Sunday, June 19, 2011

Thanks to Ray Cook for his Tamil Massacre Piece

I discussed the massacres in Sri Lanka before, in connection with the Goldstone Report and the condemnation of Israel.

Well, finally the BBC dusted the subject off and Ray Cook blogged it. It's here (k/t = SophieS):

Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields – what genocide actually looks like

Excerpts -

Last night Channel 4 screened what must be one of the most disturbing programme ever shown on British television...The programme has been posted on the Channel 4oD website here. This was a programme about the 2009 assault on the Tamil Tigers by the Sri Lankan army. The programme included stomach-turning graphic mobile phone footage of summary executions, hundreds of dead bodies, including those of women who had been raped and then shot.

...As I watched, my stomach turning at every scene, some so difficult to watch I actually had to avert my eyes, I was struck by both the similarities and the differences between this conflict and the Israeli’s assault on Gaza between December 2008 and January 2009, Operation Cast Lead.

...the similarities: both the Sri Lankan government and the Israelis were responding to a concerted campaign by a terrorist organisation whose stated aims was to ‘reclaim’ a homeland. Both terrorist groups had used suicide bombing, intimidation and ruthless subjugation of its own people.  In both the Israeli and the Sri Lankan offensives there were accusations of deliberate targetting of civilians, attacks on civilian infrastructure and protected buildings.  The more rabid opponents of Israel accused them of massacre or genocide. The Goldstone Report found evidence of possible war crimes, breaches of the Geneva Convention, failure to protect civilians, the use of human shields, illegal use of weaponry.

...I do not believe that Israel had a deliberate policy of targetting civilians, in fact, the opposite was true. There were incidents which were negligent or ill-judged and tragic. These do not add up to war crimes or genocide.  There are no accusations of rape against the IDF, even by Hamas and no woman ever came forward with any such suggestion.  There were no accusations of summary executions of bound prisoners and no such evidence exists.

...The figures bear this out. Between 1300 and 1400 known people killed of which, even by Hamas’ reckoning 700 were combatants. The IDF figures show far fewer non-combatant casualties.

Let’s consider the worldwide condemnation of Israel for attacking Gaza from where thousands of rockets had been fired over a considerable period of time. And this after Israel had evacuated Gaza completely. Soon after, Hamas took control and began suicide attacks and bombings and a barrage of indiscriminate rockets fired at towns in Southern Israel.  Israel was accused of disproportionality even though very few people actually know what that means in international law.

...Now look at the Sri Lankan campaign against the Tamils.  At least 40,000 civilians were killed and relatively few combatants. The actual figure may be much, much higher. It could be more than 100,000.  There was torture, rape, clearly deliberate targetting of hospitals and civilians.

What happened in the UN? There was a very low-key call for an investigation which the Sri Lankan government rejected.  The whole thing was buried and soon forgotten.  There was no worldwide condemnation.

...please explain why the entire world is fixated on perceived Israeli crimes and so sanguine about millions massacred elsewhere.  Why has no-one called for the destruction of the the Sinhalese majority Sri Lankan state and the creation of a ‘free’ Tamil one.  Where are our religious leaders? Where are the Methodists or the leaders of West Dunbartonshire Council? Who’s banning products from Sri Lanka? How many Sri Lankan politicians and soldiers have been threatened with arrest if they set foot in the UK?

Sorry, I forgot, Israel is by far the most evil state in the world and must be singled out for special opprobrium even if that means less time and attention spent on real criminals.

Think about that.

Now do you know what we mean by "double standard"?

International duplicity?

Immorality in international relations?


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