by Arjuna Hulugalle
The question in most people’s minds is whether Mr Ban Ki Moon’s action of appointing a Panel for Sri Lanka is legally ultra vires and high handed. The perception of the general public is that his action was illegal as it did not have the sanction of the UN Security Council.
Mr Ban Ki Moon has however has done it without any compunction. The general perception too is that there is very little Sri Lanka can do about it and that can be very frustrating even if we have the satisfaction that authoritative legal opinion is against the Secretary General.
Some in Colombo social circles take the view that even if we are kicked in the teeth we should still behave with decorum and accept it. This is what we did for 450 years and considering our size and importance, there does not seem to be any other alternative.
However, there are others and Mr Weerawansa is one of them. True, we are too small to take on Mr Ban Ki Moon. He has behemoths prodding him on. The reality is that the controversy on the GSP plus and the western leaning towards the LTTE over the last few years is obviously a part of this same strategy.
Having said this, what can we do? We have some friends in Russia and China who have voiced their opinions. The Non-aligned movement has done the same. India probably sees through the western strategy but Sri Lanka is too small to bother about for the sake of a principle. The US and Europe are still major economic power houses and will be so for quite some time.
However irritating it is, Sri Lankans have to maintain their equanimity and not act in anger. However, much one is sympathetic to Wimal Weerawansa’s brave stand, which is a desperate act because there is no other way of articulating our helplessness, it is most important to be mindful about our predicament and be at all times vigilant. We have to be wise in our choice of friends and most of all look after our own people.
For this we have to thrash out a system of governance which will strengthen and enable us to maintain harmony in our country. We have very little leeway and therefore have to be disciplined in all our activities. This also involves the utmost courtesy to our foreign guests, who I am told are nervous and are fearful of a backlash because the gyrations of those in power in their lands are resented by the Sri Lankans. Many of them are friends of Sri Lanka and should be treated as such.
However, to those foreigners who are gratuitous and talk to us in platitudes especially on human rights, let us remind them of the words of William Blake:
"He who would do good must do it in Minute Particulars: General Good is the plea of the scoundrel, the hypocrite and the flatterer………."