Friday, May 15, 2009

All for a good protest!

So I know I'm offering my opinion on this contested issue a little too late but better now than never right? I'm exercising my freedom of speech. So as many of you know, the historical civil war in Sri Lanka is a particular issue which has been gaining alot of buzz due to the increase of protest world wide, not just in Toronto but in London as well. However, in London supporters of the Tamil Tigers who are waving the flag are arrested because the Tamil Tigers is recognized as a Terrorist Organization. Basically the civil war involves the Sri Lankan majority and the Tamil minority. The group that represents the minority of people is the The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) who are fighting for a seperate state. Since the 1980's this militant organization or to many western countries, a terrorist organization, has been able to attract many Tamil supporters who have been disenchanted with the ruling system and have come together in order to fight for self-determination and freedom of their culture. However, their motives and ways in achieving their goals have not always been peaceful. As mentioned, they are a military organization and will use any force necessary in order to recapture their culture and land and what ever agenda they hope to accomplish. Toronto, has a very large Tamil diaspora and it is obvious they would turn to their host country in order for the government to take action. Through the medium of protest, they are trying to draw attention to the genocide that is going on in Sri Lanka. Their hope is to call for foreign government to help arrange a cease fire between the Sri Lankan government troops and the Tamil Tigers.

I'm all for a good protest. I've never been to one, probably because I've never been passionate about a particular cause. But it looks exciting and liberating. Its a chance to shake up social order, take a stance on an issue and voice your opinion. We have journalists and such to keep the government in check, but a protest shows that people are aware and are passionate about what they are voicing their opinions for. The point of a protest is to make a statement and express dissaproval on something that is meaningful or you think needs to be adressed, debated about and so on. Sometimes protests go unntoticed, so extreme and sometimes radical measures need to be taken place in order for more attention to be drawn upon the issue. The recent protest on the Gardiner Expressway only proved that the Tamil people will go through any lengths to disrupt the status quo and make a statement. Even though it wasa peaceful protest, and while protesting on the Gardiner expressway was quite drastic I think it was very foolish and irresponsible for adults to bring their children. The logic was probably if we bring our children, they probably won't violently remove us from the highway. But, putting your children in danger while occupying a public highway is the wrong way to protest. I understand the immense amount of civilian causalities that are taking place in Sri Lanka, but one needs to protect themselves here instead of put themselves in danger. In addition, I understand that their intentions are good but let us remember that the Tamil Tigers is a recognized terrorist organization. I hear of protesters condemning Prime Minister Harper, and saying that he is not doing enough. But it all truthfulness, there is nothing that him or the Canadian government can do. It is not the Canadian government responsibility to deal with these kinds of affairs. That is the way international politics works. The Canadian government does not have that kind of authority, and even if they have a responsible to protect these innocent civilians, meddling in other countries sovereignty becomes a very slippery slope. The international community is well aware of what is going on, and I agree something should be done. But it is very difficult to sort this issue out, most especially if both sides inherently have their own interest and are unwilling to negotiate peace.

I feel like this such an important issue to be aware about, and it is just as important to call out what is relevant and to point out what is not there.Has anyone noticed there is not alot of newspaper reports or photos of the carnage? Isn't it strange? Well I can tell you there is an absence of coverage because journalist are not allowed in this area which allows for information to be filtered through claims and counter claims. We truly do not know what is going on over there first hand. There are so many allegations its very hard to see what is relevant and what is not.
Right now reports say, there is about 50,000 civillians trapped in an area in Northern Sri Lanka, who are being held hostage by the Tamil Tigers. The civillians will be shot down by the Tamil Tigers if they try to escape and in addition the civilians are being used as 'human shields' from incoming conflict by the Sri Lankan government. Regardless, there is no one side that is correct. Both sides should be charged of war crimes because of the kind of tactics that are being imposed on one another......this is such a contested issue..which will take many more years to be resolved if ever...

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