Americans Don’t Like Sinhalese?
The usually garrulous anchorwoman, who usually defends the media to the hilt, was at a loss for words.
Gavaskar was correct to a certain degree. Some in our profession assume omniscience and infallibility. Those non media pundits who contribute to the media assume that they are the last word in all matters.
Being newspapermen we are constantly asked: Whither Sri Lanka? We confess to our ignorance and add on that hackneyed journalistic prophecy: Only time will tell. But there are enough and more prophets, particularly the Rajapaksa faithful, who will tell you with absolute certainty that this Yahapalanaya government is heading fast to hell.
We refer to an article published in an English language newspaper, whose establishment we are told lost much with the demise of the Rajapaksa regime and hopes to gain much more if their former patron saints are resurrected.
The article comprises excerpts of a speech made by a pundit on geopolitics and everything political, Dayan Jayatilleke.
Jayatilleke in a wide ranging and far-fetched theory commences with cyclical patterns in Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict. There were peaks and the troughs in the Sri Lanka government’s conduct during the long war against the LTTE. Two of the high points in the military conflict were Vadamarachchi in 1987 and the Riviresa operations.
In making this point of the ups and downs of the government forces, Jayatilleke also scores the maximum possible Brownie Points with the Rajapaksa clique by naming only Col. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as one of those who fought in Vadamarachchi. Legendary war heroes, Brig. Denzil Kobbekaduwa and Col. Vijaya Wimalaratne who led the operation do not even get an honourable mention nor does Gen. Anuruddha Ratwatte who does not even get a reference though he, as Deputy Minister of Defence, directed the Riviresa operation that cleared the Jaffna peninsula of the LTTE.
The advantages of these military victories were squandered away for a long time till the next outstanding success of the Sri Lanka government came at Geneva in May 2009 when Sri Lanka was able to secure a ‘near 2/3 majority’ against a US attempt to ‘lead from behind’, he contends.
‘We know that the resolution was driven by the US and fronted by the EU. Our ability to defeat that is the equivalent of ’87 and ’95 in the military sphere’, says Jayatilleke.
And who was Sri Lanka’s Henry Kissinger who led the charge against the world’s only superpower and the EU the next most powerful geo-political bloc? It was none other than Dayan Jayatilleke who had been appointed by Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s UN representative in Geneva!
‘We went through a similar phase of unwillingness or inability to consolidate that victory and then went through a period of attrition where we lost three consecutive Geneva resolutions’ notes Jayatilleke in unusually modest diplomatic language.
Sacked for success
Jayatilleke’s two-year contract as Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at Geneva was to end in October 2009 and President Rajapaksa extended it till June 2010.
Then something bizarre happened!
The Foreign Ministry by fax ordered him to relinquish his duties and return to Colombo on August 20, 2009.He was sacked by the Rajapaksa regime within three months after his magnificent victory which he ranks to be on the same level as operations Riviresa and Vadamarachchi!
No reason had been given for his sacking, reports said.
Jayatilleke does not enlighten us on these post victory developments in the article published, perhaps due to sheer loyalty and devotion to the Rajapaksa or for other reasons and we had to go back to the archives to dig up details.
There was much speculation about the fall of Jayatilleke. The most plausible reason was that the irrepressible Jayatilleke committed a cardinal sin, according to the Rajapaksa book by claiming that he was responsible for the historic victory or at least a public impression was created that Jayatilleke was another Sri Lankan hero just like Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksas. There were a spate of letters to the editor congratulating and praising him and public statements lavished praise on him.
Despite his ability in out foxing the US State Department and Chanceries of Western powers, he appears to have been clueless about the basic likes and dislikes of his boss.
Those who claim victory or are bestowed the honour of being responsible for victory, when Mahinda Rajapaksa and/ or his brother Gota think that the honour is theirs, are taking tremendous risks. Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, the Commander of the Army whose forces routed the LTTE, knows this best. He lost his rank, title, pension, freedom and found himself thrown into jail in prison jumpers for claiming that he won the War against terrorists!
The question that a perceptive academic should ask, but does not do so in his article is: Did his sacking lead to the diplomatic debacle that followed: three consecutive anti Sri Lanka resolutions for violation of human rights being passed in Geneva? According to him Sri Lanka is still wallowing in the Geneva mire. If so, who should be held responsible for this national debacle? Mahinda Rajapaksa? Jayatilleke with his wily instincts for a possible return to diplomatic glory obfuscates the issue with his academic gibberish.
Dayan reads a book
However in January 2011 he was appointed as Ambassador to Paris where he had little or nothing to do with resolutions moved against Sri Lanka in Geneva. And there begins another story. He meets a ‘well known French intellectual’ Dominique Moisi, a ‘strategic intellectual’ who has written a book: ‘The Geopolitics of Emotion’ which he says could provide an answer why the United States of America is hounding Sri Lanka on the Geneva Resolutions.
Dayan Jayatilleke had read the book and when Jayatilleke reads a book it has wide ranging implications.
According to this French intellectual, when the West looks at the World it is not just geopolitics in a strategic sense. There are certain communities, certain nations and certain parts of the world they somehow view as unreliable, or hostile or inimical.
It doesn’t matter whether they are communist or anti-communist. Russia today is not ruled by the Communist Party which is an opposition party. But there is hostility towards Russia. There is also disguised hostility towards China.
It has nothing to do with religion. It’s not religious or cultural.It’s just that some countries, some nations are not seen as reliable allies.
‘The Serbs, the (Orthodox Christian) Russians, Syrians, Pakistanis, Iranians, perhaps the Turks and also the Sinhalese are among the suspects. That’s the story beyond the point it doesn’t really matter what the government is – there is a sense that they the Sinhalese are not reliable even if the government is an ally of the West’.We have placed the last paragraph within quotes because it is not clear whether this is a statement of the French writer with interpolations made by Dayan Jayatilleke or not.
This is Jayatilleke’s explanation for the pressure being brought upon the Yahapalanaya government even though it is quite blatantly pro US & UK .This is why the US and the Western bloc is pressurising Sri Lanka on implementation of the Joint resolution by the US and Sri Lanka at Geneva.
US against Sinhalese?
This theory of the Sinhalese being considered unreliable, hostile or inimical by the United States also fits into his allegations that during the visit to the North by Nisha Biswal, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia and Tom Malinowski, US Assistant Secretary of State for Labour and Human rights, ‘Malinowski went to Mullivaikkal, knelt in the sand and laid a wreath’.
The implication is that Malinowski was honouring fallen terrorists, Mullivaikkal being the place where the final battle with the LTTE was fought.
The theory of Geopolitics of Emotion by the French writer provides a rationale or many of dislikes and prejudices of Jayatilleke on the Yahapalanaya government. It’s a ‘one size fits all theory’. It is also aimed at making the majority Sinhala community spurning cooperation with the US and other Western nations with whom this government has been building up very strong and friendly relations.
This is a strategy of using the Geneva resolutions to build up a fear of a Sinhala backlash against the government and besmirch good relations between the US and the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government.
All those who are now lost in the political wilderness and are hoping for a resurrection of the Rajapaksa regime and expect the Brownie Points scored when down in the dumps will be etched in memory. They believe that although great things achieved for the Rajapaksas through loyal service when in power ended in being sacked, the services rendered in defeat will not be treated the same .