End second-class treatment of Tamils, Sri Lanka urgedJanuary 28th, 2009 - 10:37 am ICT by IANS
Toronto, Jan 28 (IANS) If Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority doesn’t accommodate the aspirations of Tamils, the LTTE-led insurgency could stage a comeback, warns a Canadian daily.In an editorial Tuesday, the respected Globe and Mail urged the Sinhalese to show openness towards the Tamils as the country’s 25-year-old civil war seems to be coming to an end with the decimation of the LTTE.
“The impending military victory by the Sri Lankan armed forces, though not the ideal context for nascent interethnic harmony, is nonetheless an opportunity.
“It is in the government’s interest to make clear to Tamils that they are not second-class citizens,” the editorial said.
Blaming Sri Lanka’s overly nationalist policies for the rise of Tamil militancy, it said: “To this day, ambiguities in the Sri Lankan constitution express that nationalism. Though it declares freedom of religion, it also asserts the primacy of Buddhism, the religion of the Sinhalese; most Tamils are Hindu.
“For some years, Sinhalese was the only official language; now, Sinhalese is ‘the official language’, while Tamil is ‘also an official language’.”
Tracing the roots of the problem to the days of British colonialism, the editorial said: “Like many conflicts across the world, the war amounts to an unresolved legacy from the retreat of imperialism in the 20th century, which often left a power vacuum that was filled by ethnic nationalism.”
Crediting the global war against terrorism for the retreat of the LTTE, the newspaper said the terror group pioneered “suicide bombing before it became a tactic of Islamist extremism.”
It warned that if Sri Lanka didn’t stop its “savage repression” of Tamils and treat them as equal before the law, the insurgency could “linger on as a guerrilla movement in the rain forest.
“If Sri Lanka does not work toward reconciliation, the vicious cycle could resume in another generation.”
Tags: ambiguities, british colonialism, class citizens, decimation, ethnic nationalism, freedom of religion, global war, globe and mail, guerrilla movement, ltte, militancy, military victory, power vacuum, rain forest, sinhalese, sri lankan constitution, tamils, terror group, vicious cycle, war against terrorism