May 19, 2009

A PEOPLE WHO THINK THEMSELVES A NATION ARE ONE:

Sri Lanka's untold story: The Tamil cause still lives – growing global awareness will ensure Sri Lanka is held accountable for the slaughter of civilians ( Suren Surendiran, 5/19/09, guardian.co.uk)

In 1977, after three decades of discrimination and state-backed mob violence, the entire Tamil political leadership united behind a demand for an independent state comprising the Tamil homeland as the only way to escape oppression and discrimination in Sri Lanka. This fight for freedom followed another three decades through armed struggle. Today, Sri Lanka believes that it has crushed it, forgetting the 1.5 million Tamil diaspora from Sri Lankan decent living around the world, and the strength of over 60 million Tamils living just next door in Tamil Nadu of India.

Since independence, over 61 years, successive governments of Sri Lanka have demonstrated to the Tamil people that they have no genuine intentions of resolving this fundamental problem through a just and reasonable political power-sharing agreement. Institutions and the world powers, including regional players, have pretended to believe successive governments and their supposed sincerity.

However the liberation struggle has taken a turn beyond anyone's wildest imaginations in the recent months. People locally and internationally have decided to take the struggle forward, with or without the support of international governments and institutions. An initially non-violent struggle turned to an armed struggle, and has now taken a further shift – with the active involvement of people around the world. The lack of political will and the military aggression by the government of Sri Lanka has converted the unconvertible – particularly the second generation Tamils overseas – towards the separatist movement. World media has woken up to report the untold story of more than half a century. These developments cannot be quashed by the military might of Sri Lanka or the very people and governments around the world who have been assisting such brutal suppression.

A day will come that will see a new and free nation being born in the Indian Ocean, just as Bangladesh was created and others around the world such as Kosovo, East Timor and Eretria.


Sri Lanka, after the war (Boston Globe, May 19, 2009)
Once the humanitarian crisis is addressed, the European Union must follow up on its call for an investigation of war crimes against civilians. The Rajapaksa government has tried to draw a screen around its actions, banning independent journalists and international aid groups from the war zone. But the United Nations adopted a resolution in 2005 on the "responsibility to protect" populations that are not protected by their own governments. The massive killing and wounding of civilians on Sri Lanka represents exactly the sort of case that resolution was meant to address.

Ultimately, the only way for Sri Lanka to avoid another Tamil rebellion is to grant the Tamils some form of local autonomy in their region. Now that the Tigers have been crushed, the Sinhalese majority of Sri Lanka has no excuse for not addressing the legitimate grievances of the Tamil minority.


The armed struggle only delayed the inevitable.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 19, 2009 10:54 AM
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