by Rohana R. Wasala
Signs are that anti-Sri Lanka forces at home and abroad are already gearing up for a wishfully devastating diplomatic assault on the country during the forthcoming 46th session of the UNHRC in Geneva in March 2021. Politicizing the artificial burial issue and the innocuous ‘peniya’ to resist/treat Covid-19 and blaming it all on the government is one form of attack that uses distortion of facts and disinformation as weapons. Which side stands to gain by politicizing these ‘problems’ would be obvious to any dispassionate observer. The implicit charges of racist discrimination against minorities (trampling on their religious rights by banning burial) and reliance on shamanism instead of proper scientific medicine in battling the Covid pandemic do not hold water.
It was on the basis of unsubstantiated war crimes and human rights violation allegations against Sri Lanka that, in October 2015, the UNHRC in Geneva unanimously adopted Resolution 30/1 co-sponsored by the infamous Yahapalana regime. The UN body reinforced this with two other subsequent resolutions: Resolution 34/1 in March 2017 and Resolution 40/1 in March 2019, the last even after the US, the main sponsor of 30/1, left the HRC, having condemned it as a ‘cesspool of political bias’! (The United States withdrew from the UNHRC in June 2018). Four uncalled for mechanisms were to be set up under these resolutions: a judicial mechanism with a special counsel, an office on missing persons, an office for reparations, and a commission for truth and justice. Only the second and third (offices on missing persons and reparations respectively) have been established. Of the four only the OMP is deemed operational.
The movers and shakers at Geneva looking forward to the 46th session of the UNHRC in March to engage with Sri Lanka cannot ignore the implications of this humiliating electoral pratfall of their protege in Colombo. The new Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardane officially informed the UNHRC of Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from the co-sponsorship of the aforementioned UN resolutions based on totally unsubstantiated allegations. He said this while addressing the UNHRC session at Geneva in February 2020. The minister told the meeting that the 2009-2015 government had established domestic mechanisms to address a variety of issues including alleged war crimes, accountability, rule of law, and human rights issues, but that the Yahapalana regime abandoned those homegrown mechanisms.
Feeding the anti-Sri Lanka propaganda campaign that is gathering momentum ahead of the Geneva session, Rajan Philips (RP) (‘President Rajapaksa and his 13A dilemmas’/Sunday Island/January 3, 2021) wrote about two weeks ago: ‘……no one can do worse than CA Chandraprema’s attempt to rewrite history, as he did in his hagiographic monograph, “Gota’s War.” We can anticipate versions of it to be undiplomatically broadcast from Geneva from March onward’ (‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his 13A dilemmas’/Sunday Island/January 3, 2021). RP is launching a quixotic preemptive strike at Chandraprema, who was appointed as Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka at Geneva in November 2020. What can a biased scribe like RP do other than verbally discredit what he can’t rationally disprove? (because Chandraprema’s history of Sri Lanka’s war against Tamil Tiger separatist terrorism ‘Gota’s War’ is a record of solid facts, while being a well supported commendation of Gotabaya and his achievements in that war (or even a hagiography in RP’s sarcastic phraseology, if you like) crammed with facts.
RP quotes, out of context though, from KM de Silva’s ‘A History of Sri Lanka’ (1981) to suggest that Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike’s opposition to a federal constitution in 1956 involved the abandonment of an earlier contrary view of the matter that he had held: “it was a grim irony that he (i.e., Bandaranaike) should be called upon, at the moment of his greatest political triumph, to articulate the strong opposition of the Sinhalese to any attempt to establish a federal constitution.” Actually, RP’s is a false implication drawn from KM de Silva’s personal reflections or sentiments in that context.
What I remember as having read in the particular book is that the Kandyan members of the State Council on the eve of independence demanded a separate unit of administration (something that smacked of federalism) for the Upcountry because it had suffered special disabilities during the colonial times and could not expect a fair deal under a structure that didn’t recognize this. But the proposal must have been immediately shot down, because the Sinhalese looked upon the whole of the island as their single homeland of Sinhale, as they had done over millennia, despite numerous foreign invasions (from South India and later Europe) and occupations, the last of which was by the British, and a federalist notion was a contradiction of that unitary ideal. The Kandyans’ quasi federalist idea was much less menacing than what it means today: a hop, step, and jump to separation.
As RP later indicates, the quote comes from Chapter 36 titled “The Triumph of Linguistic Nationalism” of de Silva’s book. RP seems to indulge in some empty rhetoric: “The quote might suggest that the historian was having his academic tongue in his political cheek, but it reads far superior to anything that a geographer seems to be able to politically offer 40 years later. And this is not because Sri Lanka has too much history and too little geography.” The geographer meant here is Prof. GH Peiris, whose well argued case against the PC system titled ‘Province-based Devolution in Sri Lanka: a Critique’ was published in two parts in The Island issues of December 16 and 17. RP’s summary dismissal of the scholarly essay as ‘Midweek fury’ does not do justice to his own general knowledge or his common sense. To claim that the quote from de Silva “reads far superior to anything that a geographer seems to be able to politically offer 40 years later” is sheer nonsense, but RP tries to justify his summary dismissal of Sri Lanka’s history by stating that “this is not because Sri Lanka has too much history and too little geography”. The unintended ambiguity emphasizes the truth that he wants to obliterate: it is the truth that Sri Lanka has a well authenticated history that is far out of proportion to the relatively small size of its geographical territory. It is not the fault of the Sinhalese that detractors are not cultured enough to recognize the greatness of their very long history and their unique civilizational achievements recorded in ancient books and in rock inscriptions, many dating back to centuries BCE.
To return to RP’s reference to ‘Gota’s War’, which mainly provoked this reply, former Island columnist C.A. Chandraprema (but he was much more than that careerwise) has all the qualities that a successful diplomat should possess according to Robert D. Blackwill, Director, Harvard University’s Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Cambridge, USA. Some of these that Chandraprema has incidentally demonstrated in the course of his journalism are: good writing ability, an analytical mind, verbal fluency and conciseness, attentiveness to detail, perspicacity in policy review, insight into relevant political ideology. Of the fifteen positive qualities that Blackwill enumerates, the eleventh is ‘be loyal and truthful to your boss’. The ‘boss’ is of course the government of the country that accredits the diplomat. Chandraprema is definitely not going to face the embarrassment that our excellent career diplomats at Geneva had to face under Yahapalanaya. Love of the country the official represents should be added to Blackwill’s list as yet another essential quality in a good diplomat. Chandraprema possesses this in abundance. We already have patriotic career diplomats there who weathered through the difficult period while the Yahapalanaya ruled at home. With them, Chandraprema will be a formidable presence in Geneva to take on disguised Eelam propagandists.
To recognise and reward Women Entrepreneur
by Zanita Careem
WCIC “Prathibhabis-heka” national awards will be given to outstanding women entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka and the SAARC said Anoji de Silva, the chairperson of Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce WCIC at a press conference held at the Jetwing hotel Ward PlaceThis year the Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by DFCS Aloka.This National Award which is recognised globally will help women to market their products to international buyers
“As a country we have faced many difficulties over the last few years. Now this is the time to reflect and ensure that local women can contribute and progress to be on par with international entrepreneurs She also noted that this award ceremony is a great opportunity for all since it’s an absolutely empowering platform. “You hear success stories of women from different walks of life and it’s very empowering and inspiring. I’m sure that the younger generation of women who will watch the ceremony wii be inspired to be sucessful entrepreneurs in the future S
“Our women entrepreneurs have the potential to help our economy to grow. They have made vast strides to build companies on a set of values and they have created diverse working environments.
The WCIC Prathibhabisheka Women Entrepreneur Awards will be held in January 22. To the question how financial records of small businesses headed by women could deter their ability to apply the chairperson said.
“We have a startup category which is under five years where they can submit documents for consideration. She responded “These women can apply but must submit proper records to back their applications or else they will be rejected wholeheartedly.The Women Entrepreneur Awards 2022
“Prathibha” depicts excellence in Sanskrit and WCIC will showcase the excellence of outstanding women entrepreneurs through WCIC Prathibhabisheka –
“The relaunched property is structured to assess the businesses in a holistic manner. We invite outstanding women entrepreneurs, especially the ones who have braved the challenges in the past years to share their story of resilience and achievements to compete for the coveted – WCIC Prathibhabisheka The Awards will honour women entrepreneurs for their tenacity to scale and grow, and for their contribution and impact on the economy. Whilst the competition is primarily for Sri Lankan Entrepreneurs, we have also included an opportunity for women in the SAARC region to compete in a special category” stated Anoji De Silva, the Chairperson of the WCIC.
The members of WCIC Ramani Ponnambalam and Tusitha Kumarakul-asingam, said”. We will be accepting applications under the categories – Start-up, Micro, Small, Medium and Large. Each category will have a specified revenue for the year under review – 2021/22. Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards will be presented for each category. With the view to identify and promote regional women entrepreneurs, we will encourage applications from all the provinces in the country and select the “Best of the Region” from each province.
The women will also be considered for the coveted special awards – Young Woman Entrepreneur, Outstanding Start- up, Most Positively Abled Woman Entrepreneur, The Most Outstanding Export Oriented Entrepreneur, The Best of the SAARC Region. The ceremony will culminate with the selection of the “Women Entrepreneur of the year -2022”.
“The entry kit can be downloaded from www.wcicsl.lk and completed and submitted to the WCIC along with all the material required to substantiate the applicant’s story. Entries close on the 31st of October.” stated Tusitha Kumarak-ulasingam.
WCIC Prathibabisheka – Woman Entrepreneur Awards 2022 is powered by– DFCC Aloka, as the Platinum Sponsor, with Gold Sponsors – Mclarens Group, LOLL Holdings Plc, Hayleys Leisure Pic, and AIA Insurance Lanka Ltd (Exclusive Insurance Partner), Silver – Finez Capital Ventures Print and Social Media Partners will be the Wijeya Group and Electronic Media Partner–ABC Network with Triad as our Creative Partner and Ernst & Young as Knowledge Partner.
Women’s Chamber of Industry and Commerce (WCIC) is the premier organization supporting entrepreneurs and professional business-women. The membership is open to women who believe they can contribute to society as well as benefit from the many facilities the organization creates. WCIC Prathibhasheka is relaunched this year as a flagship property, to recognize and reward outstanding women enterpreneurs who make a contribution to the SL economy.
For further information Contact- Janitha Stephens – 0766848080
Marmalade sandwich in Queen’s handbag!
In this period of national mourning, it may seem frivolous to comment on the late Queen’s handbag. After seven decades of selfless service to the nation, fashion is but a footnote to Her Majesty’s glorious reign.And yet her style is something that helped to create the powerful majestic image of Queen Elizabeth II, and which made her instantly recognisable worldwide. A key part of that image, and a constant presence in her working life, was her black Launer handbag.
Launer London was Her Majesty’s handbag maker for more than 50 years and has held the Royal Warrant since 1968. Launer bags are formal and structured, and proved to be the ideal regal accessory for public engagements. Its first royal patronage came from HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in the 1950s. Where others might have bought the latest ‘It’ bag, Queen Elizabeth exercised characteristic restraint with her handbags throughout her life, focusing on quality over quantity in her loyalty to Launer.
Her Majesty was known for her love of colour in her working wardrobe, wearing rainbow brights in order to be better seen by the public, but her accessories were always muted. Black mostly, sometimes beige or white in summer, gold or silver in the evening: neutrals that matched with every colour, allowing her to dress with ease. The timeless style of her trusty Traviata top-handle bag suited the Queen’s no-nonsense nature and symbolised her steadfast reign. The late Baroness Thatcher shared the Queen’s love of a strong top handle from classic British labels such as Launer and Asprey. These bags helped promote a look of someone in control. Like Queen Elizabeth, Thatcher’s handbags were such a part of her identity that they have earned their own special place in history and have been described as the former PM’s ‘secret weapon’. One such bag has been exhibited at the V&A alongside Sir Winston Churchill’s red despatch box. Both are artefacts of cultural and historic importance.
It has been said that there was another purpose to the Queen’s handbag on public engagements, namely that she used it as a secret signalling device. According to royal historian Hugo Vickers, Her Majesty would switch the bag from her left arm to her right to signal for an aide to come to her rescue if she tired of the conversation in which she was engaged. If she placed the bag on the table, this was a sign that she wanted to leave. Ever-practical, HM needed a bag that focused on functionality over fashion, choosing styles with slightly longer top handles that comfortably looped over the monarch’s arm, freeing her hands to accept bouquets and greet the public. Even in her final photograph, meeting her 15th prime minister in her sitting room at Balmoral Castle, just two days before her death last week, the Queen’s handbag can be seen on her left arm. Perhaps at this stage it was part armour, part comfort blanket.Even at the age of 96, Queen Elizabeth II did not lose her ability to surprise. She delighted the public by taking tea with Paddington Bear at her Platinum Jubilee celebrations and finally revealed what she keeps in her handbag: a marmalade sandwich, ‘for later’.
Cinnamon Grand, Colombo welcomes You to the SEQUEL
The next best thing in Colombo!
What would you get if you took the decadence of yesterday and paired it with the flavours of right now? Something bold and jazzy or rich and snazzy. Something we’d like to call the next best thing. All this and more at Cinnamon City Hotels to the SEQUEL at Cinnamon Grand, Colombo said a press release.
The release said the SEQUEL is where the old meets new, where charm meets sophistication and having a good time gets a new meaning. Colombo’s latest speakeasy cocktail bar is ready to welcome the discerning guest that is looking for that perfectly curated night.
“The SEQUEL will be a novel addition to Colombo’s nightlife catered to enthralling guests with our performances and showmanship,” said Kamal Munasinghe, Area Vice-President, Cinnamon City Hotels.
What do we mean when we say performance? It means that every little detail is tailored to those who appreciate elegance, and a bespoke experience like no other. Think walking into a vintage space accompanied by the sounds of Sinatra and Fitzgerald inviting you to do it your way or for once in your life. Think of the soul-searching and eclectic mix of Winehouse classics that you can drown your sorrows in.
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