Monday 18 November 2013

Sri Lanka and the Commonwealth of Shame

David Cameron's feeble criticism of the Sri Lankan Government during the the Commonwealth meeting in Colombo packed virtually no weight at all. Though his visit to the North of the country at least allowed many families to show the world pictures of the 'disappeared'. He would have been more credible if he had stayed away, like many other commonwealth heads.

Instead, he turned up, wined and dined with a man responsible for the death of at least 40,000 people during 2009, a government which has since overseen countless incidences of torture and disappearances of Tamil activists.

The problem for Cameron was this: if our government accepts that Sri Lanka's government is a vicious, war mongering one, full of war criminals and those who have broken International laws on human rights - then it has to explain why Britain supplied it with many of the weapons that enabled it to conduct such massacres during the bloody civil war. Britain has also happily continued to arm the country, despite widespread evidence of continued human rights abuses long after the end of the 30 year conflict.

The weakness of our Governments position was made evident by the Sri Lankan Presidents rebuff. 'People in Glass houses...'

When a vicious genocidal leader can so easily get the last word in, you really should stop and have a little think about your own moral position.

The commonwealth has always been unable to restrain its members, and simply looks like an irrelevant organisation, harking back to a non-existent better time in it history. If it really wanted to become relevant to the planet's future, it could encourage it's members to renounce weapons of mass destruction, and build a unified, ecological moral force for good.

If it really wanted to tackle issues of 'equity and inclusion' (apparently one of the themes of the conference) , it could even think about it's own name, and begin going down the path of democratic socialism, finally learning to hold its own wealth in common...

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