By H. L. D. Mahindapala

Dear Editor,

Permit me to respond to Peter Gunasekera's request "to give your
readers an impact evaluation" of the conference held in Oslo by the
World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka. This, incidentally, is the
first ever conference held by a group of Sri Lankans on Norwegian
soil to question its role as "facilitators", particularly in the
light of Norway being "the haven for Tamil Tiger terrorists".

At this conference, international experts on terrorism,
journalists specializing on the Tamil Tiger terrorism and respected
academics who had explored the role of Norway in the so-called peace
process, presented papers tracing various aspects of the north-south
crisis in Sri Lanka. It was attended by 73 participants among whom
were representatives of PLOTE, EPDP, EPRLF, Norwegian journalists,
Norwegian police investigating terrorism in Europe and Norway,
Norwegian Foreign Office, Norwegian Buddhist Federation, Norwegian
research students, Sri Lankans domiciled in Norway, and three from
the LTTE, two of whom were allowed to video the proceedings for
Prabhakaran to have a good look at those who spoke. Even G. L.
Peiris sent two of his "kollas" to attend the conference. Keerthi
Warnakulasuriya of the DIVAINA newspaper was among the attendees.

Representatives of the World Alliance for Peace in Sri Lanka
were also invited by the Foreign Office to meet Erik Solheim and
Lisa Golden of the Foreign Office. Ranjith Soysa, Mahinda
Weerasinghe and the writer met Solheim and discussed issues
pertaining to the current situation for over an hour. We also met
leaders of opposition parties in Norway who were very critical and
cynical of the unprofessional way in which Solheim was conducting

That, in brief, is the background. By the way, it must be stated
that unlike other NGO conferences/seminars WAPS Oslo conference not
funded by foreign agencies. The money was raised by generous
contributions made by the expatriate Sri Lankans who are committed
to a durable peace that is acceptable to all communities and not
just to one set of armed terrorists who are opposed even by the
Tamil people.

Now consider the statement of Peter Gunasekera's who should know
the difference between protest campaigns and a conference/seminar.
He says: "Thus there is no point in protesting in Oslo. Norway will
not pull out just because a handful of protestors hold a meeting
there. If, however, a million go to the streets in Colombo, both
Norway and the GOSL may move. That is the difference in protest campaigns."

P. Gunasekera seems to have deduced (though difficult to fathom
from what reasoning or facts) that WAPS went to launch "a protest
campaign" in the streets of Norway demanding that it should pull
out. WAPS neither had the finances, nor the intention of marching
millions either in Colombo or Oslo protesting against the dubious
role of Norway. As a person attached to the National University of
Singapore it is not far-fetched to assume that he would have
participated in conferences and seminars. Does he consider those
participants as a "handful of protesters holding meeting (wherever
it maybe)"? Or does he consider them to be a gathering of diverse
opinions focusing on a specific theme for future guidance?

The plain intention of the Oslo conference was to raise the
awareness of the roles of Norway and the LTTE. The speakers
presenting their papers highlighted various aspects of the so-called
peace process that was going nowhere. Among some of the aspects
highlighted were that Norway had (1) totally ignored or denied the
hard realities of the intransigence of the Tamil Tiger terrorists
who had never shown signs of advancing peace except on their own
terms; (2) played a partisan role in inviting Tamil Tiger terrorists
to visit their military camps in the name of advancing peace; (3)
provided a safe haven for Tamil Tiger terrorists in contravention
of UN Resolution 1373 which it is morally and legally bound to
honour; (4) turned a blind eye to the Tamil Tiger terrorist using
Norway as the central bank for collecting funds in Europe, again in
contravention of UN Resolution 1373; (5) violated UN Resolution 1261
which forbids the forcible conscription of children into
Prabhakaran's needless war: (6) been a party to the crimes against
humanity committed by the Tamil Tiger terrorists because neither
they nor the SLMM had acted impartially or effectively in
restraining the brutalities against the Tamil people, let alone the
others; (7) washed their hands of the crimes of their favoured group,
like Pontius Pilate etc., on the convenient excuse that they were
invited by both parties etc.

At the meeting with Solheim it was pointed out to him that
Norway cannot pretend to be the innocent party because it was
invited to "facilitate" peace. He was told that there are moral and
legal responsibilities that go with their role as "facilitators"
and, at least, Norway, as a member of the international community,
must adhere to the responsibilities as spelt out in UN Resolutions.
He was also told that there is no special licence given to peace- makers to flout international and moral obligations due to the
people suffering under fascist terror. It was emphasized that
neither being an invitee nor being a "facilitator" gives them
immunity to make Norway a haven for Tamil Tigers terrorists who are
undermining the very peace process they were supposed to
"facilitate." Even members of the Norwegian opposition told us that
Norway lacks the expertise to handle complex crises and resolve them
by implementing durable formulas for peace as seen Aceh, Sudan,
Middle East, Sri Lanka etc. Because of these and other failures Dr.
Susantha Goonatilake, one of the speakers at the conference, said
that Norway should quit their presumptuous and questionable role of
"facilitators" as they had not shown any skill or capacity to handle
the complex issues of on-going crisis. Norway was told that part of
the crisis was the lack of credibility of the "facilitators". They
went in as the solution and now they have become a part of the

There are many strands that were explored at the conference
where specialists from various fields expressed their opinions. But
for Peter Gunasekera to conclude that the duty of getting Norway out
should be left to the GOSL is to say the least, naïve. He also seems
to assume that unless millions pour out into the streets nothing
will be effective. There are other ways too like the WAPS
conference. Besides, protesting in the streets is not the only way
of registering a point of view. Perhaps, awakening the awareness of
the people is the prelude to it. But one of the objectives of the
WAPS conference was to bring home to the Norwegians that they are
doomed to fail if they go down the partisan track.

The normal tactic of the Norwegians and the Western-funded NGOs
is to hold seminars and conference in Colombo to push their
particular political agenda. They do not go down the streets
marching. Of course, they fund the likes of A. T. Ariyaratne to
conduct marches from Moratuwa to Panadaura and takes videos, like
Prabhakaran, to impress his foreign donors that he is mobilizing the
masses for peace. When has Ariyaratne and Jehan Perera conducted
marches in Jaffna against the war conducted by Prabhakaran or his
crimes against humanity and the violations of human rights? On the
contrary, Jehan Perera, wrote in the Daily Mirror recently that
Prabhakaran has overnight turned into a democrat because the self- appointed National Peace Council (representing not the nation but
himself and his handpicked henchaiyas) was allowed to conduct a
workshop in the Vanni. No one believes him but it is good copy to be
forwarded, in triplicate, to his foreign agencies funding his phony
peace moves which amount to nothing more than feeding the insatiable
appetites of a monster that has come out of the womb of Jaffna.

In any case, Peter Gunasekera must be aware of the many
demonstrations and protest against the Norwegians in Sri Lanka.
Recently, the Tamils took their coffins and placed it at the
entrance to the Norwegian embassy. This is a spontaneous reaction of
the people driven to desperation by the indifference, or the nudge- nudge-wink-wink policies of the Norwegians and the

SLMM who, like the proverbial monkeys, see no evil, hear no evil
or speak no evil. The demonstrations have not only been against the
Norwegians but also against the SLMM. The latest political
phenomenon is the tide of opinion and protests now rising against
Prabhakaran. The fishermen of Gurunagar who stoned the LTTE head
office in the region is a good example of protests.

The people do not protest unless there are guided by thinking
that awakens them to the new realities. In any case, WAPS didn't go
to protest in the streets. Among other reasons, WAPS went to Oslo to
give moral support and courage to all the groups who are standing
for the people brutalized by the inhuman terror of the Tamil Tigers.
WAPS was successful in that - and that is the evidenced by the fact
that the Tamil groups cowed down by Tamil Tiger terror had the
courage to participate and express their protests at the WAPS
conference. Which NGO in Colombo pretending to be defenders of human
rights had ever opened the doors to these groups silenced by the gun
of Prabhakaran? WAPS is proud of its record of sharing its forum
with all shades of opinion, particularly in speaking up for the
Tamil groups suppressed by the violence of the Tamil Tiger
terrorists. For instance, Erik Solheim had not responded to nearly
two years of requests for a hearing by these Tamil groups who were
being persecuted in the streets and homes of these Tamil expatriates
by the LTTE. Rejecting the sham theory of those who advocate that
these issues should be left to be solved by the people of Sri Lanka
WAPS took action on this issue. WAPS took up their cause and
representations were made on their behalf by the WAPS delegation to
Solheim. He promptly gave his card and requested us to ask them to
ring him. Subsequently, they met Solheim who gave them a hearing.

WAPS do not contribute to the ill-conceived theory that only
millions stepping to the streets can make an impact, or get the
Norwegians out. Nor does it believe that it must fold it hands and
adopt the do-nothing policy of the pundits who preach that the issue
must be left to the people of Sri Lanka. Those who preach this
policy of the three monkeys must first give their advice to the
agents of the LTTE who have been the primary agents of fuelling the
fires of violence in Sri Lanka by raising funds, propagandizing,
lobbying, smuggling arms, threatening the Tamils abroad who refuse
to the toe the LTTE line and even break their legs and arms and beat
them to an inch of their death (example: D. B. S. Jeyaraj in Canada) . WAPS believe that the expatriate communities have a role to play.
Peter Gunasekera should know that expatriate communities are behind
practically every crisis that is exploding in the world, with some
working to destroy peace and stability and some working to restore
the shattered peace.

As a Sri Lankan he would also know that, by and large, the
Sinhala communities would love to relax in their home-grown doctrine
expressed in their favourite pop song is : Kapalla, beepalla jolly
karapalla etc. Despite this, WAPS was pleased by the contributions
of the expatriates who generously and enthusiastically supported the
WAPS conference in Oslo.

The following list will indicate the global response to the call
to make the WAPS conference a success. First, our thanks are due to
F. Rovik, of R-Senter in Norway who coordinated with WAPS in
organising and fine-tuning all aspects of the conference. Thanks are
also due to Mahinda Weerasinghe of Norway who assisted WAPS in
diverse ways and in particular the delegates attending the
conference. Mahinda Gunasekera, President, Sri Lankan United
National Association, Canada, Sri Lankans Against Terrorism, New
South Wales (NSW), Australia, Society for Peace, Unity and Human

Rights of Sri Lanka (SPUR), Victoria, Australia, SPUR, NSW,
Australia, SPUR, Western Australia, Sinhala Cultural and Community
Services, Victoria, Australia, Apey Shakthi, New Zealand, Hela Muthu
Ketaya, New Zealand, Canadian Association for United Sri Lanka, Canada, Sri Lankan United National Association, Canada, Sinhala
Centre,U.K., The International Campaign for the Liberation of the
Sinhala Nation,U.K.,Sinhala Association of Sri Lankans in the U.K.,
New York Society of United Sri Lankans-U.S.A, United
Sinhalese Association in Rome,Italy, Pacific Alliance for Peace in
Sri Lanka, Victoria, (National Office), Australia, Alliance Against
Tamil Domination, UK, etc.

All in all, the Norwegians had to sit up and take notice because
this was a not Sinhala protest but an organized conference which
drew together an array of experts ranging from universities,
international think-tanks, journalists specializing in Tamil Tigers
terrorism etc. There was no need to protest in the streets when the
selected speakers presented unassailable evidence against the Tamil
Tiger terrorists and their hidden sponsors in Norway.

It should also be remembered that the "salmon-eating busy- bodies" were thrown out once. History has a way of repeating itself -
and who knows when and in what form it will decide to do so next
time? The disillusioned and wary-wary people hope that it will be
sooner than later.

This brief summary should answer the issue raised by Peter
Guansekera. I thank him for raising this issue as it has given me
the opportunity to clarify some doubts in the minds of the readers.



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