Now a paper tiger

Apr 11, 2002

Sri Lanka prepared to lift Tiger ban While the world is focused on the madness in Israel/Palestine, other war-torn places are breathing a bit easier as warriors and terrorizers give up their fight. In the last two months, the IRA in Ireland have decommissioned a load of materiel (guns, ammunition and bombs); the longtime leader of the Angolan revolutionary forces, Jonas Savimbi, was killed in battle, and his successors quickly sued for peace; and the long-time Tamil leader on Sri Lanka finally made a public appearance as a first step to a peace agreement. A woman that I work with, Dileeni Corea, is a native of Sri Lanka. This summer she will return to the island for the first time since she left 18 years ago. She told me that she’s always been afraid to return. As a teenager there, she was in Colombo, the capital, when that mainly Sinhalese city erupted in rioting and looting in response to the Tamil Tigers’ first offensive, the killing of army soldiers. Dileeni made her way home through identification checks and past burning Tamil stores. Her aunt’s home, where she was staying, was flanked by two burning Tamil homes. The Tamil Tigers went on to distinguish themselves as the most prolific suicide bombers (yes, more than the Palestinians). But now, says Dileeni, they’ve probably figured out that the world won’t look on such terrorism so blithely. But what’s blinding the Israelis and Palestinians to this truth?

Anton Zuiker

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