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A Letter From Mr Ivan Pedropillai, Editor TWG To The Editor Of The Boston Globe Relating To Editorial On 29th June 2006

Date: 01 July 2006 09:00 GMT
Source : TWG - By Editor Mr Ivan Pedropillai BSc., MSc., FCCA, FCMA

The Editor Boston Globe Boston, USA

Dear Sir

Globe Editorial: Sri Lanka's uncivil war

Your editorial of 29th June on the "festering ethnic conflict in the island of Sri Lanka" is very thoughtful and balanced. The Boston Globe has an international reputation for factual and fair-minded journalism based on liberal philosophy and an empathy with the minorities and the underdog. Let me congratulate you on the brief but lucid explanation of the issues involved that have long been lost in the mist of black propaganda.

The Sri Lankan government in its propaganda campaign for decades has sought to vilify the Sri Lankan Tamils as mindless terrorists, and has cynically contrived to push aside the legitimate political issues of the long suffering Tamil community, which you have so aptly described, as " their very legitimate desire, as anybody would, to control their own lives, to rule their own destinies, and to govern themselves in their homeland, in the areas they have traditionally inhabited".

Following 9/11 and the antipathy of the West to the evils of terrorism, the Sri Lankan Government has quite cleverly but maliciously portrayed the freedom struggle of the Sri Lankan Tamils as terrorism in order to win the support of the West, while at the same time engaging in State terrorism against the Tamils in Sri Lanka. Even in the past four months, some 600 innocent Tamil civilians have been killed in their homes and villages by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and their paramilitaries, in their punitive attempts to cower a whole nation of Tamils in their own homeland. As you mention, at least 70,000 lives (most of them Tamil civilians) have been lost in this cruel war to suppress the Tamils.

Sri Lanka lies in a highly strategic part of the globe which is the nexus of two emerging but rival regional superpowers, China and India, with competing economic, military (nuclear powers) and political interests. Throw into this equation Pakistan, Indonesia, North Korea and Japan, and this part of South Asia is a tinderbox in which the United States in its own long-term strategic interest as the world's only superpower will have to be engaged to prevent any conflagration. The strategic island of Sri Lanka, possessed of harbours and airports, is a failed economic state that is dependent on foreign aid, and with nearly 25 years of civil war and political repression will continue to engender instability in this region, into which competing regional powers will get drawn, like how Cuba became the satellite of the old Soviet Union.

The recent declaration of US policy acknowledging the rights of the Tamils to self-rule in their own homeland is much appreciated. Much bloodshed could have been avoided had the Sri Lankan government been made aware of this US position earlier. You have so rightly stated that the international community should press the Sri Lankan government and the Tigers to come to the negotiating table in Oslo and work on a "loose confederation that retains Sri Lanka's unity and grants the Tamil Northeast self-governing autonomy". As you well know and Norway will probably confirm it for you, the extreme Sinhala Buddhist mindset in Sri Lanka, the Buddhist monks and politicians will not yield an inch, if left on their own, to the most moderate demands of the Tamils. They must feel the weight of the international community push them to offer the Tamils self government in a loose confederation within a united country.

The United States Administration should use its influence as the sole super power to change the heart of the hardline Sinhala Sri Lankan state to offer the Tamils self-governing autonomy in the Northeast in confederation and in unity with the rest of the island.

I hope you would continue to use your influence with the Administration, State Department, Congressmen and Senators to advance this political solution in a country that is fast sliding into chaos and disrepute.

Yours sincerely

Ivan Pedropillai

Source: TWG - Editor
Date: 01 July 2006

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