Monday, July 9, 2012
The Diplomats after the Diyatalawa seminar are now on a North and East junket
There was a gathering in Diyatalawa of Sri Lankan heads of mission from their stations, all over the world, this past weekend at the Officer Training Academy, to give them a grounding on how to tackle the misinformation menace of the well funded and connected Global Tamil Diaspora, that appears to be on a concerted campaign to spread misinformation in their host countries about the situation within Sri Lanka as it pertains to the Tamils. I must congratulate the Government on arranging this much needed event, and I trust a good strategy to counter their propaganda has been set in place.
The President addressed this gathering in his usual confidence that they go and clear the air, and take back the space we have lost to the LTTE to counter all the mis-information that has been spread.
There are two opinions on this issue, using the adage “it takes one to know one” we are comparing the two worst examples of misinformation campaign on earth. The past masters at this are the Tamil Diaspora and The Rajapakse Administration. The modus operandi of both is the same. Just as in the war where the tactics of deep penetration units of small groups of between 5 and 10 were used to infiltrate LTTE areas, just as they did into Govt. areas and caused havoc, the Govt. has learnt that it is the same formula that must apply to stay in power for as long as they like.
The Rajapakses have clearly learned well from Prabarkaran and his ilk in the art of deception.
Whilst the Diaspora spread disinformation amongst Tamils who live overseas about the real plight of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and then follow that up with lobbying their host governments about the situation in Sri Lanka, the Govt. of Sri Lanka spreads misinformation within the local population, to instill fear and stay in power. Fortunately the overseas embassies in Sri Lanka are able to balance this out and relay the true picture to their principals back home, often setting the record straight. We have seen the fruits of that in the deportations of Asylum seekers back to Sri Lanka. It is not so easy for the opposition bereft of many of the resources available to the Government to do the same with the populace at large within Sri Lanka.
The real problem the Diplomats must grapple with is that they represent a Govt. that has lost credibility and so when countering LTTE propaganda, their task is made so much more difficult, if not impossible. To compound matters the Govt. is taking these Ambassadors on a field trip to the North and East today and tomorrow, to show them their development of the area, but that is all on the exterior. This is a well orchestrated and stage managed one, just as delegations to China are stage managed by the authorities.
The diplomats will shown the roads and the infrastructure with gleaming new buildings and the rebuilding of the railway line to KKS. They will not be shown who is working there, they will not be privy to the activities of the forces that by mere presence in number, continue to intimidate the local people. In short it is what the state wants them to see!
Only if diplomats are able to talk to the Tamil people in Tamil, without minders or eavesdroppers, will they know the true ground situation. They will then go back to their posts, and repeat what they have been told, and the host Governments which have better information on the same tour, as their diplomats have also gone there, interviewed local people and got other facts, will be able to counter what the diplomats say with more accuracy.
We are subjecting our diplomats to embarrassment. This administration is being very cynical of their own representatives, sending them like lambs to slaughter in the diplomatic sense.
Please do not give them a brainwashing course. Let them see some reality and the limitations of infrastructure when dealing with people’s personal freedom. Even if you have the best roads in the country, if the people do not have access to funds to go on them, what good are they. We need to know what aspects must be given priority. The whole development of the North and East have not taken the most important and graded the development in that way.
Remember we have chosen the best representatives of our Country who have been sent overseas to present our case in all the major capitals in the world. We then give them a lot of misinformation to go back and preach. We fall into the same trap the Diaspora have fallen into. If we show them the truth, they will be better able to balance fact from fiction, and give the country the benefit of the doubt. The leaders are only making a mockery of themselves again to the world, in this fruitless exercise. It can only be fruitful if there is an honest debate and an honest picture encompassing all the grievances one might have with regard to life in the North and East. So let us get real.