So it’s looking pretty clear that the Sri Lankan government is going to finally win its civil war and destroy the Tamil Tigers.
Is this a good thing?
On the one hand, the Tigers seem to me to be pretty clearly no-hopers – they don’t offer anything much for anyone. Their main contribution to humanity has been to popularise the idea of suicide bombing. Thank you very much, Tamil Tigers.
On the other hand, have any of the factors that led to vicious pogroms and systematic discrimination against Tamils disappeared? Can Sri Lankan Tamils expect that the coming period of rule by a Sinhalese governmen will be different from the past?
On the one hand, an end to civil war is a very good thing – this civil war in particular has supposedly caused 70,000 deaths.
On the other hand, could a ceasefire have worked in the long run? Could concessions have stabilised the situation, or a compromise around federal autonomy ended the conflict peacefully? Is it perhaps that the Sinhalese electorate wouldn’t have allowed it – or is it more the monks and chauvinists who manage to get hardliners elected?
And will victory bring peace? Or will the remaining Tigers shift to a different form of warfare, operating covertly. The Hindu al-Qaeda?
The war that is soon to end cost a lot of lives. The offensive that will soon end it has cost a lot of lives. Who knows what the peace that will follow it will cost?
EDIT: there’s an article about this at Znet. Points it offers include:
-This does not mean the end of the Tamil Tigers, although it weakens them.
-President Mahinda Rajapakse, who already holds the portfolios of defence, finance and nation-building, has just made himself minister of the media as well” – this comes together with the news that an unpopular TV station gets attacked by unknown assailants.
-The suggestion that “the EU also recognises that they speak for many, if not most, Sri Lankan Tamils in denouncing the discrimination that Tamils suffer…the Tamil diaspora is unlikely to end its funding for the Tigers any time soon.”
In relation to that last point, I am put in minds of reports that described that LTTE’s foreign agents as forming a sort of mafia that extracted money from foreign Tamils through threats and violence.