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LYING THROUGH THEIR TEETH – WHOLE TEETH – NOTHING BUT THEIR TEETH…

[Lakbima News, Sunday, 19 February 2012 09:45 No Comment]

110-2 What seems to set apart busybodies and do-gooders from those clearly with their hearts in the right place on justice and human rights issues, seems to be the matter of timing.

A countless number of politically engaged individuals — including those in this newspaper — have raised issues with regard to post-war problems that are unsettled, such as the issue of detainees and paramilitaries.

What’s the trick then in reiterating these same issues with a grim ‘concluding note’ that accuses the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission) of whitewashing ‘ human rights violations’ by the Sri Lankan army?

The timing is exquisite — and the intent therefore seems to be nothing other than maximum-mischief. A CPA (Centre for Policy Alternatives) statement signed by around a score of civil society busybodies comes out at this eleventh hour with a whitewash allegation against the LLRC — for allegedly shielding the Sri Lankan army from its role in violating human rights in the last stages of battle against the LTTE in 2009.

The wording of the concluding note is shrill. Here is an excerpt: ‘Right thinking people of all communities are dismayed by the whitewash of atrocities against the civilian population committed by the Sri Lankan military in the final stages of the war. The LLRC has ignored allegations about the military targeting safe zones, hospitals, and locations where tens of thousands were packed together.

The large scale and permanent displacement of the people of the Vanni and the destruction of homes and built infrastructure portends an effort to change the ethnic population profile of the region.’

It is by this time that the entire plot seems to unravel and the back-story behind the solemn sounding ‘note’ written by a bunch of righteous sounding non-governmental types begins to surface.

Mix of men and women,

of learning and yearning

‘The large scale and permanent displacement of the people of the Vanni and the destruction of homes and built infrastructure portends an effort to change the ethnic population profile of the region?’ they say. Huh? No kidding?

Now, ask these mix of men and women of learning and yearning (aha, the upwardly mobile with a foot firmly on the civil society social ladder), and they will say that it was not the war that                 displaced people, and NOT the fighting —– but the effort by such and such (no prizes for guessing who) to ‘change ethnic population profile of the region.’

They will say this? No, indeed, they are saying this, and it is a week before the UNHRC begins sessions where a resolution aimed at Sri Lanka sponsored by the voluble Americans is expected.

Was the large-scale destruction of homes something that took place after the conclusion of the 2009 hostilities? This the curious concluding note does not say.

By being hazy and grey in this area, the authors of the statement seem to want to infer that some hanky-panky happened after the war, and there was ‘large-scale displacement of people and change as a result in the ethnic population profile of the region.’ But since they cannot say that in all honesty — even their kind of honesty, oops — they omit any mention of the time period in which such ‘destruction of homes in the large-scale and the permanent displacement of people’ in the Vanni occurred.

Of course substantial destruction of property and displacement of people occurred during the war, and in which war does this not happen? It’s the WAR that did the displacement and destruction, and it’s a war that was fought to repel the LTTE.

It is unerring. It is always the sleight of hand that gives these types of the raucous-righteous away. They may begin well enough, sounding as if they are as pious as Boy Scouts and as true to the facts as solicitous witnesses in the dock who have sworn to utter the truth the whole truth — and nothing but the truth…

But halfway, they always trip themselves up and you could say this is because their quaint overestimation of their average intellectual abilities trumps over the need to be rational, balanced and halfway-credible. How anti-climactic.

Curiouser and curiouser

‘Right thinking people of all communities are dismayed by the whitewash of atrocities against the civilian population committed by the Sri Lankan military in the final stages of the war. The LLRC has ignored allegations about the military targeting safe zones, hospitals, and locations where tens of thousands were packed together,’ the statement goes on in that end-note.

Things get curiouser and curiouser right here in that statement. Is this the same Sara-Paki led CPA that issued the following press release, immediately following the LLRC document being released to the public domain:

‘The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) welcomes the release of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report, its analysis of the root cause of the conflict, the cataloguing of the atrocities of the LTTE, recommendations in respect of governance – especially the de-politicization of existing institutions, the introduction of Right to Information legislation, militarization, attacks on the freedom of expression, language rights, reconciliation and the investigation of the allegations contained in the Channel Four documentary, as well as the investigation and prosecution of those responsible for disappearances and civilian deaths.’

That’s right, the LLRC made recommendations regarding the investigation and prosecution for those responsible for disappearances and civilian deaths, the CPA claims.

This obviously means that the LLRC does not discount the fact that there were civilian casualties at the hands of the government forces. This is why the army commander this week appointed a military court to investigate just such civilian deaths and disappearances, which even the CPA acknowledges, in a previous soft-take, is a subject that the LLRC considered, without stating for instance that such investigations should be limited to victims of the LTTE.

Ah, the sleight of hand, ah, the assuredness that nobody would see the forked-tongue doublespeak of these slick NGO spin-masters and their chic-slick ladies.

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