This post is in response to the debate on Groundviews based on a post by Indi. (http://www.groundviews.org/2007/03/13/significant-other/#more-311) Indi’s post is in response to an article by Bandula Jayasekera’s in the Daily News titled "Go Tell the LTTE" (http://www.dailynews.lk/2007/03/12/news05.asp)
The "Govt sympathizers'" response to allegations of human rights violations is to attack the identity of the persons and say that you are no better. So when the US or the UK Governments talk about the deteriorating human rights standards in the country the Govt sympathizers' response is: "You are no better. You have no right to talk. Look at what you are doing in Iraq". The objective is the elevation sought to be morally superior to these countries. This is their way of responding to HR allegations. To me this type of argument is very much the same as "if you can do it, we also can do it". Tacitly they are agreeing that we are no better than the UK or the US as with regards to these countries handling of the human rights situation in Iraq. They would even say “Your war on terror has some unfortunate consequences. Our war on terror also has some unfortunate consequences”. But I do agree that countries like the US and the UK have long lost their credibility to talk about other countries’ human rights records.
The response that the GOSL sympathizers provide to the civil society groups is by linking them to the LTTE. (Again, as I see it, seeking to elevate them to this ‘morally superior level’). The new terminology 'Sinhala Kottiya' is devastating. “All those criticizing the GOSL of human rights violations are against the war and hence supporters of the LTTE” – This is the Governments and their sympathizers’ very simple logic.
Similarly, “You don’t criticize the LTTE enough and hence you must be an LTTE sympathizer”. Without answering appropriately allegations of HR violations that are being attributed to them, the GOSL and its sympathizers by engaging in this mud slinging, inadvertently are saying that the Govt is no better than the LTTE when it comes to human rights violations. These arguments appear to me that these people are willing to give ‘parity of status’ to the LTTE with the GOSL when it comes to human rights violations!!
The “Go to Killinochchi” and “Tell Killinochchi” argument does have some substance in it. It poses the difficult question of how civil society groups can independently work within an environment where non state armed actors prevail.
That we have the best combination in the form of the President, Gottabayah and the Army commander is a comment that infuriates me. Best combination for whom? For those who have been 'liberated' from Vaharai? For those who have been displaced? For those who have been abducted and disappeared? Bandula dismisses the problem of abductions as a negligible problem that shouldn’t attract our attention given the exuberant patriotism that is manifested in this trio. How low will the state media bend to please people whom they consider their 'bosses'? (Bandula Jayasekera is by the way the Editor of Daily News)