Fein challenges SL Ambassador on "right to secession"

[TamilNet, Saturday, 23 February 2008, 18:01 GMT]
"A debate between us would enlighten the American people, Congress, and the White House over a question central to the foreign policy of the United States: when should a right to secession from an existing sovereign be recognized? Tamil statehood, which would end a grisly conflict that has killed tens of thousands in Sri Lanka, is too important to be left to sophistry," challenged Bruce Fein in a letter addressed to Sri Lanka's Ambassador to U.S., Bernard Goonetilleke, following the Ambassador's 25th speech in Washington, and 17th February article titled "Tamil homeland fantasy" in Washington Times.

Attorney Bruce Fein, Ambassador Gunatillake
Attorney Bruce Fein, Ambassador Gunatillake
Full text of the letter addressed to the Ambassador follows:

Dear Mr. Ambassador:

I am pleased to challenge you to debate Tamil statehood at the National Press Club at a mutually convenient date in February or March 2008.

In your January 25, 2008 presentation, you articulated prerequisites for statehood that would have denied the right of the United States to separate from Great Britain. The American colonists had never been sovereign before the Declaration of Independence. Native American Indians had occupied the North American continent long before any European colony was established. Under your reasoning, the United States should never have been born as a new country irrespective of King George III's absolute tyranny, which pales in comparison to the prolonged Singhalese repression of Tamils in Sri Lanka. You also likened the plight of Sri Lanka's Tamils to the Confederate States of America and its resort to arms to expand and entrench slavery. You further pronounced without elaboration that a Tamil state would exclude and expel all non-Tamils.

If the Government of Sri Lanka, as you tacitly boast, treats Tamils as first class citizens with no cause for complaint, why is not a referendum held among Tamils to choose between statehood and unity? Canada permits Quebec to vote on independence. The United States permits Puerto Rico to vote on independence. Serbia permitted Montenegro to vote on independence. Why are the Canadian, United States, and Serbian examples not good enough for Sri Lanka? Is it the same reason why India balks at holding a plebiscite in Kashmir in accord with United Nations Security Council resolutions?

You are an unexcelled spokesman for the GOSL's adamant opposition to statehood. A debate between us would enlighten the American people, Congress, and the White House over a question central to the foreign policy of the United States: when should a right to secession from an existing sovereign be recognized? Tamil statehood, which would end a grisly conflict that has killed tens of thousands in Sri Lanka, is too important to be left to sophistry.

Statesmen do not run and hide from a battle of ideas.

Please identify which dates in February or March would be convenient for you to debate me at the National Press Club. A failure to reply should and will be interpreted to mean that neither you nor your superiors in Colombo have anything to say against Tamil statehood, and thus stoop to indiscriminate aerial bombings and bullets.

Sincerely,
Bruce Fein
Attorney
Tamils for Justice


Chronology:


External Links:
WT: Disingenuous about Tamils
SLEmbassy: Ambassador Gunatilleke's talk on 25 January 2008
WT: Tamil homeland fantasy
WT: Tamil Statehood?
US: Publications of Litchfield Group, Bruce Fein

 

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