Tuesday, April 21, 2009

52,000 hostages liberated

The media cheers when a single hostage held by a terrorist band or criminal is rescued safely... I know; I rejoice when that happens as well.

So how big a celebration should be planned for the successful rescue of 52,000 people who were held as "human shields" by the LTTE terrorists?

The Sri Lankan Army is in the midst of the final push to destroy the LTTE military wing on the ground in Sri Lanka, and have taken all the precautions reasonably asked of them. Where the next challenge lies is in the care of those displaced persons and in conducting the last stage of the campaign with a mind to rescuing those remaining people held against their will... Which might number as many as 50,000 more according to the ICRC...

No quarter to the armed insurgents from this point, either.
The operation gathered speed after the military's noon (0630 GMT) deadline for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to surrender passed without any word from the separatists, in what appears to be the final act in Asia's longest-running war.
They had their chance.

May fortune and good planning favor the Sri Lankan Army, and all who can be rescued brought out safely.

Update: Reuters Alertnet is now revising the figure to 62,000 rescued.


Will said...

I hate to say it, but this is the old "tragedy vs. statistic" case in reverse.

It's possible to identify with a few, a few dozen, or perhaps even a few hundred hostages. Almost no one could ever identify with a number like 50k hostages.

I'm not proud of it, but I essentially ignored this story when I saw the headlines on other sites.

I'm also far too cynical to think we've heard the last bad news from Sri Lanka. I'd be glad to be proved wrong though.

L.Douglas Garrett said...

Follow Up:

The UNHCR is quoting numbers as high as 110,000 people rescued.


You've got a point, re: why the media can't present the story and get an appropriate reaction.

We'll have to see if better days are coming, but for those rescued from LTTE confinement, I am sure *they* will see better days starting now.