Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Genocide/Ethnic Cleansing Of Sri Lanka Tamils

Tamil Canadians of Sri Lankan Tamil origin in ...Image via Wikipedia

What is happening in Sri Lanka right now makes Darfur, and Palestine, and Zimbabwe and wherever else all pale in comparison. This is brazen genocide. Ethnic cleansing is going on. This is a crime against humanity, but where's the outcry?

The Sri Lankan army has eaten up that country's entire budget, it has snuffed democracy, it has attacked journalism - and I am talking Sinhala journalists - and it has been mowing down Tamils for weeks, months now. This is a democracy gone so insane, it is not a democracy no more.

Sometimes a human being snaps. In this case an entire country has snapped. It has more than lost its way. It has gone criminal.

Hitler did not round up people like this. His crimes became public only much later. People being taken to gas chambers did not know they were being taken to gas chambers. But the Sri Lankan Army is being brazen about killing thousands a day. It has erected an iron curtain around a massive chunk of territory where it has gone berserk.

I am not for violence. But then I am staunchly against ethnic prejudice and discrimination. Democracy was not the answer to Tamil grievances for decades. If the LTTE had never been born, if Prabhakaran had never picked up his gun, would the Sinhala leadership have brought about equality for the Tamils? I don't think so. If the Sri Lankan Army were to achieve its goals of ethnic cleansing, and perhaps route the LTTE, will the subsequent Sri Lankan federal government finally bring forth equality for the Tamils? I don't believe so.

The Tamil issue is something I have thought about a long time. I never thought violence was the solution. But then I also knew Sri Lanka had proven the Tamils could not expect respite in peaceful democracy either.

Minorities like the Tamils of Sri Lanka should have the option to take the Sri Lankan federal government to the international courts to seek justice and equality. Otherwise we are asking the Tamils to make peace with a second class status. The world today does not have that kind of structure. We have to build that kind of structure, so a people do not have to choose between inequality and violence.

But before that we have to deal with the immediate issue of genocide, of ethnic cleansing. The world is mute, and people are dying. If grieving for Tamils is too much of a stretch of heart and imagination, grieve that the Sri Lankan army has murdered democracy and free speech also for the Sinhala majority. A government that can so mercilessly kill its own people has had to have lost its soul. It has.

That violence is not a solution goes both ways. I never predicted a military victory for Prabhakaran. I doubt there is a military victory in store for the Sri Lankan Army. The solution was, and is political.

Sri Lanka's crime has been that it has been a unitary state. Sri Lanka's crime has been that it has not had a constitution that guarantees minority rights. I wish it had not, but violence resulted.

And if India is turning a blind eye because Rajiv Gandhi was murdered at the orders of Prabhakaran, it has to be pointed out Rajiv Gandhi was not murdered at the orders of the Tamil civilians who are currently being wiped out in the thousands in a slaught.

What Hitler did in an autocratic framework, Sri Lanka is doing in what is officially a democratic framework. The country does have a duly elected president. Sri Lanka is proof democracy is no solution. Sri Lanka is the most literate country in my neighborhood of South Asia. Sri Lanka is proof literacy is no solution. A heartless, soulless democracy is no solution.

This massive act of genocide has to be brought to an end. World leaders have to speak out. Journalists have to go cover the happenings. Marches have to be organized worldwide. Or after over six decades of Hitler we will still have made no progress.

As things stand, the president of Sri Lanka stands guilty of crimes against humanity, and is a ripe candidate for The Hague. End the onslaught. Seek a political solution.

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