According to Rajapaksa, the Tamil Tigers never had an ideology; that’s what he tried to emphasize in a recent talk in Pakistan. Out of thousands of hundreds of thoughts, and dozens of questions, there was one significant question from the audience that Rajapaksa struggled to find an answer to. That is: despite jurisdictions, is it time for China to join SAARC? In his answer, Rajapaksa shows either he doesn’t understand the question or he tried to avoid answering what one could see as a hot topic.
Rajapaksa was in Pakistan on the invitation of the Center for Research and Security Studies (CRSS), a think-tank mostly funded by Western countries and Global Village Space (GVS). Rajapaksa in his speech attempted to hammer the so-called influence by Western countries against his unique and courageous governing method which expired two years ago democratically. In addition to that, he along with his former Minister of External Affairs, Gamini Lakshman Peiris mocked the human rights discourse; therefore, they have condemned the effects by the present collation government. It is clearly showing that they have evaporated significantly, the non-alliance principles in our foreign policy.
The ill-prepared presentation has narrowed down the most committed and serious achievements of the recent history of Sri Lanka, the ending of three decades war. It has shown that the former President and his former minister are on a rampage of attacking the present government, instead of elaborating the factual and ground reality in the country.
Winning the war in Sri Lanka was a collaborative effort in which every country, including many of the Western world, enhanced their supports by providing technical and other assistances.
There is no doubt at the last phase of the war, along with his former political allies, former President Rajapaksa was able to conquer the situation. If one could go to nuances of the subject, it was his brother who served as the Defense Secretary, bold enough to even keep his choice of Army Commander, Field Marshal (Retired) Sarath Fonseka under severe pressure.
There was well spread tittle-tattle among the military top brasses in the country, that there was a moment that former President Rajapaksa wanted to remove Field Marshal (then Lt General) Sarath Fonseka from coming to the Army, but former Defence Secretary warned him (The President): “if you are going to remove him, I will step down as the Secretary as well”. The bottom line is that once close colleagues are now the top foes, just because of the political path they have chosen as the leading architects of vanquishing Tamil Tigers. This dual combination has yet unearthed a deeper story to tell on the elimination of the Tamil Tigers. Unfortunately, most of them who talked about significant events are deliberately or mistakenly trying to achieve political advantages, which in fact is a disadvantage in the present context.
Things have been rapidly changing. Paths of those who strongly engaged in the mission have parted in the last eight years. One of strongest governments in Sri Lankan history, headed by Rajapaksa, has to close its doors two years prior to completion.
What has happened in the last two years? President Rajapaksa went home, the new government headed by the once trusted man of Rajapaksa came to power by establishing a remarkable and attractive collation government, and Former President Rajapaksa sneaked to the Parliament as the Member of Parliament. He is doing his best while instigating internal conflict within the political party which made him the leader. It is very hard to say that he is dreaming to become the leader of the country again, but he along with his political allies are doing their best to sabotage the present government and make the leadership irrelevant.
Meanwhile, the former President is invited to teach lessons that Pakistan can learn from Sri Lanka’s struggle after eight years of ending the conflict. Thoughts by former Pakistan High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Seema Baloch and former Defence Secretary of Pakistan, Lt. Gen. (Retired) Asif Yasin Malik, the man known among the Pakistan Army as a soldier to the core and a no-nonsense man, decorated the events by giving positive personal notes on Rajapaksa. Those are indeed formalities of any event.
However, most of the ideas shared by the guest lecture and others who joined hand with him targeted the enemy, the neighbouring country which prevented even the holding the SAARC summit in Pakistan. While selectively criticising the neighbour, speakers tried to drag China into account with a positive note. At the same time, they selectively attacked the West irrationally.
On the one hand, Pakistan along with Russia and China has drawn the governing plan for Afghanistan. On the other hand, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has turned into not only economically beneficial bilateral agreement but also a politically influential agenda. If Sri Lankan opposition carelessly indulges on this issue, then it will negatively affect the future of the country. The most important matter is not who is in power, but the matter is what he or she is doing when they are exercising power.
Antagonising one nation against another will not help to find sustainable solutions for the serious geopolitical crises in the region. Sri Lanka as the country that paid a heavy price for thirty years of violence, must articulate their version of social changes regardless of political beliefs and other selective multitudes, when it comes to regional and international politics.
The Former President may have learned the lesson out of the event he attained in Pakistan, along with his son whose naval service has been suspended, and others or he may think that he has taught a lesson on the “greater victory”. Truth prevails through persons who have the last laugh.
Despite any political agenda, the country and region should not be put in danger by a liar’s paradox in this interesting time of growing populism around the globe.