Counter false propaganda with expatriate goodwill ambassadors
It had been a beneficial and profitable time for the Government after
a few fights against large organised forces. Quite recently many
creditable events had taken place to consolidate this view and
expression of approval was given on many fronts both local and
international including the grant of IMF loan facility.
There were instances where the Government credibility was discussed
or disputed, as a result, false beliefs based on illusions were spread
and false allegations were made that things wrongly supposed to exist in
Sri Lanka. Those judgments were held without actual proof to
substantiate its validity. It’s all what one thinks on a particular
point thus giving wrong opinions making it a one-sided affair.
Accusations against Government in the war front were made in order to
win international sympathy although the Government conducted the war to
the best of its ability under difficult conditions according to
international rules. However those accusations were not successful due
to lack of accuracy and credibility.
To raise funds overseas it is required to register it as a charity.
LTTE did not run charities in this country, instead it operated highly
sophisticated but clandestine overseas false propaganda machine not only
to raise funds but in the process sullied and tarnished Sri Lanka’s
reputation and image for over two decades which affected her Tourist
Trade. False propaganda quite deceptively led Europeans to a difficult
situation; Most of the people who involve themselves in this effort of
raising funds overseas are the very people who involve in false
propaganda work. Most of them had become citizens of European countries
and enjoy those privileges and rights of their respective countries.
They work and live among those Europeans and virtually involve in
everything that the Europeans indulge. Some of them are born in those
European countries and had never seen Sri Lanka.
Some others may have accompanied their parents and had got their
citizenship, live and work there or a few persons inter-marry with
Europeans. Despite in major changes their lives, they rarely forget
their original roots, their mentality goes back to their origins, even
after a lapse of two three decades; their wish is to help their people
back in Sri Lanka. They take these matters seriously. Therefore, it is
not uncommon for these groups to support false propaganda and fund
These are the very people who managed to bring traffic to a complete
halt in major city in Western Europe. The expenses to control their
sheer numbers and maintain law and order cost a few million pounds.
Sri Lanka had effectively convinced both India and the USA that it
had done a great services by beating the stubborn LTTE. On the other
hand both countries would prefer not to see terrorism held high in Sri
Lanka and preferred Sri Lanka stays as a friend of both countries. Sri
Lanka’s position had to be considered as a ‘favourable’ one during the
high level talks between Dr. Manmohan Singh and American State Secretary
Hilary Clinton which would have obviously stood well for Sri Lanka’s
current standing. India may have intimated her concerns to the USA about
LTTE linkages with radical Indian elements as well as Tamil Nadu
involvements which could have let loose a possible wave of political
unrest within the Indian sub continent, a distinct possibility.
All in all Sri Lanka’s future looks extremely favourable for
investment and tourism provided tourism recovers from the temporary
hiccups concerning the lucrative European market.
Also Sri Lanka’s ostentatious display of LTTE’s recently found huge
arms stocks that were buried and uncovered pointed out a signal to the
world that they should not repent over the complete annihilation of
In the meantime we hear overseas reverberations and news that a new
leadership is to emerge. These groups have not abandoned their quest for
fighting, eager for revenge, another method or cause to fight.
Whilst Sri Lanka enjoyed and danced on the streets and villages over
the Forces victories the euphoria went on over two weeks showing the
But Sri Lanka lacked ‘people power’ overseas where it matters the
Remember where the traffic came to a dead halt in a major European
city? Generations of false propaganda aided by anti-demonstrations
promoted obstinate opinions about Sri Lanka.
The pro demonstrations sadly lacked cause to have a specified
direction or target. There was no control, management or command and it
was easy for all Europeans, all over Europe to make certain judgments
without actual proof. They observed what they were given to watch. Then
it was up to the pro elements to perform their home work, be present and
participate in sheer numbers to influence the losing balance in the
apparatus where debits and credits are given accordingly. Thus Europeans
think twice before making those obstinate opinions simply, because they
are then confronted with two “people powers” and not one.
“Expatriate people power to be reckoned with” Finding ways and
desired course of action to combat and eradicate false propaganda and
other issues that affect the tourism trade etc had been one of the
difficult tasks Sri Lanka had faced during the last few decades. It
cannot be tackled by negotiations or any other method due to the fact
they occur overseas. There are not many answers to this problem. Even
though the war is over, it walks with its head held high knowing Sri
Lanka’s weakness in this area.
But now this menace is to be met with an opposing menace which is to
be introduced in this article.
Establishing Vigilante groups among expatriate communities: Vigilante
groups are generally people who perform voluntary work for the welfare
of a community. In this case it is done for the sake of Sri Lanka’s
future aspirations and goals which need to be addressed.
Finding a durable solution, bring a concept that can bring answers to
specific questions; the country is faced with, a problem not commonly
found, but also difficult to cope with by force or by negotiation,
similarly if the answer was easy any successive government may have
attempted by finding a solution by now. This means finding a solution is
This writer merely bringing two concepts in anticipation hoping they
are the right answers or solutions for the problem and other than that
no other expectations or involvements intended.
Vigilante groups are self-appointed, they are perceived to be of good
character and good watchers, they watch carefully, pay attention to,
good at observing remarks, Quick at noticing and ability to keep things
under observation, wait alertly before reporting. They could also be
described as unofficial guardians of people rights.
Firstly the concept of such a service may have to be taken by the
Government who would make evaluations independently of its viability and
practicability in terms of its overseas policies.
In any case if this concept is not desirable, another concept to be
considered. Expatriates to work as “goodwill Ambassadors” This scheme
does not require official sanctions. It is upto the Sri Lankan groups,
Associations, Societies and rights groups to come forward and help Sri
Lanka at this hour.
The work of a goodwill ambassador can be classified as people who
voluntarily offer a service promoting goodwill and friendly feeling
among people. The intention that goodwill results. A goodwill ambassador
is one who behaves well, having the right and desirable qualities. He or
she could be proper, expedient and a morally correct person.
In this instance the Goodwill Ambassador’s main task would be to
provide promotion of Sri Lanka Tourism, her potential as a safe tourist
destination and he or she counters false propaganda. Carry a little hand
book or an eye catching little brochure giving a brief story about Sri
Lanka’s “Big Miracle”. There are capable and talented special writers in
Sri Lanka to do this, the goodwill ambassador has to be pleasant,
efficient and a thorough person. Above all a person with all honesty to
perform such a task. He or she is also subject to answer questions about
Sri Lanka’s conflict.Sri Lanka would like to hold the lucrative European
tourist market in a ‘tight embrace’ and now this had been further
strengthened by the Government by banishing the menace of terrorism. Our
intense effort and approach should not only be dynamic but also
perceived by real performance, clear vision and definite goals
We must prevent and take the necessary safeguards to eliminate any
attempts by our opponents to strangle our economy by affecting the
tourist trade. Tourism from Europe had been our backbone, any attempts
to prevent us from becoming a big player in this region could only be
achieved by pure performance. Europeans do have choices to select a safe
destination to travel, to have a good holiday. In life Europeans set
targets to achieve, to save money like every one else and work harder
knowing that a holiday is not far off and looking forward to recharging
their bodies and minds.It is therefore upto us to make that holiday a
happy memorable one.
Europeans think very seriously about having a holiday every year. A
holiday has become a customary thing. Once you get to know a tourist,
you get the message he or she is eager to know more about the conflict
and there is no point if the interest to know has been overtaken by
other interests, means there is no point talking about that subject.
Every tourist who comes to Sri Lanka has some knowledge coupled with
different opinions about the war which they are entitled to form
themselves. It is true that the Government did not enjoy the option to
engage in a war. But if that option was not taken the Government would
be blamed or find themselves at fault for breaking people’s mandate
given to it.