US envisioning 'post-conflict' period puzzles Tamil circles

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 01 April 2009, 11:09 GMT]
“The international community has started planning for the post-conflict period”, said a letter written a week ago by US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton to US Congress members who had shown concern to the humanitarian situation in the island of Sri Lanka. “I emphasized that the Sri Lanka Army should not fire into the areas where civilians are trapped in the conflict zone. I urged President Rajapaksa to devise a political solution to the ongoing conflict”, the letter further said. On the contrary, as civilian killings are only intensified by Colombo and as there are no signs of recognising the long-standing basic Tamil aspiration of self-determination, Tamil circles wonder what is meant by ‘post-conflict’ and by ‘political solution'.

In a single letter itself, the US Secretary of State stressed thrice on 'post-conflict' and on 'political solution'.

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton
“We continue to urge the Sri Lankan government to devise a post-conflict political solution that will demonstrate to Sri Lanka's Tamil population and the Tamil Diaspora that the government is serious about political inclusion. We have called on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to allow civilians freedom of movement and to discuss modalities for ending hostilities.”

“The international donor community in Sri Lanka has also agreed on certain guiding principles for post-conflict donor assistance. These principles include the Sri Lankan government's good faith effort towards political inclusion, credible power sharing and respect for human rights”, read Hillary Clinton’s letter, underlining her keenness in first herding the civilians into Colombo’s camps and then pressurizing Colombo for an ‘unspecified devolution’ through donors.

Reflecting on the outlook of US Secretary of State, a Switzerland based Diaspora and Human Rights activist Shan Thavarajah told TamilNet that the implied message of the letter is that "the Tamils should forfeit their own struggle and place their trust on donor manoeuvres."

"The visions of a post-conflict scenario will sadly be a mirage, if what is planned is actually post-defeat shackles and the deliberations are only for making it look golden," commented Mr. Shan Thavarajah.

Shan Thavarajah
Shan Thavarajah
"While the US Secretary of State pins hopes on post-conflict scenario, a term in lieu of 'post-LTTE' used by Colombo circles, the US Ambassador in Colombo sometimes back cautioned Colombo government on LTTE ‘sleeping cells’ and the possibilities of the conflict continuing in a different way," he pointed out.

Appreciating Ms. Clinton's stance in recognising the need to meet the aspirations of the Tamil Diaspora as well in any political solution, Shan Thavarajah said, "a post-conflict scenario is the hope and prayer of every one."

"But whether it could become a reality by allowing brutal and coercive violence of Colombo and whether mere devolution and development would meet the fundamental issue of the conflict in the context of Sri Lanka, are questions raised in the Tamil circles," he said adding that "subjugation is a wrong strategy to achieve a lasting solution."


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