Meeting with Labour Party in London
by Dr. Tilak S. Fernando reporting from London
President of the Sinhala Association in the UK, Mr. Douglas Wickramaratne, was the guest speaker recently at UK's Labour Party Councilors' meeting held in London Colney, Hertfordshire on the subject of terrorism prevalent in Sri Lanka.
Mr. Wickramaratne's speech concentrated on the degree of threat faced by people of Sri Lanka and the far-reaching damage caused to the reputation of a democratically elected government as a direct consequence of adverse publicity perpetrated by Tamil Tiger terrorists, which has worked as an active enzyme over a period of three decades. This very fact, he emphasized, had over the years managed to successfully hoodwink the international community, international non governmental agencies and predominantly some of the British members of parliament to a greater extent by the Tamil Tiger sympathizers and supporters living and engaging in a well organized net work of activities in the UK.
Mr. Wickramaratne dealt with the fictitious propaganda at great length proliferated by Tamil Tigers and the way British were taken in for a ride in particular. He also drew attention to the fact that not so long ago how a well organized Tamil Tiger swindle of cloning credit cards out of British motorists where millions of pound sterling had been pilfered to raise money for the LTTE coffers towards the purchase of arms and lethal weapons to kill, maim and destroy human lives indiscriminately - whoever went against them, be it Sinhalese, Tamil (their own kind), Muslims or Burghers!
The Sinhala Association is one of the oldest Sri Lankan groups established in the UK whose aim has been to safeguard and protect the reputation of their mother country. As much as upholding and propagating Sri Lankan traditions and culture in the UK, the group has been actively engaged in combating misinformation when the terrorists had a field day with a well organized false propaganda machine operating at its peak from London.
President of the Sinhala Association, Mr. Douglas Wickramaratne, has once acted as the Honorary Liaison Officer for the Sri Lanka High Commission in London,' appointed by the then Sri Lanka Administration to deal with the British media to counter all adverse reports spread by the LTTE when the officials appointed to London by the Foreign Ministry were noticeably seen as ineffective. Consequently he has risen up to the occasion at every hour of need by appearing before British television cameras, participated at radio phone-in programmes and/or confronted LTTE supporters and sympathizers boldly at public meetings to fill the 'publicity vacuum' existed at the Sri Lanka High Commission. Two years ago when the Foreign Minister late Mr. Kadiragarmar was assassinated Mr. Wickaramaratne happened to be the only Sri Lankan representative from London to appear live on BBC Television News, BBC 24 hours, SKY News and ITN interviews overages to say to the world boldly about the LTTE, terrorist activities, which was replayed on Sunday 12 August 07, at the London Selsdon Temple during a commemorative merit-transferring Puja organized by the late Mr. Kadiragarmar's relatives in London where many Sri Lankans participated.
Being an orator, who is eloquent and articulate in English, having once being the Leader of the English Debating Team of Ananda College, Colombo, Mr. Wickramaratne has demonstrated his mettle not only with public speaking dexterity, but with unassailable statistics at finger tips he has always been able to crush his opponents.
At London Colney, armed with a map of Sri Lanka, pointing out to areas claimed by Tamil separatists, Mr.Wickramaratne questioned the audience whether any sane person could justify such a demand! A well informed lecture was followed by a sparkling interactive question and answer session where a Council Member admitted his ignorance of the factual situation in Sri Lanka and commented that 'it was the first time' he had heard an elaborate speech of that attribute as opposed to all discriminatory Tamil claims so far.
President of the Sinhala Association informed the British Labour Party Councilors present at the meeting how a significant number of Tamil Tiger supporters attempted to disrupt a meeting held at the London University (SOAS), as far back as on 5 December 2004, when Ms Jo Becker, Advocacy Director of Human Rights Watch presented a report which was exceedingly critical of the LTTE and highlighted its child abductions and killing of civilians, and how they even opposed a Tamil person (a victim of LTTE terror) to make a speech in Tamil (with an English translator ) denying his basic human right to speak in Tamil. Mr. Wickramaratne was the only person who intervened, he said, at that moment on behalf of HRW to point out that it was an irony even their own kind were prevented from conducting a speech in Tamil by Tamil Tiger terrorist supporters!
At the end of the meeting which ended in an uproar, Ms Jo Becker thanked the President of the Sinhala Association personally and expressed her horror and how she felt threatened at one moment. She exclaimed such violent behaviour was the last thing she expected from an audience in London! A week later, HRW held a similar meeting in Toronto, Canada, and as expected the Canadian press reported how a large number of LTTE supporters disrupted the meeting which had to be abandoned despite a police presence there.
President of the Sinhala Association reminded and warned the Labour Councilors present at the meeting that the LTTE , NGOs and INGO mafia working with Sri Lanka will find any thing and go to any length to create situations to discredit Sri Lankan Government prior to the forthcoming Human Rights Council meeting to be held in Geneva in September 2007.
At the end of the meeting, a lady councilor, in lighter vain, asked whether a Sri Lanka High Commission was functioning in London. She, obviously, was quite unaware of its existence as she had not seen or heard, she said, of any effective counter propaganda coming out publicly on British TV or Radio from High Commission officials when so many atrocities had taken place in the country! Her late husband had lived in Sri Lanka, she said and, in her mind, she thought Sri Lanka was the most wonderful place on earth! Finally as a mark of appreciation she thanked the speaker and gifted him with a bottle of wine.