Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thoughts on Sri Lanka

I did not know Toronto's Gardiner Expressway had been blockaded for nearly six hours this past Sunday by Tamil protesters protesting the alleged killing of 370 civilians by the Sri Lankan government over the weekend. Many of those who partook in the blockade were children. Imagine if they tried to pull a stunt like that on the Deegan in New York City.

My older brother who lives in Toronto told me this over the phone last night and was none too pleased about it. Many of the protesters carried the flag of the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist organization. I pointed out to my brother that the Tamil Tigers invented suicide bombing. My brother countered, "Yes, but the Palestinians turned it into an art form."

There was another large demonstration last night in Toronto but this time it was peaceful and nobody approached the Gardiner this time. However, he finds the Tamils he sees on the streets as quite menacing and said it would come as no shock to him if they were to escalate into acts of violence.

So needless to say it doesn't help when politicians legitimize this kind of nonsense. Toronto Mayor David Miller actually spoke to the demonstrators and seemed unconcerned of their affiliation with the Tamil Tigers while Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty tried to push through a resolution in the Ontario Legislature asking the UN Security Council to intervene although it was defeated. Presumably by MPPs not happy that their constituents were stranded on the highway for hours on end and not eager to reward such behavior.

Which brings me to President Obama. Last night, he called on the Tamil Tigers to lay down their arms while lambasting the Sri Lankan government for killing civilians. I'm not questioning that the Sri Lankan government has killed civilians. Indeed, their ought to be a thorough investigation of their actions. But of more immediate concern would be a vigorous international effort to allow the approximately 50,000 innocent civilians to leave the combat zone.

Civil wars lasting in excess of a quarter century are not a good thing and Sri Lanka is in need of of international attention as described above. However, President Obama put a legitimately elected government and a terrorist organization on the same footing. In so doing he is effectively rewarding the Tamils behavior and legitimizing terrorism. This does not inspire confidence.

No comments: