Truth before Reconciliation in Sri Lanka

Countering Truth with Lies

My father Brian Senewiratne is still promoting his “dozen DVDs” as a vital effort to counter the “disinformation campaign of the Sri Lankan government”. In Canada this year, he said the Tamil expatriates should support his effort by copying and distributing his DVDs at their own expense. This is despite his home-made DVDs being available free on YouTube for many years, with very few views and fewer likes.

The Sri Lankan government did not engage in a disinformation campaign. Brian Senewiratne did. He began this campaign in 2006 after he was invited by the expatriate Tamil organization Ilankai Tamil Sangam to speak at their Annual General Meeting in the USA. At the meeting, he suggested that what was needed was a video presentation about Sri Lanka to provide background to the conflict, and then offered to produce such a video, accepting donations for the promised DVDs.

When he got back to Australia he investigated how much it would cost to make the videos professionally, writing to the Tamil expatiates in the Tamilnet and Sangam websites that it would have cost $4,000 each which would have “sent him to the wall”. Instead, he decided to make the videos unprofessionally himself, using his own video camera and the assistance of his elderly wife to turn the camera on and off. The clumsy propaganda videos took the form of lectures to an empty room in the dark, where he pointed to slides projected onto their living room wall. Into these monologues he had one of his ex-students insert photos and later short videos from the LTTE (Tamil Tiger) propaganda archives.

Brian Senewiratne made several versions of the video between 2006 and 2009, to which he gave what he thought would be catchy titles: “The New Killing Fields of Asia”, “The Future of the Tamils at Stake”, “Sri Lanka: Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, Violation of International Law” etc. The 13 “DVDs” also included recordings of speeches he gave to LTTE-supporting audiences between 2006 and 2009. After his side lost the war, he has continued promoting these DVDs and even in 2018 he has urged the Tamil expatriates in Canada that one of the things they needed to do to achieve “peace and justice” in Sri Lanka is to distribute his writings and DVDs.

Brian Senewiratne’s Political Agenda

Brian Senewiratne maintained for several decades that he had no political agenda or anything to gain from his involvement in the “Tamil struggle”. This was to increase his credibility, and he made many derogatory comments about politicians and disparaged them as a group. He also made much of being of Sinhalese ethnicity (though he knows little of the language), being a “Christian” (though he doesn’t go to Church or read the Bible) and his genetic relationship with the political Bandaranaike family, which he has denounced and defamed since the 1980s. He was routinely introduced for speeches and interviews as “the cousin of President Chandrika Kumaratunga” (they are second cousins) and then proceeded to attack her and her parents, saying that he “couldn’t help being born into the Bandaranaike family” but he was. He also denigrated the other Sri Lankan and Australian political leaders, but his greatest venom was directed at the Bandaranaike family and later the Rajapaksa family.

Revealing the lie of this denial of personal political aspirations, in 2008 Brian Senewiratne declared his ambition to be made the Foundation Professor of Medicine in a new University of Tamil Eelam if the LTTE won the war. This was to a staged, flag-waving crowd of thousands of Tamil Sri Lankans in Toronto, Canada, organized by the LTTE-supporting Tamil Diaspora, After the war was ended with the defeat of the LTTE, he accepted a political position as the “sole Sinhala senator” in the LTTE-supporting ‘Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam’ (TGTE), headed by the New York-based refugee lawyer Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, who calls himself the “Prime Minister” of the TGTE. An uncharismatic man, he was the LTTE’s lawyer and negotiator during the war. Rudrakumaran still flies the LTTE flag on his desk in his YouTube presentations and gives propaganda speeches in a shrill monotone in Tamil and English, issues “press releases” and makes a general fool of himself, since no one sensible takes the TGTE seriously.

Vexatious Litigation by the TGTE

It appears that the TGTE believes that offense is the best form of defence. This expatriate organization has led the misguided campaign to refer Sri Lanka to the International Criminal Court for supposed “genocide” of Tamils since 1948, when the nation gained its independence from Britain. Brian Senewiratne, a long-time member of Amnesty International (he used to hold AI meetings in his house in Brisbane during the war), trained at the University of London and Cambridge in the 1950s. Britain provided a base for the Tamil Tiger propaganda machine, which was headquartered in London, initially at the Tamil Information Centre, back in the 1980s.

After the war ended with the military defeat of his side, Brian Senewiratne convinced the TGTE to employ the Australian-British barrister Geoffrey Robertson, to prepare vexatious charges against the Sri Lankan political and military leadership, charging them with “genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity”. Robertson made video presentations for the TGTE which were posted on YouTube, with little response from viewers. Back in 2009, at the end of the war, Brian Senewiratne had told a crowd of young Tamil Sri Lankans in Sydney, in speech through a megaphone, that he knew Robertson very well and that “he will charge these blaggards and drag them to the International Criminal Court”. As it turned out, Robertson was prepared to accept the case, but not pro bono. The TGTE still flies the LTTE flag at its functions and continues to glorify the Tamil Tigers and their leader, Prabakaran.

The first step to Truth and Reconciliation is truth. The truth is that the Tamil Tigers, with international backing, notably from India and Britain, declared war on the sovereign nation of Sri Lanka. It was a war of offense, and it is a war crime to start a war. It is also said that truth is the first casualty of war. However, the truth about the Tamil Tigers is emerging from first-hand accounts of their many victims. The loudest voices are not usually the wisest. This certainly applies to the shouting propagandists and apologists for the Tamil Tigers.

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