Feature Article

‘Extreme position of appeasement’

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 September 2010, 00:50 GMT]
“Sri Lanka sits at the crossroads of two significant contemporary geopolitical shifts. Firstly there is the rise and resurgence of China as a regional power; and secondly, many Western governments have lost their credibility in terms of morality, human rights advocacy and international law due to interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan. The SL government is masterful in its diplomacy and deals with a variety of governments, which are sometimes at odds e.g.: Iran & Israel, India & Pakistan, USA & China. This puts SL in a unique geopolitical position”, says ‘Minutes of the Sri Lanka Roundtable’, convened by Centre for Peacebuilding in Switzerland last month. While the West in its inability opts for extreme position of appeasement towards genocidal Colombo, Tamil voices against subjugation are ironically viewed as ‘extremism’, commented diaspora circles.

The conference aimed to provide a platform for “Swiss actors in Sri Lanka and thereby contributing to a coherent peacebuilding and networking among policy members, members of NGOs, interested academics and the selected members of the diaspora”.

“There is not one coherent policy among Western governments. One can observe a combination of military cooperation and humanitarian aid, which in some cases leads to the securitisation of relief. In addition, actors by themselves do not act with a coherent strategy. There is not such thing as a unitary actor, e. g. within the US government, the Justice Dept. War Crimes Division supports accountability and the UN backed panel on human rights, while other agencies prefer to normalise relations as quickly as possible,” the minutes of the conference further said.

The conference minutes agree with the political bankruptcy of the way the war was allowed to end.

“Before the end of the war, many analysts considered the 13th amendment to be the minimum reform which could be implemented after the defeat of the LTTE. But it remains questionable whether it will be implemented,” the minutes said.

The minutes also agree that the questions related to land remain very contentious.

The continued detention of the ex-combatants of the LTTE, ICRC’s inaccessibility to them, KP’s involvement with Colombo in making overtures to the diaspora, Colombo citing diaspora activity to retain emergency laws and at the same time expecting the diaspora for economic assistance, militarization of public sector in the north and east and political networks linked to the Presidential family, are the other contested issues cited by the minutes.

The minutes pointed out Chinese loans helping the increase of Colombo’s defence budget by 24 billion while expenses on education and health were cut by 10 percent for the current year. The minutes also noted how India’s Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and its money flow are designed sensitively to score a point against China.

While citing criticism against ‘economic solution to a political problem’ the minutes were arguing for coordination with Colombo as a prerequisite to align aid and establish trust between agencies and government. Some participants suggested Church organizations as better local partners.

“The atmosphere for a comprehensive approach to deal with the past currently remains less conducive,” participants of the Swiss Roundtable concluded, alluding against international investigation and action on war crimes committed in the island.

The Swiss Roundtable minutes that begins viewing the crisis as one such of ‘integration of minorities’, wanted every one to grieve and acknowledge the past according to “local traditions and religious practice, be it Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity or other”.

Responding, diaspora circles described it as an extreme position of appeasement in dealing with the crisis of nations in the island, where one nation tries to liquidate the other.

Even in the case of the genocide in Biafra, the so-called international community was only remaining silent. It didn’t abet. But in the case of Eezham Tamils there was active abetment against them by the IC and by its institutions such as media, resulting in the hitherto unseen extreme way the war has ended.

The immorality with which the West applied ‘war against terrorism’ and ‘counterinsurgency’ to abet Colombo in extreme ways now boomerangs in Colombo using geopolitical shifts to blackmail the West to adopt ‘extreme appeasement’.

The metamorphosis may amuse some, but it victimizes Eezham Tamils further. Because, any voice of righteous indignation that comes from them even democratically seems to be now treated as ‘extreme position’ to continue ‘fixing’ them as ‘terrorists’ by the appeasers and by their media, who find it easier to show their ‘might’ with orphans.

Tamils with a long historical memory cannot easily compromise with the extreme treatment meted out to them and the continued humiliation of their nation as ‘minority’ under Sri Lanka, unless approaches begin with appropriate political justice.

Extreme injustice demands unequivocal solutions, not extreme appeasement with oppressors, the diaspora circles said.



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