Our would be viceroy, Louise Arbour
The International Crisis Group issued a report. Lydia Polgreen of the NYTimes filed a report from New Delhi publicizing this analysis from Brussels. Which shows about how relevant this is to Sri Lanka. The basic allegation is that Sri Lanka’s conduct of the war was illegal. The recommendation is basically a UN occupation of the island to sort things out and prosecute the elected government. I thought this was over. It’s like a wedding anniversary with your ex-wife.
To quote a local idiom, ‘what are you talking, men?’ Yes there were horrors at the end of the war. Yes the truth was obscured. How do we get to it? International prosecution? That just buries everything further and makes it harder for the people that live here. The ICG’s response is just neo-colonial occupation that completely ignores the Sri Lankan people. May I quote:
An international inquiry into alleged crimes is essential given the absence of political will or capacity for genuine domestic investigations…
Across 15 points they essentially call for the UN and West to take over judicial functions in Sri Lanka, presumably prosecute and depose our elected government and then what, I don’t know what. This is, I think, neither realistic nor right.
They’re framing ending a war like it’s a war crime. They’re acting like the end of the war is something that should be prosecuted and, ideally, rolled back and done differently. I really don’t agree, I don’t know anyone that does agree and hence there is no ‘political will’ here for this external solution. Nor is there international will.
This is just bullshit posturing for their donors or whatever, it delivers no realistic result, it’s circulated within the same international circle jerk and has the end result of crying wolf and weakening possible responses when there is actually something they could do.
Louise Arbour of the ICG literally says ‘any national initiative in Sri Lanka would be bound to fail and certainly would carry no credibility’. Which I find astounding. Credibility with who? The diaspora, NGOs? Who exactly elected the UN here? The truth is precisely the opposite.
It must be a national initiative for it to have any credibility. And who is Louise Arbour? Can she even pronounce my name? I think there were atrocities that should be exposed and never repeated, but I support my elected President over impotent foreign intervention. And I didn’t even support him in the election. If people want to move on without proper reconciliation, then we need to organize people so that they do and care. It’s not something the UN can impose, nor is it something some random western funded ICG group can simply call for without any thought for the political will or mechanism of people on the ground.
What would I do instead? Dunno, but I think something more along the lines of a Truth And Reconciliation commission rather than a UN led investigation. The aim of the ICG seems to be punitive and setting example of Sri Lanka, literally “the need for an accounting to address the grievances that drive conflict in Sri Lanka, and the potential of other governments adopting the Sri Lankan model of counter-insurgency in their own internal conflicts.”
I don’t think this is especially worthwhile, especially if it involves prosecuting our existing stable government and replacing it with some UN protectorate. However, knowing the truth would be nice, offering compensation and apologies would be healing, etc. That’s only possible if people back off the impotent punishment and prosecution talk. There has to be immunity and some acknowledgement of the good that has come. And the ICG has to stop treating GoSL as an adversary if they want to get anything done. Or get guns and occupy a land that really doesn’t want them.
What will happen? Nothing much, we’ll move on and forget. The ICG will peddle its self-serving view and the GoSL will peddle their own. The truth is somewhere in between.