these years. Action by Reuters to quote this press release subsequently was a further indication as to the severity of the threat.

This raises the question as to why and how some of the British MPs were speaking for and on behalf of the Tigers, a few months ago at a House of Commons debate and formulation of a Parliamentary committee to look into their grievances.

The answer is that the Tiger propaganda machinery in the West has been very efficient in twisting the facts and cultivating sympathetic opinions towards them among the Western countries. Coining headlines such as ‘Ethnic cleansing in Sri Lanka’ is an example of their abilities, while the facts were different.

Things have happened to the detriment of Sri Lanka in the past, but the country now needs to rise up to the challenge and let the world know exactly what really goes on in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in London needs to take the lead here, in order to nullify the efforts of Tigers in the West. They need to set-up a strategy to make regular presentations to the media here in London and provide them with facts and figures. For an example, when the ‘ethnic cleansing’ headlines were mooted, the High Commission should have gone ballistic.

It should have issued a press release explaining what went on in Colombo, and following it up with further information as to the composition of population in Colombo and how the Tamils are living so comfortably with other communities in places such as in Dehiwala, Wellawatte, Kotahena etc. If they do not have the ability to handle such press related matters, they need to engage professionals.

The idea is to hire an established British public relations firm to do the work for them, coupled with retaining on advisory capacity a personality such as an ex Editor of a UK newspaper or such other person known in the media circles with PR experience.

They need to appear in TV news bulletins and also take part in radio news programmes as and when a major event takes place in Sri Lanka. If they do not react promptly to such scenarios, the Tigers would take the advantage to twist and turn things in their favour.

Another important aspect is lobbying of MPs and Government Secretaries (ie Ministers). This is how the Tigers were able to get a House of Commons debate, and the High Commission needs to clear these misunderstandings among some of the British MPs. They also need to ensure that the information flow to the new British Foreign Secretary on the subject of terrorism in Sri Lanka is free of any such defilement.

As individuals, there is a limit to what we can do in these instances. I have written to newspapers here in the UK when the House of Commons debate took place, but to no avail. It is now an enormous task to change this Western media attitude, hence my suggestion that the High Commission in the UK be the sphere-head and take up the challenge to change this situation.

I also suggest that the Foreign Ministry (in Colombo) to develop a dossier containing atrocities carried out by the Tigers since 1983 including the 1985 Pettah car bomb, assassination of politicians using suicide bombers including former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, attempted destruction of airport etc and make this material available to all Sri Lankan missions abroad. Perhaps, this could be in the form of a website if no such site is presently available.

The Armed Forces are not fighting the Tamils, but they are confronting a ruthless group of terrorists backed by a multi-million dollar global business empire engaged in drug trafficking, gun running, money laundering. This is the message that the Sri Lankan High Commission in London needs to pass on to Western media circles.


Astrology, theology and mythology

Dr. Mareena Thaha Reffai should not have been as harsh on believers in astrology as she writes to your columns on July 27. After all, astrology is a form of belief no less rational than belief in God/Gods, fairies and demons. It sometimes gives hope or consolation and may be a substitute to prayer.

If God knows the future, as Dr. Thaha Reffai asserts, I would like to know whether God knew that on December 26, 2004 there would be a Tsunami bringing death, devastation and despair to a million plus both here and abroad?

If He did, why could He not do something to prevent it in His all mercifulness?

If He couldn’t, how could we believe in an All Mighty?


Eastern Province must revert to democratic rule

All the good work so far done by the Armed Forces to establish democratic rule in the Eastern Province will be brought to nought, if an armed conflict erupts between Karuna of the TMVP and the existing democratic political parties, to gain political power in the East.

Sri Lankan people will no doubt welcome Karuna as another political leader in the N/E and not as a replacement for Prabhakaran. We wish to welcome him as another Anandasangaree or Douglas Devananda from the Tamil community.

We have to urge all political leaders who love this country to interfere in this conflict in the offing, to prevail upon Karuna to strictly toe the democratic line in joining the political mainstream.


Wanted - a statue to honour Konoppu Bandara

There was an attempt by the Portuguese invaders to get Dona Catherina, a convert Christian connected to the Kotte Royal family, married to a Portuguese Army office aristocrat, waiting for her in Kandy.

Konoppu Bandara who had military training in Goa, realised the danger threatening the country if the marriage took place. Determined to stop the marriage, he led a band of men, met the Portuguese soldiers taking Dona Catherina in a palanquin, in battle at Danture, defeated them and captured Dona Catherina.

That battle in Danture in 1593 not only negated the marriage but also prevented the Portuguese from legitimising their claim to rule Sri Lanka.

Konoppu Bandara later married his prized catch Dona Catherina and was crowned as King Vijaya Dharma Suriya 1.

There is no doubt that Konoppu Bandara’s victory in the battle of Danture, a village off Kadugannawa, is an important event in our history and Konoppu Bandara’s bravery has to be remembered.

Towards that end, a statue of Konoppu Bandara should be erected in Danture.

I hope that this will receive the attention of the Minister of Cultural Affairs, the officials of the Cultural Department and the Kadugannawa Town Council.

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