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UK Defence Minister accuses Labour regime for Sri Lanka’s war

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 July 2011 07:20 No Comment]

The visiting British Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox, while delivering the Lakshman Kadirgamar Memorial Lecture in Colombo on Saturday, accused the previous Labour government of UK for neglecting a political process he had worked out in 1997 and thus contributing to war in the island. “The incoming Labour government showed little interest in Sri Lanka or in taking forward the political process we had begun. The agreement subsequently withered on the vine, to my very great sadness, and the cycle of violence brought more misery, more violence and more death,” he said. Dr. Fox, viewed as one of the ‘friends’ the Rajapaksa regime is harping on, pinned his hopes now on the LLRC report expected in November and made only a passing remark on the need of an inclusive political solution.

Liam_Fox_1_94258_200 Fox, speaking at length on global ‘terrorism’, economic interests and strategic interests, commented that Fukuyama’s book should have been titled as “The End of Geography”, instead of “The End of History.”

But he made a special reference to Sri Lanka’s ‘geography’ in the struggle for maritime security.

“Sri Lanka is located in a pivotal position in the Indian Ocean with major international shipping routes between the Far East and the Gulf within 25 miles of your coast.

“In Trincomalee, Sri Lanka has a formidable strategic asset in this struggle that has yet to be fully realised.

“So there is significant potential, for Sri Lanka to play a greater role, in issues such as counter piracy,” Fox said in his address.

Outlining his defence approach towards the island and the region, he said: “I believe that as we continue with a global economy that is interconnected we will need multilayered security so that we can respond using the right means for the right occasion – through multi-lateral organisations yes but also through smaller coalitions or bi-lateral relationships, often based on historic experience.”

“This is what we might describe as a “building block” approach to defence and security and it is part of the United Kingdom’s new strategy of enhanced engagement in this part of the world, as it is across the globe,” the UK Defence Secretary further said.

Even though unsaid, his ‘new strategy’ has to be understood in the context of developments in the South China sea, political observers said.

The Defence Secretary’s speech implied that neither in ‘historic experience’ nor in the ‘building blocks’ he was perceiving, the Eezham Tamils and their national question make a block as ‘Sri Lanka’ makes it to the UK interests, commented an Eezham Tamil politician in Jaffna.

The thrust of the speech of Fox was that the Eezham Tamils should sacrifice their security and independence for the way powers look at their security, the Tamil politician said.

Fox was in all appreciation for Kadirgamar considering him primarily a ‘Sri Lankan’ than a Tamil.

“When asked once by the BBC if he [Kadirgamar] was a traitor to the Tamil people as Foreign Minister in a largely Sinhalese government he said people who live in Sri Lanka are first and foremost Sri Lankans, then we have our own race and religion which is something given to us at birth,” Fox cited Kadirgamar with appreciation.

The geo-political formation and identity of Ceylon (Sri Lanka after 1972), was a British-imposed colonial creation, primarily considering imperial interests of Britain than the Tamil or Sinhala identities one inherited in the island over two millennia. But it seems Sri Lanka continues be the defence aspiration of the present British Defence Secretary too, despite the colonially created state becoming genocidal, the Jaffna politician said.

According to Fox, “Lakshman Kadirgamar is remembered for his ferocious condemnation, globally, of the violence perpetrated by the LTTE on ordinary Sri Lankans. […] He would have undoubtedly welcomed the defeat of the LTTE, one of the most brutal terrorist organisations the world has seen.”

The way the UK Defence Secretary continues to view the elimination of the military balance of Eezham Tamils obviously shows that the genocide-afflicted Eezham Tamils asking for liberation and independence stands in the way of UK Secretary’s defence interests, the Jaffna politician commented.

“But why none of them are telling it out openly that in what way the independence of the long-suffering small nation of Eezham Tamils would affect the UK defence interests,” the Jaffna politician asked, adding an answer too that “they are only ashamed of telling the truth that they depend very much on the genocidal majority in the island for their economic and defence pursuits.”

“It is these people who uphold the paradigm even in contemporary human civilisation that genocide could be justified or excused if needed in pursuits of imperialism,” the Jaffna politician further said.

Fox in his address was very soft and indirect in finding any fault with the Rajapaksa regime. The Defence Secretary found his courage to tell a message to the Rajapaksa regime only by bringing in Kadirgamar and by attributing what Kadirgamar might have done in such a situation.

“His [Kadirgamar’s] commitment to the principles of accountability before the law meant that he was never a man who believed that the ends always justify the means,” the Defence Secretary said.

Fox singing the song of LLRC and casually speaking about an inclusive political solution for all people in the island, only reflect a thinking of bailing out the Sri Lankan state to continue its genocide, said an Eezham Tamil political activist in UK.

The UK activist pointed out Fox meeting Rajapaksa privately in his hotel when he was not wanted in London for his Oxford talk.

Political parties in UK behave differently when they are in power and in the opposition. No Tamil can ever forget the Labour Foreign Office telling that Sri Lanka was a ‘democratically elected government long blighted by the LTTE,’ at a time when the genocidal Army of Sri Lanka was massacring thousands and thousands of Eezham Tamil civilians. Now the former foreign minister Miliband wants international investigation for the war crimes, the Tamil political activist in UK said, adding that the current Defence Secretary now accuses the Labour government, but he has all the soft-corner for the Rajapaksa regime and the genocidal unity of the island.

The defence establishments of the powers operating in a different way from the civil society and the double game of theirs are long known. Unless the Eezham Tamils, and especially at this juncture the Tamils of Tamil Nadu, prove themselves an inevitable ‘block,’ the ilk of Dr Fox will not find its edification, the UK political activist said.

A considerable section of Eezham Tamil elite in UK is hooked to various political parties. Merely painting rosy pictures of them when they are in power or not in power is not going to bring home anything to them on the seriousness of our plight. The political parties have to be faced by Eezham Tamils with the hard truth that they are neither inspired by Kadirgamar’s ‘Sri Lankanness’ forgetting genocide nor by the idea of sacrificing their security and independence for the unjustifiable interests in UK to uphold state in Sri Lanka, the Eezham Tamil political activist in UK said, responding to the lecture of Liam Fox.

PDF: Transcript of the address of Liam Fox released by the British High Commission in Colombo

Fox shakes hands with Rajapaksa Fox shakes hands with Rajapaksa

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