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International hypocrisy and double standards over Sri Lanka in 2009 and Libya in 2011

By S. V. Kirubaharan

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of American President Franklin Roosevelt once said, “Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both.” The majority of today’s international media speaks about Libya – some talk about coalition air raids and civilian casualities; some talk about rebels recapturing cities and the subsequent celebrations; others say NATO forces in Libya intend to enforce a UN resolution to protect civilians.

The Sri Lankan President and his ministers say that “Protection of the civilian population in Libya remains a concern for Sri Lanka” and government media say that “Air strikes on Libya unacceptable,” well and good — fair point.

On the other hand a Minister from the breakaway JVP group is staging his periodical fast and demonstration to satisfy the President. Other JVP members who went to Jaffna shed crocodile tears. All these political dramas are staged once more to take the people of North and East for a ride.

Is what happens today in Libya worse than what happened in Mullivaghzal in 2009? Is what the President of Libya says any different to what was said by the President of Sri Lanka?

President Mahinda Rajapaksa, responding to questions with regard to attacks on Libya by the coalition, said on March 28, “I always believe that the people are right, but no one should harm innocent citizens... We are not with anyone killing civilians and cannot accept the violation of the sovereignty of any country.” (Excerpt from the official website of the Government of Sri Lanka:

The Sri Lankan President, who criticised the Western Coalition’s air attacks on Libya, should realise that the coalition forces went into Libya with a UN resolution to protect civilians. Whereas he had an illegal coalition to kill the civilians in Mullivaghzal

The President does not realise that his lies, bogus promises and duping of the international community in the past can be considered the reason for today’s quick response to Libya by the international community! The way Sri Lanka took the international community for a ride during the final days of the war in 2009, primed the international community into neither listening nor trusting the Libyan President.

During the peak hours of the war in Mullivaghzhal, when the Foreign Ministers of France and United Kingdom travelled to Sri Lanka with the aim of bringing about a cease-fire to prevent civilians casualties, the Sri Lankan government told utter lies that there were only 40-60,000 civilians in Mullivaghzhal, but claimed at the end of the war that there were 300,000 civilians.

The Sri Lankan President also gave a lecture about “sovereignty and integrity” to the visiting Foreign Ministers and told them not to interfere in internal affairs.

Today the Libyan President Col. Gaddafi is saying the same thing that the Sri Lankan President said in 2009. In an interview to a French newspaper released on March 6, 2011, Col. Gaddafi said, “I am surprised that nobody understands that this is a fight against terrorism, our security services cooperate. We have helped you a lot these past few years. So why is it that when we are in a fight against terrorism here in Libya, no one helps us in return?” (Excerpts from Col. Gaddafi interview to Journal du Dimanche)

Here we can clearly see the double standards of international justice and the hypocrisy of the Sri Lankan government.

On the one hand the United Nations and powerful states were maintaining a policy of non interference with regard to Sri Lanka and on the other hand some countries were directly involved in helping the final stages of the war.

During the final days of Mullivaghzhal, neither the majority of the local human rights activists nor the political parties protested against the killing of civilians. They were silently watching and some were even enjoying the cold-blooded killings of civilians.

Can the international community, the United Nations, powerful states, Sri Lankan government and some members of civil society explain why they maintained a deafening silence while the people of the North and East, especially civilians in the Mullivaghzhal were being killed in aerial bombing and artillery fire?

Sri Lanka should not forget that if today’s stand of the international community had been applied in Sri Lanka in 2009, by now the 193rd member state in the United Nations would have been born.

The most shameful thing is that as usual some local NGOs have once again started to use the suffering of the people in the North and East for their own financial benefits. These NGOs believe that development is more important to the people of the North and East than accountability and proper reconciliation. These NGOs want democracy to be restored without realising that since independence, the island has never enjoyed democracy, other than periodically voting in elections.


The Difference between Tamil people Vs Libyan Arab people are not the different blood group, color, language or religion but OIL, OIL and OIL.

The available Oil Vs future potential oil.

Stability of Oil rich region Vs no significant resource other than old useless Trinco ( once the cold war is over, Trinco is a useless place as far as geopolitical reason)

DO we need to say that LTTE too antagonized the west in some quarters early in the peace time ( reading the US cables and thinking back, all the west try to corner the LTTE with LTTE has no option other than to go for the war knowing this is an unwinnable war.

However we argue and no matter what the UN is going to say ( likely Ban Ki Moon was bought through his right hand Nambiar and possible kickbacks to Swiss accounts through Nambiar's kith and kin) we cannot forgo all the ills we saw for six months from December 2008 to May 2009 .

The difference is in Mulivaikal world only saw carcasses and in Benghazi they see Corps.

Posted by: World cup LS | April 9, 2011 09:55 PM

The difference is SL was fighting against an actual terrorist organisation. But hey don't let that get in the way of your rhetoric.

Posted by: Thambi | April 10, 2011 12:25 AM

International politics is not based on morality but on national interests of nations. Do not for one moment believe that the action on Libya is based on the United Nations principle of R2P (Right to Protect Civilians). This is a ploy utilised by Western powers to legitimise their interference in the internal affairs of a country that is explicitly forbidden by the United Nations charter.

Look at the facts – Britain and France have invested heavily in the oil industry in Libya. British Petroleum has in the region of 15 billion pounds sterling invested in Libya in addition the crude oil from Libya is of a very high quality that requires minimal refinement.

There is no comparison between the Libyan and Sri Lankan conflicts. Sri Lanka is a functioning democracy with the sophisticated electorate and all ethnic groups in Sri Lanka have representatives in Parliament. Sri Lanka even conducted elections during the height of the civil war.

Also Sri Lanka is well versed in the diplomatic game. All the nations in the region including the major players India, China and Russia (the latter being permanent members of the Security Council) backed Sri Lanka to the hilt and isolated the Western powers especially the ex-colonialist Britain.

Moreover one must see the Sri Lankan conflict in the regional sense as India, Russia and China also have internal groups attempting to split their respective countries. By backing Sri Lanka these countries were sending a subtle message to these separatist groups. All in all the LTTE lacked the diplomatic skill, the strategy, the military might and respect of the nations that mattered.

Posted by: Merlin Van Tweest | April 10, 2011 07:11 AM

The standard to apply is the strategic importance to US and the West not Human Rights per se. The issue of Human Rights in a country of strategic interest entails increased risk to the Western Economies. According to that standard we are ranked very low and do not warrant the scale of intervention as seen in Libya.
However the West can easily apply sanctions and travel restrictions on such Human Rights violations which is happening to some extent. The situation at the end of the war was left for India to decide which they allowed to happen. The west didnot interfere.

Posted by: SriLankan | April 10, 2011 10:14 AM

# Thambi

Dear Thambi! Clearly you need a brain transplant. You are needed to be fixed a mature brain.

Posted by: afool | April 13, 2011 06:59 AM

Actually, we Tamils had not needed the intervention of any other country to protect ourselves from these majority butchers. The only thing all these countries should have done is, to have stayed away from assisting these barbarians to kill us. They should have only considered our problem is an internal problem of Srilanka and left us alone fought each other till the end. Prabaharan & the LTTE also was very naive in their thinking, that they should respect the international war rules and stuck their guns only against the military targets, till the last minute. In my understanding, they were cheated in doing so, by some other insiders on false promises, for their own benefits, in order to help these barbarians to win the war. Even now, if ONLY 100 ( One hundred ) Tamil boys start a guerilla war-fare, against these barbarians, just like the IRA and plant some bombs here and there, these bastards will cry loudly for a ceasefire.

Posted by: afool | April 13, 2011 07:28 AM

Pl dont forget-the people of vanni were not with LTTE,they preferred to join the security forces for their protection.Mullivailal was created not by LTTE,truly it was created by the Tamil leaders such as GG,SJV.Very artificial political campaign.Unfortunately the jaffna tamils politically very weak population.Thet have been taken for a ride by Tamil leaders.

Posted by: nallurkantha | April 14, 2011 02:56 AM

The situation in Libiya was created by outsiders financed by the west. This is outlined in the speech given by the Democratic congressman. It explains the role of the CIA in starting the process.
Congressman's speech

The situation in Sri lanka is entirely different. There has been thirty years of conflict, and Prabhakaran had forced all the people in the Vanni into his corral. See Dr. Noel Nadesan's article "Let my people go"
Let My People Go In Peace by Noel Nadesan.
Mr. Kirubaharan probably does not want to remember that the western nations and India did want to help, and the Indians sent their army. The net effect was, Prabhakaran killed Rajeev. Remember that Prabhakaran had already killed Amithalingam and other patriots who would surely have succeeded in cutting a deal with JRJ, especially after he won the TULF elections in 1977.
If the French and British foreign ministers add saved Prabhakaran and his team, we would still be feeding our children to the guns.

Prabhakaran's rise was related to USURPING by force and assassinations a program initiated in 1949 to wrest control of the "exclusive Tamil homelands" for the Tamils only. Obviously, this would lead to armed conflict, especially because it was fashioned on nationalism (and the old South Afrikan apartheid model which seemed to be good in 1949, but later proved to be racist). It was utterly stupid for a small minority in the north ( about 5% if you exclude the central hills and Colombo) to wage war against a majority.

Now Mr. Kirubaran wants to repeat, under the UN (?) what could not be done with the help of India. The window of opportunity has vanished, at least for now.
see also:
Sarvanathan's article: Bankers Who Bankroll An Endangered Species (aka Tamil Tigers) in Sri Lanka

Prabakaran Has Done To Tamils What No Dutugemunu Could Do-- by Rasalingam

Posted by: Sam Edwards | April 14, 2011 07:52 PM

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