Tuesday, April 28, 2009
It not too late to regain the “Moral High Ground” which has been lost
The recent events have clearly shown by way of example, how many angles the current crisis, have given rise to. We have the government by way of the disinformation provided by both the defense ministry and the MCNS giving a picture that is inaccurate both to protect the country from panic, and also to boost the morale of the forces and ensure electoral success. We then have another extreme of LTTE disinformation, emanating from the Diaspora, so as to gain sympathy that has caught the attention of overseas governments, the UN and overseas news outlets.
I have tried to sift through all this and come up with my own analysis. What we have to remember is that news is both what we are told and not told. It is very disingenuous of western governments to call the SL govt. to task, without showing the detailed satellite imagery that is clearly available and lately disseminated by foreign media showing clearly where the bombs are falling, who is at the receiving end of them and how people are getting killed and injured. While that is not in doubt, due to our inability and the army’s inability to pin point civilian and LTTE as both are now in civilian clothes, this adds another dimension of confusion.
I must admit that I was, and it seems the SL government was also, completely inaccurate about the number of civilians in the No Fire Zone, as well as before that, being herded by the LTTE in their retreat. We both grossly underestimated the numbers and are now paying the price of international disbelief of the latest numbers. The defense ministry says 15-20K and the UN says 50-100K and the lower figure is not believed due to the earlier error of judgment of the government.
Now the latest sorry state are the pronouncements of ceasing combat operations, which also sadly smacks of another belly flop of the defense ministry, because they have hitherto maintained they are not using heavy artillery or aerial bombing in the no fire zone, as surely they should not have. Now they are saying combat operations have ceased. Surely what are they talking about? All this time combat operations should have ceased for over 10days. Their definition of combat operations is non-use of heavy weapons and aerial bombardment. They have got themselves caught in a trap, liable to international prosecution, by effectively admitting that up to now both heavy weapons and aerial bombardment was used in the safe zone.
Sadly I have maintained for a while that the media management of the war has been grossly mishandled by the government, and the superb and efficient operation of the security forces has thus been belittled by this mismanagement, as the international media amassed now are picking it all apart and the government spokesman, all the way up to the top man himself, look like utter buffoons and they still don’t realize it.
It is quite OK to keep all media out of the war zone in my view, as they just get in the way of the objective at hand which is to clear all LTTE out, by capturing or killing and not allowing even one to get away, as we just cannot face another revival from elements who escape to India or third country.
The collateral damage issue is now coming out with refugees correctly reporting what they had seen. Sadly due to the incompetence of the state media management the forces now appear internationally to be barbaric, firing at will killing anyone who was in harms way. The government is continuing to pursue their policy of infiltration to clear the last pockets of LTTE whilst at the same time rescuing the civilians, and have denied access to the UN into the remaining NFZ of 5 sq km as they must believe they will clear it within 24hours because the remaining people with no food and water will starve if they take any longer.
I hope for the innocent civilians sake they can do it with minimum casualties and without delay as they are putting the country’s reputation at risk. Three foreign ministers arrive on Wednesday, and we are no fools, there will be one set of news for local consumption, and another set for international consumption, and all depends on having it all wrapped up by then. The Sri Lankan people’s integrity is what is at stake as the government with a mandate from the people have a responsibility to protect them from pariah status by acting responsibly, as all actions to the contrary will come to light with the media spotlight on the Island as never before, especially in critical light.
Hey you big Whigs, you are servants of the state, act with responsibility, as this is the last battle I hope the army will ever have to fight on this land and how they perform will “forever” determine how the so called Sinhala government acted towards a minority, while cornered, and one innocent life lost at this stage is one too many, as it will be portrayed internationally as a manifold increase, forever tainting your tenure in world history, and permanently scarring our country’s image due to your incompetence