Friday, June 29, 2007

extremism amongst the diaspora

I have lived my adult life in the UK and the US, until my return in December 2004. There are large communities of Sri Lankans there, as well as of course in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Most of the people have settled in those countries and are unlikely to settle back in Sri Lanka, with the majority having taken the nationality of their adopted land.

A high proportion of these people, some who were born in those host countries, have views that are more extreme than the people in the Island. I refer to the ethnic conflict. This is very unhelpful in reaching a consensus, and a solution that will satisfy the majority of the people in Sri Lanka.

The people in Sri Lanka want peace, and are willing to compromise. Those outside the country, on the Tamil side, fund the terrorism, and on the Sinhala side, rabidly oppose any solution that is remotely acceptable to the Tamil minority. The problem for the country is more from outside than from within. The overseas Tamils willingly or unwillingly have financed the conflict, which has killed more Tamils, thereby defeating the aim and the defence secretary is a member of the diaspora, who appears to favor a military solution.

It is a shame that the developed countries which fund and fuel much of the extremism, take a back seat in the solution, when they have a direct responsibility. They can make a difference, but are unwilling to get involved. The conflict is a Sri Lankan one that can be solved internally. External pressure for a solution is required, rather than cutting of aid, at a time when military aid is sent to terrorists via the diaspora.

The influence of the diaspora is under appreciated and rarely addressed as they are the ones fighting a proxy war, and the actual fighters are mere pawns who are disposable.

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