'Sri Lanka's Srebrenica' - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind
Click Here to Login
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 04-17-2009, 05:23 PM   #1
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 04:19 PM
'Sri Lanka's Srebrenica'

Is the World Ignoring Sri Lanka’s Srebrenica?

by Robert Mackey
The Lede (news editors' blog), New York Times, April 17



As Somini Sengupta reported in the Times earlier this week, despite a two-day pause in fighting, the Sri Lankan government has “rebuffed international appeals to protect civilians trapped in a war zone in its northeast.”
An estimated 100,000 ethnic Tamils are trapped in a deadly and shrinking five-square-mile wedge of land in northeastern Sri Lanka, where the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or Tamil Tigers, fighting for an ethnic homeland for 25 years, have effectively held them hostage as a civilian shield.
A video report from Channel 4 News in London on Thursday, showing scores of civilian victims killed last week in the crossfire between Sri Lanka’s government and the rebel Tamil Tigers (officially known as the LTTE), in a part of the country off-limits to journalists, is difficult to watch. The images are as disturbing as those that filled television screens during the conflicts in Bosnia in the 1990s but, as Channel 4’s Lindsey Hilsum points out in her report, this bloody war, now possibly in its last throes, has been taking place largely out of sight of the international media. As in the final months of the war in Bosnia, the failure of the combatants to refrain from shelling encircled, densely-populated civilian pockets is producing shocking results.

Since Sri Lankan authorities have barred journalists from the war zone, these images, shot by an aid group working with victims of the fighting, are a rare glimpse of the toll the fighting is taking on the civilian population in northern Sri Lanka.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

UN, Sri Lankan officials discuss trapped civilians

by Ravi Nessman,
Associated Press, April 17



COLOMBO — A top U.N. official met with Sri Lankan leaders Friday to discuss efforts to free tens of thousands of people trapped by the raging civil war amid reports that 4500 civilians have been killed in fighting over the past three months.

A government health official in the war zone said Friday that at least five children were dying every day from diarrhea and malnutrition, and many mothers are too emaciated to nurse their babies. The fighting has made the delivery of food aid nearly impossible, and food stocks have dwindled as the war zone was virtually cut off from the rest of the country over the past months.

...UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sent his chief of staff, Vijay Nambiar, to Sri Lanka to discuss the fate of the civilians and efforts to free them from the war zone. Nambiar met with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the secretary of defense and other officials, and the UN reported some movement on the issue. "We do feel that in his discussions with government officials there's been a little bit of movement forward in terms of trying to have more of an effort to obtain the release of the civilians who are currently trapped in the conflict zone," UN associate spokesman Farhan Haq said at UN headquarters in New York. "But those efforts will need to continue." He said the UN's efforts were focused on both the government and the rebels. "We have repeatedly asked for the government of Sri Lanka not to fire its heavy weapons and heavy artillery in the conflict zone...The other part of that effort, of course, is that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam will need to allow the civilians who wish to do so to leave freely," Haq said.

The government announced a two-day cease-fire earlier this week to allow the civilians to flee, but only a few hundred crossed the front lines before the truce expired Wednesday morning.

...The rebels have been fighting to create an independent homeland for ethnic minority Tamils, who have faced decades of marginalization by successive governments controlled by the ethnic Sinhalese majority. More than 70,000 people have been killed in the violence.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------


makeshift food and medical camp, at Putumatallan in the combat zone, last Sunday (AP)



...and Putumatallan on Thursday, after an army shelling attack (HRW)




Channel 4 London: Inside Sri Lanka's Conflict Zone
__________________

__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2009, 05:57 PM   #2
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,297
Local Time: 10:19 AM
Incredibly sad story, but I'm not sure what the comparison to Srebrenica is, apart from civilian deaths, since Srebrenica's people were certainly not held as effective hostages by their own side.
__________________

__________________
anitram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2009, 06:09 PM   #3
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 04:19 PM
I think the intended allusion was to the general situation of a supposed "safe zone" (which was initially what this area was; inconveniently for the army, the Tigers managed to flee into it too) becoming a civilian mass graveyard. I agree, it's not otherwise a particularly illuminating comparison.
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2009, 07:05 PM   #4
Rock n' Roll Doggie
VIP PASS
 
Pearl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: NYC
Posts: 5,653
Local Time: 11:19 AM
When I was an undergraduate, one of my professors pointed out that many of the world's atrocities, especially those in the third world, go largely unreported in the U.S. media. He said it had a lot to do with racism. Because, as my professor said, if such situations as Sri Lanka, or even the Congo where 3 million people have died in a civil war, happened in Europe, the media would pounce on the story immediately.

I believe there's a point to what he said. What does everyone else think?
__________________
Pearl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-17-2009, 07:44 PM   #5
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 04:19 PM
Racism is certainly a component of it in many cases, particularly, I think, Africa (the "well, that's Africans for you; they simply don't understand how to resolve problems peacefully" kind of thinking). I don't think that's a particularly significant issue in Sri Lanka's case, though. It's a small country (albeit very densely populated), resource-poor, not a significant player in the global economy, and because it's an island, its problems tend not to spill over elsewhere--not that India hasn't tried to intervene in the past and lived to bitterly regret it. Furthermore, most Westerners--Brits excepted, for historical reasons--simply don't have much in the way of preconceived notions, positive or negative, about South Asians; and while Pakistan's proximity to the Afghan war and India's gradual rise towards great power status are slowly changing that, the spotlight hasn't really trickled down to Sri Lanka yet.

Above and beyond that, it's not in and of itself 'racist' to be most preoccupied with conflicts in your own geopolitical backyard--which, for us, certainly does include Europe. And speaking of Srebrenica...greater media attention notwithstanding, one could hardly blame anyone who lived through that war for being less than impressed with the degree of political urgency resulting from all that coverage, the huge numbers who were allowed to die before anything was done by 'neighbors' and 'allies.'
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2009, 05:01 PM   #6
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 04:19 PM
If these numbers are accurate, this at least is some very good news. Still leaves tens of thousands more trapped, but perhaps raises hope that more will be able to flee to safety.

Quote:
(Associated Press, April 20)


The army breached one of the last Tamil Tiger rebel fortifications Monday and freed thousands of trapped civilians, some fleeing through the neck-high water of a lagoon while bleeding or carrying wounded relatives...President Mahinda Rajapaksa went on Sri Lanka's national television to say that soldiers helped more than 35,000 civilians leave the battle zone in what he called the "largest-ever hostage rescue mission in history."

The Red Cross said its workers had tended to 4000 people who crossed the front lines Monday. Spokeswoman Sarasi Wijeratne said the organization was not in a position to "confirm or deny" the large number being quoted...It was not possible to verify any of the reports because journalists are restricted in the war zone.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the civilians' escape but remained deeply concerned about thousands still trapped and "the potential for large-scale casualties," UN spokeswoman Marie Okabe said in New York. Ban also said aid workers must be allowed into the area to help civilians. The UN had estimated 100,000 civilians were trapped in the zone where the rebels have been pinned down, an area that measures less than 8 square miles (20 square kilometers).

...The government said Monday that rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and his fighters had 24 hours to surrender before a final assault—one of many such recent claims that troops would soon end the conflict. Defense spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella said the government's preferred option was to catch Prabhakaran alive and the president's ultimatum was a final opportunity for the leader to end the conflict...Military analyst Susantha Seneviratne, a retired colonel said the call for surrender was a way to probe the morale of rank-and-file rebels. The army has "pressured them and it has been constant, and this is a method to test how they react," he said. "As far as the LTTE (leadership) is concerned, they will not surrender," he predicted.
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-20-2009, 06:13 PM   #7
Refugee
 
Bonoa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: a nuthouse for total Egyptfreaks
Posts: 1,040
Local Time: 04:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearl View Post
When I was an undergraduate, one of my professors pointed out that many of the world's atrocities, especially those in the third world, go largely unreported in the U.S. media. He said it had a lot to do with racism. Because, as my professor said, if such situations as Sri Lanka, or even the Congo where 3 million people have died in a civil war, happened in Europe, the media would pounce on the story immediately.

I believe there's a point to what he said. What does everyone else think?
It's all about the money! Sri Lanka and Congo don't have much resources the western world can benefit from. In the case of the civil war in ex-Yugoslavia, it was going to be a part of the European Union. That's why the UN interfered.

It's horrible!
__________________
Bonoa is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-09-2009, 04:01 PM   #8
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 04:19 PM
Associated Press, May 9

COLOMBO — Sri Lankan police arrested three journalists for London-based Channel 4 television news Saturday on charges of tarnishing the image of government security forces, authorities said. ...Nick Paton-Walsh, the channel's Asian correspondent, spoke to the Associated Press by telephone shortly after the arrest, saying that he was being driven to the capital, Colombo, along with producer Bessie Du and cameraman Matt Jasper.

The Channel 4 had been covering fierce fighting between government forces and the separatist Tamil Tigers...ITN News, which produces Channel 4, confirmed that its reporting team has been ordered to leave the country by the Sri Lankan Defense Minister, "after reporting allegations of abuse and ill-treatment of Tamils held in internment camps. Their original report, broadcast on Channel 4 News on 5th May, contained the first independently filmed video from one of the internment camps in the city of Vavuniya in the north of Sri Lanka. The report contained claims that dead bodies were left where they fell, shortages of food and water, and sexual abuse."

--------------------------------------------------------------------------



Sri Lanka holds the dubious distinction of having the world's highest rate of 'disappearances' of journalists and activists who publically challenge or embarrass the government concerning its prosecution of the war against the Tigers, as well as its treatment of Tamils in general. Many Sri Lankan journalists have been threatened, arrested, tortured, abducted, or murdered; many media offices have been repeatedly ransacked by authorities.

I don't think any foreign journalists have been harmed thus far, although several BBC reporters have received death threats and been physically harassed over the past couple years, causing the BBC to be exceptionally cautious about its reportage from Sri Lanka; sadly, this will likely now push Channel 4 into the same position. If past precedent holds, the three journalists should shortly be expelled from Sri Lanka but--ultimately the most important thing--returned safe and sound to London.

Here, for the record, is the report that apparently provoked the arrest:


conditions in government camps for displaced Tamils (Channel 4 UK, May 5)
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2009, 11:52 AM   #9
Refugee
 
AliEnvy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 2,320
Local Time: 03:19 PM
Tamil protesters block Toronto highway -



For more pics:

TorontoProtest
__________________
AliEnvy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2009, 04:56 PM   #10
Blue Crack Addict
 
anitram's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: NY
Posts: 16,297
Local Time: 10:19 AM
Ridiculous. Our provincial and municipal governments should be ashamed of themselves.

They were allowed to protest for 10 days on University Ave, which was an inconvenience in itself, particularly with all the ambulances that have to drive to the hospital zone, and then this.
__________________
anitram is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-12-2009, 11:15 PM   #11
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 04:19 PM
I don't think I'd even heard of there being protests in Toronto before today. It does sound like a horribly ill-advised way to draw attention to the plight of Tamil civilians, desperate though many of the protestors doubtless feel.

I'll be leaving for a month in Tamil Nadu next week, and am quite unsure what to expect in terms of intensity of popular sentiment towards the situation in Sri Lanka. There have been several large protests in Tamil Nadu, though managed quite firmly by the police.
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2009, 10:33 AM   #12
ONE
love, blood, life
 
melon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 11,781
Local Time: 10:19 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by AliEnvy View Post
Tamil protesters block Toronto highway -



For more pics:

TorontoProtest
I had no idea that this was happening Sunday until I read about it. Thank goodness I was driving back to Toronto on the 401 that day, rather than the 403/QEW/Gardiner. The only indication that something was going on was when I saw an electronic sign stating that the DVP was closed, apparently to prevent people from driving into this.
__________________
melon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2009, 02:51 PM   #13
Refugee
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,943
Local Time: 03:19 PM
This is not a Srebrenica. In July 1995, Bosnian Serb forces moved into Srebrenica seperating the men from the women and children. The Women and Children were all forcibly removed from Srebrenica in buses. The men, 8,372 of them, were taken into the nearby woods outside Srebrenica and were shot to death by Bosnian Serb soldiers.
__________________
Strongbow is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2009, 04:03 PM   #14
Forum Moderator
 
yolland's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 7,471
Local Time: 04:19 PM
Yes, I think most of us remember what happened in Srebrenica.

As I already explained (and as the Times reporter I was citing, who himself borrowed the phrase from a British reporter, later clarified), the intended allusion was to the general situation of a supposed 'designated safe zone' becoming a death trap for civilians who'd fled there, nothing more. It was not my intent (nor the reporters') to start a discussion focused on comparing and contrasting Sri Lanka with other civil wars, rather to bring attention to the situation in Sri Lanka itself.
__________________
yolland [at] interference.com


μελετώ αποτυγχάνειν. -- Διογένης της Σινώπης
yolland is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-13-2009, 04:41 PM   #15
Refugee
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 1,943
Local Time: 03:19 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by yolland View Post
Yes, I think most of us remember what happened in Srebrenica.

As I already explained (and as the Times reporter I was citing, who himself borrowed the phrase from a British reporter, later clarified), the intended allusion was to the general situation of a supposed 'designated safe zone' becoming a death trap for civilians who'd fled there, nothing more. It was not my intent (nor the reporters') to start a discussion focused on comparing and contrasting Sri Lanka with other civil wars, rather to bring attention to the situation in Sri Lanka itself.
Actually, there are many people who have never even heard of Srebrenica. I think its important to mention what happened at Srebrenica. The first thing that should come to people's minds is not that Srebrenica was a "designated safe zone", but that it was a town where Bosnian Serb soldiers brutally killed over 8,000 men on July 13, 1995 while forcibly removing ALL the towns women and children.
__________________

__________________
Strongbow is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:19 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com