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The end of the LTTE

May 22nd, 2009

After a long and bloody war, marked by disregard of civilian casualties (or worse) on both sides, the Sri Lankan military has finally crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as a military force, killing most of its senior leaders in the process. As national minorities go, the Sri Lankan Tamils have at least as good a cause as many others to complain of oppression and discrimination. (Broadly speaking, the usual post-colonial story where the colonial rulers favored some members of a minority group, with the result that the whole group suffered in the aftermath of independence). But their resort to armed struggle and terrorism was a disaster for all concerned, and not just because it failed. The LTTE in their temporary period of victory were worse oppressors than the most chauvinist majority governments had ever been. And of course, all Sri Lankans have suffered hugely as a result of the original policies of discrimination and worse directed against the Tamils. Even before the war broke out, the large-scale emigration of many of the most able and best educated members of the community was a huge loss.

I hope (but don’t really expect) that the government will display more magnanimity in victory than it has shown in the prosecution of the war, and that, if only on grounds of enlightened self-interest, it will seek a settlement that gives genuine equal rights to all.

This piece by Muzamil Jaleel

is well worth reading. Key quote

AK-47s cannot defeat a state and when people and communities with genuine political grievances take up arms, it only provides the state with an easy way out to enforce a military solution.

Note:This post got misplaced somehow, putting it back now

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  1. May 22nd, 2009 at 19:42 | #1

    Pr Q says:

    (Broadly speaking, the usual post-colonial story where the colonial rulers favored some members of a minority group, with the result that the whole group suffered in the aftermath of independence).

    Even before the war broke out, the large-scale emigration of many of the most able and best educated members of the community was a huge loss.

    Its very doubtful that the policy of “the colonial rulers [policy] favored [sic] some members of [Tamil] minority group” thereby causing subsequent ill-feeling between the two communities. These people have no need for HM government to plant the seeds of trouble. They sow some bad ones of their own.

    Such ill-feeling was latent in any case on account of the different performance achievements of the two peoples. The Tamil diaspora is typical of the plight of “market-dominant minorities” subject to pogroms in newly democratising states.

    Independence brought not only Home Rule but also democracy. The Tamils became scapegoats and pariahs once the establishment of liberal democratic institutions allowed the majority to give political vent to their feelings of inferiority and resentment.

    The Tamils tend to be cleverer and more industrious than the Sinnhalese, which enhanced their economic class. Unfortunately they are minority in a democracy, which diminished their political “crat”. Thomas Sowell puts it into the perspective of Asian pogroms:

    Sri Lanka started coming apart within a decade of receiving its independence as a free, democratic nation in 1948. The Tamil minority was not as dominant in its economy as the Chinese minority in Malaysia and other Southeast Asian countries, but still Tamils were over-represented at the top in business, in the professions, and in education. That was enough to allow the Sinhalese majority to be mobilized politically against them by ambitious politicians.

    Even though there had never been a single race riot between the Sinhalese majority and the Tamil minority during the first half of the 20th century, there were many in the second half, punctuated by unspeakable atrocities.

    The Sinnhalese majority continually voted themselves “affirmative action” programs of preference for their own kind against the more capable Tamils. The Fijians have done the same thing against the Indians in Fiji, the Malays ditto against the Chinese. Also Jews in Germany, Russians in Central Asia etc etc.

    The Tamil-Sinnhalese ethnic conflict is another illustration that democracy tends to work best when the general population are relatively homogenous in their underlying intellectual and moral characteristics ie liberty and equality work best in a unified community.

    Fortunately in AUS we have a selective immigration program which generally, although not always, give points to NESB applicants with credentials and achievement indicating high IQ and nice EQ. These minorities (typically Eastern and Southern Asians) are capable of fitting in well with the ESB “market-dominant majority”.

  2. philip travers
    May 23rd, 2009 at 07:57 | #2

    I doubt the two previous inputs on the reported end of the Tamils can be a fair and accurate picture,of these conflicts over a long time.It seems flush with descriptions that tend to summarise,rather than account for matters as they unfold.Potted history is fine if, you are already Bonsai-ed in some way.I know I got personally upset, by the injuries of young Tamils,who didn’t seem to have much choice but to become soldiers.A world far away from competing in the market place of work and income.And people don’t automatically become freedom fighters,or separatist out of the great joy of killing and be killed potentially,if that’s what carrying a weapon automatically infers.The influence of India and China ,and possibly other countries like Israel need repeated mention,even if the Government of the day is as legit as it could be.I read a report from a DavidIcke.com related site Journal Online, I think it was, that, Israel had supplied planes and pilots to bomb the Tamils,and sold weapons to the Government and recruited Tamils to sell weapons too.Even though the report said Sri Lanka had no diplomatic relationship with Israel since 1970.And I suppose its fine and good to bring up the elimination of minorities for the sake of homogeneity etc. but, it seems like a half baked analysis,if one forgets the likelihood that no great virtues are expressed in killing people generally. Or would you like to test me on that!?

  3. May 23rd, 2009 at 09:24 | #3

    In defence of the Sinnhalese: they are model immigrants to this country. Thats my observation, based on lengthy personal and professional experience.

    And the Tamils are not without sin. A few apparently want to carry on the struggle in these shores.

    The world’s troubles have once again found their way to Australia.

    Chathurika Weerasinghe, 27, and housemate Jayasri, 22, were hospitalised yesterday after an [acid] attack at their Westmead home.

    The attack was the last in an unprecedented 24 hours of violence, starting with brawls at Parramatta Park, Westmead railway station and a Wentworthville mart.

    It began, calmly enough, when Sinhalese supporters began celebrating the victory at Parramatta Park.

    They say they were approached by Tamil supporters, and it escalated into violence.

    Now that we are becoming more diverse than ever the opportunities for Auld Langers to create mischief out of Auld Rivalries grow exponentially. THats all the more reason to not tolerate any forms of ethnic triumphalism or irredentism.

    Australia cannot afford to tolerate immigrants who identify with their erstwhile conflict-torn lands. Anyone guilty of a crime of political violence should be charges as a terrorist, subjected to draconian penalties and, if possible, deported.

    Any Australian politician who takes a stand one way or another on these issues should lose pre-selection. The vast majority of Australians detest people who smuggle their old vendettas into this country.

    Hardly anyone knows or, to be honest, cares less about these ancient squabbles.

  4. May 23rd, 2009 at 10:01 | #4

    Philip Travers (still spacing & paragraph challenged) writes something short enough & coherent enough to read.

    Still has his tinfoil hat on.

    Israel indeed! Try the People’s Republic of China.

  5. jquiggin
    May 23rd, 2009 at 10:08 | #5

    Can we drop discussion of ethnic characteristics please. Anything further along those lines will be deleted.

  6. May 23rd, 2009 at 10:23 | #6

    Deleted. When i ask for a topic to be dropped, please take this request to include meta-discussion of the request itself.

  7. swio
    May 23rd, 2009 at 17:19 | #7

    Any Australian politician who takes a stand one way or another on these issues should lose pre-selection.

    Under that rule half the Australian parliament and at least a couple of former prime ministers would have been dismissed for one sided support of Israel, or even Zimbabwe for that matter.

    The vast majority of Australians detest people who smuggle their old vendettas into this country.

    You would have to say that’s not true in every case, and certainly depends on how different sides of the conflict are percieved. Strong support for a Jewish nationalism in Israel/Palestine has not stirred up the feelings you describe and similarly for the fight against Apartheid in South Africa which was another ethnic conflict we took a reasonably strong moral stand on.

  8. philip travers
    May 24th, 2009 at 11:55 | #8

    So the superiority of non tin foil hat wearers and, the issues of wether there is a possibility to analyse sides in a ethnic dispute become the remainders to not only tell the UNO to do something, but keep your lips sealed politicians!? Ventriloquist Diplomacy!? Some in Australia will wax on about their masculinity displays at hotels,with or without glass in hand as weapon ,and poor Police getting in the way for public order. The problem with disputes brought to this land are not the potential for violence or failures of the potential for new reasoning…it is the failure to not have venues where both can occur within strict rules on debate,and reasoning, apology and fisticuffs. The two groups from Sri Lanka cannot continue to like each other in pretence,although individuals could. It is heartless to say you cannot carry heart felt grudges.Soccer clubs in Australia went on for some time with these European problems.Not every soccer match ended up as mass murders…people got a lot of it out of their system,because of a shared sport,new country, new experiences and ways to contest the grudge problem and potentially representing the new land. Statistics on Australian overweightness could suggest maybe some ethnic disputes ancient and modern, could be helped by being contested with rules and play universally accepted or new contact sports and better means to reduce long term injury and bruising.That, coupled with stirring commentary before a game or whatever about the conflicts,rather than the word conflict,which implies the same dead and walking injured doing it again and again. There is no capacity for a shared honesty between the two groups, if they have to submit to laws that disallow some aspects of deep pain. It is evident both the drinker at the pub,and Jack suppress their pain and wont feel it as Australians,in the way they defend their notions. Be brave little vegemites,and give the two groups the incentive to not suppress but modify by encouraging clearer thinking,and digging in deep past the physical traumatic experiences first hand or indirectly to the fit physique. Women as well,and Australians to discontinue the bullshit moralising,because this country show very little capacity to engage in any form of consistent moral dialogue of a human uplifting type.As can be seen at various blogs, Obama from America is still a champion of that…and I say…my tinfoil hat is more resilient!? On matters Israeli Palestine,when you look at Netanyu physically, how many Australian Jews who live peacefully and maybe, are distraught about Israeli attitudes to the Palestinians are very fit healthy and competitive beings,and cannot find the means in themselves to say to themselves,”the behaviour of Israel doesn’t represent me.” I personally dont know what is worse, Jews being piss weak about Israel or being piss weak because of Israel!?

  9. davidp
    May 26th, 2009 at 17:45 | #9

    I was startled last week to discover that the Sri Lankan government has at least two Tamil ministers who were previously Tamil Tiger leaders in Eastern Sri Lanka.

    In 2006/2007, the Eastern regions that had been under Tamil Tiger control split with the leadership of the North, and after their own civil war and Sri Lankan army invasion, are under the central government. I believe they have had their own elections and have substantial local rule.

    The media that I have read have entirely ignored this. If you want to know whether Tamils can live the current government, look in the East. I would love to hear about what’s happening in the East, but the media never say.

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