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International Community Must Intervene in Sri Lankan Conflict Immediately

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Punctuated by haphazard attacks, the Sri Lankan war finds its fateful genesis in 1972 when Velupillai Prabhakaran formed the Tamil New Tigers. With a name change to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in 1976, the militant organization has continued to wage a vicious secessionist campaign that has morphed into the longest-running armed conflict in Asia.

The Tigers are considered to be a terrorist organization by 32 countries. The Sri Lankan military began a serious offensive in January, gaining crucial ground and pushing over major Tiger strongholds. The Tigers’ control over a “shadow state” in the north of the country was ended by the Sri Lankan military, with Kilinochchi falling on January 2, 2009.

After the Sri Lankan capture of Kilinochchi, several foreign governments implored both sides of the conflict to seek a diplomatic solution.

Sadly, the fighting continued and the civilians have been caught in the middle. The government of Sri Lanka continues to press ahead, unyielding in their mission to wipe out the Tigers once and for all. Various groups, such as Amnesty International, have demanded action from the U.N. Security Council, citing “the horrific condition facing civilians” as a grave matter that must be addressed.

U.N. figures show 7,000 Tamil civilians killed between January 20 and May 7. Some health officials estimate that another 1,000 civilians have been killed since then, with combatant casualty figures remaining a mystery.

The death tolls for the Sri Lankan conflict exceed the casualty tolls this year in Gaza, Pakistan, Iraq, and Afghanistan combined. The Red Cross has reported an “unimaginable humanitarian catastrophe,” while U.S. President Barack Obama has condemned the Sri Lankan government’s “indiscriminate shelling.”

As of yet, however, there have been no significant international efforts to help stop the violence in Sri Lanka. The government has faced threats from Britain and the United States to temporarily delay a much-needed IMF loan worth almost two billion dollars, but the ferocity of the Tigers appears to be affording the Sri Lankan forces some sympathy and, as expected, clemency amid the denunciation.

In terms of the Tamil rebels, there is little that can be done along diplomatic lines.

With civilians plainly trapped in what could be carelessly referred to as a buffer zone, the exigency of the conflict reaches epic proportions. An area consisting of two square kilometres has been designated as a “safe zone” by the Sri Lankan government, but the use of heavy artillery by the military and the use of civilians as human shields by the Tamil rebels have left an estimated 50,000 civilians in peril.

The differences of both sides of the conflict must be put aside for the sake of the civilians doubtlessly caught in perilous middle ground. With the Red Cross unable to deliver aid and with diminishing water, food, and medical supplies, intervention must occur to assist civilians caught in the middle. Their politics need not matter at this point and time, as their lives must come first.

There must be unencumbered access to Sri Lanka’s troubled areas for international monitors and agencies to address the human rights violations and serious need for care.

There are some reports of a mass suicide planned by the Tigers, as the Sri Lankan forces have them cornered on a strip of beach. It is estimated by some that the fighting may be over by late Saturday. If this is the case, the gargantuan need for humanitarian assistance should be readily perceptible. The Tamils, on the other hand, have said that this will only mark the beginning of another bloody chapter of conflict.

The Sri Lankan government is expected to press through with the final stages of their offensive, which will probably result in more civilian casualties before victory is obtained. With more innocent lives trapped between the military’s onslaught and the brutality of the Tigers, immediate intervention is essential.

Whether there will be war crimes tribunals or not remains to be seen, as very little access in the region has been granted to the media and diplomats. As this continues to play out, the eyes of the international community must be on the region and the first priority must be to ensure the safety, care, and protection of the civilians caught in the middle.

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About Jordan Richardson

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    Jordan,

    Thanks for dealing with an issue too many western writers neglect out of the basic racism that makes them view “non-whites” as not worth considering. After, white people are not getting killed, so what’s the big deal, right?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Thanks, Ruvy. I figure the most violent conflict on earth deserved at least some half-assed coverage here.

  • Irene Wagner

    Jordan Richardson– I appreciate this article, too. There’s something that’s been bothering me, and I’m pretty sure you’ve done some thinking about it.

    When violence gets to the point that it interferes with or precludes administration of humanitarian aid (as it has in Darfur)what’s the next wise step? Unfair question, I know…

    There’s been more than one long drawn-out war that started when compassionate people were encouraged to engage in a “significant effort to help stop the violence.”

    The suffering of these people is undeniable. If I were one of them, I’d sure want to see a saviour rolling over the horizon in a tank with a big star on the side…but…?

  • Jordan Richardson

    There’s clearly no one catch-all answer that comprises the “next wise step,” as you know. In fact, I’m not even so sure that the best steps are the wisest ones.

    When I look throughout history at those who really changed things, who really made differences, I don’t see careful, measured individuals making wise, rational decisions. I see a slew of caution-to-the-wind crazies putting others before themselves. I think that we need to be grounded in that philosophy.

    Now you expressed something very important when you empathized with those who are suffering. Organizations like Amnesty International exist to offset the lack of information we receive from regions like Sri Lanka and to provide awareness. That’s the basic first step in grasping this conflict. We need to understand it as a global community. With so few people even knowing that it is occurring, it’s hard to get a dialogue about anything going as relates to assistance or aid.

    So you couple the desire to help, irrational as it sometimes is because it sometimes means you go downtown to work with junkies who might stab you and it sometimes means you go to war-torn countries where you might get your ass shot, with a broader sense of global awareness of these issues and I think the solutions start bubbling to the surface. The more people willing to work on and discuss a problem, the more likely we are to find new solutions to work around the violence (or through it).

    In this specific case, I think the answers are pretty certain: the UN Security Council must continue to apply pressure, the loan must be put aside until proper aid and diplomacy can be brought into the region for the civilians, and the fighting must stop. I know that I am simplifying things, of course, but that is the nature of the beast.

    One example of new solutions to old problems comes from Africa where aid workers are beginning to get around the concept of warlords interfering with financial and food aid from the West by providing the people with micro-loans to get on their own feet. This is one way to mobilize a culture and start the momentum rolling in the other direction. Sri Lanka’s innocents need something similar in order to escape the constant crush of terror and civil war.

  • Irene Wagner

    Thanks for the time you put into your answer, Jordan Richardson.

    Putting one’s life on the line to deliver humanitarian aid sounds like something someone with a true warrior’s heart could get behind, and there’d be plenty of thoughtful pacifists willing to fully support aggressively selfless efforts like this.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Why do we have to intervene in every conflict in the world? It’s not enough to have ridiculous numbers of troops engaged in Afghanistan? Where does it stop after Sri Lanka? Are we on to Somalia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, Tibet, Venezuela, Burma, etc?

    At a time when we have serious problems at home, intervening in yet another unresolvable conflict seems insane.

    Dave

  • Bliffle

    Sounds like the Tamils are almost finished off.

    Why did this separatist movement start in the first place? Was it political opportunism by rebels? Was it (yet another) religious group oppressed by state religion?

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jordan-richardson/ Jordan Richardson

    Bliffle,

    The Tigers claim that they’re protecting Sri Lanka’s Tamil majority from “discrimination” from Sinhalese governments. They want to secede.

    Dave,

    Nobody’s asking the United States to ride up on their white horse and save the day. Nor is there the suggestion that anyone else gets involved militarily.

    Instead, this requires a global peace effort. If the United States continues to claim to be a world leader and wants to “lead by example,” surely aid directed towards the most violent conflict on this earth right now would be a good idea.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Let’s all hold hands and sing kumbaya, then. By all means.

    Dave

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Let’s all hold hands and sing kumbaya, then. By all means.

    One of your better ideas Dave. Except the part where Kumbaya has the lord in it and all. Good start though.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jordan-richardson/ Jordan Richardson

    Dave,

    Wasn’t it just yesterday that you “admonished” me for not caring about the “cause of liberty” (read: your cause of liberty) while my “belly was full” and while I had “350 channels?”

    Are you even aware of your own hypocrisy or does the cause of liberty only matter among your own kind?

    Why is it so loathsome to you that there are those among us who choose to care more about whether the world’s poor have basic food, water, and shelter than whether the world’s wealthy or middle-class have the ability to purchase a second car or bigger TV?

    We have different priorities, Dave, and all the shirtless poolside chats in the world can’t change that.

  • zingzing

    they gave up.

  • Ruvy

    If the United States continues to claim to be a world leader and wants to “lead by example,” surely aid directed towards the most violent conflict on this earth right now would be a good idea.

    Jordan has a point, Dave. If the United States stopped intervening in our affairs paying for the Egyptian military machine (and our own) and got the hell out of our lives, then your vaunted State Department could effectively lean on the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE to get a “peace process” going. Let them feel the hot breath of Americans intervening in their affairs to “do good”. It would be better for me personally.

  • Ruvy

    On an unrelated topic, I’m glad to see this article feature at front and center of the Magazine. It makes BC look good!

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    I had 50 bucks on the Tigers at http://www.betus.com, too … :-/

  • Brian aka Guppusmaximus

    “If the United States stopped intervening in our affairs paying for the Egyptian military machine (and our own) and got the hell out of our lives…”

    Sure, then some religious extremist,like yourself, from Darfur,Sri Lanka & every other country that we finally support financially will say that we aren’t handling the situation properly or that we are siding with the group(s) that’s causing the problem…HA!

    Honestly, it sounds like Sri Lanka’s Military is doing a damn good job. Let’s see if they can finish it…

    “At a time when we have serious problems at home, intervening in yet another unresolvable conflict seems insane.”

    I agree 100%, though, the only time these ideologists speak is when things aren’t going right in the part of the world they seem to be focused on. If it took force to solve the problem at hand then 99% of these great humanitarians wouldn’t make that ultimate sacrifice. I think it just looks good to be so caring…

    Hmmm,I wonder why we don’t have anymore articles about the “failure” in Iraq??

  • Ruvy

    Sure, then some religious extremist,like yourself, from Darfur, Sri Lanka & every other country that we finally support financially will say that we aren’t handling the situation properly or that we are siding with the group(s) that’s causing the problem…HA!

    Ain’t my problem, Brian. Maybe you guys should support the right people for a change, instead of assholes like the Wahhabi, the Torah-hating Jews in Israel, and all sorts of shithead dictators all over the world. I hate to tell you this, Brian, but America has a pretty rotten rep in the world. I could go on illustrating that for you, but it’s hot as hell here and I really don’t have the patience – or a fan on.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Game over.

    As usual, the “international community” was too slow to do a damn thing. See also: Rwanda, Sudan, Burma, etc.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    As of this morning’s news it looks like the Tamil Tigers have been wiped out, so the path is now open for humanitarian aid.

    Dave

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    So, the USA can lean on the Sri Lankan government to stop killing civilians with no reason, then. They are a lot nastier than our government, which gets in trouble with the shits in your State Department if a fuckin’ rock-throwing Arab gets a stubbed toe from a rifle wound…..

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    The Sri Lankan gov’t military is doing a good job…?

    If you are happy rooting for racist genocide, 72k people in gov’t internment camps, and military rape of civilians and think that is a ‘good job’, then your ‘pick’ is winning.

    A RASCIST WAR IN SRILANKA -Arundhati roy

    Sri Lanka throws out three Channel 4 journalists

    Asia correspondent Nick Paton Walsh deported after report on deaths, food shortages and sexual abuse at refugee camp

    A different viewpoint on the history and background:

    Sri Lanka’s hollow victory: Why hammering the Tamil Tigers will not bring peace
    By Mitu Sengupta
    May 4, 2009

    Getting to the root of the conflict: Tigers are the product, not the cause

    Given all of this, it is tempting to assume that Sri Lanka will be infinitely better off without the LTTE, and that its elimination will necessarily steer the country towards order, stability and reconciliation. Sri Lanka’s steely President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and his three brothers with ministerial status, are evidently confident that a full purging of the Tigers — now perhaps only days away — will have been worth all the carnage and dislocation of the past few months, which have left some 200,000 civilians directly at risk.

    This easy conclusion, however, rests on a profoundly wrongheaded view of the Tigers’ role in the conflict. The LTTE is the product, not the cause, of Sri Lanka’s deadly politics.

    To begin with, the conflict, if not the war, predates the LTTE by a few generations. Its origins may be traced to the effects of the nefarious “divide and rule” policies devised by British colonial administrators to govern Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The British used the upper caste and upper class among the island’s Tamil minority to keep its Sinhalese majority in check, and in return, gave these Tamils the best government jobs and the benefit of an English education (upper class Sinhalese were also privileged, though Tamils were disproportionately favoured).

    This wretched balance changed for the worse with independence in 1948, when Tamils found themselves outnumbered and marginalized inside the new Sri Lanka’s unitary state and majoritarian institutional framework.

    With the Tamils rendered politically irrelevant, short-sighted politicians competed with each other for the Sinhalese vote, and soon discovered that the political party with the stronger anti-minority stance was almost always guaranteed electoral success. Such “ethnic outbidding,” as scholars have characterized the dreadful process, led to the rise of a ferocious Sinhala nationalism that demanded revenge for the Tamils’ supremacy during the colonial period, along with a revival of the Sinhala language, culture and religion (Buddhism). It saw Sri Lanka as for the Sinhalese alone, and insisted that the Tamil minority acquiesce to its subservient position or, better still, simply leave.

    (snip)

    To most governments, the bloodbath in Sri Lanka is the consequence of a sovereign power besieged by a brutal domestic insurgency. In its protracted campaign against the Tigers, the Sri Lankan government has received military assistance or counterinsurgency training from many countries, including India, Pakistan, Israel and the United States. This is to be expected in a world where states are generally considered legitimate, no matter what they do, and those that challenge their authority are instantly viewed as criminal — a distinction that’s been sharpened, no doubt, by the menacing language around the “war on terror.”

    Indeed, following Sri Lanka’s success in having the LTTE proscribed as a terrorist organization in Canada, along with 30 other countries, the sense that the Sri Lankan state is on the right side of history has grown from strength to strength, which might explain the shockingly muted condemnation of its actions in the rapidly unfolding tragedy.

    It’s probably too much to expect the Canadian government — or any other government for that matter — to accept the argument, however rigorously advanced, that the Sri Lankan state and the LTTE have mirrored each other’s unyielding attitudes and methods, and, that ultimately, the noble sovereign power and the sinister terrorist organization are two sides of the same bloodied coin.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Here’s one example, Jordan, why the US and what could have been her arm, NATO, has been disabled from effectively intervening in all such conflicts.

    It was barely ten years ago when Gen. Wesley Clark spoke with great confidence and optimism of NATO becoming a number one force in the area of diplomacy and resolution of conflicts. But how can we effectively pursue this policy – especially in times of dire need – when the US itself is involved in questionable conflicts all over the world – questionable because the perception lingers that whatever we’re doing is in the US interest.

    We’ve got to clean our own act before we could play an effective role whenever the situation calls for it – and have the support of the international community. Not before.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Yes, Ruvy, the American government is not nearly pro-Israel enough. There is always more we can do other than the billions in annual aid for our closest non-NATO ally who spies on us.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jordan-richardson/ Jordan Richardson

    I think that’s just more American egotism, Roger. The perception of which you speak will always be present. History marches on while America tries to apply a coat of pain to her reputation and that just doesn’t fly when people are suffering.

    America can join the global community and help out when others are in obvious need, or they can look the other way and claim to be about the business of reputation repairing. The choice is clear and, luckily, America often comes through.

    I guess what you’re talking about might look decent on paper, but I think the rest of us would sooner just get the fuck on with it and stop dithering about while America “repairs her street cred.”

    Honestly. Ego is a killer and the best way to go about actual solutions is to stop looking to America every time out of the gate. It’s a big world out there and there will be a post-American age to deal with. The global community has to learn to act without Her looming around every corner and that’s basically what this article calls for.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    FWIW, I think the Tamil Tigers had a legitimate beef. I don’t support their suicide bombings, but then I don’t support turning hospitals full of civilians into charred craters either.

    Now that this little mess has passed, however, we can all get back to what’s really important: American Idol!

    ZOMG Gokey!!!11!!

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  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jordan-richardson/ Jordan Richardson

    By the way, I only mention the U.S. once in this article in passing. I called for international media access to the region, support for aid groups internationally, and international monitors to address the human rights issues.

    It wasn’t until Dave came by and whined about “having to help out” that I actually addressed the Big Bad U.S., and that was only in direct conflict with his idea that America’s hands are just too busy right now. Your assertion, that America’s hands are just too dirty, is similar.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I was talking about breaking the old patterns, Jordan. During the Kennedy era, America was being perceived by the world at large as a force for the good. We had the power, the influence, and perhaps even the will. Then Vietnam happened.

    If US were to demonstrate to the rest of the world that it’s going to do an about-face, I’m certain the international community would respond. Just to give you an example: the NATO intervention in the Kosovo war was by an large supported by all. And except for the few hitches, it was a successful operation.

    I’m not being motivated here by my own personal feelings or “pride in my country.” Just thinking about it objectively, in terms of offering the right kind of leadership. But as I said, it would take nothing short of a drastic reversal.

    Something like that is badly needed, because as things stands, the international community, without leadership, appears paralyzed and impotent.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    It’s all really simple, if you understand the internationalist leftist mindset:

    The USA tries to help in Somalia – We are colonialists trying to impose our racist will on an impoverished Third World country full of peaceful Muslims

    The USA flees from Somalia after its soldiers are slaughtered – We are gutless cowards who embolden terrorists like Obama bin Laden

    USA doesn’t stop genocide in Rwanda – We are heartless racists and are fully culpable

    USA tries to restore order in Haiti – We are racists who are engaging is paternalistic hegemony in the Western Hemisphere

    USA doesn’t intervene in the former Yugoslavia – We are impotent paper tigers

    USA does intervene in the former Yugoslavia – We are cowards who only bomb from above, and turn the Serbs and Russians into enemies

    USA bombs aspirin factory in Sudan – WTF???

    USA invades Afghanistan after 9/11 – We are just interested in an oil pipeline, we don’t have enough troops, this is the graveyard of the Soviet and the British empires, we are indiscriminately murdering civilians, we hate Muslims, we have no exit strategy, we ask too much of our NATO partners

    USA invades Iraq with a coalition of allies after innumerable UNSC resolutions, and overthrows a dictatorial regime that repeatedly invaded its neighbors and butchered it own civilians – The USA is a warmongering, genocidal NAZI regime trying to steal oil from benevolent kite-flying Arabs for empire and glory

    USA doesn’t invade Sudan – George Bush doesn’t care about black people

    USA doesn’t intervene in Burma – ZOMG!!!11!! MONKS!!!11!!

    USA doesn’t intervene in Zimbabwe – Huh?

    USA doesn’t intervene in Sri Lanka – Probably our fault, too.

    Too bad the “international community” couldn’t step in each of these times, amiright? Unfortunately, all their divisions seems to be tied down in East Timor right now (and for the next couple of decades).

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    NATO is under-reports the number of US caused civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

    Old patterns? It’s continued and only actions. This is what nations do. They only want people to fall for the storybook version about spreading love and democracy. They are only and solely self-interested and anywhere they can and have gone this is what they enforce. The rest is just PR for consumption by the masses to elicit support.

    Nations are not good vehicles for intervening on behalf of others, for this reason alone. They almost invariably march in and act against the interests of the common person. (Another thing they and the media leave out of reportage.)

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    The problem with the NATO is three-fold:

    -The original mission was the oppose the Warsaw Pact (well, the NATO formed before the Warsaw Pact, but still). The Warsaw Pact is dead. The USSR is dead. Therefore, the NATO has no mission, unless it finds a new mission. And what is this new mission, exactly?

    -Members of the NATO are expected to spend a minimum of 2% of GDP on defense/military spending. Most don’t. Exceptions include France and the UK. But that’s about it.

    -When the USA calls upon its “allies” in the NATO for assistance (like, say, in Afghanistan), many member nations see fit to send us cook and teachers. Thanks a lot. Leave the fighting to us, you handle the bratwurst!

    The NATO is a joke, especially after Georgia.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You’re right. We politicized it. And the Georgia affair definitely was a fiasco. But realistically speaking, the Cold War is over. It should become a truly international force able to act, and on moment’s notice, in situations such as these.

    Humanitarian aid, when it’s not backed by a neutral and adequate force, is a joke. It’s like cleaning up the mess after the fact (as if to alleviate our conscience “because we’ve done something”).

    We must be able to avert these disasters before they happen.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    In 50 years, no one will have to worry about the “international community.”

    The EU will be in an endless three-way civil war between Christians, Muslims, and secular leftists.

    The USA will be part of Mexico, or Brazil, or something.

    Russia will be populated by 90 million HIV+ 50-year old vodka-guzzling alcoholics. (With nukes. But no one can find the keys, so it’s all good.)

    Red China will rule the roost. And I don’t believe they will give a flying fuck about “international opinion” or “empathy” or “human rights” or “emancipation from the salt mines.” They will just dominate.

    Hey, that’s what happens when you geld the entire herd of nations, except the one with 1.3 billion people in untapped slave labor. Oh, and nukes.

    My next graduate degree will be in Mandarin. I sincerely hope my future masters only waterboard me infrequently, and that my chains rest lightly upon me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You may well be right, especially about the NAFTA deal. I don’t know about the Chinese, though. Throughout their history, they’ve never had a stomach for world conquest. It may be counter to their national character.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    roger:

    We can only hope. Because, let’s face it, if they do decide that they want global conquest, they kinda sorta have a major fucking opening right now.

    No one seems to notice, but Red China is quasi-recolonizing sub-Saharan Africa right now. Good times were had by all, except of course the indigenous people.

    Think the Belgian Congo was a colossal cluster-fuck? Google Zimbabwe in 15 years.

    Yeah.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    My next graduate degree will be in Mandarin. I sincerely hope my future masters only waterboard me infrequently, and that my chains rest lightly upon me.

    RJ, you white devil,

    Your first assignment in Mandarin is to learn how to say “ma” in the four tones of the Mandarin language, properly, so that you will be saying, “whatever his majesty desires”.

    Should you fail, you will be flogged with a bammboo stick and you will be held down with 20 kilogram chains on your wrists while water drops slowly on your face – and you are dragged behind a pickup truck with four drunken rednecks in the front screaming “SOOEE!, SOOEE!”

    Mild discipline…..

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t think it’s the leftist mindset that’s the problem here, RJ, but what I and Jordan (see his earlier remark) believe that our hands are dirty. And unless the perception changes, we can’t act in the position of leadership.

    Before your doomsday scenario comes into fruition, though, it would serve the world’s interest to have a fully capable international force able to intervene and stop these little conflagration before they erupt.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    The first thing we should do, IMO, is stop importing their stinking products (which are only dangerous to one’s health) and cancel the fucking debt. Throw the ball in their court just to see the response.

    If they’re the enemy, let’s find out now rather than later.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Ruvy:

    Seriously. Sounds like a typical Friday night at the sushi bar for me.

    Well, except the whole language thing. I guess there’s a difference between Japs and Chinks?

    /sarcasm

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Am I the only one here who thinks that Sri Lanka is entirely justified in the course of action it is taking?

    I’m sympathetic to the Tamil people’s right to self-determination, but the Tigers were a bunch of ruthless bastards. They’re responsible for some of the worst terrorism in the history of the ‘art’, and pioneered suicide bombing long before it became fashionable among Islamic extremists.

    An opportunity arose for the government in Colombo to crush the rebellion once and for all, and they seized it with both fists. The Tigers have advertised their intent to regroup and continue the fight once the war is over, and the only way to stop them doing that is to exterminate them.

    It’s horrible that noncombatants are caught up in all this, but it’s utterly unrealistic to think that a war, especially one of this type, can be fought without incurring civilian casualties.

    A Sri Lanka without the Tigers – who in the past have even gone so far as to carry out air raids on the capital – will, in the long run, be better for all the island’s people.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Doc:

    I think that’s pretty much the government’s point of view. And I’m not suggesting that it’s necessarily wrong.

    But have you read the list of the Tamil’s grievances? They are kind of an oppressed minority group. I too strongly oppose their use of suicide bombers. But, just because their means were unsavory, does that mean their cause was unjust?

    It doesn’t really matter, though. This battle is over. If the Sinhalese majority begin to treat their minority groups like full citizens, then the battle is likely over for all time. If not, there will inevitably be another insurrection at a future date. That’s how I see it.

  • http://ruvysroost.blogspot.com Ruvy

    DD,

    Not only do I not have a dog in this race, but I don’t even know which dogs are running. In other words, I cannot give you an intelligent comment on Sri Lanka. Over at Desicritics, you can see a lot of folks who think the Sri Lankan gov’t should keep killing and killing – or on the other paw, that the Tamils have an entirely justifiable case in rebelling against the government.

    I will say this though. RJ’s dire predictions for the future, whether sarcastic or not – make sense.

    If I didn’t believe in Divine Redemption, I would agree with him. But, in all truth, rational as that vision of RJ’s is, I do not think it will happen. If China becomes a dominant power on the planet, it will be for a period of maybe a year, if that.

    Heh…. That’s the trouble with prophecies. If you claim you are a believer, you gotta believe in the prophecies….

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    They ought to have let the fuckers to secede. Obviously, another conflict along ethnic bloodlines.

    Cindy’s long comment regarding the historical origins of the conflict, as based in the British divide and conquer policy, is an interesting one, though.

    Have you chanced to read it, Doc? Your opinion?

  • http://twitter.com/tolstoyscat Cindy

    Sri Lanka has, I believe, the record for disappeared citizens held by a democracy. They’ve been committing genocide while claiming it’s all about the Tigers. Funny how gov’ts take liberties like that. Can’t say I can support genocide. I wouldn’t support the Tigers either–just the people.

    (remember the people?)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    A good case in point for the tyranny of the majority.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    So, the USA can lean on the Sri Lankan government to stop killing civilians with no reason, then.

    Well, I think it means that they’ve run out of people to kill, so by default they’re all nice people now, right?

    Dave

  • http://jetsgaypride.blogspot.com/ Jet Gardner

    I’m more inclined to believe they just want us to send them some money to stop fighting.

  • STM

    The conflict has spread here. Some people said to be of tamil background stormed a house in Sydney after an argument over the argument and threw acid in the face of a sinhalese man, seriously injuring him.

    Police are still looking for the intruders, but arrested five men following a brawl between members of the sinhalese and tamil communities earlier.

    Sri Lankan Consul General Gothani Indikadahena said the victim, a business student in Australia, may lose his sight and had suffered many other injuries.

  • zingzing

    “Your first assignment in Mandarin is to learn how to say “ma” in the four tones of the Mandarin language, properly, so that you will be saying, “whatever his majesty desires”. ”

    actually, that’s “my mother yells at horses.” but whatever.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jordan-richardson/ Jordan Richardson

    Stan, we’re having the conflict bubble over up here, too. I’ve an article in pending right now that slightly details some of the conflict on the verbal end, while a Buddhist temple was burned down in Scarborough, Ontario a few days ago with alleged connections to what’s going on over in Sri Lanka.

    We really do live in an international community, no matter which individual country we might happen to reside in.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writers/jordan-richardson/ Jordan Richardson

    #43,

    Well said, Cindy. The Tamil people need to be heard, but the Sri Lankan government is intent on blocking most access to media and providing their own information. It’s very difficult to get actual facts out of the region, although many aid organizations have been trying to do so.

    As I say in this article, there needs to be pressure on the Sri Lankan government through the avenues of diplomacy (for example, the IMF loan should have been rejected entirely or at least put on hold until the gov’t could prove that the cash wasn’t being used to arm more troops to commit more Tamil genocide) to let more aid organizations in and also to grant full media access so that the world can understand the issue.

  • eureka

    Excerpt from CNN video on ‘Witness to Survival” by Ms. Sara Sidner on her visit soon after the Presidential election: the journalist challenges the President’s lies


    The journalist is prevented from going to the North
    at the army checkpoint, police and army in plain clothes to monitor the journalists, IDPs can be interviewed only in the presence of the Army and Tamil fishermen are moved inland to let Sinhalese fishermen take their place with army camp for protection.

  • eureka

    No war, no peace: the denial of minority rights and justice in Sri Lanka, Report by Minority Rights Group International, 19 January 2011:

    With the end of the conflict between Sri Lankan government forces and the Liberation Tigers for Tamil Eelam (LTTE or ‘Tamil Tigers’) in 2009, normality has returned for much of the population of Sri Lanka. But for members of the country’s two main minority groups – Tamils and Muslims – living in the north and east of the country, harsh material conditions, economic marginalisation, and militarism remain prevalent.

    Drawing on interviews with activists, religious and political leaders, and ordinary people living in these areas of the country, MRG found a picture very much at odds with the official image of peace and prosperity following the end of armed conflict. ….

    ”The UN Independent Expert on Minority Issues should be granted an invitation by the government to visit the country in order to report to the United Nations Human Rights Council on the situation of minorities in Sri Lanka.’’

  • eureka

    A publication of the Institute for Constitutional Studies, ‘Twenty Two Years of Devolution – An Evaluation of the Working of Provincial Councils(PCs) in Sri Lanka’, launched on 21 December 2010 says: … Recentralization is the hallmark of the system. Today, PCs have become a means by which the centre controls regional resources. They have also become the avenues through which the centre consolidates its political power.

  • eureka

    The President who has been buying time by ”appointing” various bodies reports of which he has been refusing to publish has recently come out with the truth like his predecessors:
    ”If I make any devolutionary concessions to the Tamils, it will be curtains for me” – Sri Lanka: Indian Delegates go Home Empty Handed, Kumar David, southasiaanalysis.org, 15 June 2011.
    L. Athulathmudali, 4 Feb 1985: ‘’Proposing a federal constitution will be political suicide.”
    R. Wickremasinghe, 13 May 1997: “We are a political party, we will not do anything that will not get us into power, nor would we do anything when we are in power to lose power.”

  • eureka

    REPORT OF THE SECRETARY-GENERAL’S PANEL OF EXPERTS ON ACCOUNTABILITY IN SRI LANKA (PDF) (31 March 2011): ” …. The final months of the war are a grave assault on the entire regime of international law. …. The Government subjected victims and survivors of the conflict to further deprivation and suffering after they left the conflict zone …. Recommendation 4: The Human Rights Council (UNHRC) should be invited to reconsider its May 2009 Special Session Resolution(A/HRC/S-11/L.1/Rev.2) regarding Sri Lanka, in light of this report” –

  • eureka

    Internally Displaced Persons in Sri Lanka – a Continuing Debate, Jacob Ashik Bonofer, October 2010: ‘’ K.Gurunathar, former Director of Lands in the united North-Eastern province reported to the Commission(LLRC) that “a lot of lands in Trincomalee had been taken over by various government departments for department projects. While this might be necessary the Tamils were finding it difficult to secure land….That lands, supposedly taken over for public purposes or for state backed activities were being handed over to new Sinhalese settlers…Sinhalese settlers had illegally and forcibly occupied lands on both sides of the 50km new road between Seruwila Buddha Vihara and Somapala Vihar.”