Friday, February 27, 2009

A Fein Imbalance - Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

TamilNet seems to be working overtime now on disinformation, with claims that the cause of its leader has been taken up by the highest in the world. Most recently it has attributed to the British Foreign Secretary – and from a Sri Lankan expatriate point of view you cannot go higher than that – some strange views on genocide and Sri Lanka. It declared that Britain’s Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, agreed Tuesday with parliamentarians who said that the Sri Lankan government is 'quite prepared to go ahead with acts of genocide.'

Going through the actual extracts from Hansard, it seemed to me that Mr Miliband, while being his usual charming self, had not quite said that, but doubtless our Foreign Ministry will call in the British High Commissioner for a clarification, so I will reserve comment until later on young Miliband.

Incidentally, the British envoy in Geneva thought I was being rude when I thus described him shortly after he had taken up his current position, but I was only being affectionate about a fellow Corpuscle. He was so much younger than me, and looked even more so, that I was reminded of an old adage, that one realises one is ageing when policemen looked younger than oneself. When it comes to British Foreign Secretaries, one realises that the time for walking sticks is drawing nigh.

My present concern however is not that holiest of holies, but rather the egregious Bruce Fein, who TamilNet claims was invited to present written testimony on 'Recent Developments in Sri Lanka' before the Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Middle East and Asia. I cannot believe that that exalted body actually invited Mr Fein, since American traditions of justice would surely have demanded that it also invite me along, if it had gone out of its way to ensure it had the benefit of Mr Fein’s views. After all, it was I who accepted Mr Fein’s challenge to a debate, only to find him worming his way out of it, which surely the Senate (assuming it takes people like Mr Fein seriously) must have realised cast some doubts on the validity of his case.

Unless my idealistic view of America is all wrong, what must have happened, I decided, was that Mr Fein had asked to be heard, and had been gently told that he could provide written testimony instead. It should be noted however that Fein himself claimed that he had been contacted by the office of the Chairman of the Subcommittee. If this was an unsolicited request, based on Fein’s sterling reputation, one assumes the office aides were also aware of Fein’s history of courageous if quixotic diatribes against American politicians of every hue, beginning with President Clinton, which may have been what endeared him to the Tamil Tigers and their surrogates who have hired him.

Prof Rajiva Wijesinha
Secretary General
Secretariat for Coordinating the Peace Process

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