Sri Lanka's scorched earth offensive must be stopped - Boston Globe

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 February 2009, 12:41 GMT]
Pointing out that "the shelling of a hospital pediatric ward Sunday in Sri Lanka gave the world a glimpse of the scorched-earth offensive Sri Lanka's government has been conducting against the secessionist Tamil Tigers," the Boston Globe, in an editorial that appeared Wednesday, said the "war has to stop," and Obama administration ought to ask for a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire, and the Asian powers providing military assistance to Sri Lanka - China, India, and Pakistan - should exert their influence on the government to halt the shooting." The globe reiterated its long standing position that "[t]he only true solution must be political: some form of confederal autonomy for the Tamil regions."

Full text of the editorial follows:

The anguish of Sri Lanka

THE SHELLING of a hospital pediatric ward Sunday in Sri Lanka gave the world a glimpse of the scorched-earth offensive Sri Lanka's government has been conducting against the secessionist Tamil Tigers. UNICEF and the International Committee of the Red Cross expressed shock that the hospital was shelled, leaving children and their mothers mutilated, dead, and dying. It does not matter whether the government of President Mahinda Rajapakse or the Tiger leadership is most to blame for the suffering of 250,000 civilians trapped in the war zone. The war has to be stopped. The Obama administration ought to ask for a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for a cease-fire, and the Asian powers providing military assistance to Sri Lanka - China, India, and Pakistan - should exert their influence on the government to halt the shooting.

Ending the offensive is not only a humanitarian imperative, it is also the politically wise thing to do. Even if defeated militarily, the Tigers are likely to regroup and conduct terrorist operations in the capital, Colombo.

Also, many of the 62 million Tamils living in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, anguished at the plight of their fellow Tamils, are expected to stage major protests Thursday, the anniversary of Sri Lanka's independence from Great Britain. Schools and universities in Tamil Nadu have been shut in anticipation of trouble. There is a danger that Sri Lanka's intercommunal conflict could have destabilizing repercussions in India.

The conflict between Tamils of northeastern Sri Lanka and the Sinhala-dominated government has been going on since 1983. The only true solution must be political: some form of confederal autonomy for the Tamil regions.

But the more civilians are killed and maimed, the harder it will be to reach that solution.

 

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