Monday, May 4, 2009

Crouching Tiger

Perhaps you may be surprised to read the following, but then again, you really shouldn’t be….

The Sri Lankan Civil War has gone on for far too long. I am glad that the widely regarded terrorist organization, the Tamil Tigers, are finding their backs against the wall, and I hope they surrender sooner rather than later. Yes, I hope this comes to an end soon with the Tamil Tigers essentially going out of business, so to speak.

Surprised that I said the above? Perhaps you may be, but you really shouldn’t be….

Do the Tamil minorities in Sri Lanka have real and legitimate grievances against the Sri Lanka government’s treatment of the former? Yes, there’s a very good case for this possible. Should the government of Sri Lanka have done much more than merely give lip service to the plight of Tamils in the country? No doubt about it. But am I in favour of such secessionist militant organisations whenever and wherever minorities have grievances? No.

For the same reasons that I do not support the religious-based or ethnic-based secessionist violence in Kashmir, Assam, Southern Thailand, or Southern Philippines, I do not believe that the Tamil Tigers’ approach to seeking a separate homeland is the way forward. If we’re to go down this road, I fear that the very foundation of the idea of a modern state based on citizenship, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity, will become severely undermined.

It is for this simple but profound reason that I think the Tamil Tigers, despite having legitimate grievances, have been on the wrong side of the civil war in Sri Lanka. Let’s face it, if we apply the Tamil Tigers' logic and rationale for doing what they’ve been doing, every ethnic minority in any country, would have a cause for demanding a separate homeland for itself. Is this going to become the new doctrine of the modern world? Homelands and separate nations ought to be established on the basis of common ethnic or religious identities?

I think not.

Should minorities in whatever society or nation be guaranteed equality of rights and opportunities? Seems elementary, does it not? And are there often situations where minorities have been mistreated and discriminated against? Well, this also goes without saying. But consider what would be the outcome of such scenarios if we simply conceded that minorities with legitimate grievances are justified in taking arms, killing civilians, perpetrating mass violence and terror, and demanding a separate homeland?

With respect to the Tamil Tigers, now that their very existence as an armed entity and fighting machine is under threat, they’re seeking the aid and intervention of various western countries to broker a ceasefire. Of course the Sri Lankan government wants no part of such an arrangement – which will only find the Tigers buying some time to lick their wounds and regroup.

Sure I don’t deny that there is blame for both parties involved in this tragic conflict. The Sri Lankan government does have much to explain and account for in light of all the mistreatment of its Tamil minorities.

But I never believed in the path taken by the Tamil Tigers. We must see that such ethnic or religious based secessionist and terror campaigns are not consistent with the concept of creating societies where equality for all is recognised and respected.  

Perhaps you may be surprised by my thoughts…you really shouldn’t be.

I hope the crouching tiger sees that the current path is a dead-end.

G. Krishnan