Sinhala  Tamil    Seperate    
Governtment of Sri Lanka


This book is the second collection of essays written to refute the various allegations against the Sri Lankan state made in the report of the panel appointed by the Secretary General of the United Nations to advise him on what were termed accountability issues.


The first book, 'See no Good, Hear no Good, Speak no Good', was written in haste in the month following the publication of the report. Official organs of government were at the time preparing detailed accounts of events during the period covered by the report. I had long advocated that we should have told our story in detail, for the manner in which we had dealt firmly with terrorism whilst doing our best to save and succour our fellow citizens who had been held hostage by terrorists was extremely edifying. I was happy then to assist with the accounts both of the military operation and of the support for civilians that accompanied and succeeded it.


However, understandably enough, government was not inclined to answer direct the charges raised by the panel, for it had clearly exceeded its brief in presuming to sit in judgment on the government and drawing conclusions about allegations that were being circulated, without simply advising on accountability. Its refusal to cooperate with the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission that the government had set up, insisting instead on an investigative function, was symptomatic of an exercise that seemed designed to satisfy those who way back in 2009 had trumpeted the need for a War Crimes Tribunal.


In such a context, while government did not feel inclined to deal officially with a body not officially mandated to conduct investigations and make pronouncements, I thought it necessary to provide responses swiftly, before the pronouncements of the panel were accepted without question. Based on my own knowledge of events, and in particular my monitoring of possible harm to civilians whilst I was Secretary General of the Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process, I therefore wrote rebuttals of many of the falsehoods and exaggerations that had been spun together.


The book proved useful when I was asked to brief members of the diaspora in Australia on ongoing reconciliation initiatives, while also talking to politicians and journalists about the panel report. In doing so I realized that many of the initiatives taken by government to promote reconciliation were unknown, and the emotions raised by the panel report were adversely affecting the willingness to work together that different groups in the diaspora had been developing.


This realization became more acute after the Ministry of External Affairs also arranged briefing opportunities for me in the United Kingdom, and later in India. The position had been made worse by more blatant propaganda in the form of a television programme shown by Channel 4, as well as a book by a former UN employee named Gordon Weiss.


Studying these made clear the background to the panel report. They confirmed some deductions I had made about sources, whilst making it obvious that little attention had been paid to confirming rumours or indeed to consulting with responsible members of the international community who had a better idea of what had actually happened than emotional or politically motivated junior staff.


I was also able to obtain detailed information with regard to incidents that were misrepresented. Original documentation from the ICRC and the forces made clear the falsehoods that were being purveyed, and indicated the methodology involved. Meanwhile evidence from Canadian courts confirmed LTTE involvement in war crimes as also the scope of their propaganda outfit in making films that a defence lawyer argued could have been entertainment or spoofs.


I was therefore able to write in greater detail, and am now publishing this book which rebuts several claims more systematically. There is some overlap, since the contents were initially written as articles to the newspapers but, whilst removing what seemed redundancies, I have allowed some repetition since the facts need reiteration. The three main sources of allegations feed on each other, and often base their claims on the authority of each other but, by sheer force of repetition, they have created the impression that these charges are widely accepted. It seems necessary therefore to repeat facts based on documents as well as point out again and again inconsistencies and falsehoods controverted by evidence from international sources as well as existing records.


The book begins however with an account of reconciliation initiatives started a couple of years back. It needs to be made clear that these are not new, though we must accept that we have failed to ensure awareness about these. I should note that we do have mechanisms that tell the story, such as the informative websites of the Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils, but these are hardly known. Hardly any of our missions abroad have effective websites, and there is no culture of checking on local websites that provide positive information and reproducing this. I have tried to advise that this be done, but it needs to be institutionalized, with greater awareness of the power of modern media and better training in how to use it effectively. As it is, we tend to react when there are attacks on us, instead of concentrating on doing things well and making sure that what we do is known and appreciated.


The second section of the book deals briefly with particular issues that have been raised. I believe it answers clearly the various charges raised against us in the panel report, and make it clear that most of these are absurd, though a couple should be investigated further. I should note that I have dealt only with matters pertaining directly to the conflict, though the panel exceeded its brief in various ways and addressed both the past and the future in general terms. Though the approach is both amateurish and patronizing, we should however be constantly aware of the need for political reforms as well as economic and social development, to ensure that the military victory over terrorism is not adversely affected by continuing problems in all these respects.


The third section explores the background of the main players making charges against us, whilst also putting these charges in context. I spend much time in particular on what is termed Convoy 11, which has formed the centerpiece of many narratives. What actually happened needs I believe to be explored further, and I have suggested lines of inquiry to the Ministry of External Affairs. These should be followed up if we are not to fall victim again to forces in the international community that have no regard for the principles on which the international community should work, and which I believe most senior officials understand and respect. Also discussed at length are the stories about hospitals, since it is clear that these provide, and were always intended to provide, the most emotional reasons for resentment against the Sri Lankan state.


The fourth section looks at the extraordinarily perverse approach of successive UN Rapporteurs on Extra Judicial Killing, who consciously behave as one person. The inferior quality, and sometimes rank stupidity, of the experts they have hired, their racism as regards Sri Lankan expertise, their confusion between checking on a video and checking on incidents it presents which were initially falsely dated, make crystal clear the deficiencies in the UN system that allow so much power without responsibility.


Finally I look at various individuals who continue to undermine the Sri Lankan state. Most of them believe they are acting out of principle, but the falsehoods and double standards some of them employ indicate how thin is the line between idealism and self-aggrandisement. Also unfortunate is the manner in which they seem not to care that their activities accord with the agenda of the rump of the Tiger terrorists who continue to use the funds they extort from Tamils all over the world to pursue a separatist agenda. This is shocking, and it is a pity that politicians all over the world are so blatant about pursuing such an agenda simply for electoral gain. The thinly veiled efforts at blackmail, which the British High Commission in Colombo for instance is aware of, need to be exposed and combated, not permitted to triumph.


One of the tropes I use is that of the Harry Potter books, the way in which evil can resurrect itself because of the connivance of the fearful as well as the perverse. Unfortunately evil is pervasive, and the manner in which even people one would have thought committed to ideals resort to half-truths and even untruths suggests that the battle against terrorism requires constant vigilance.


But the best defence against terror is the prosperity and unity of the people. For that reason our efforts at Reconciliation must have primacy, so that we can move forward rather than always looking over our shoulders and reacting to criticism and attacks. I am dedicating this book then to three individuals who have shown a willingness and capacity to work together with intelligence and sensitivity: the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation who achieved so much in just a couple of years, the doctor who worked tirelessly in the welfare centres and then devoted his energies to rehabilitation and psycho-social programmes, and the former combatant who contributed actively to our entrepreneurship programme and contributed much to a heartfelt speech of gratitude. Together they represent the best of a Sri Lanka that will I hope follow the road to reconciliation without being stymied by the roadblocks placed in our path.


Rajiva Wijesinha

September 2011

Colombo, Sri Lanka.



The material presented on this website is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license , which allows free use, distribution, and creation of derivatives, so long as the license is unchanged and clearly noted, and the original author is attributed. Some of the works on this server may contain live references (or links) to information created and maintained by other organizations, the accuracy for which we are not responsible.The views expressed in the material on this website are personal to the respective authors and do not necessarily reflect any official view.

animated gif
Processing Request
Please Wait...