Olso or Puss-Lo ?

By HLD Mahindapala

The "peace perahera", led by Ranil Wickremesinghe, the chief nattuk-karaya, (dancer) and G. L. Peiris, the chief berakaraya, (drum beater) went to Oslo for the big round of talks with the international community. This was going to be Ranil's biggest show on earth. He was planning to get the international community under one roof and get them to donate him tons of money and bless the secret deal they were going to make with the Tamil Tiger terrorists. Above all, they were hoping to push their hidden agenda of introducing the Tamil Tigers to the international community and win respectability for the mass murderers like Prabhakaran and Anton Balasingham. Listeners will remember how Anton Balasingham guaranteed the safety of the 600 policemen who surrendered to the Tamil Tiger terrorists when they broke off negotiations with President Premadasa and unilaterally opened fire. Not a single policemen returned home. They were shot in the back and buried in mass graves. Isn't Anton Balasingham the man with a bogus doctorate -- responsible for the mass murders of the 600 policemen? And shouldn't he be tried for crimes against humanity?

Well, Ranil Wickremesinghe shook hands with this mass murderer in Oslo and had secret talks which were not revealed to the Sri Lankans. So much for the transparency of the UNF government! Though Ranil was bending over backwards to polish the image of the Tamil Tiger terrorists, key members of the international community refused to oblige Ranil. They snubbed the Tamil Tigers and refused to give legitimacy to these mass murderers. India bluntly refused to participate in this conference.

This was a big blow to the Ranil's international diplomacy. He sent his chuck-golaya, Milinda Moragoda, to Delhi with a special message requesting India to participate. But India politely told him to take the next plane back home. So he came empty handed from India . The British representative Clare Short, snubbed Balasingham in her speech by refusing to address the Tamil Tigers or even acknowledge their presence. Richard Armitage, the deputy secretary of state of the America , avoided Balasingham like the plague at this conference, but delivered a blunt message to the Tiger terrorists telling them to 1) give up terrorism 2) give up the idea of a separate state and 3) respect human rights.

This is not what the Norwegians, the Tamil Tiger terrorists and Ranil were hoping to get from his big show in Oslo . They were hoping that because they were chaperoning the mass murderers, dressed like wolves in sheep's clothing, the rest of the international community will bless the terrorists and accept them as respectable members of the international community. Not all Ranil's karanams and bali natums impressed the international community. For the Tiger terrorists to win respectability they have to win three key members India , USA and UK . All three treated the Tamil Tiger terrorists like pariahs one of the few Tamils words that entered the Oxford dictionary. Oslo confirmed that Prabhakaran and Anton Balasingham are still considered as terrorists and mass murderers by the international community, including Australia .

When the international trend was running against the Tamil Tiger terrorists Ranil and GL Peiris began to sing a different tune. They said that they had come to Oslo to get financial aid for the reconstruction of the north and the east. What did they get in the end? A measly $70 million dollars! They were expecting a minimum of $500 million. They were sadly disappointed. On top of all this, when Ranil came back home he was hit with an embarrassing report filed by Alister Doyle of Reuters who said that, Anton Balasingham, had rejected the US appeal to renounce violence as being "totally unacceptable". Doyle's report documented that Anton Balasingham had said: "When the aspirations of our people are met by a political settlement ... the violence will automatically come to an end. …The American version of the armed struggle as a manifestation of pure violence and terrorism is totally unacceptable" said Balasingham.

This commitment to violence is not surprising coming from a mass murderer. But what embarrassed Ranil was that the local newspapers and TV carried this story. Ranil and Peiris have been dancing on the streets to impress the Sri Lankans that their perahera in Oslo was a huge success in which the Tamil Tiger terrorists agreed to be peace-loving doves. But the Reuter story blasted the yarns put out by Ranil-Peiris propaganda. So Ranil took it upon himself to deny the Reuter story. As a man whose aspiration was to be a journalist before he entered politics he should know that the denial should come from Anton Balasingham the source quoted by Reuter and not from second-hand press release issued from his office.

Why is Ranil, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka, running to do the dirty work for Anton Balasingham? Hasn't he got anything better to do? His media minders have been ringing newspaper officers to carry the media release issued by the Prime Minister's office but they have refused to publish Ranil's press release saying, quite correctly, that the denial must come from Balasingham. Reuter's bureau chief in Colombo , Scott MacDonald has refused to make any changes to the original story which is embarrassing to Ranil whose credibility has been challenged by the local media in refusing to publish his cock-and-bull story about Anton Balasingham being the latest convert to non-violent politics. Now Ranil is planning to monitor the journalists attending the conferences.

Anyway, before long, confirmation of Reuter's story came from no less a source than Prabhakaran, the other mass murderer. In his birthday speech given on November 26, he not only refused to renounce violence he even sent a direct message to Ranil saying that "the talks should be conducted freely without constraints, without conditions, without time frames. Imposing parameters or stipulating conceptual limits for political negotiations entails an infringement on the basic political freedom and choice of our people". Prabhakaran does not want a time frame fixed because he is not in a hurry to make room for anyone to interfere in his affairs. But Ranil goes about saying that peace will come next year. So will Santa Claus if Ranil can hang on till December 2003!

Eventually, Ranil's big show at Oslo ended up as a Puss-lo. The leader of the Indian Janata Party and the former Indian Law Minister, Dr. Subramanian Swamy, said exactly that when he described the Oslo as "a flop". He also talked to Chennai reporters disparagingly of the " Sri Lankan Prime's surrender to the LTTE…"

On top of all these comes the stunning report that even Thailand , where the "Sattahippies", led by GL Peiris, were holding their talks, has refused to entertain them any more. According to informed sources, India which refused Chennai as a base for the Tamil Tigers, has been putting pressure on Thailand to get them out. So the UNF government is now running around like chooks without heads looking for places to hold their next round of talks.

All these point to the fact that Ranil's attempt to sleep with the enemy and produce children of peace is going to be another Puss-lo. The question is will Ranil be there to carry on his moves of rewarding the Tamil Tiger terrorists. The latest reports say that Anura Bandaranaike has told a meeting that his sister is gearing to sack Ranil on December 5. Well, Ranil has been asking for this anniversary present for a long time. The odd thing is that Ranil has given assurances to Anton Balasingham that his government is firmly entrenched in power. Since Ranil can't read the sign on the wall isn't the best bet for him is to get his horoscope read once again?





Copyright 1997-2001www.lankaweb.Com Newspapers Ltd. All rights reserved.
Reproduction In Whole Or In Part Without Express Permission is Prohibited.