Of Children of War, Peace Talks and Our Final Future

by Prof. C. Suriyakumaran

Mr. Bandu de Silva, who has written an article, solely on Radhika Coomaraswamy and the Children of War (A), was along with several others of our cherished foreign service all people I had held in high esteem, several of whom indeed worked together with me on some of our most creative UN Programmes of years gone by now.

Mr. Bandu de Silva’s own article was, as I said solely on Radhika Coomaraswamy and the children of War. On that, we have the following:

One is that, if properly viewed, the caveats – and that did not, repeat not, exclude clear assessment on child recruitment – were really to strengthen the claim and the level of Radhika’s oncoming task. I just cannot see any ‘warning’ from me only a total picture. Few could wish her better.

On the Peace Talks (B), the subject had to have three components. The one on Child Recruitment was of the first. There were two other radical foundations which together were to make sense for our whole ongoing process. The second was on Peace – seen as Peace Keeping (‘Military’); Peace Making (‘Political’) ; Peace Building (‘Economic’). So I may not be mis-understood, let me make it clear that this applies to all sides, Governmental, LTTE, and other various Groups and Organisations.

My recent brief letter on Anandasangaree’s so called ‘Indian Model’ is another case in point. There was no writing to advise one side or the other, as unkindly suggested now. The only time I did so was – openly – in two articles in the Daily News in the form of an Open Letter to Prabhakaran NOT to follow the 50-Year-Development Folly of the South! – and how to develop.

Hence too the Third Component, needed, expressed in my somewhat passionate recall of SWRD Bandaranaike’s outstanding thinking, in this area – namely our Final Future (C), and if I might say my own modest contributions to it – a vindication of all our efforts at (A) and (B) – as the Chinese acupuncturist shouted at a silly American patient to say “You know that whole body connected?” Sound perspectives to the problem on children, the proper understanding of the interlinks of Peace Keeping, Peace Making and Peace Building and the Future, all link to each other.

Not many may understand what I have been striving to convey on these and other things. I know they will come to be seen in time, slowly and surely.

Quite apart from these, since I had happened to mention them in my Article, the case of Neelan’s – whom I never condemned personally, as alleged! – was a case of sheer Greek tradegy of a good man of good intent yet too much leaning backwards to a short sighted all powerful President. The LTTE should never have gone against Neelan (as too against Rajiv Gandhi).

As for Lakshman whom I knew of course as a younger person in the UN, and who later presiding at a CIMA Annual Conference came up from behind to tell me that he had never listened to such a creative keynote address, there is no resentment – only that he failed in the task, against better thinking of advancing the Peace Process. Officially it is yet not known who killed him but as I have said more than once, whoever did it, nobody had a right to it. As for his own personal career there is no need to lengthen my own writing further. It is noteworthy that – an essential role player – he considered himself unnecessary here once he got any of the High International Positions he was hoping for. Questions of his qualifications was never an issue as now asked of one! As testament to his work at home, LTTE banned or non banned the crucial Peace Talks are now taking place!

Let us all work now – me now more an observer – to keep this country as one. Patria Non Dividenda Est!, I said in my last article, and we need to look at (A), (B), (C), all together if that future were to become a reality.

In all this, I leave aside the totally needless remark – sad coming from someone like Bandu de Silva – about some sense of self-dissapointment.

I have my own unique accolades Global and Local – not least the denial in 1981 by the then President of my own country of a simple nomination to the universally supported appointment to be Under Secretary General to head the United Nations in Asia!

So also – to depart from this article for a moment – when a writer from Galle in a Letter to the Editor took objection to my calling in established tradition for one Asian Candidate for the forthcoming appointment as Secretary General.

To be realistic there is no other alternative for us as Asians and there is no use casting personal remarks on this. The truth is our Government should have acted much more vigorously; it seems to have done nothing in this direction. The concept of Asian oneness identity, unity (which I consider a foundation for our own identity) was one I had striven for, along with many others during the 60’s and 70’s and greatly succeeded in creating.

At every annual top most conference of Asian leaders it fell to me to hold the “Scales” between SEATO backed ASEAN and India-led NAM — immensely thanked (invited later by the China Government as the UN’s first guest – also for directing the China Policy for Asia for the sensitive period prior to China’s final entry and Taiwan’s easing out; followed by rival invitation as guest of the Breznev Soviet Union. (cf The Prof. C. Suriyakumaran UN 50th Anniversary Felicitation Volume edited by the Late T. B. Subasinghe prefaced by K. B. Lall of India, Chief Advisor to Indira and Rajiv Gandhi).

It will be a sad spectacle to see our Candidate running around for Security Council and General Assembly votes in New York now probably with a certain other ‘Bolting’ away with his own choice from somewhere!

Question of both, dignity and prudence are involved! [Source: Island] – [TamilWeek Apr 16, 2006]

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