Thursday, February 12, 2009

Drawing attention to Tamils’ plight

ar is a despised word in modern times. Because, modern man believes war is fought by barbarians. They love armed conflict than war. The most recent conflict which makes news is the ongoing Israeli killings in Gaza Strip, which is known as world’s most impoverished place.
At the same time, a similar conflict is going on in Sri Lanka. While Gaza is in all news and discussions, no one, except India and Sri Lanka, seem concerned about the worsening situation there.

As the bloodshed in two places mock at the strides humanity has made so far, rather than armed conflict war is the better term to define the same. And we are the silent spectators of those two one-sided wars that have been going on simultaneously in two different parts of the world. The reason for sidelining Lanka issue varies from geographical to political overtones. Yet, both have an unequal parallelism. Palestinians in Gaza and Tamil minority in Sri Lanka are fighting to gain acceptance.

While the unlucky Gaza people are destined to be strangers in their own homeland, Tamils in Lanka are strangers who made a foreign land their homeland. Comparing to Palestinians in Gaza Strip, Tamils in Sri Lanka are fortunate in many ways. They are not put under constant siege from an outsider like Israel. Their plight of life turns ugly whenever a clash between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the so-called protectors of Tamils in Sri Lanka, and the Lankan army. LTTE’s war with the Lankan government for a separate statehood is just 25-year-old. Palestinians are fighting for their homeland for decades.

Double standards

But what is a homeland? If homeland means country where one is born, Lanka is also a homeland to millions of Tamils who are born and brought up there. Here comes the double standards. Thought we speak of world as a global village or universal brotherhood, (such nice terms always remain like a sweet sugar candy, but not reality), each person is known based on his ethnicity and country of his origin. So an Indian born in Britain does not become a British; he or she becomes just British Indian. In short, it all depends on which country your mom and dad belong to.

So race exists and so does racism. That’s why when Barack Obama became US President it was termed as a historical moment. His black ancestory is highlighted, not his white genealogy or his skills. And when someone inferior in terms of colour or ethnicity stands apart from the rest, it makes news. Because the world is unwilling to believe White or Black, Muslim or Christian, mankind is one.

On the whole, the world still remains a place of inequality where equality becomes a myth. But Obama gives hope. He proved it is not race that matters. And he gave Americans no other option than accepting him as their President 44.

Coming to millions of Palestinians in Gaza and Tamils in Sri Lanka, there exists an unwillingness from their rivals to make them heard of. They are denied of legitimacy in their own place of birth. What is more unfortunate than proving your legitimacy? That’s why the common minds rally behind millions of Palestinians who were driven out of their own motherland while the world is still muddling upon whether to support Israel or Hamas, the elected rulers of Gaza Strip. For common man knows politics is all gimmicks that makes one cling to power.

Different overture

Like Gaza people, Tamils in Lanka are also fighting for their legitimacy. Of course, Tamil issue has a different overture. They are migrants who came to Lanka to work and live. And that they do not have the right to make a country out of their homeland. And their ethnic country India has been always alert to put diplomacy in place whenever the 25-year-old civil war becomes highly volatile. The only prime minister who took a courageous step, Rajiv Gandhi, was allegedly killed by LTTE themselves.

Quite surprisingly India has come forward now to tell Lanka authorities to stop killing innocent Tamils. For millions of Tamils it is just an eyewash and untimely approach. They should not be blamed if they protest against a demand made by India for the sake of doing something when an entire community is in the verge of a wipe-out. Interestingly, all political parties have come up with a statement or criticism of the central government or the other. They know very well that elections are nearing and it is the right time to grab  attention and votes.

But what are the steps they will take if Tamils in large come as refugees to their native place Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is already facing the problem of accommodating Tamil refugees. If words of Sri Lankan authorities can be believed LTTE is crushed to nothing, just their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran is left. They are trying to capture him too. How Lanka is going to treat Tamils in post-war situation? Will the civil war be repeated? So many questions await India and its politicians. Unlike Tamils, people of Gaza have a place of their own to go back and settle down. They are not second citizens though Israel is trying to treat them so. The whole world is behind them. They just have to prove themselves like Obama though it is true some are more equal than others. 

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