David Miliband as Peter Pettigrew
Navanethem Pillay as Dolores Umbridge
Gareth Evans as Gilderoy Lockhart
Jon Snow as Rita Skeeter
Alan Keenan as Nagini
Joan Ryan as Bellatrix
Ban Ki-Moon as Prof Severus Snape
In May 2009 we thought the Terrorist Tigers had been vanquished. Mr Prabhakaran was dead, along with many of his fighting cadres, and most of the rest had surrendered. It was true that some had got away in the preceding months, and a few more managed to escape, but these by and large made their way out of the country. Sri Lanka itself seemed free of terror and terrorist activities. Though the remnants of the LTTE abroad continued to stick to their original agenda, it seemed that resurrection of the movement that had wreaked so much damage was unlikely.
Recently however there are signs that the movement feels it has got a new lease of life. Taking advantage of what it sees as the vulnerability of the Sri Lankan government to international pressure, it has also endeavoured to convince the majority of the Tamil people abroad that the LTTE agenda can be revived. Most worryingly, it is also trying to stir dissension amongst Tamils in Sri Lanka, who would much rather work together with the rest of the country to ensure rehabilitation and reconciliation.
The strength of the old LTTE identity in other countries struck me, watching the one but last Harry Potter film, as arising from the dividing up of the LTTE persona in the way in which the evil Lord Voldemort had divided up his soul and stored the parts in seven horcruxes all over the world. While the list may not be exhaustive, we can see then the way in which LTTE rumps, in Britain and France and Canada and the United States and Australia and South Africa and India, have tried hard to make sure that their destructive agenda dominates discourse in those countries.
Once one realized how similar the LTTE was to Voldemort, the parallels flowed thick and fast. We have for instance Navanethem Pillay, who behaves exactly as Dolores Umbridge did, who was supposed to teach students to defend against the Dark Arts in the fifth Harry Potter book. What she did instead was to bully the decent people in her class, making them for instance torture themselves by a gruesome form of self confession, carving an admission of guilt into their own palms. So too Navenethem Pillay, instead of worrying about terrorism and real evil, uses her position as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to humiliate those who provided the best defence against terror.
And, just in case it might seem that I am upset about Dolores Pillay because of her relentless attacks on Sri Lanka, let me quote what one of the brighter Australians I know said – ‘Any denunciation is welcome of the preposterous Pillay woman. She’s just been in Australia denouncing us as a Syria-like human-rights abuser. Her ignorance and lack of proportion is breath-taking, matched only by her arrogance and self-righteousness.’
In three of the books the teacher supposed to provide instruction against the Dark Arts turns out to be pretty nasty. One of them however is simply a gullible self-promoter called Gilderoy Lockhart. His opinionated flamboyance was similar to that of Gareth Evans, who first tried to make waves in Sri Lanka in 2007 by suggesting that other countries should interfere in Sri Lanka. In invoking the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect, while also putting himself forward as the Lord Protector, he suggested that genocide and ethnic cleansing were occurring in Sri Lanka.
He did this with no idea of what he was talking about, as he admitted when he asked his speech writer what was meant by ethnic cleansing. The answer was the LTTE expulsion of Muslims from the Northern Province in 1990, though anyone listening to Gilderoy Evans or reading his text would have assumed he was talking about recent events.
The speech writer was Alan Keenan, who has been the most dangerous perhaps of the death eaters, slithering in and out of Sri Lanka like Voldemort’s familiar Nagini. He seems to have laid his cards on the table in a recent interview he gave to a French lady called Angelique Mounier-Kuhn, in which (in the Google translation of the French) he is supposed to have indicated that foreign governments meant the ‘want other people lead the Sri Lanka’. He goes on to made clear what he meant in adding that ‘However, from Iraq to Libya, experience shows that it is risky to push for a change regime.’
Nagini went around delivering death to all those Voldemort wanted to get rid of. These included Severus Snape, who had done his best to help those opposed to the Death Eaters whilst keeping the trust of these latter. His predicament was in a sense similar to that of Ban Ki-Moon who, though he has often been suspected of wickedness by those fighting terror, had good reason for his circumspection. We must remember though that Snape did his best to protect Hogwarts, no easy task towards the end when Death Eaters had been placed all around him. Having had to cope with Navanethem Pillay and Louise Arbour and Martin Lee, Ban Ki-Moon must know exactly how Snape felt. However, with the support of heads of the old agencies, such as those of UNDP and WHO and ILO (Juan Somavia indeed looks a bit like the gentle giant Hagrid), one hopes good will triumph in the end, and that Ban Ki-Moon will not be sacrificed by Nagini Keenan in his push for regime change all over the world.
Given the desperate efforts of Jon Snow at Channel 4 to present lies and half truths as evidence of allegations he has concocted, I need hardly comment further on his resemblance to Rita Skeeter. But I should note that J K Rowling leaves it open as to whether Rita is simply an amoral journalist willing to do anything to grab attention, or whether she has more sinister motives, to which she has been brought by the emphatically wicked.
Whether wicked or not, Snow certainly resembles Rita Skeeter in other ways. I was reminded of her preposterous costumes in reading the British Sunday Times characterization of his ‘comic ties and jocund socks… It is a pathetically and worryingly childish pose in a man approaching retirement’.
The Sunday Times was more serious in criticizing the journalistic aspect of the performance – ‘Snow’s commentary was intemperate and partisan, and it was all held together by assumptions. Channel 4 News has drifted from providing news broadcasts into being an outlet for nodding spokespeople and assorted NGOs and environmental pressure groups, or anyone who can provide interesting or sensational film. It follows the old American news adage, “If it bleeds, it leads”.’
Who then are the people Snow is providing an outlet for? I have no doubt LTTE personnel are amongst those who have fed Channel 4 information, along with Sri Lankans of all groups who like Alan Keenan want regime change. But most insidious of all are the old Channel 4 patrons in the form of the last Labour government, with its now open champions such as Joan Ryan of former – and no doubt future – terrorists, crudely and unashamedly partisan like Bellatrix in the last few Harry Potter books.
It was Channel 4 after all who questioned the Lancet’s account of 100,000 civilian deaths in Iraq by claiming, on October 29th 2004 if I have it right that ‘without bodies can we trust the body count?’ This is very different from their bald assertion, with no evidence at all, that there were 40,000 civilian deaths in Sri Lanka. But the reason for these double standards was made evident by the note in the New Statesman on November 15th 2004 I believe which said ‘Channel 4 delivered a hatchet job, based on Downing Street briefing’.
Tony Blair may have been responsible for many of the excesses and the cover-ups in Iraq, but he was certainly ably assisted in the latter period by his preferred successor David Miliband, who seems now to be the prime mover in the effort to resurrect the LTTE. Miliband looks rather like Barty Crouch, who escaped from Azkaban in the guise of his old mother, and subsequently imitated Mad-Eye Moody as the Professor of Defence against the Dark Arts. His venom when he is found out makes clear the nasty inner nature of the cherubic youth who kept changing character.
David Miliband’s latest outburst about Sri Lanka however suggests a more weaselly nature than that of the relatively passive Barty Crouch. In his effort in 2009 to save Mr Prabhakaran, his determination to take revenge on Sri Lanka through the Special Session of the Human Rights Council which he declared was to do with War Crimes (as well as the deprivation of GSP plus, when one of his sidekicks Lady Aston sent a different response to the one anticipated by her peers in Brussels), and now his leaping into the fray with a tendentious and misleading article in the New York Times, he shows himself the most determined Death Eater of them all.
He reminds me then of Peter Pettigrew, who betrayed his friends to keep in with Lord Voldemort, who turned himself into a rat to escape justice, and then when back in human form cut off his arm to ensure the return of the Dark Lord. I hope nothing quite so bad happens to Mr Miliband. But I suspect he has forgotten, if he ever knew it, that Voldemort means a wish for death, and that the destruction terrorists can perpetrate on body and soul are immeasurable.
We have to hope then that this motley crew do not succeed. India I believe has destroyed its own horcrux, in line with the destruction of Voldemort’s Diary in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Despite the efforts of LTTE sympathizers to revive LTTE support in the South, I believe the Indian government will not allow terrorism to flourish again, as opposed to support for the Tamil population.
But elsewhere the residue of the terrorist movement lives on. We need to identify those elements that give it strength, and prevent their support from creating more suffering, and death and destruction, for this country that needs peace, for the world that could do without covert and overt encouragement of the Dark Lords of Terror.