Would you believe this! That loquacious Cabinet spokesman seems to have gone into hibernation or some kind of sleep mode in the last three year or so. Replying to a media query at a recent cabinet briefing Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, known to some if not many as “Dath dosthara” made the astonishing claim that Sri [...]


It is nothing but the tooth


Would you believe this! That loquacious Cabinet spokesman seems to have gone into hibernation or some kind of sleep mode in the last three year or so. Replying to a media query at a recent cabinet briefing Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, known to some if not many as “Dath dosthara” made the astonishing claim that Sri Lanka was not a co-sponsor of UNHRC Resolution 30/1 of 1st October 2015 and in fact did not join some other member states in sponsoring it.

Rajitha Senaratne: Sri Lanka did not co-sponsor the Geneva Resolution -- true or false?

That is truly a hell of a thing to say, if you will pardon the lingo. Since that day in October when Sri Lanka decided to condemn itself and commit hara kiri in an unwanted self-sacrifice planned by UNP foreign policy makers who were ready, and willing to pay homage to the wild west, there was widespread condemnation in Sri Lanka at the new government’s eagerness to cut its own throat.

Last month our defence attache’ in London drew two fingers across his own throat and paid the price of being hanged by his neck, so to say, by a cabal of pro-western elements forcing foreign policy decisions from outside and the foreign ministry’s own western torch bearers.

Our political lickspittles who find imitating the west the height of ideological achievement and moral ascendency had already been bowing to their western deity long before they came to office nearly three years ago. So it was no great shakes to prostate themselves before the mighty and sell their country enjoying the scenery from the banks of Lake Geneva that autumn day.

What sticks in the craw is the dath dosthera’s contention that Sri Lanka did not co-sponsor the resolution even after our UN Representative in Geneva and ambassador, Ravinatha Aryasinha had strongly objected to certain clauses in the resolution which were clearly inimical to Sri Lanka’s interest.

Everybody interested in the issue from academics, foreign affairs commentators, legal experts and others in the know not to mention kussi amma sera were well aware that the Sri Lanka delegation had notified its intention of co-sponsoring the resolution which indeed took some Asian countries by surprise.

If Sri Lanka was not co-sponsoring it, then the resolution would have been put to a vote. That did not happen because Sri Lanka had agreed to go along with our western accusers, particularly the US and UK. Having shown its willingness to do so, it also accepted the responsibility of implementing some of the provisions of that resolution that tied us up in knots including the setting up of judicial mechanisms for accountability trials in hybrid courts with foreign legal and investigative participation.

The acceptance of this resolution with all the attendant commitments that Sri Lanka promised the international community it will implement came in for analysis and harsh criticism and condemnation.

Then what do our foreign policy minders, such as then Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera do? He goes before the Human Rights Council and pleads for time to carry out its commitment to implement some of the recommendations in the resolution. Does he beg for time, once? Oh no, he does not do his begging in ones and twos. He does these things in such a manner that Sri Lanka becomes an embarrassment to friend and foe.

But not to Samaraweera who seems to be quite accustomed to and content with going round with a foreign policy begging bowl. Like Oliver Twist he asks for more-time not food. Another ruse this government employs is so obvious. It appears to believe that it can fool the world by announcing a single move towards implementation a few days before the case of Sri Lanka comes up for discussion in Geneva.
So the much publicised Office of Missing Persons (OMP), one of the four legs of a very impressive transitional justice programme that the government announced in 2015, at last had its officials appointed by President Sirisena a few days ago before Sri Lanka was put in the dock in Geneva.

Interestingly the OMP Bill was passed by Parliament in the latter months of 2015. It was made operational on September 15, 2017, shortly before President Sirisena was to address the UN General Assembly.
Now before the Sri Lanka issue comes up in Geneva for discussion and the country is torn to pieces by international and local NGOs, especially the Tamil lobbies and the human rights activists trying to justify the donations they receive and use to lead a comfortable life, the same President Sirisena appoints the members of the OMP hoping to impress critics of Sri Lanka that it is surging forth at considerable speed to implement the promises made to set up the mechanisms for transitional justice.
One of the most controversial of the four structures promised by Sri Lanka’s dream team that handled-or should it read mishandled – was by far the one concerning accountability trials against those who are alleged to have committed human rights abuses and war crimes under international law.
Shortly after Sri Lanka acceded to the US and UK driven Resolution, President Sirisena who was probably not briefed properly on what Sri Lanka had let itself into, refused to allow hybrid courts or have foreign judges be a part of such courts.
By and by the president seemed to acquire enough courage to say that he will not allow even an army corporal to be “touched” thus saying he will not allow even those in the lowest ranks to be hauled before a judicial set-up that is tainted with a foreign ‘presence’.
President Sirisena did not, of course, say what would happen to the ordinary foot soldier that makes up the most numbers in the army. Would he permit them to be judicial cannon fodder while those with pips (not to mention chips) on their shoulders ride around free like conquering heroes or sit down to pen their battled field heroics that would make Genghis Khan look like a boy scout on a camping holiday.
The fact is that in the last three or so years, those who directed Sri Lanka’s foreign policy, especially this fiasco over the UNHRC resolution, have been at the butt-end of criticism by a whole cross-section of people of different disciplines.
These issues have been discussed at the Cabinet too according to information that has been in the air for some years now.
Yet strange as it may seem our good doctor who is mandated to look after the nation’s health appears to suffer from a fading memory. Not only is he supposed to listen to what is going on at cabinet discussions and regurgitate some at the media briefing and do so accurately, he is also expected to provide the truth.
That lucrative slogan “nothing but the tooth” might well serve the dental fraternity of which spokesman Rajitha Senaratne is a long standing member. Perhaps our tooth-extracting community lives in the hope that the common man will approach every subject with an open mouth.
Yet when it comes to performing his task as cabinet spokesman it is his duty to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Yet here is a spokesman who not only shies away from telling the truth but is even ready to twist and turn fact and spin out a story that most people know is a yarn.
What is worse is that he is a cabinet minister who would have regularly attended cabinet meetings. Surely it cannot be that the cabinet never discussed the US and UK resolution over a three-year or so period.
If so it surely cannot be that he did not know of such cabinet discussions relating to this resolution. Even if he had passed into dreamland while his colleagues discussed the dirty that the US and UK combine did on Sri Lanka he would have at least read it in the media.
It has often happened at these cabinet briefings that the dosthara strays from cabinet decisions and comes up with Marxist shibboleths he probably learned in his youth, or some funny stories to keep the press entertained.
But that does not suffice. It is his bounden duty if he undertakes the responsibility of cabinet spokesman not to bury the truth at his convenience.
Now if spokesman Rajitha Senaratne claims that Sri Lanka did not co-sponsor that fateful resolution, as he is quoted in a local daily as saying and has not been denied, then he has fallen down on his job. That is not all – he has failed to tell the truth. That is a cardinal sin. The reason for this is yet to be disclosed. But don’t bet on it.

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