Puppet or legislator?

Ms Siobhain McDonagh
Member for Mitcham and Morden
House of Commons

Dear Ms McDonagh

Your expression of sympathy, in your letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, with the thousands of your Tamil constituents who have been indirectly affected by the “atrocities” committed by the Sri Lankan military in the closing stages of the war against the most vicious terrorist outfit in 2009 raises some pertinent questions (The Island, Sri Lanka, 7 Jan 2013).

To what extent has your sympathy sprung from a genuine humanitarian concern for people trapped in a war zone?

Is there something very sinister beneath your efforts to persuade Mr Cameron to boycott the coming CHOGM in Sri Lanka this year?

 Surely, you must be aware that:

• For nearly three decades the Sri Lanka Government resisted a barrage of suicide bombs and numerous LTTE atrocities that took the lives of thousands of innocent people in Sri Lanka and disrupted the lives of millions in a campaign of vicious terrorism.

• These campaigns were planned, financed and executed by the very Tamils you represent. Most of them, with other Tamils in Britain and elsewhere, used the war as an excuse to circumvent normal immigration procedures and obtain residence in Britain and other Western countries. The end of the conflict cut off their easy avenue of seeking greener pastures of the West.

• Mr Anton Balasingham, the LTTE mastermind and warlord, organised money laundering, arms procurement and regular smuggling of Tamils to Britain and other countries. In return, he exacted war taxes from them to finance the terrorist campaign from his London headquarters. His Australian-born wife, Adele, was directly responsible for recruiting and training child soldiers for their terrorist war. She is now hiding in Britain and evading justice.

• The British Government turned a blind eye to these blatant acts of terrorism organised and executed in Britain on the basis that no law of Britain was breached. 

At a critical stage of the war the LTTE forces herded hundreds of thousands of people from the west to the war frontier and used them as human shields. Did the United Nations, which had a monitoring unit in Sri Lanka, or British MPs such as you, display any concern for the welfare of these people at the time they were deliberately being placed in harm’s way by the LTTE? 

At the dying moments of the conflict, your colleague, David Milliband, went to Sr Lanka and exercised British muscle to insist on a ceasefire instead of demanding that the terrorists surrender unconditionally. That was a t touching concern by Britain for the lives of the human shields, wasn’t it? Milliband also failed to appreciate the Sri Lanka Army’s efforts to rescue some 300 000 Tamils trying to escape from the clutches of the LTTE.

Also, why has your humanitarian concern been conveniently selective?

Where was your voice against “systematic killing” when the British Government meekly grabbed the coat-tails of the US and invaded Iraq with your former leader, Mr Tony Blair, trumpeting that “we come as liberators?”

Liberators indeed. Here are some stark numbers of some “systematic killing” that seem to have escaped you:

British soldiers killed in Iraq: 179 (up to 2009).

Iraqi civilian casualties: over 400 000. Some informed estimates put the figure at over 600 000. Let me remind you that the Americans clamped down on hospitals counting and releasing figures of the civilian dead. 

In addition: 

Iraqis displaced inside Iraq (as of May 2007): 2 255 000.

Iraqi refugees in Syria and Jordan: 2.1 million to 2.25 million.

Are we to conclude from these horrifying statistics that it is OK for your British Government to engage in “systematic killing” on a trumped-up excuse to invade a sovereign country but not OK for Sri Lanka to crush the scourge of terrorism on its shores? Or are Iraqi lives more dispensable for British and American commercial and geopolitical interests regardless of humanitarian concerns?

I will refrain from jogging your poor historical memory of the numerous occasions the British indulged in “systematic killings” of innocent civilians, recently in Ireland, and earlier, in your former colonies in the glory days of the British Empire and during the Second World War (Dresden, for example).

It is quite apparent, and distressing, that you, as a legislator in the mother of parliaments, have chosen to yield to intimidation by your Tamil constituents and be used as a tool for their dirty work to embarrass and destabilise the Sri Lanka Government. Is your political career to be built on dancing to the tunes of pressure groups with sinister motives? Are you intent on playing the role of puppet on a string or a legislator of sterling values and principles?

It does not take much to comprehend that the murderous wolves of the LTTE in your midst have now donned a transparent mantle of human rights activists and are using people like you as pawns in their campaign to re-ignite tensions in Sri Lanka and obstruct the path of restoration and development for their own nefarious purposes, including re-opening an easy path for their kith and kin to reside in the West. 

The heady breeze of peace is now palpable throughout Sri Lanka. No amount of underhand attempts by a discredited and crushed LTTE, with the assistance of pawns like you, will distract the people and government of Sri Lanka from their road to unity and lasting stability.

Yours sincerely

George Rupesinghe

Sydney, Australia

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