ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday January 6, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 32

The Chilcott affair: The missed opportunity

Many thanks to Neville de Silva for his informative article in The Sunday Times of December 23, but it is disappointing that the press in general, and even Mr. de Silva, have not given enough prominence to the stunning blows former British High Commissioner Dominic Chilcott dealt the LTTE in his lecture.

Instead of reacting in the small-minded manner our politicians did, they should have seized upon Mr. Chilcott's positive statements and quoted them all over the world. For the record, the following are some of the statements Mr. Chilcott made which support the government's stand:

  • The LTTE shows no understanding of human rights norms and they rule by fear and terror.

  • I don't believe the aim of the government's devolution offer should be to put something on the table that will engage the attention of the LTTE.

  • I have serious doubts as to whether the LTTE leadership would be sincere about reaching a negotiated settlement....

  • They have never accepted that anyone else should be able to speak for the Tamil people, a fundamentally undemocratic position.

  • But unless they embrace democratic, non-violent methods, they will exclude themselves from any future peace process.

  • I don't believe that a future peace process should be based on talks exclusively between the government and the LTTE.

  • But the government has the right to take steps to defend itself against the threat posed by the LTTE.

  • If there has to be a fight, and given the LTTE's attitude to democracy and peace negotiations, it is hard to see how one is avoidable.

What a barrage……and what do our pundits do? They pull him up over a conceptual point that was a perfectly valid one. Mr. Chilcott moves on to an important posting in the USA and I wonder whether our small-minded leaders have only succeeded in rubbing him up the wrong way. Who needs enemies when we have leaders like this?

By E. Mendis, Via e-mail

Top to the page

Reproduction of articles permitted when used without any alterations to contents and the source.
© Copyright 2008 | Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka. All Rights Reserved.