Kadir: Where's the smoking gun?
Like some kind of knee-jerk reaction to the murder of her Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, President Chandrika Kumaratunga has asked for talks with the LTTE. They, seeing the accusing finger is pointed at them, have readily agreed, knowing only too well that a smokescreen is needed for the moment.

This has already defused some of the heat on them in continental Europe, but maybe not in the US or India. The PA and the UNP believed that the global war on terror after the Oklahoma and 9/11 bombings in the US would be to our advantage and went after an elusive 'international safety net'. Kadirgamar was always wary of this. He probably knew the ways of the world better than most of us.

As a young Oxford undergrad he made a telling comment to a largely western audience during a debate on "Democracy is unsuitable for the under-developed countries". The official University extract refers to it as follows: "Lakshman Kadirgamar (Balliol) ex-President made a speech of such brilliance that comment is almost superfluous. He spoke of "Communism being the only alternative to Democracy" and the danger in thinking that "Democracy was meant for the gods and the gods are in the West".

During his interactions with western leaders, he realised only too well that Sri Lanka - thanks to the long years of mismanagement since Independence - had become overly dependent on foreign aid. And the quid-pro-quo was to listen and often act according to the dictates of this "international community".
But Kadirgamar stood up to them - treating them as equals. His last official visit to Japan was aborted at the 11th hour last month. The official reason given was urgent domestic political developments and the impending hurricane in Japan.

The untold reason, however, was that he wanted even our very good friend Japan to know that an incumbent Foreign Minister should not leave his country on an official visit without a confirmed appointment with his counterpart - in this case - the Foreign Minister of Japan, even though the Japanese Foreign Ministry assured Colombo that an appointment would be scheduled.

To that extent Kadirgamar maintained the dignity of a once proud nation. On the 29th of June this year, less than two months ago, he wrote a tribute in the state newspaper to the President on her 60th birthday where referring to Norway's role as peace broker in the Sri Lankan crisis, and calling for democracy to prevail in the North and East, he said:

"If the Government of Norway is unable to plead this cause with the conviction and determination that it deserves it should stand aside and yield to other parties who could carry the flag of democracy into areas where darkness presently prevails."

On Monday this week, the Norwegian Foreign Minister and his Deputy stood by Kadirgamar's bier, the picture of sombre dignity in their dark suits. But inside and outside the Minister's official residence - in the towns and countryside, the question was being asked; Not just 'who did it?' but where is the smoking gun?

Assassinations and attempts at eliminating irritants - by western powers in their quest for world supremacy are as old as recorded history. The CID that cannot find the sniper's gun that felled the minister is not going to find the smoking gun.

The Norwegians clearly found Kadirgamar a thorn in the flesh - but they could probably have lived with him. After all, the President had already sidelined Kadirgamar from the so-called peace process and branched on a line of appeasement with the LTTE. But then he could have bounced back in a future PA Government.

There's no fear of contradiction when one says that the sheer reluctance of the Norwegians to rein in the LTTE (there have been over 3000 confirmed ceasefire violations by them since the 2002 truce) gave them the confidence that they could, literally get away with murder.

The West acts at the speed of greased lightning when a bomb explodes in their cities. The world is told that Al-Qaeda is behind it. But when it happens in Sri Lanka, they want proof.

What standards of proof are used to name Al-Qaeda as the group behind the horror of 9/11? What standards are used to check on Islamic extremism in Britain right now? But when Sri Lanka invokes emergency regulations, concerns are expressed in Britain - where the Al-Qaeda are "terrorists" and the LTTE "rebels".

The Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry - now leaderless - has pleaded for the international community to at least implement Kofi Annan's own proposals for curtailing the movements of members of terrorist organisations. Why must the fight against global terrorism have two meanings on this side of the Suez Canal and that?

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