2ND LEAD (change in title)

Boston Globe: Sri Lanka, in danger of becoming a rogue state

[TamilNet, Thursday, 17 July 2008, 11:33 GMT]
"The solution to Sri Lanka's conflict must be political, not military. Rajapakse should be encouraged to strike a deal that grants Tamils substantial autonomy in their own homeland areas. If not, the war will drag on, and Sri Lanka's government may find itself classified alongside the regimes in Burma, Zimbabwe, and Sudan as an international pariah," Boston Globe, in an editorial published Thursday said.

Full text of the editorial follows:

Sri Lanka's forgotten conflict

PARTISANS of human rights have been rightly outraged this year by the behavior of ruthless regimes in Burma, Zimbabwe, and Sudan. But when the government of Sri Lanka was stripped of its seat on the United Nations Human Rights Council this spring - a body that includes Saudi Arabia, Cuba, and Russia among its members - hardly anyone noticed, outside of the small community of human-rights organizations.

This inattention has a price. It means there is scant outside pressure on President Mahinda Rajapakse to protect civilians caught up in a vicious war between the army and separatist guerrillas known as the Tamil Tigers. Tamil civilians in the northern Jaffna peninsula are exposed to indiscriminate bombing and artillery shelling, and a strict army pass system keeps much of the civilian population from escaping.

Human Rights Watch has called on the government to stop the arbitrary detention of Tamil civilians, who have been held in a kind of concentration camp in the north. "The Sri Lankan government shouldn't treat civilians as criminals just because they're fleeing a conflict area," said a recent statement from the group's Asia director.

China and competing Asian powers India and Pakistan could help end the conflict. But they have been more interested in doing business in Sri Lanka and securing geopolitical influence there - just as they have in Burma and elsewhere. The solution to Sri Lanka's conflict must be political, not military. Rajapakse should be encouraged to strike a deal that grants Tamils substantial autonomy in their own homeland areas. If not, the war will drag on, and Sri Lanka's government may find itself classified alongside the regimes in Burma, Zimbabwe, and Sudan as an international pariah.




Editor's note:

The editorial features the use of a term 'pariah'. This word of Tamil etymology stands for an ancient and prestigious community of drummers who later came to be considered 'untouchables' by another section of people. The word got into colonial English diction and is internationally used today in phrases such as 'Pariah states,' without knowing the etymology that it is a racially discriminatory term against a poor and oppressed section of Tamils and Tamils in general. See a related article in TamilNet: "Para Demala". TamilNet protests the use of this term, but reproduces it here for faithful reporting of news. We request the International lexicographers to de-list this word from the English dictionaries as it offends and commits injustice to the self-esteem of a people.


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External Links:
BG: Sri Lanka's forgotten conflict

 

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