Norway’s ‘Sinhalicisation of development’ in Tamil country continued in 2011
Recent revelations on Norwegian foreign ministry’s deployment of funds have shown that Norway had allocated major funds to Sinhala institutions in Sri Lanka even in the year 2011 to carryout activities in the country of Eezham Tamils, which Tamils see as ‘Sinhalicisation of development’. Following a controversy about handling of funds by Norway’s foreign minister allegedly favouring one of his friend’s foundations, Mr. Torry Pedersen, the chief editor of VG, Norway’s largest newspaper, came out with an open call to the public on Thursday to assist journalists in the investigation on the spending of all ministries. It was unusual for Norwegian media to investigate the country’s ‘foreign spending’, but when it happened this time it also exposed Norway’s controversial role played on the affairs of Eezham Tamils facing structural genocide.
After ending the war in genocide of Eezham Tamils in 2009, the Sri Lankan state systematically carries out a programme of structural genocide through militarisation, colonisation and Sinhalicisation of the country of Eezham Tamils, eventually to annihilate the identity of their nation in the island.
Even organizations like the International Crisis Group (ICG) that have earlier contributed to an opinion milieu that led to the course of events in the island have now started accepting the crisis resulting from Sinhala militarisation, colonisation and Sinhalicisation in the island, even though they are impractical in coming out with appropriate solutions to the crux of the crisis.
Sinhalicisation and structural genocide of the nation of Eezham Tamils are not merely carried out by the occupying Sinhala military and Sinhala colonisation changing the demography.
Sinhalicisation of ‘development’ – leaving rehabilitation of Eezham Tamils and the development of their country in the hands of the genocidal state, its military and in the hands of the Sinhala NGOs, alienating Tamils and their diaspora from independently carrying out their own development – is the worst of the crime leading to structural genocide.
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Eezham Tamil diaspora in Norway has been repeatedly cautioning about Norway funding Sinhala NGOs and advising Tamils to work under them in the Tamil country. There were occasions when diaspora development activists in Norway refused to accept such offers.
But the recent revelations show the continuity as well as the extent of funds that were allocated by the Norwegian foreign ministry to controversial Sinhala NGOs active in the country of Eezham Tamils.
Milinda Morogoda Institute, Sewalanka and Sarvodaya are some of the Sinhala NGOs that were receiving major allocations of Norway foreign ministry funds in 2009–2011.
Milinda Morogoda Institute receiving an un-proportionally high amount of funds meant for any single institution during the peace process has been questioned even by Norway’s report on the failed peace process.
Norway’s association with the activities of the Buddhist NGO Sewalanka in the post-war period came under criticism when Norwegian Professor of Anthropology Øivind Fuglerud pointed it out it as an example in November 2009 for the abuse of Norwegian taxpayer’s money spent on programmes pricking the sentiments of Tamils.
Quiet recently in February 2012, veteran Sinhala Anthropologist Prof Gananath Obeyesekere took up the example of Sarvodaya and its ‘Buddhist version of socio-economic and political development’ to condemn the kind of NGO ‘development’ envisaged in the West.
Jehan Perera’s National Peace Council of Sri Lanka and Sinhala-Tamil Rural Women’s Network are some other major recipients of Norway foreign ministry funds in 2009-2011.
Two Buddhist institutions received funds in 2009.
The funds were also spent on Sri Lanka Department of External Resources, Sri Lanka Rupavahini Corporation (SL government-controlled TV), Sri Lanka Media Resource and Training Centre, Sri Lanka Press Institute and Symphony Orchestra of Sri Lanka.
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Interestingly, the controversial Galle Literary Festival that was boycotted by many human rights-conscious writers also received Norway foreign ministry funds in both the years 2010 and 2011.
Besides spending funds on NGO activities that erode the national question of Eezham Tamils in the island, Norway’s foreign ministry funds were also spent on some international organisations that work on diaspora engineering and on negating the independence of Eezham Tamils.
The International Crisis Group (ICG), International Alert, One Text Initiative Ltd. Lanka were regular recipients of the Norway foreign ministry funds (2009-2011), where the International Working Group on Sri Lanka received funds in 2009.
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Former International Development Minister of Norway, Mr. Erik Solheim, who was also handling Norway’s peace facilitation in different parts of the world, was deploying most of Norway foreign ministry’s development funds during 2009-2011.
Norwegian media generally do not allocate resources to investigate on Norway’s foreign policy related activities and funds utilization as they fall under the national interests of Norway. However, following the latest controversies related to the foreign ministry, the journalists have begun focusing their investigative eyes on the funds spent by the ministry outside of Norway.
Meanwhile, Audun Lysbakken, the leader of the Socialist Left (SV) party in Norway, has gone on record in Norwegian media for saying that Norway doesn’t need to follow the footsteps of the USA.