Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Haiku 051909

waiting still
on the patio chair –
a cardinal


Recently, we read the following:

Washington Post: “After Years of Fighting, Questions of Reconciliation” by Emily Wax

"In a triumphant address to parliament Tuesday, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa declared that his country had been ‘liberated’ from terrorism with the reported death of Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran, one of the world's most ruthless and elusive rebel leaders.

“Even as a spokesman for the rebel group insisted that Prabhakaran was still alive, Rajapaksa reached out to the country's ethnic Tamil minority, using their native language during his victory speech to promise that after nearly 30 years of civil war, ‘we all must now live as equals in this free country'....

“Top military commanders bearing bouquets of flowers met Rajapaksa in his living room Monday to deliver the news that the war was over. The Tamil Tigers, who had been fighting for a separate Tamil homeland, were officially defeated, they said, and the entire island was reunited under one flag….

" ‘The end of this war is something that we genuinely didn't think could ever happen,’ said Rajinda Jayasinghe, 27, a civil society leader who is Sinhalese and works in the northern Tamil aid camps. ‘With the death of Prabhakaran, the symbol of the divisions between Sri Lankan people is gone. The real question now is, will there be goodwill towards Tamils? Will Tamils feel the government has their best interest in their hearts?’….

“Prabhakaran was widely seen by Tamils as their only hope against the discrimination and alleged human rights abuses by the Sinhalese-dominated government....

“The Sri Lankan government has been criticized by human rights groups for overstepping its powers. Officials marshaled public opinion to their cause by painting the conflict as a war against terrorism…. They skirted dissent by journalists, aid workers and civil society groups, denouncing their scrutiny of the government and its war efforts as treasonous, rights groups said. ‘There needs to be a look at the real causes of this war,’ said Jehan Perera, executive director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka. ‘Otherwise there could be a second Prabhakaran….”


And we thought:

….What Mr. Perera of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka said is worth repeating: Unless the root causes of the Tamil disaffection with the central government are addressed, there will be others who will take Prabhakaran’s place. History has taught us this lesson very well.

If the Tamils want a separate homeland, why wouldn’t that be a better situation overall than the continuing tension and conflict between the Sinhalese and the Tamils? As it is, Sri Lanka will continue to be “one island” only in geographic terms. And it will remain so until the minority Tamils feel they are being treated fairly and equally.

Hopefully, the Tamils will not have to wait too long for concrete changes to their situation this time around. Otherwise it should come as no surprise that the idea of a separate Tamil homeland will refuse to die....