The Rajpal Abeynayake Column                     By Rajpal Abeynayake  

Who is calling the bluff and bluster post Kadirgamar?
Next to the famous Margaret Thatcher quote that "the terrorists have to be lucky only once and we have to be lucky everyday'', another lesser known quote resulted from commentaries on the long running IRA insurgency aimed at the British government. This was that "when a government fights terrorists, it does so with one hand tied behind its back.''

Any Sri Lankan government fights the LTTE with one hand tied behind its back. Governments for instance never go out on a limb planting bombs all over the place. Terrorists do that.

Seeing that the government has one hand tied behind its back, there are forces in Sri Lanka that want to grab hold of the other free hand and firmly tie that behind also. For example, as per the speculation in column last week, the apologists immediately got on their saddle, and made their representations on behalf of the LTTE. As predicted Jayadeva Uyangoda wrote on Friday "They (LTTE) also saw it as 'yet another instance' of the Sinhalese polity having demonstrated its 'unwillingness to treat the Tamils as equals' and 'incapacity to reform the state.' The above perceptions have also emerged in a context of deep mistrust the LTTE has developed towards the present government.''

The UNPs' Rajitha Senaratne butted in, saying: "Kadirgamar himself, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mangala Samaraweera, Sripathi Sooriarachchi and the JVP should share the blame for the killing as they were against the peace process which is the only way to stop these killings''.

"Lakshman Kadirgamar victim of a divided south'' angled another headline. Less said about that kind of pap the better. This headline put it simply. The apologists say the LTTE did not kill Kadirgamar -- Kadirgamar killed himself, he committed suicide.

In the current British context for instance, there would have been an excellent case for prosecuting Rajitha Senaratne for glorifying and justifying terror. The British House of Commons hurriedly passed such anti-terrorism laws soon after the 7/7 train bombings. But in a democracy such as ours we do not do that kind of thing.

We prefer to help the terrorists along, with at least some of our folks providing the prop and the rationale for the perpetrators of the grossest acts of human rights violations, such as the killing of a senior Minister and the continuing recruitment of child soldiers.

The government's first line of response to the Kadirgamar killing for instance, was to blame a third party for the involvement. A change of heart came only after an assessment of the public mood and media analysis. Next to garrulous apologists came the aiding and abetting police.

Kadirgamar committed suicide, to go by the IGP's version. He went into a house that he had been asked to avoid. This adds the insult to already grievous injury of the killing.

IGP Fernando wants us to believe that he definitely told Kadirgamar not to go to the Bullers lane residence, knowing fully well that dead men do not tell tales. We cannot ascertain the truth of what Fernando says from Kadirgamar. Fernando's excuse is grosser than his omission in not being able to protect the nation's number one target.

But even so, no heads rolled in the police department or the army.
Given that the government is in post PTOMS Nobel prize wannabe mode, we are left wondering why the President had still not recommended a promotion for the police chappies who failed to protect the Minister.
Saying that may sound rather ghoulish. The President after all braved the security threat, and presented herself for the funeral, and she wept copiously for the dead Kadirgarmar.

It's granted that the President grieved the demise.
But its her current mindset, her almost sub -conscious posture that is suspect.

No one, no cackling minister of government said for instance that the absence of security is not the primary cause of the minister's death. The current ceasefire agreement expressly forbids assassination and suicide bombings. The relevant section states in para (1.2) "Neither Party shall engage in any offensive military operation. This requires the total cessation of all military action and includes, but is not limited to, such acts as:

a) The firing of direct and indirect weapons, armed raids, ambushes, assassinations, abductions, destruction of civilian or military property, sabotage, suicide missions and activities by deep penetration units.''
Kadirgarmar should have hence been able to get about his business without a single bodyguard. The LTTE was sworn not to kill him - - or to kill anybody for that matter.

But nobody says this.
Our representatives being insularly protected by the waters of the Diyawanna, are ever prepared to react after the event. D. E. W. Gunasekera lamented in parliament this week saying "how can the Tigers kill someone like Kadirgamar?"

Here is some light shed on that. This is a quote from my column on June 26th 2005, the Sunday after the PTOMS was signed. :
"When this writer asked an almost ten deep Ministerial press-conference soon after the document was tabled in Parliament on Thursday why the government did not seek any kind of safeguards that the Tigers will NOT continue to bump off political opponents, Amunugama did a G. L. Peiris. …… One of them (ministers) said that the ceasefire agreement would ensure that the Tigers would be kept on check, even as D.E.W. Gunasekera said that the Tigers have been killing opponents under the ceasefire agreement. The words he didn't say out loud were "so what (if they kill?)''

After the event, I suppose D.E. W. Gunasekera is entitled to his feigned surprise about Kadirgarmar, as much as I'm entitled to say "I told you so.''

The question then legitimately arises, on what other issues will the government pretend to be surprised, after falling headlong into traps painted by the non-governmental organizations and the international community as 'opportunities'?

By sounding out the Norwegians to get the LTTE to the table, the President on the face of it offers the LTTE more than a survival kit's worth of oxygen. The international community may be contradictory and hypocritical in condemning the assassination and then calling on the Sri Lankan government to sue for peace with the perpetrators - - as all the statements from Condolezza Rice's to the Japanese government's missive have done.

But yet, these statements and others have noticed the whole world that it's the LTTE that did it. The President's immediate call for talks gives the LTTE the lifeline to get away with murder.

What's the message in asking for immediate talks? We are afraid of your assassinations, please speak to us? But, will the government at least lay down the line to the LTTE at the talks and say, any more violations, and we are out of this process? We will not declare war, but the ceasefire will be abrogated if this kind of behavior continues?? Remember also that the LTTE is responsible for 97 percent of the violations, as opposed to the army's 3 per cent, according to SLMM statistics.

Does the Sri Lankan government have the steel in the backbone to say this, at the table, or has Chandrika become Ranil's twin, and completely succumbed to the machinations of the apologists NGOs and the international con artistes?

One more thing. The NGO apologists sound sanctimonious and religious almost, when they say the Sri Lankan government is somehow either obliquely or directly to share in the blame for the Kadirgamar assassination.The NGO line is that the ceasefire has to be renegotiated. What's there to renegotiate in a ceasefire that already bans assassinations?? The Sri Lankan government bona-fide trusted the Tigers, and the Tigers bombed. That's both literally and as a figure of speech.

Under the circumstances, the government can only ask for a discussion of the core issues with a simultaneous laying down of arms by the Tigers, with perhaps the concession that a laying down of arms will be accompanied by the Sri Lankan government delivering -- under UN guarantee -- on whatever deal that's struck.

But the Tigers are not biting. Already, Balasingham says we are only talking about the ceasefire, not about peace. For want of space, its difficult to analyze what the Sri Lankan state is getting into this time, unless there is some miraculous turnaround and the state is willing to call the Tiger bluff at the table and issue an ultimatum saying "the ceasefire will be abrogated unless you Tigers behave yourselves.''

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