Norway Fury- a reply to Mr. Mahindapala

By Dr. Peter Gunasekera, National University of Singapore

I thank Mr. Mahindapala for his reply. He has helped to keep this
interesting and useful debate at an elevated level rather than descending to
personal attack. I like to pursue this a little bit in the light of the very
important general issue raised by Mr. Shyaman Jayasinghe-namely, the
usefulness of the efforts of patriotic Sri Lankans living overseas (whom,
unfortunately, Shyamon tars with the same brush).

It is well known that expatriate LTTE sympathisers have high impact efforts,
they being well targeted and well executed. In technical lamnguage the
output /input ratio is very high. My own humble view is that Sinhalese
people living abroad have not demonstrated such an ability and intenseness
of purpose. Looking at emails received from abroad and at websites I find
our campaigns are not well conceived in the first place. This is what, to
me, is important in what Shyamon has said. It is important for us to dwell
on this question. This is because we have little resources and that must be
spent optimally in the service of our country- not wasted.

The conception of an event (like WAPS) would depend on objectives: Picking
up from HLD’s statement, the objectives of WAPS meeting at Oslo were: (a)
not protest (b) creating awareness about the LTTE’s terrorist role and of
the partisan nature of Norwegian facilitators.

HLD contradicts himself when he, on the one hand, belittles the need for
street support and on the other asserts that the objective of the awareness
campaign is to get people to the level of street protest(so that government
will be forced to act). The ultimate objective is to rid SL of the
Norwegians. WAPS conference was, presumably, a step in the direction of
mobilising support in Norway and SL against the Norwegians. The ultimate
impact test of OSLO is ascertained in the question: how far has it led to
such a mobilisation?

In assessing Oslo on this fundamental criterion, it does seem to have
failed. Awareness of LTTE terror already prevails and there is little need
to ring bells about that. Awareness about the alleged partisan character of
Solheim and crowd is certainly worthy of effort because such awareness does
not exist. However, has WAPS indeed created such awareness at Oslo? I have
read their papers as presented online and I don’t see any conclusive
evidence of this alleged bias. For every allegation that the delegation made
before Solheim, the latter had an explanation that begs consideration.
Solheim may be guilty, but WAPS delegates have been unable to point that out
in any conclusive manner. This is the crucial point.

WAPS people should therefore really do their homework and ferret out
evidence damaging to Norwegians, if their intention is to rid SL of these
facilitators. I gather from HLD’s reply that the bulk of those present at
Oslo have been PLOTE, EPDP, EPRLF, delegates from SPUR etc- all those who
have a premeditated stance against Norway. Was not this a case of convincing
the already convinced? Then what is the point of it all? Furthermore, the
gathering had been small, especially if one leaves out the security
officials who had come to pre-empt trouble, and the Foreign office
officials. HLD should tell us if their conference had at least Norwegian
press coverage. He has not. I have not seen any important Western press
coverage to date.

We are left with the need for proof. Evidence must replace suspicion if we
are to ultimately mobilise the people, the political parties, and the
government. As it is, the coalition in power is generally satisfied with the
Norwegians. So, is SL’s opposition? The party of Buddhist monks are the only
exception. WAPS people have to deal with such unanimity of opinion. What
information do they have which the others do not possess?

HLD misquotes me when he says that I stated thus: “the duty of getting
Norway out should be left to GOSL”. What I stated was that the body that has
to decide to get rid of Norway is the GOSL alone- not anyone else. The two
are different propositions. Hence, given that Norway is an offender, GOSL
must be persuaded to get rid of these facilitators. I am sure Mahindapala
understands that in making such decisions Governments deal only with each
other and not with outside parties. Therefore, the government of SL will
have to ask Norway to depart. In addition, we- WAPS and us- will have to
pressurise the GOSL and no body else to take that decision. The masses must
be convinced. Political parties must be convinced, and other global powers
must see the truth of what we say because we are living in an interdependent
system. I think readers will agree that Oslo cannot claim to have done
anything in this direction.

By the way, as I write this the news is that Norway is to give SL a 30
million US dollars grant!



Copyright 1997-2004 www.lankaweb.Com Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Reproduction In Whole Or In Part Without Express Permission is Prohibited.