British commentator questions suitability of English cricket tour to Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Friday, 17 June 2011, 12:18 GMT]
Following the airing of Channel-4 documentary “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields,” Mike Atherton, cricket correspondent for UK’s The Times, compares Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapakse’s regime to that of Robert Mugabe’s in Zimbabwe and questions the suitability of England’s tour to Sri Lanka, scheduled for this winter. Atherton is a former England captain and Sports Writer of the Year 2010.

Full text of Atherton’s comment in The Times follows:

Tamils’ plight must prick English consciences

Throughout Sri Lanka’s tour to England, a small and dedicated band of Tamil protesters have done their best to raise awareness of the persecution that members of this minority have suffered and continue to suffer in their homeland.

They were at the Sri Lankans’ opening match, at Uxbridge, and at the npower Test matches at Cardiff and Lord’s. By and large, it is a voice that has been ignored.

Channel 4’s distressing documentary on Tuesday evening that highlighted the systematic killing, torture and sexual abuse of Tamil prisoners of war and civilians during the past couple of years of the civil war, and that showed images that were more shocking than anything seen on television since the Ethiopian food shortages, should change all that.

Increasingly, the United Nations’ inaction on the evidence of war crimes looks inexcusable. If that continues, it is likely that questions will be asked about the suitability of England’s tour to Sri Lanka, scheduled for this winter.

After all, there seems little to differentiate President Rajapaksa’s brutal regime from that of Robert Mugabe’s in Zimbabwe, about whom English consciences were severely pricked.


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