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Monday, 17 January 2011

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The tale of poor Ben Arnoldy

Ben Arnoldy is a staff writer at the Christian Science Monitor and not someone getting something off his chess in the manner of someone writing in opinion to the editor. Staff writers are in general required to have or acquire more than a smattering of knowledge on the subjects they touch on. It is in this sense that Arnoldy’s recent piece titled ‘Sri Lanka floods provide chance for government, Tamil Tiger reconciliation’ raises questions regarding the magazine’s integrity, commitment to upholding journalistic ethics and affirming the first part of that well-known adage ‘facts are sacred, comment free’.

Type : Weekly newspaper
Owner : Christian Science
Publishing Society
Founded : 1908

Terrorist outfit

The title frames the ideological and political objective-vision of the writer and of course the Christian Science Monitor. To me it is nothing more than a bad case of horrendously naive people swallowing so much propaganda that they cannot separate fact from fiction.

For a long time the term ‘Tamil Tiger’ did have some political reference in the discourse of reconciliation, not because the LTTE understood the term or desired resolution but that the outfit was a political reality in terms of military presence and capacity. But this man Arnoldy is writing in January 2011.

He is either been sleeping for two months or doesn’t have the basic skill and training even to be a junior reporter or is deliberately attempting to misinform and mislead the poor readers of the Christian Science Monitor.

Ben needs to wake up. Not only is it ridiculous from the point of view of any responsible government and a citizenry that wants peace to accommodate a terrorist outfit (the world’s most ruthless, no less, Ben might not know) but the comprehensive elimination of the LTTE by the end of May 2009 makes any proposal that contains the term ‘LTTE’ (or Tamil Tiger) patently nonsensical.


Pedestrians walk by the Christian Science Church in Boston. Picture courtesy: Google

The article is full of bleeding-heart nonsense about the predicament of Tamil civilians with hardly any appreciation of context and history. Perhaps in the absence of any first hand knowledge, Ben has deferred to the views of someone called Jennifer Hyndman of the Centre for Refugee Studies, York University Canada.

She comes up with a howler: ‘I think the government has a chance to impress the people affected by this disaster as well as much of the world and prove it is not dispossessing its Tamil people’.

High-risk business

Dispossession of Tamils has for decades been the preserve of Tamil Tigers and their apologists. They’ve fleeced innocent Tamils here in Sri Lanka and those in other countries at gun point to tune of billions of dollars which Ben and Jennifer ought to know went straight into the LTTE’s war chest and purchased the bullets and bombs and other weapons that were employed to perpetrate ethnic cleansing, horrendous crimes against humanity and help perpetuate the misery of the people of Sri Lanka, especially the Tamils. That dispossession stopped in May 2009 courtesy the Government of Sri Lanka.

People rescued from the clutches of a butcher do not immediately find themselves in a place called Heaven on Earth.

Jennifer and Ben are probably not aware of the how much ground-clearing needs to take place before anyone can think of normalcy, in particular the painfully slow and high-risk business of clearing the land of all types of explosives buried in the conflict areas by the LTTE. Ben’s claims about the Government’s intentions remain exactly that. Claims. Conjecture.

Traditional homeland

I want to forgive these individuals for their ignorance. I wondered, however, how on earth they ended up conflating ‘Tamil’ with ‘Tamil Tiger’. Ben had answered the question unwittingly. He’s quoted someone he obviously thinks has first-hand knowledge. Jehan Perera. ‘No wonder’! I said to myself.

Jehan Perera spent many years seeking to legitimate the LTTE and paint that butcher-organization as ‘sole representatives of the Tamil people’. He and his ilk soft-pedalled LTTE atrocities and spared no pains to give it parity of status vis-a-vis the Government of Sri Lanka.

He also earned a lot of bucks emanating from sources that have had a long history of supporting the LTTE one way or another, let us not forget.

It is funny when such an individual passes judgement on the intentions and track-record of a Government which for all its faults has cleared the ground for articulation of grievance, assessment of their true dimensions and the resurrection of democratic structure for such things to happen. Jehan is fixated on devolution because buttressing the principle fiction-predicate of so-called Tamil grievances that of traditional homeland, has always been his bread and butter.

He has not up to now considered the following facts: a) the homeland claim is short on substantiation, b) the majority of Tamils live outside the Northern and Eastern Provinces, making devolution-as-solution a ridiculous proposition and c) the Provincial Council system (which Ben refers to in passing) is a monumental failure and moreover does not stand the test of scrutiny in terms of economic and developmentalist logic.

Second chance

Ben quotes Jennifer as saying that although post-tsunami ‘reconciliation’ between the Government and the LTTE failed, this is a second chance.

Both Ben and Jeniffer are clearly living in cloud cuckoo land and their assertions make the Christian Science Monitor and the York University respectively the laughing stock of anyone who has more than a second graders knowledge of Sri Lanka. I don’t blame them. Their careless conflations are derived from an uncritical acceptance of a pernicious misleader. Jehan Perera.

They would do well to visit Sri Lanka and ask people some questions from those who don’t belong to the handful of people who had succeeded in covering their intellectual paucity and political malice with academic garb and well-branded but self-created labels. Jehan Perera is a joke, friends.

Quote him as authority and guess what happens? Well, you turn yourself into a clown. I think both the Christian Science Monitor and York University deserve better.

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