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Sunday, 28 June 2009

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False propaganda misleads tourists

We have learnt the biggest lesson in life as a nation. This is difficult to forget.

There were times all our expectations looked bleak, cold and cheerless. Traditional friends whom we depended shirked and gave only opinions (which did not favour Sri Lanka) about what should be done recommending different course of action.

The Sri Lanka Govt. had to endure from the outset not to subject to blame or hold responsible and criticize for faults knowing the local and international concerns and always preferred a blameless record of everything with avoidance of rashness to take Sri Lanka to safety.

During the past calamities in an incalculable period Sri Lanka had to change governments regularly in order to find a suitable leader to take us through a period which Sri Lanka had never gone through, and then she met her destiny and found a leader who could stand up and be counted.

The hour was a priceless one in which we faced the monumental truth because earlier we were not free to choose or select and were not free from facing consequences.

By the time a new leader took over the reins the boiling pot of ethnic conflict was about to burst open, spurt violently apart and outbreak of violence threatened the entire country.

Those tragic incidents happened on our home soil. Although this was the scene in Sri Lanka there had been another web of conspiracy, a secret unlawful plan had been hatched for the first time and was in operation overseas for decades. That plan was the beginning of not only False Propaganda and Fund Raising activities overseas but also used those funds to procure arms for the impending violence which they anticipated likely to happen in many years to come.

What is really disturbing is that past Sri Lanka Govts were alerted repeatedly on this subject by many community leaders, some 20-25 years ago fell on deaf ears. If those warnings were taken seriously, this government would not have had to fight a well prepared and well equipped ruthless enemy who fought the last battles mingling with their own innocent people who were sacrificed like sacrificial lambs. Among those sacrificial lambs were tiny tots, babes in arms, and the elderly and sick people. There were instances when human catastrophes were obvious the government had to establish humanitarian arms to save civilian population from being shot at or slaughtered.

First sniff

The first “sniff” that there was something wrong was not detected in Sri Lanka because no one ventured into buying arms for a future possible standoff. When Sri Lanka Societies and Associations were formed in the early seventies overseas all those who came from Sri Lanka were listed and were invited to attend a general meeting where members, committees, presidents and secretaries were elected according to its constitution.

But barely two years passed most of the Tamil members including top office bearers left one by one and they established their own Associations away from the pioneer ones.

That was the time those governments were giving away plots of lands to erect buildings for those associations, an ethnic radio service and also an ethnic TV Channel etc.

These may be not important to pen today but some readers may find it interesting especially when you want to stress and prove your point they are the ones going to substantiate a statement.

It is therefore correct to say that people who domiciled in those countries got the first “sniff” that something was not quite right. This act of `Sniffing’ without giving away any secrets unobtrusively went on until the mid eighties.

Funds for procurement of arms were raised mostly in Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.

Funds were raised at the end of cultural shows, meetings and Tamil Oil festivals mostly on Sundays and holidays where permission to use a section of State schools plus the play grounds was obtained.

The problem was that due to negligence and inaction we lost a good opportunity to be better prepared and better informed, had Sri Lanka taken notice of what was going on overseas when alerted by vigilante Sri Lanka groups who were only ordinary people. Sri Lanka failed to respond positively. This is why some missions establish a separate unit to look after these affairs.

False propaganda designed overseas for fund raising activities is not a new threat.

It’s been there for decades. Sri Lankans should be deeply indebted to the Government of Sri Lanka for closing down some front organizations, and having had the vision to size up the danger it could cause to paralyse every infrastructure in the country.

Fear

Those who are involved in the false propaganda work are extremely good at circulating false publicity mainly aiming at the Tourist industry means to instil fear so that prospective tourists think twice before they embark on a holiday. They can also cause severe damage for such allegations that Tamils have been subjugated by the majority Sinhalese and they need funds to take up arms to save their rights in Sri Lanka.

This is also the first time in the world that a group of people started raising funds seriously to challenge a supremely independent state, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka. There were the Tibetan, Armenian, Quebec and Chechnya militant or otherwise groups operated in exile but nothing came to close as this issue.

It is fair to say that false propaganda has a strong effect on tourism. This strong effect and its Sri Lanka image-busting influence on particularly European nations are appalling to hear with tears pouring down their cheeks. Filled with dismay Europeans feel sorry for their predicament. However, these people are quiet mute when they are leading their lives in other countries, even though they are treated better in Sri Lanka when compared with other richer nations in the world.

Even if ill-treatment is meted out and racial taunts levelled at them they pretend not to notice or hear it. Another aspect of the problem being the difficulty of assimilation into the major race by other ethnic groups. This has been the easiest and best way to absorb into a group or a nation. Cohabitation had also been difficult due to religious and customs although existed for centuries without proper assimilation. The success stories in USA, Canada and particularly Britain and Australia are higher than those in Sri Lanka. When cohabitation takes place not only two different people come together but also their extended families tend to tolerate and respect religions, cultures and customs which are very foreign to them. So there’s no demand to accept, it naturally happens.

There are large continents in the world consisting of some 130 different nationalities who live together in perfect harmony. Yet Sri Lanka has only three or four!

Finding a justifiable solution to overcome these barriers is a must. There are tourist experts who might provide difficult answers with experts who come from the countries where we are looking for potential invasion of tourists to our country.

Our opponents almost turned Sri Lanka upside down and to a certain extent paralysed day-to-day life and they did it without a government or a Foreign Minister or Diplomatic assistance, but we know now the end result eventuated. Although new reverberations are on the horizon. The public adore and worship the Armed Forces - they with the political leadership are the real heroes of this `big Picture’, they are bigger and mightier than any previous Kings or leaders we ever had. This is a well established ground for presumption and there is no need to work out or describe in detail because so much had been written about this in the past.

Hindrances

Nevertheless, now it is time to reflect and think deeply as to how obstacles and hindrances exaggeratedly depicted in pictures or in words are explained and converted them into victories.

When a body of highly charged people lobbing an MP overseas in particular, seeking to influence legislation to support their cause by public demonstrations, they become an electoral or public showpieces. An embarrassment to the home country! It was no ordinary affair, the cost of maintaining law and order became so colossal and had to be debated in Parliament.The traffic virtually came to a halt in a major section of a European city. The public life was interrupted; all these are to gain publicity. To press home country to do something.

There was also another significant contrast. Although crowdwise pro-demonstrators could not show off their strength over anti-demonstrators the actual ratio stands 1 to 7. Does this mean our strength was not properly planned and organised and underestimated? If so these pictures are also injurious to the Tourist industry - it does not only confine to the country alone because millions of Europeans around in many European countries were watching those demonstrations which had slight edge favouring the anti-demonstrations.

Whilst the bonds with European countries remain strong and vibrant Sri Lanka needs some `people power’ among the people who are already living there, and their involvement and vigilance at this hour to stay awake and trying to prevent schemes that usually these groups keep an eye on matters without getting into problems, which are common in those countries, are worth taking into consideration. These are common people who live on those lands whose allegiance towards Sri Lanka remains unbending and eager to help in whatever, if asked to do so.This is where the enormous popularity of this nation’s Leader comes handy among Sri Lankans living abroad, to start the ball rolling which would help not only in Europe but everywhere around the world.

It is alright to promote our destinations in a fresh drive or a promotion (pleasant short and easy to remember) but we still need ‘people power’ overseas not so much as we had seen recently on our own backyards.

Menace

In Asia especially in India we had seen from the times of great Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru how the leadership material is regarded. Regard as divine and respect deeply! Honoured as hallowed or sacred!

The governing principles pertaining to controlling and overseeing the menace of FP and FR staring angrily or fiercely above priorities that need to be dealt in the future, although this had been overlooked by previous four or five administrations, recently the Sri Lanka Govt. announced that action will be taken to counter this problem which will be cherished by all peace-loving people of Sri Lanka. These are expressions of an independent novice and good to see anyone can express things that can improve and bring good results to Sri Lanka.

The constitutional changes to share power within the limits of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka remain obscure or unexplained as long as violence stands as an obstacle to achieve those democratic aspirations.

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