Friday, May 8, 2009

A Political Solution for Sri Lanka?

As the government of Sri Lanka moves closer and closer to its goal of "crushing" the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the human cost of the conflict spirals out of control -- the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees reports that 120,000 people fled the conflict zone in the last ten days of April.
The situation is even grimmer for the 50,000 Sri Lankans said to be held by the LTTE in an area smaller than New York's Central Park. Since mid-January, 6500 civilians, including 1000 children, have died in the conflict. The Sri Lankan government has rejected requests from the United Nations to slow the assault by government troops so that food and aid can be sent to these trapped civilians, as well as calls for a humanitarian ceasefire by Britain and France, calling the latter "hypocritical" and "sanctimonious." Currently chaired by Russia, which has openly supported Sri Lanka's push into LTTE territory, the U.N. Security Council has taken no steps to stop the government's military offensive.
In an editorial last week, the New York Times noted that it would be a relief to see an end to the 25-year conflict in Sri Lanka. True enough, but what comes next? The Times proposes, in one breath, prosecution of both sides for war crimes and a serious political settlement. Can they go hand-in-hand, or must peace precede justice? Once the Sri Lankan government has defeated the LTTE, what incentive will it have to allow prosecutions to go forward against its own officials? Moreover, what impact will the Sri Lankan government's focus on "crushing" the LTTE (and, apparently, any civilians who get in the way of that goal) have on the possiblity of a political solution from the perspective of the Tamil population? The extremism and lack of respect for human life on both sides of the table make it difficult to imagine how common ground could be established. A lasting political solution will need to address the root causes of the conflict in a way that respects the presumably very different preferences of the Tamil and Sinhalese civilians who have suffered over two decades of violence.


1 comment:

abhinav said...

There cannot be any permanent solution to this irksome and knotty issue mainly because, it has now turned out be a genocide and attacking a particular race similar to what happened in Nazi' Germany. Rajapakeshe's government is attempting to emulate Hitler. Alas, the international community is keeping mum and by this act, has become aided and abettor on this human holocaust. Though Obama hails from a third world country where also it happened then world intervention had halted this gruesome murders of innocent people. India, the big brother is also aiding and abetting the State Terrorists, Sri Lanka by training and equipments to kill rather to decimate the race which is one of the ancient races in the world and lived as civilised people and has shown the world as to how to live as civilised people. Now the tamils numbering 8-10 crore are undergoing traumatic experiences, the tiny Lankan government is calling shots against international community. Even today, 3 British media men have been deported and the country is not allowing foreigners to report what is the ground reality. Only, the rebel website publishes the figures and facts, which appear to be reliable. China basically opposed the talk in the Security Council, because of its own problem, the world is quite aware of. It has crushed Tibetians and killed thousands under the tanks in Tinanmen square. Russia is made to be gullible because of China. US is quite of afraid of China and Russia and do not extend legimate assistance to thse hapless tamils. The EU countries which have sizeable dispora have a responsiblity to the wishes of these people. India because of its own problems and compulsions does not put much attention. However, it is onerous to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of the Tamils. The global community has equal rights to do so, as the Tamils are denied their place in the country by utter discimination - discrimination on language, cultural,religious.