In the past few years, I’ve largely avoided junkets from Sri Lankan Diaspora groups, for fear of being tarred with various brushes. The two exceptions (not junkets of course) were from Toronto’s Sri Lankans Without Borders , a group dedicated to building common ground between all of Lanka’s communities, and now the Global Tamil Forum who persuaded me to travel to London for their third annual conference said Gordan Weiss a former UN spokesman in Sri Lanka addressing the Global Tamil Forum held in London.
This is the gist of what I had recently to say in the ten minutes I was given… Incidentally, my journey was funded by a European government.
“Thanks to the Tamil Global Forum for persuading me to be here. I’m grateful, considering the very persuasive group of Britain’s leading decision-makers who have fronted up today to lend their heft to this subject, turning their minds to reconciliation in Sri Lanka, supporting an end to the string of violent conflicts that has dominated this beautiful country’s last four decades.
I am not a human rights professional, and I have emphasized before that my response to the final page of Sri Lanka’s war was very much that of an ordinary person, despite my professional role and responsibilities as the UN’s spokesperson in Colombo at that time.
I have repeated many times that I went to Sri Lanka as a supporter of the government’s right to reclaim its sovereign territory. The LTTE, a revolutionary organization whose brand of ruthless ultra-violence had effectively subverted the justice of its cause, had to be taken on. The government military campaign was a relatively disciplined fight, up until the end.
There had been no bombing of hospitals or schools. No bombardment of civilian concentrations and bread lines. No withholding of precious medicines and food. No battlefield executions, and no rape and killing of captured Tamil Tiger female fighters, or of children.
The Tamil diaspora, linked with the leadership of Tamils who live in Sri Lanka today, and who must find an accommodation with the current government, have an historic opportunity.Tamils need to understand what will work and what won’t today.