Statements made by British political leaders on Sri Lanka are necessarily directed at the British electorate though it will indirectly impact on the Sri Lankan political situation too. Britain is now going through a hectic election campaign and the Sri Lankan diaspora of Tamils have cleverly organised themselves in a number of electorates where they could influence the numbers of seats won by contending parties.
Thus, statements made by British leaders such as Ed Miliband of the Labour and David Cameron, the Conservative Leader make sense more in the context of the British election than the situation in Sri Lanka.
However, it would be remembered that British politicians a few decades ago were regarded to be of exceptional quality both within the Commonwealth and beyond it and their statements were considered to have been made after careful consideration to the issues before them.
Whether they are regarded to be of such standards now is much in doubt.
The British electorate has been swamped by a multiplicity of nationalities to the extent that their political survival may depend on petty parish-pump politics in their electorates, which may be of great significance to an issue of expatriates at home. This is often the case with Sri Lankan issues raised in the British parliament.
The 30–year terrorist war ended almost 6 years ago and not a bullet has been fired in Sri Lanka after that. The major challenge before the nation is to bring the two estranged communities together rather than regurgitating painful memories however dear and sentimental and would not bring relief to the living.
The demand is made that Justice should be done especially where war crimes have been committed. To justify war crimes in a war between opposing forces of two militaries of two states have been found to be extremely difficult. To determine war crimes in a civil war, where civilians are alleged to have committed war crimes comparable to a military force, is doubly or more difficult.
After World War II, the victors, the Western allies set up tribunals to try war criminals who were of the defeated forces, the Axis Powers. The victors did not have war criminals! Not even those who bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. British leaders who appear to be fanatical to unearth war criminals in the Third World today have turned a blind eye to those such as Sir Arthur Harris (Bomber Harris) whose orders to bomb the German City of Dresden resulted in the killing of 25,000 civilians.
In his greeting to Sri Lankan Tamils for the Sinhala and Tamil New Year Britain’s leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband has called for a full independent inquiry into alleged war crimes against humanity by Sri Lanka. He has declared his support for accountability and stressed he would support the Tamil cause.
Sri Lanka has already agreed to a UN inquiry into alleged war crimes committed in the last phase of the terrorist war and the inquiry has been put back slightly on the request of the Sri Lankan Government in view of the reconciliation efforts being made.
British Prime Minister David Cameron in his New Year message offers full support for steps taken by the Sri Lanka government to address issues of the past and calls for the Sri Lanka government to extend full support to UN to investigations.
While both British leaders to call for an investigation obviously because of the pressures brought on them by the Tamil diaspora, the tone of Prime Minister David Cameron at least is much more conciliatory because he takes note of the steps taken by Sri Lanka to issues of the past.
It is indeed tragic that a little country like Sri Lanka should be kicked around in this fashion by British politicians with the intention of garnering votes of the Sri Lanka diaspora who by and large were and most probably still are supporters of the LTTE, one of the most inhuman terror organisations ever known.
This is one tragic example of British democracy cowing down to a pro terror lobby.