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Ah Shucks. The Sri Lanka Campaign found the money to keep going. So hold your breath for more of their unsubstantiated accusations.

November 11, 2012

Ah Shucks. The Sri Lanka Campaign found the money to keep going. So hold your breath for more of their unsubstantiated accusations.

Well it has been a month of inverted news with Obama being re-elected; Gillard suddenly winning over the adulation of Jezebel.com and Kevin Rudd’s cat dying. So a small self indulgent mob of ineffective activists raising £10,000
to keeping whatever it is that they infectively do should come as no surprise.

Sure enough the website for the Sri Lankan Campaign for Peace & Justice explains how they managed to raise the fund to keep going until 23rd May 2013. In the blog post titled ‘Thank you’ the editor thanks the one hundred anonymous donors for helping raise  £5,000 and also ‘the Network for Social change’ for providing them with a grant for the other  £5,000.

So what is the Sri Lankan Campaign doing for all that money? A website and a bunch of volunteer bloggers are not that expensive to keep. Unless the money is being used to pay wages, publicity agents or someone jet setter lifestyle I cannot image why a simple website require £10,000 to run for a just six months. Why on earth can you buy a six month contract on webhosting anyway? But that is just another of those logic question that are never answered by the Sri Lanka Campaign organizers.

Yet the Sri Lanka Campaign is willing to claim that they are still a force for social protest with their latest campaign calling tourists to Think again before travelling to Sri Lanka.

This latest campaign claims that: ‘visitors to Sri Lanka are in real danger of inadvertently supporting alleged perpetrators of war crimes and human rights abuses’. Just by visiting Sri Lanka?

As part of this latest piece of activism the Sri Lanka campaign has decided to accuse tour operators of supporting oppression through their business activities. This includes some of the most respected and well known tourist operators around.

Many tour operators – including KuoniSaga,Thomas CookFirst ChoiceSTA TravelVirgin HolidaysExperience Travel GroupRed Dot ToursKayakKenwood TravelExpedia andBooking.com – use businesses that are of concern

There is no evidence of any of these companies engaging in any unethical behaviour but guilt by associating seems to be a key tactic used in this activism claiming that:

Holiday package providers linked to human rights abusers

In a typical one eyed version of history any shaky allegation against the Sri Lankan government and opposition is treated like it is gospel truth. Even when they make a pretence of accusing the LTTE of war crimes they make a point of only condemning the ex-LTTE leaders who are now collaborating with the Government. No mention is made about the LTTE’s international terrorist network that is still in operation or intimidation and murders that they are still being carrying out in western nations. Col Karuna, KP and Daya Master may be deserving of greater punishments but so too is Adele Balasingham whose last known address was a 4 bedroom house in London; the same city where the ‘Campaign for Sri Lanka’s’ head office is located. Up until near the end of the Sri Lankan civil war Adele was still attending the LTTE run ‘Heroes Day’ celebrations in the UK. It is more than ironic that the only ex-LTTE pointed out by the ‘Sri Lanka Campaign’ as human rights abusers are either dead or are considered traitors to the LTTE cause.

Good human rights abuser versus bad human rights abuser
Adele versus Karuna

For most tourists the concept of having to comply to a set of ethics drawn up by an activist organization is an alien one. When comfort, price and budget dictate the parameters of a holiday, questioning a ticket seller about who is on an activist groups boycott list this week is not much of a priority.

Make a Difference?

Under the heading of ‘Make a Difference’ makes some strange (if not condescending) suggestions:

  • Why not make your holiday an activist’s one?
  • Print out material which may be hard for Sri Lankans to get hold of and leave them in Sri Lanka: on a bus, on a train, or any public place.
  • Purchasing relevant books and DVDs
    through our store will directly help our campaign,
  • Or just talk to people about their situation. Ask them how they feel about the war, about the President, about the media, or about corruption.

Forgive my speculation but were these suggestions drawn up by a 12 year old? Having an activist holiday? Leaving printed material on public transport? Purchasing their propaganda? Asking people what they think about politics in Sri Lanka? The ignorance of these suggestions gave me a great laugh. As if there isn’t enough political material to trip over in Sri Lanka. But I digress.

However the web site does start to play into paranoia for example claiming:

You need – for example – to be careful about where you choose to ask people sensitive questions – people might get into trouble if soldiers or policemen overhear them badmouthing the Government.

And

Finally, some organisations do offer homestays with human rights defenders, which can allow you a way to see what the country is really like, as well as helping them. It’s not for everyone, but if you are interested get in touch with us.

There is no indication of who these so called ‘human rights defenders’ could be, what affiliations they have and their credentials. Relying upon a warped activist organization like the Campaign for Sri Lanka as a referral service is extremely risky. My advice is to stay well away from what looks like an indoctrination program.

Now they are back. So what?

In terms of influence over Sri Lanka and international policy ‘the Campaign for Sri Lanka’ have a track record of failure. It was, since its conception, a radically partisan London based organization that did little more than complain.

However despite being a joke of an organization for the last few years it appears that the Campaign for Sri Lanka may be developing a sinister indoctrination program through their ‘homestay’ arrangements.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. candydman permalink
    November 11, 2012 3:40 pm

    This is interesting partly because one of the recent donors is the Network for Social Change which is a charity. Now in the UK, where the Network is based, charities are barred by law from contributing to political organisations, let alone political groups whose members advocate terrorism. When the so-called SL Campaign for Peace and Justice was originally set up its web pages stated their support for what they called “self-determination” for Tamils in Sri Lanka. Usually self-determination is interpreted to mean a separate state, so clearly that is very much a political objective. The page with that statement now seems to have disappeared from their website, although Antony Loewenstein, one if the leading members, states clearly his commitment to “self-determination” for Tamils in Sri Lanka.

    Clearly, the SL Campaign is a very political organisation and actually seems in part to be a front for (white) Australians such as Bruce Haigh & Damien Kingsbury some of whose writings appear to be attempting to legitimise terrorism as a valid strategy for political objectives.

    Like

    • November 11, 2012 5:10 pm

      Candydman
      Thanks for your reply
      I read all I could from the website of the Network for Social change and came up short on who they are what the exactly do. They seem to finance a lot of groups that I have never heard about. Why they are supporting the Sri Lanka Campaign is never made clear.

      I read many of the blogs and campaign press releases but could find any direct promotion of terrorism. There is plenty separatist advocacy and questionable accusations that read like an LTTE charge sheet. Being London based the Sri Lanka Campaign have a huge credibility gap when they advocate separatism.

      As for Antony Loewenstein. Even here in Australia he is treated as a radicalized joke. Have you ever tried to read his writings? Bruce Haigh has chosen the losing side of war and still doesn’t get it. As for Prof Kingsbury. He is far more knowledgeable and genuine than the average punter but his logical conclusions leave a lot to be desired. When I met him some years ago he was talking about rewriting the Sri Lankan constitution. Well meaning but naively wrong.

      Like

  2. November 13, 2012 10:42 am

    Time to find out whether it’s legal for ‘the Network for Social change’ to hand over £5k to this dodgy sounding charity. The money trail should lead to interesting places.

    Like

    • November 13, 2012 10:53 am

      Mango,
      Thanks for your reply.
      I am not sure about the legalities of the donation. However from my novice position it does not appear to be illegal. I may be wrong if the laws are different in the UK.
      Regardless of which the ‘Network for Social Change’ are not a mob that I would personally support myself. Many of their causes have a distinct bent to them.

      The 100 anonymous donors who raised the other £5000 would be a more interesting place to investigate. That is a very small number of people to raise such capital. I wait with baited breath for the ‘Sri Lanka Campaign’s’ annual financial report.

      Like

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