"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
 
- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Selected Writings by Nadesan Satyendra
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Sathyam Commentary
18 February 2007
 
On Nicholas Burns, Mangala Samaraweera,
US Foreign Policy & Terrorism
 
At a press conference in Washington on 21 November 2006, US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns declared in strident terms -

"We believe that the Tamil Tigers, the LTTE, is a terrorist group responsible for massive bloodshed in the country and we hold the Tamil Tigers responsible for much of what has gone wrong in the country. We are not neutral in this respect. " US Under Secretary Burns

Sacked Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera appears to know why Mr.Burns said what he did say. It seems that when Sinhala politicians fall out, truth may sometimes seep out. Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had this to say in his letter of 14 February 2007 to Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse -

"You have accused me that the Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka to the United Nations was absent and did not vote when 158 countries voted with Palestine. This was a special resolution brought to the UN by the Palestinian Authority against Israel for its abuses of the Palestinian people. United States and several other countries were campaigning against this resolution. As the Foreign Minister, it was a great challenge for me to decide how we should use our vote.

On the one hand, I am fully aware that we should not abandon the cause of the Palestinian people who have maintained close ties with Sri Lanka since Mrs. Bandaranaike's reign. ... On the other hand, Sri Lanka can not afford to antagonize America, an ally who has helped us in our struggle against terrorism, not only in words but also in deed.

Having held lengthy discussions with Foreign Ministry officials, we reached a decision. Sri Lanka is the President of the Israel Practice Committee (IPC), which investigates abuses committed by Israel against the Palestinians. I was of the opinion that it would be more productive for Sri Lanka to protect its integrity and impartiality in the IPC. Therefore, on the vote held on 17 November 2006, Sri Lanka, as Chairman of the IPC, was not present at the vote...

.... two days after the vote, US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns telephoned me. The decision taken by us regarding the vote went a long way in building trust and strengthening US-Sri Lanka ties. Few days afterwards, at the Co-Chairs Meeting in Washington DC, Nicholas Burns expressed America's fullest support to the Government of Sri Lanka in defeating the menace of LTTE terrorism. After the meeting he also held a press conference that was very encouraging to the Government and the people of Sri Lanka.

It is a victory when we can win the goodwill and trust of both parties in such a complex international dispute... We should be proud that a developing country like Sri Lanka, while facing a myriad of challenges, possesses such a pragmatic and effective foreign policy."

Res ipsa loquitur - the record speaks for itself. We are reminded again of the words of Velupillai Pirabakaran in his 1993 Maha Veera Naal Address -

"...We are fully aware that the world is not rotating on the axis of human justice. Every country in this world advances its own interests. It is the economic and trade interests that determine the order of the present world, not the moral law of justice nor the rights of people. International relations and diplomacy between countries are determined by such interests. Therefore we cannot expect an immediate recognition of the moral legitimacy of our cause by the international community..."

And, perhaps, that which we said some months ago in  Black Pebbles & White Pebbles, bears repetition -

"...Sometimes ..it seems that we avoid... seeking an open dialogue with the international community on its own strategic imperatives and the true rationale for its actions. ...We confuse our people by leading them to believe that all that needs to be done is to wake up the international community to the facts and the justice of our cause and all will be well. This is the limitation of our discourse. It is a limitation that we need to transcend.......there is a clear need to expose to the scrutiny of the Tamil people (yes, the Tamil people and not some other people) the stated claim of the international community that it seeks the 'best solution in human rights terms' and explore the unstated interests which the stated claim is directed to secure. Such an exploration will help us to secure solid ground under our own feet. In Subhas Chandra Bose's words, it is only then that we can stand perpendicular - anywhere..."

 
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