There has been an unexpected reaction to my previous article on the Channel 4 programme shown last week: Sri Lanka, the Killing Fields.
This blog post is about to become the most viewed I have written in two years of writing this blog.
I found this a little bizarre because my blog is about Israel.
The main purpose of my Sri Lanka blog was to highlight what I perceive as the double standards of the UN and the international community.
So I am bemused as to why my post has had so many hits in such a short space of time.
I have come to the conclusion that the reason is that Israel and Palestine so monopolise the news media and the blogosphere, that it is seen as THE conflict, the most important one to resolve and a major cause of the ongoing ‘war’ between Islam and the West.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, and the Tamils in particular, have relatively few bloggers and virtually no attention from the media.
So when someone writes about Sri Lanka, it has a much larger impact than a similar article about Israel where my voice struggles to be heard in a plethora of shrill voices on both sides.
In my article I committed the sin of comparing the actions of the Sri Lankan army, on two occasions, to the actions of the Nazis. This is always a risky thing to do. Let me clarify; I compared the No Fly Zones to the gas chambers because both used simulation to dupe victims into believing they were safe when, in fact, the opposite was true. In retrospect, this was not appropriate.
I then compared Ban Ki Moon’s visit to a Tamil internment camp as being similar to the Red Cross visiting Theresienstadt and reporting all was well. This comparison is, perhaps, a little more felicitous.
The overwhelming majority of visitors have been supportive of my article.
One of the first commentators took me to task about accusing the Sri Lankan government of genocide when most Tamils live in the south and in comparative wealth and comfort.
Here is a legal definition of genocide found in the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (CPPCG).
Article 2 defines genocide as, inter alia:
“…. any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; ….”
In my judgement, these conditions were met based on the evidence I have seen. Others more qualified will make theirs.
In the Sunday Times this week A A Gill was disparaging of the Channel 4 programme. He pointed out that no Channel 4 reporters witnessed the events and almost all the footage came from unconfirmed sources.
In these days of citizen journalism, in areas of the world where news reporters are not allowed, the evidence from private citizens and combatants is vital in telling the world what happened even if, as in this case, these video clips are horrific trophy recordings apparently taken by soldiers who appear to be enjoying the rape and slaughter.
This evidence of the dehumanisation of one group by another and how that can lead to war crimes and, yes, genocide, are all too familar to the Jewish people. Those who document the dehumanisation of Jews by Hamas, Islamic clerics and Palestinian Authority TV and literature, have no doubt that, given the opportunity, Jews would be subject to the same deranged slaughter as the Tamils and probably far worse.
At least in Sri Lanka Tamils still live and many prosper; they still have positions of authority in Sri Lankan society. No-one is suggesting that they must all be killed because they are an evil virus hated by G-d and humanity. Only the Jews have that dubious honour.
There are several initiatives by NGO’s and even politicians to ensure that any war crimes in Sri Lanka are punished.
However, I doubt that the UN Human Rights Council will have a permanent agenda item for Sri Lanka as it has for Israel.
I wish the people of Sri Lanka well and I hope that justice and reconciliation will resolve the conflict and allow all communities and faiths to live together with mutual respect and toleration.