Friday, January 2, 2009

Good going. Don't ease up.

This could be said about a number of the trouble spots in the world right now, but in particular it applies to this announcement by the Government of Sri Lanka stating that the Army has taken Kilinochchi, the LTTE "capital".

This is the best campaign in years that the Sri Lankan Army has run, and is making slow but steady progress toward victory, but remember...

The summer campaign of 1996 captured the city, only to lose it again during the LTTE counteroffensive of 1998.

This is no time to ease up. Finish the fighting part of the job, then look to reconstruction and popular reconciliation. Done right, there will be no need to have to do this again one day.


Kapilan said...

The main reason that the war has dragged on for so long is that the Sri Lankan government is unwilling to give any rights to the minority groups. They want to eliminate it and create a pure Sinhala-Buddhist country. They believe that Buddha gave them the island to preserve Buddhism. They see the minorities as an impediment to their holy mission. Until the Sinhala masses get rid of their "chosen people with a holy mission" myth, this war is going to drag on.

L.Douglas Garrett said...

"The main reason..." -- well, I'd say that issue was at the forefront of how the war(s) started. I have reason to believe that the picture is a bit different now (~last 5 years) than it was in the late 1970's~mid 1980's time.

I would be interested in seeing any documents of the Government of Sri Lanka *today* taking such a policy position.

The opinion of the masses may well still be burdened by that belief. There are always major issues with minority rights in countries with over 80% mono-ethnic / mono-cultural majorities.

The test, if you will, is what standard of civil rights is granted to the "European" and "Moor" minorities, as well as to Christian and Moslem adherents, and see if those: (1) live up to the expected standards of a modern liberal democratic society; and (2) same rights have been granted to the "Tamil" minority (both parts).

It will also be telling to see what happens when the bulk of the Sri Lankan Tamil population is no longer living behind an LTTE curtain.

personal note@Kapilan

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