From: Uthpala J
Date: Sat, Dec 11, 2010 at 5:34 PM
Subject: Re: INSIDE STORY: Rajapakse's personal trip to London
INSIDE STORY: Rajapakse's personal trip to London
No one knows what prompted Sri Lanka President to take this risky action
The Oxford Union (OU) is a different body and it has nothing to do with other student associations. None of the Sri Lankan students studying in Oxford today is in the OU at least as a committee member. When we hear about Mr Bandaranayake or Mr Lalith Ethulathmudali's Oxford days and their activities in the Student Union, it is important to know that was the main OU. Not this pocket size sangamaya.
by Daya Ranasinghe
(December 03, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) As far as I know, Sri Lanka High Commission in London has warned MR not to do this trip. They have vehemently opposed from the beginning giving all details to Sri Lanka about the current security lapses in the UK.
SLFP UK branch had requested and begged the President not to come.
In Oxford University, there are so many pocket associations and sangamayas set up by the students who have come from different ethnicities and countries. There are Indian students, Bangladesh students, Turkey students, Chinese students like that. All those students have their own association. They organise annual events. Some bring artistes from their countries or prominent figures for lectures. What ever they intend do, they have to get permission from the University authorities. Then only they allow students to use university letterheads to send invitations with the Union secretary's signature .Thus Sri Lanka students have their own Sri Lanka association and there are only 16 students in it. All of them are Sinhalese. 12 Tamil students study there but they are not in this association. 16 Sinhala students are also divided into two. So the President's event was organised by 8 Sinhala students. Their leader Dilan Fernando is the one who had sent the invitation to the SL President for a speech.
Oxford Union (OU) is a completely different one from what we talked above. It is a different body and it has nothing to do with other student associations. None of the Sri Lankan students studying in Oxford today is in the OU at least as a committee member. When we hear about Mr Bandaranayake or Mr Lalith Ethulathmudali's Oxford days and their activities in the Student Union, it is important to know that was the main OU. Not this pocket size sangamaya.
The invitation Sri Lanka President received got wide publicity in Sri Lanka that he has been invited by the Oxford Union. It is a complete misunderstanding and sheer treading the tail. I heard President's Secretary Lalith Weeratunga appeared on TV there waving the invitation and saying that Mr Rajapakse has been invited by the Oxford and it's a good opportunity to talk to the foreigners and overseas media. But the truth is when ever a dignitary come from Sri Lanka for a speech or an event, the Sinhala people in London have to travel to that venue to fill the seats. No foreigners are interested in those matters. This I know very well.
As everyone talks now, SL President's journey is an utter wastage of money and time. Also with him an entourage has landed here. What for ? If he is coming why so many " Pirivara" ? More over this is the Winter in Europe and it is heavy snow falling. No state visits are scheduled during this period because of travelling and weather difficulties.
Oxfordshire is a small area. Its police force is not that much. It cannot handle if there is going to be thousand protesters. It will not deploy police officers from other areas. Security arrangements are a very costly matter. More over this is not a visit on a UK Govt. invitation. So when the Oxford police knew Tamils are coming in thousands, the next best thing they did was asking the University to cancel the event completely. Done.
Tamils have nothing worthwhile to do here. A lot of them work in shops, Mc Donalds, supermarkets and petrol stations. They have Tiger flags and T-shirts ever ready for this. This is also an outing for them. At beck and call they will be anywhere in thousands. That's the kind of training given to them by the Tiger leadership over the years. Among them are hundreds of trained hard-core Tigers migrated fro Vanni those days. So if they have a chance, they might not think twice to do the act for which they have been trained.
Also this is not a good time as we all know the British media, Channel 4 and so many other fractions are hostile to Sri Lanka. This has been going on since the war ended two years ago. Knowing all this, every one here is astonished at our President's arrival in the UK. Where are the advisors? What benefit does Sri Lanka have by talking to these few people in a meeting? Are we having any trade deals with this country? No, none. Even if it is for such a thing Trade minister could come for that. If President wanted to give a speech, as Warna had suggested, it could have done by satellite.
When I first came to know about this Oxford thing, I wrote a month ago, that our President should not accept invitations from all " Kollas" and " Ballas" But alas! he did so and see the unsavoury soup he is in today.
Some say, when some media published earlier about his likely arrest on British soil, President wanted to show the UK " I am coming, catch me if you can" stance. This could be the reason why he came on his own accord, not listening to anybody. In other words President Rajapakse was doing " a Merwyn Silva". In my mind such behaviour is not a brave act apt for any country's leader, but sheer foolhardiness. Sad!