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A pincer move of oppression

The road to the Bandaranaike International Airport at Katunayake from the Colombo-Negombo Road is named Canada-Ceylon Friendship Road; a gesture of gratitude to Canada for stepping in to complete construction of the country’s only international airport, when the United States of America stopped all aid to then Ceylon, following nationalization of the petroleum bunkering and distribution business of three oil companies Shell, Caltex and Mobil, in 1962, when Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike was Prime Minister.

In the 1950s, Ceylon faced the wrath of the US when we signed the Rubber-Rice Pact with China, despite heavy opposition by the US, during very strained relations between the US and the People’s Republic of China.


Kinniya bridge: The Government’s massive development projects in North East continues. File photo

These are recalled as the European Commission has issued its warning that the GSP plus facilities enjoyed by exporters from Sri Lanka to Europe will not be extended beyond mid-August 2010, unless Sri Lanka agrees to a list of conditions, which Sri Lanka has rightly rejected.

During the LTTE’s savage terrorism, we heard of the terrorists’ monsoon offensive, annually. Much was written about it by the foreign media. It was compared to the ‘Tet Offensive’ of the Vietcong that caused major problems for the US troops before they were driven away by the Vietnamese people.

Western media

The last ‘monsoon offensive’ in the North was of a different type. It was the so-called international community and the agents the LTTE in the West, screaming through the Western media that IDPs in Menik Farm and other relief villages would face immense hardship when the monsoon struck last November. UN agencies and INGOs were going crazy over what would happen to 300,000 IDPs when the monsoon struck; warning of the spread of disease and even epidemics.

The monsoon came and went, with none of the hardships forecast so eagerly by the critics.

The country now shows the same spirit of determination in the face of major attacks being aimed from both sides of the Atlantic. There is the appointment of the Sri Lanka - Panel of Experts to advice the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, on matters such as war crimes and other human rights violations, which Sri Lanka has condemned as an unwarranted and unnecessary interference with a sovereign nation, with potential for exploitation by vested interests hostile to the process of reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Economic growth

And there is the European Commission’s warning that GSP plus facilities will end from mid-August this year, unless Sri Lanka agrees to a series of conditions that clearly affect the sovereignty of the nation, require amendments to the Constitution and the reversal of decisions of the Supreme Court. The Government has rightly rejected these conditions, too. It considers the EU imposed conditions, under the guise of what is essentially a trade agreement, amount to an intervention, the range and depth of which inevitably erodes in every significant respects, the authority of the Government of Sri Lanka to decide upon, and to deal with, a variety of sensitive domestic issues which have a vital bearing on the well-being of our nation.


Ban Ki-moon

What we now see is a new offensive of a pincer move, from both sides of the Atlantic, serving the interests of the pro-LTTE expatriate Sri Lankan groups abroad, especially in Europe, to stem the economic growth of Sri Lanka that is showing success.

Both the UNSG and the EU seem unaware of the offensive nature of their decisions to a sovereign nation that has only recently emerged from a most painful experience of nearly three decades of terrorism, and is moving rapidly on the path of reconciliation.

Although those behind this pincer move against Sri Lanka use Human Rights as the wider canvass for their strategies, they are thinly veiled attempts at stemming the progress of Sri Lanka, which has today reached the level of a middle-income country, with a per capita income of over USD 2,000, and well on target to reach USD 4,000 in five years.

While Ban Ki-moon is pressing on with an unprecedented violation of the sovereign rights of a nation, showing a shameless ignorance of the actual situation here, the EU is trying hard to make Sri Lankans suffer through economic hardship, in a situation where the entirety of Europe is faced with economic problems, shaking the very foundations of the EU and the stability of the Euro as an international currency.

As workers in Greece, Spain and France protest, with those in Portugal, Italy and the UK too soon taking to the streets to oppose hardships imposed on them through no fault of their own; the EU seems eager to impose similar hardships, or even worse, on the Sri Lankan people for no fault of their own, but for the immense hardships they went through in the prolonged struggle to defeat terrorism.

New threats

Sri Lanka has faced the economic power of the West twice since Independence. It has gone through many economic hardships in the 62 years from 1948, for following its own economic policies, and still safeguarded representative democracy. The country has reached a level of social welfare, health and education which many other countries are glad to emulate. It is not lacking in the courage to face up to the new hardships planned for them by those serving the interests of the forces of terror defeated in battle, but continuing their efforts to de-stabilize the country, through these pincer moves of oppression.

There is little doubt that the people of Sri Lanka will be ready to face up to and successfully overcome these new threats to their sovereignty and self-respect as a people.

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