(AP photo via CBC news: Doctors treat a wounded civilian.)
“”I am proud to announce… that my government, with the total commitment of our armed forces, has in an unprecedented humanitarian operation, finally defeated the LTTE militarily.”
So said Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse today, speaking in Jordan.
There are just a few problems with that statement. First and foremost, the alleged “humanitarian operation” has killed thousands of Tamil civilians– and will likely kill thousands more. That’s because secondly, the fighting has not yet ended; the LTTE is trapped in a one-square-mile strip of land, and still holds thousands of civilians as human shields.
But perhaps the biggest problem with the President’s statement is this: Not only has his administration failed to address the underlying concerns of the Tamil (and Sinhalese and Muslim) people, but it will have ended the war in such a way as to ensure that Tamil resentment continues to simmer. It is virtually guaranteed that, in some form or another, the violence will continue. Which of course is a perfect opportunity for Mr. Rajapakse and his anti-democratic allies to pronounce the Tamils “ungrateful” for “all we have done for them.”
Think I’m too cynical? This war really began in 1956, a good twenty years before the LTTE began the bank robbing spree that predated its becoming a guerilla organization. The conflict has been going on for over 50 years. And in his effort to defeat the LTTE militarily, Rajapakse has done nothing but stoke the fire.
But what’s more, every administration since 1956 has used the Tamils as a foil to manipulate the Sinhalese. Rajapakse has set himself up perfectly to continue to do the same.