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Will Sri Lanka be a tragic template? May 18, 2009

Posted by fetzthechemist in Uncategorized.

Sri Lanka has been in civil war for twenty-five years. The Tamil Tigers fought for an independent state for the Tamil minority. The Singhalese majority had basically been held to a statemate for years. A quasi-independent Tamil state existed in the north and east of the island.

Then the Sri Lankan military started a more coordinated offensive, after gaining treaties with India and within the international community to stop money and materiel aid from reaching the Tamil Tigers. Previously, smuggling arms from the Indian coast had been common.

The offensive gradually won territory, first in the north around the Jaffna penninsula, then in the east. It culminated today in the utter defeat of the Tamil Tigers and deaths of their hardcore leaders in a final battle.

I hope the Singhalese can figure out ways to assimilate the Tamils back into Sri Lankan society without vindictive victory as the mentality. I also hope that other nations do not use this as a model for removing the social and political unrest that minorities in many countries have.

There are armed insurrections in dozens and dozens of countries. In many cases the tyrrany of the majority rules. A minority population is denigrated as unpatriotic because they will not accede to hiving up their language, customs, religion, and culture to match that of the majority. In some cases, mass immigration of the majority into minority regions is the government’s decision to solve the problem (more Han Chinese into Tibet or the western Uighur regions; more Christian filipinos into the Moslim south, Morrocans into the Western Sahara; Javanese Indonesians into West Papua, et cetera) or its more hateful kin of ethnic cleansing (this did not start in the former Yugoslavia, but has happened in the Sudan and other countries).

One of the true failures of the United State’s recent attempts to spread democracy has been to not emphasize that the majority does not rule absolutely. It ought to respect the minority and have some flexibility to allow differences. Since the past US administration dosavowed this view internally, they could not pass it on externally. Thus, we might see more violent ends to civil wars.



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