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A “rolling” genocide?

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 21:09 No Comment]

ProfMartinShaw01 "The continuing concentration of over 250,000 people in the camps both blocks the search for answers to these questions, and itself constitutes a most serious crime. If the doors are not opened quickly, this will raise questions of whether the government seriously intends a restoration of Tamil society in the conquered zone. This would indeed pose a question of genocide, in the sense of the deliberate destruction of a population group in its home territory," writes Dr. Martin Shaw, professor of International Relations at UK’s University of Sussex, and a historical sociologist of war and global politics.

Questioning "[w]hat kind of violence has the Sri Lankan state been committing against its Tamil civilian population as the island‘s civil war ended; on what scale and with what intentions?," Martin Shaw explores in the article, the difficult terrain where war, atrocity and genocide meet.

"President Mahinda Rajapaksa, in his "victory speech", told Sri Lanka’s parliament that "our heroic forces have sacrificed their lives to protect Tamil civilians", and he took "personal responsibility" for protecting Tamils. Yet his government is now scandalously confining this huge population – who have already suffered not only from the LTTE but from Sri Lankan bombardments which caused probably tens of thousands of deaths and injuries – in squalid conditions.

"The government has officially backtracked, under international pressure, on plans to hold the displaced, while screening them for potential "terrorists", for up to three years; it now says that 80% will be resettled by the end of 2009," Shaw writes.

Refering to Professor Francis Boyle’s characterization of Sri Lanka to the Nazi model, Prof. Shaw says, "[t]he western fixation with the Nazi holocaust means that there is an obvious political temptation to link all anti-civilian violence with the Nazi model.The pro-Tamil United States-based academic Francis Boyle,in his posts, sees a sixty-year "rolling" genocide in which Sinhalese governments of Ceylon (the country’s name at independence in 1948) and Sri Lanka have sought "to annihilate the Tamils and to steal their lands and natural resources. This is what Hitler and the Nazis called lebensraum – "living space" for the Sinhala at the expense of the Tamils."

"In this perspective, the camp system is all too clearly the latest stage of genocide – although other Tamil advocates date genocide back to the anti-Tamil pogroms in 1983 in response to which the LTTE campaign began.," Shaw writes.

[Full Coverage]

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