Cancel CHOGM, disband the Commonwealth
by Shenali Waduge on 02 May 2013 3 Comments

The decision to hold the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka was endorsed on a proposal made in 2009 by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown at the summit in Trinidad and Tobago. But in an “all together chorus” the bandwagon of almost the same people supporting the LTTE now wants a CHOGM boycott of Colombo.


All we can say is that if it makes everyone sleep a little better, cancel the CHOGM and disband the Commonwealth altogether. The Commonwealth was only created to avert the colonies revisiting the crimes and atrocities committed by the British. Now, all colonies ruled by Britain should seek compensation as their countries were plundered and millions of indigenous people brutally massacred by British soldiers, turning fertile and once rich nations into Third World countries; it should be payback time. Member-nations must ask themselves why any Third World country would need to stand behind the Commonwealth.


The list of those calling for a Colombo boycott includes the usual suspects asking the LTTE to be let off the hook. They had not cared a damn for any of the heinous crimes committed by the LTTE through three decades. Thus, we find politicians like Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper protesting against Sri Lanka’s human rights record, Canadian MP Bob Rae, Australian former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and of course a former British foreign secretary now packed off to the US!


Joining this gang are the unofficial LTTE spokespersons Frances H and filmmaker C Macrae whose newest job appears to be making films on behalf of the LTTE and speaking on its behalf; one seriously wonders if he is entering politics. There is the ubiquitous Human Rights Watch – thankfully there are enough human rights abuses around the world to secure employment for these bodies!


Sri Lanka is unsuited to hold the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting anyway, because of its record of Human Rights. Let’s see the Human Rights record of the Head of the Commonwealth, the UK, their atrocities and scale of crimes against humanity. Their crimes run into millions of human beings.



-        The British colonial masters used hunger and starvation as tools which lasted for about 180 years and claimed about 30 million victims. Bengal had 30 or 40 famines during 182 years of British rule in Bengal. The last big famine in Bengal occurred between 1942 and 1945, during which at least four million people died as a result of famines caused by British policies.

-        Jallianwala Bagh where British troops opened fire on unarmed protesters in 1919, killings hundreds.


South Africa

-        Boer (Afrikaaner) Genocide, 28,000 Afrikaaner women and children died in British concentration camps, 1899-1902.



-        Mau Mau revolt in the 1950s. When the Kikuyu started to rebel against the British, 320,000 were driven to concentration camps. The remaining million were put into “enclosed villages” where they had their ears slashed; paraffin was poured on their bodies and set to light; some were flogged to death; eardrums were burnt with lit cigarettes; British soldiers cut off the testicles and fingers… the soldiers were told they could kill anyone they wanted “provided they were black” (Caroline Elkins). May be Callum MaCrae will note this for the next production!


Tasmanian genocide

-        Between 1803 and 1830, the Black aborigines of Tasmania were reduced to less than seventy-five. “We make no pompous display of Philanthropy. The Government must remove the natives – if not, they will be hunted down like wild beasts and destroyed!” - article in Tasmanian Colonial Times (December 1, 1826). Under martial law in November 1828, Whites were authorized to kill Blacks on sight



-        Unarmed villagers massacred by the Scots Guards in 12 December 1948


Sri Lanka

-        The Uva Rebellion/Third Kandyan War (1817) turned into a guerrilla war with rebels being brutally massacred by the British, who confiscated the properties of those involved in the uprising under a Gazette Notification, killed all cattle and other animals, burnt homes, property and even the salt in their possession during the repression. Paddy fields in the area of Wellassa were systematically destroyed (rice-bowl of Sri Lanka). The British also massacred the male population above the age of 18 years. Several governments after the independence of Sri Lanka wanted to revoke this ignominious Gazette Notification but could not take action. It was only in 2011 that the Gazette Notification, on instruction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was submitted to Parliament and revoked with the signature of the President. This allowed all those who participated in the uprising to be recognised as National Heroes.

-        The Madulla massacre was a shoot-to-kill policy not sparing even women and children (9 Dec 1817)

-        Matale Rebellion, also known as the 'Rebellion of 1848' (July 26). As if committing such atrocities was not enough, the British go and secretly remove all dirty secrets, hides (Hanslope Park) and incrementally destroys them so they do not fall in the hands of post-independence Governments. Why? The answer is simple – reparations!


Are these the happy memories we should thank the British for? Should Australians be happy that their ancestors are convicts that the British transported to Australia (also the US)?


The British Empire was so vast that save for 22 countries the British ruled 90 per cent of the world’s nations. By 1921, the British Empire held sway over a population of about 458 million people, approximately one-quarter of the world's population and a quarter of Earth's total land area. Naturally, British influence remains strong throughout the world, such as in economic practice, legal and governmental systems, militarily, society, sports (such as cricket and football), educational systems, and the English language itself.


Whatever Britain claims, the manner in which they treated the indigenous people – the way they quelled rebellions, the famines and the concentration camps to which people in their own lands were subject to, the alien religion forced upon them, the division they created through the systems they introduced, the manner in which they nursed indigenous people to function as Indian Sepoys – natives going against natives – this legacy and practice continues to exist.


Now, when Sri Lanka has done the impossible – eliminated a terrorist movement and terrorists who ran their international head office on UK soil openly despite UK banning the LTTE, where LTTE front organizations continue to openly carry out their agendas and despite the Sri Lankan Government rescuing close to 300,000 Tamil civilians, rehabilitating and reintegrating over 11,000 former LTTE fighters and having the humanity to consider LTTE child soldiers as victims and not as ruthless combatants and free over 500 of them – allegation after allegation is being cooked up against Sri Lanka.


This is becoming a real joke now.


Britain can boast nothing by way of human rights for centuries. Britain and other Anglo-Americans continue to carry out Western imperialist agendas that even mean assassinations of national leaders, installing puppet governments and now openly arming rebels that are exported to countries to create turmoil…


Now, when it is Sri Lanka’s turn to host the CHOGM, a well-choreographed plan is in place to use every communication channel to denigrate Sri Lanka.


If this is the way forward, it is time the Commonwealth nations begin to demand compensation from Britain for all its crimes against humanity which is long overdue.


How much should the United Kingdom Government pay the world’s citizens for centuries of imperialism, wars, diseases and mass murder – $58 trillion or $8350 for every living person was a suggestion – or cut off the debt of every nation?


Time for cost analysis to begin.

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