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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.