Things are getting predictably worse in Sri Lanka as the government continues to shell civilians in its attempt to destroy all opposition from the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam. And what are all the major powers doing? The usual bullshit.
UN Security Council president, Mexico’s ambassador Claude Heller, told the media: “We demand that the LTTE immediately lay down arms, renounce terrorism, allow UN assisted evacuation of the remaining civilians in the conflict area and join the political process.” The Sri Lankan government has already ruled out any amnesty for the LTTE leadership or any place for it in the political process.
The US, France and Britain have chimed in with predictable expressions of concern. On Wednesday, French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner suggested a possible joint intervention with Britain to rescue the Tamil civilians. For its part, China has helped protect the Rajapakse government by blocking any formal UN Security Council resolution—something none of the other permanent members has challenged. (source)
That’s just wonderful. Ask the LTTE to lay down arms and basically let themselves be killed, even though they’re not the ones shelling villages and not allowing any foreign reporters or observers. (I don’t actually support the LTTE, but they’re clearly not the ones in charge of this situation. They’re partly responsible for it, and their agenda is extremely reactionary – but the government is even worse, and are very much the greater power.)
And of course, the government claims the LTTE are using civilians as human shields. How can anyone still buy this nonsense? It has become the #1 excuse for bombing civilians anywhere. It was the same nonsense in Iraq and Gaza – yes, we had to bomb schools full of children. And those houses we blew up that were full of civilians? Yeah, the reason you found all those dead civilians instead of terrorists with thousands of weapons was… umm… they’re using human shields! They’re evil, not us!
Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona yesterday denied there was any humanitarian crisis. “We have a challenge and we have experience and we will deal with it more than adequately,” he said. (source)
Yes, and the surge worked! Hooray for all-out insanity.
Edit: In fact, things seem to have gotten so bad that even the LTTE are declaring a ceasefire. Let’s see how this goes – not well for the people of Sri Lanka, I fear.
Edit Again: And here’s the response to the ceasefire.
The government’s criminal indifference for civilian lives was expressed in its reaction to the LTTE’s announcement of a “unilateral ceasefire” on Saturday. Defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapakse, the president’s brother, branded the declaration a “joke”. He continued: “They were not fighting with us; they were running from us. There is no need of a ceasefire. They must surrender. That is it.”
While there have been reports from aid agencies that the LTTE has prevented civilians from fleeing, the responsibility for the humanitarian disaster in northern Sri Lanka rests squarely with the Rajapakse government. The army has laid siege to the area with 50,000 troops and prevented adequate aid supplies from entering the no-fire zone. Its aerial and artillery bombardment of civilian areas amounts to a war crime under international law.
The government’s contempt for Tamil civilians is underscored the fact that all of those who have been “liberated” from the LTTE have been flung into internment camps guarded by the security forces. According to government figures, 150,000 people are now being held at 38 sites around the towns of Vavuniya, Jaffna and Trincomalee. Aid agencies put the number as high as 200,000, with tens of thousands more on the way. (source)
Wonderful, isn’t it? Sigh…