So what's the deal with Bob Rae and Sri Lanka?


You may have already heard that Canadian MP Bob Rae has been denied entry in to Sri Lanka.

What is the reasoning behind this? Why Bob Rae?

According to a statement made by Rae to the Toronto Star after his deportation, Rae said "A review of my record would also show that I have been a champion of moderate Tamil opinion and Tamil dissent. I have been a steady critic of the abuses of human rights that were part of the LTTE's tactics, and have spoken about this unhesitatingly in Canada and abroad."

What then is the reasoning behind this?

I had a brief look at Rae's website. And I found several statements that would not only irk the Sri Lankan government, but all law abiding citizens of this country.

Bob Rae

The Sinhalese community - the majority population - took power after the departure of the British in 1949 and over a long period made a series of disastrous decisions: imposing their language and religion (Buddhism) as the only official expression of the country, limiting access to universities and the civil service by the Tamil community, and refusing to broaden the country's politics to allow an effective expression of Tamil opinion.

I have said this before, I would like to invite Rae and others to go through any archives anywhere and find a government policy that intentionally limited university access or access to jobs for Tamils.

You won't find one because there is no such thing. No government policy prevented Tamils from getting jobs or an education.

It may seem trivial but the legitimacy of the Tamil Tigers as 'freedom fighters' could only be spawned after convincing the world for 20 years that there has been gross discrimination.

The language laws and Buddhism as an official religion affected more than just Tamils. Muslims of Sri Lanka speak the Tamil language. Other communities however understood that a majority Buddhist nation and a majority Sinhalese speaking nation is where we live, and we adjusted.

The laws have since changed. Today there is no discrimination.

Yet, Prabhakaran wanted to wage war to carve out a state for only Tamils.

There are no two sides to the story. For years MPs like Rae pampered and encouraged extremism under the guise of equal rights.

Tamils have held high profile positions in every aspect of Sri Lanka's administration. Including the armed forces.

On Rae's website he makes it seem like he has Sri Lanka all figured out. What about me? I am not Sinhalese or Tamil? Where do I fit in Rae's assessment of Sri Lanka?

Sri Lanka and it's 21 million people are not just about the 'Tamil Vs Sinhalese conflict'. As far as the average Sri Lankan is concerned they are not at war with Tamils, but the Tamil Tigers.

I can see why the Sri Lankans have a gripe with Rae's view. For years he equated a group of terrorist with a democratically elected government.

Now it appears he is back in Sri Lanka trying represent the interest of Tamil Tiger sympathisers in Canada.

AFP
COLOMBO (AFP) — A prominent Canadian MP was denied entry to Sri Lanka on Wednesday and deported for allegedly supporting the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels, officials said.

Bob Rae, a Liberal member of parliament, former Ontario prime minister and outspoken critic of the Sri Lankan military's offensive against the rebels, was detained after flying into Colombo's Bandaranaike International Airport.

"He was put in the next available flight and sent back," an airport official told AFP.

He said Rae was sent aboard Sri Lankan airlines flight UL503, which flies direct to London's Heathrow airport.

Sri Lankan immigration chief P. B. Abeykoon said Rae was blacklisted over his alleged links to the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, who were defeated last month after a massive military onslaught in the north of the island.

Rae had added his voice to widespread international condemnation of the offensive, which according to the United Nations left thousands of civilians dead in indiscriminate shelling.

"He is barred from entering the country. He is being deported... we have intelligence information that he is supporting the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam)," Abeykoon said.



(Thanks to Rohan who posted the video in the comments below - I dont agree with all points on the video above both from Rae and the comments added to the video later. But I chose to embed it here so one can see the general gripe Sri Lankans have with Rae)

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