Feature Article

Blake sees ‘people to people’ ties through militaries

[TamilNet, Thursday, 07 April 2011, 13:36 GMT]
The US Asst Secretary of State Robert O Blake, giving testimony before the US House Foreign Affairs Committee on Tuesday said that the value of the skyrocketing US arms sales to India over the last decade “is not just the dollar figure – they both represent and strengthen deeper levels of cooperation between our two militaries and facilitate building people-to-people ties.” On Sri Lanka Blake said: “Positioned directly on the shipping routes that carry petroleum products and other trade from the Gulf to East Asia, Sri Lanka remains of strategic interest to the U.S. An important contributor to global peacekeeping operations, Sri Lanka stands poised to be a capable and willing partner to effectively combat violent extremism, trafficking and piracy, and thereby help to ensure the maritime security of the region.”

As military and economy of the two establishments in strategic partnership, i.e., the USA and India are envisaged to overshadow the aspirations of peoples in South Asia, the overall picture implied by the testimony of Blake was that India holds the key in deciding what formula of solution to the national question in the island would serve the best to the interests of the ‘strategic partners’.

“With the fulcrum of geopolitics shifting quickly to Asia, India plays an increasingly critical role in our strategic thinking, Blake said adding that “the global strategic partnership with India will remain among our top foreign policy priorities.”

Blake saw Sri Lanka as “recovering” from a devastating civil war, but subtly differing from India, he said that the US security cooperation with Sri Lanka, “in many forms, should remain limited until progress has been made on fundamental human rights, democracy and governance issues, and the concrete steps necessary for a true and lasting national reconciliation.”

The SL government’s worrisome record on human rights, weakening of democratic institutions and practices, and the way in which it conducted the final months of its conflict against the Tamil Tigers hamper the US ability to fully engage, Blake said.

But the US political programme didn’t envisage anything beyond “aim to increase post-conflict stability in the North of Sri Lanka by promoting reconciliation, enhancing local governance, building civil society capacity, increasing economic opportunities to those affected by conflict, and assisting the continued resettlement and reintegration of displaced persons.”

Eezham Tamil political observers said that Blake’s outlook that Sri Lanka is ‘recovering’ is fundamentally faulty as far as Eezham Tamil perspective is concerned, since what is ‘recovery’ for Blake is consolidation of genocide and dismemberment of the Tamil nation in the island.

When hundreds of thousands of ethnically orientated SL military are occupying the country of Eezham Tamils to see ‘resettlement’ is confinement of Eezham Tamils to pockets of open prison, in order to carry out colonisation and demographic dismemberment of the Tamil nation, Blake welcoming that as ‘reconciliation’ and his choice of mentioning Sri Lanka “hiring 335 Tamil-speaking police” as another example of ‘reconciliation’ show only the bankruptcy of the US arguments in justifying its stand, Tamil political observers said.

De-mining and reduction of the reach of High Security Zones, Blake pointed out as examples of ‘reconciliation’ are cleverly linked to large scale land-grab for corporate and Sinhala businesses, and individual submission of the owners of the land in HSZs to the occupying military. On the other hand, permanent cantonments and fortifications of the occupying military are mushrooming.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the other political formations of Eezham Tamils in the island and in the diaspora should be firm in demonstrating that they value their freedom of reflecting the aspirations of their people and not the aspirations of the partners of the ‘reconciliation’ hoodwink. The ‘dialogues’ should neither serve the excuse for the ‘reconciliation’ partners to cite it to buy time for the completion of the dismemberment of Tamil nation, nor should they serve acceptance of models planned for slow torture and death of the Eezham Tamil nation, Tamil political observers said.

The LLRC hoodwink welcomed by the USA, could never be an excuse against instituting a historic international commission to investigate the roles played by not merely ‘both sides’ but ‘all concerned’ to the international crime committed in the island, if they fail in their ‘accountability’ in coming out with justice, especially the political justice needed for chronic cases of national question and genocide. How could the USA think of coming anywhere near the crux of the matter when it rules out the independence of Tamils as an option, ask the Tamil political circles.

Meanwhile, the President of the Global Tamil Forum (GTF), Fr. S. J. Emmanuel, speaking to Canadian Tamil Radio after meeting Mr. Blake last week, said that he had told Mr. Blake that considering the past history of dialogues with the Sri Lankan state, it is important that the right to secession of Eezham Tamils should be accepted as a point on the table for any meaningful dialogue.

In this regard Fr. Emmanuel cited Eezham Tamils re-mandating the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution calling for independence and said that the TNA, TGTE and the GTF should work in one direction towards the goal.

The GTF President said that he had briefed Mr. Blake on militarization and colonisation in the Tamil country, on the age-old tactic of Sri Lankan state in having ‘talks’ and how the paradigm of development in the Tamil country is in fact an enslaving process of Tamils.

Mr. Blake did not object, but Tamils should have dialogue with Sinhala leaders in the south was his advice, Fr. Emmanuel said. Saying that by his religious background and mental makeup he was always in favour of having a dialogue, Fr. Emmanuel said that Truth and justice are prerequisites for reconciliation and peace.

Commenting on Mr. Blake’s long experience in South Asia, his personal relationships and capabilities, Fr. Emmanuel said that the Asst Secretary grasps the whole scenario, but he could also make use of his expertise to advise Mr Rajapaksa, how to escape.

Mr. Rajapaksa is not the only culprit for the crime at Mu’l’livaaykkal. Many countries were responsible. But as a political reality we have to talk to everyone. We have more evidences forthcoming on the war crimes and we will press for international investigation, Fr. Emmanuel said.

Meanwhile, Daily Mirror from Colombo reported Thursday citing US Embassy that Mr. Blake has postponed his scheduled visit to Sri Lanka.


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