Boston Globe: Grant Tamils autonomy in homelands
[TamilNet, Friday, 26 December 2008, 22:51 GMT]
Boston Globe in an editorial published today warned that Sri Lanka’s military campaign
will only produce “new phase of protracted guerrilla warfare,” and that lasting peace is
possible only when Sri Lanka's government “grant[s] the Tamils meaningful autonomy in
their homelands.” The paper also asserted a cautionary note to the Sri Lanka Government
that “[e]thnic or nationalistic pride should not be allowed to inflict such suffering on
civilians who committed no crime but to be trapped in a war zone.”
|Quotes from Boston Globe's Past editorials|
Full text of the editorial follows:
ASIA'S longest civil war is building to a violent crescendo. In the island nation of Sri
Lanka, the Sinhalese-majority government should be pressed to accept a cease-fire, to
permit a political settlement.
Government forces are besieging the rebel Tamil Tigers in the north of the country. Since
abandoning a ceasefire in 2006 and a Norwegian-sponsored peace process earlier this year,
President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, Defense Minister Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, have
been vaunting their intention to crush the Tigers once and for all.
There is little chance the brothers' military campaign will produce anything other than a
new phase of protracted guerrilla warfare. Meanwhile, over 200,000 civilians have been
uprooted from their homes. On ground flooded by monsoon rains, they struggle to survive
in frail lean-tos, dependent on aid agencies that operate under the Sri Lankan army's
Both sides have abused civilians. The Sri Lankan military has bombed and shelled
villages, schools, hospitals. An official of the World Food Program told the BBC recently
that conditions for displaced people in the northern conflict zone are "as basic as in
Somalia." And Human Rights Watch has accused the Tigers of preventing 230,000 displaced
civilians from fleeing the war zone so they can be used as human shields, and to provide
a pool of potential recruits.
Tamil civilians of northern Sri Lanka are suffering a man-made disaster. Ethnic or
nationalistic pride should not be allowed to inflict such suffering on civilians who
committed no crime but to be trapped in a war zone.
Only when the shooting stops can Sri Lanka's government pursue a lasting peace - by
granting the Tamils meaningful autonomy in their homelands.
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