“Conspiracy theories about the involvement of the U.S. military draw attention away from where it should be focused, which is firmly on the victims and their families,” the U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina B. Teplitz has stated. Conspiracy theories do distract, she is correct. We’ll come to that presently. Let’s focus on ‘focus’ for a moment.
Alaina believes that ‘unity is the most powerful answer to terrorism’. Unity is key, she is correct. It is also difficult to obtain and is most fragile, she might have added. Is it THE most powerful answer to terrorism, though? I would say ‘necessary but not sufficient’.
Just the other day, some peace-loving citizens gathered at Independence Square to hold a candlelight vigil for victims of last Sunday’s terrorist attack suspected to have been carried out by a group calling itself National Thowheed Jama’ath (NTJ). The ISIS has since claimed responsibility. Whether the NTJ is aligned with the ISIS or whether ISIS pounced on a brand-visibility opportunity we do not know yet. What is clear is that we haven’t seen outpouring of outrage from ‘civil society’ of the kind witnessed when the comparatively baby-like acts of violence perpetrated against Muslims by extremist Buddhists in Digana and Teldeniya last year or when similar violence was unleashed in Aluthgama a few years before. One has to ask if it is because Buddhists constitute a soft and preferred target as far as ‘civil society’ is concerned?
Love, kindness, concern for our neighbors, a determination to differentiate a terrorist professing the Islamic faith from that particular religious community (a distinction that was not made between the BBS and Buddhists, by the way) are important no doubt, but in the larger and necessary engagement, it is what a friend called ‘astroturf being passed off as grassroots’. Good for feel-good but only for a while. The well-intentioned citizens who gathered at Independence Square would not dare conduct a similar vigil in Kalmunai, Chawalakade, Sammanthura or Kattankudy and I wouldn’t blame them for giving such places a pass.
Focus. Let’s get back to Alaina. Yes, the victims and their families need to be focused on. Obviously that’s not going to stop the terrorists. Nothing less than a comprehensive, united (yes, THAT word) and determined effort by THE ENTIRE NATION is required. History bears witness. What’s clear though is that the Government has absolutely no clue about any of these things.
The Prime Minister with his pedantic posturing about the limits of the law has essentially invited all global terrorist outfits to set up office in Sri Lanka. There was evidence of Muslim extremists engaged in indoctrination, organizing, training and getting ready to unleash terror. In the name of religious freedom and with a nod to the Muslim vote bank, this government put the entire population at risk. Even the previous regime factored in the Muslim vote bank. They, to their credit, did not subvert the entire security apparatus of the country and especially the intelligence units.
What really takes the cake is that the yahapalanists have absolutely no trust in the people of this country. Ranil Wickremesinghe and his team are so utterly incompetent that they run to the so-called international community at the drop of a hat. They’ve forgotten or have stubbornly refused to acknowledge that the war against the LTTE was won because the then government placed faith in the people of this country. Sure, they had logistical support from foreign governments but these often came with a price and was grudgingly given.
This is why we have to take Alaina’s statement seriously. It is NOT a conspiracy. It is a fact. She has admitted that ‘expert teams from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) are providing support to the Sri Lankan-led investigation into the attacks’. This is ‘at the behest of the Sri Lankan Government’.
One doesn’t need to have read Noam Chomsky’s ‘What Uncle Sam really wants’ to understand that the USA has had a long history of hand-in-glove association with terrorism. They have created terrorist groups and fought against them, sometimes creating other terrorist groups for this purpose. Partly to secure and control resources and markets, partly to control markets and partly to support the arms industry of the USA. They’ve unleashed terror on their own steam too (in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, much of Latin America). Even after shutting down hundreds of bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad, according to www.politico.com. Britain, France and Russia, by contrast, have about 30 foreign bases combined. They are ready to terrorize too.
So, as Alaina said, there’s no ‘conspiracy’ here. There’s no secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. It’s too obvious for the word ‘secret’ to be used. Mind you, I am not faulting Alaina. She’s doing her job, part of which is to dismiss fears about what her government is up to. Hence the misuse of the word ‘distraction’. All par for the course. The fault is with the Government. As Alaina puts it, it is all ‘at the behest of the Sri Lankan Government’.
Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maithripala Sirisena have essentially brought the world’s most unreliable ‘friend’ into the country. Keep in mind that this ‘friend’ is also best known disseminator of confusion, an accomplished wrecker of peace and an aider and abetter of terrorism (when it is not playing terrorist, that is).
The entire world came out in support of Sri Lanka. Everyone offered prayers. Many offered support. Why is the Government not seeking the support of Russia, the one country among the military powers of the world that has a no-nonsense approach to the ISIS? Why is China’s support not being solicited, for China after all has a on-the-ground stake in operating in a country without a terrorist threat? Why not India (despite her sorry history with respect to the LTTE), for India is facing the same threat and is our immediate neighbor? Why pick the worst of the lot?
The answer is easy. This Government is a puppet of the USA. This Government is utterly incompetent. This Government has played into the hands of the terrorists. They turned Sri Lanka into the softest of targets. It is not a ‘won’t do government’. It is a ‘can’t do government’. This government is part of the problem and has to be named as a security threat to the entire population.
I am a journalist, political commentator and a chess enthusiast. I was educated at the University of Peradeniya, Harvard University, University of Southern California and Cornell University and live in and work from Kottawa, Sri Lanka.