Monday, June 2, 2008

Sometimes it might take a perspective from the other side of the world...

The most obvious goal of a blogger should be to write posts that people will want to read. With that, it might seem difficult to convince Americans that their country can learn a lesson from a tiny island nation off the coast of India...a country that many Americans probably can't even locate on a map, name its capital, or have a good understanding of what is happening on the ground over there.

The quote below might seem sound like it is coming from a center-right candidate running for president here in the United States, or they may sound like the work of a "neocon" strategist, or maybe even George W. Bush. But they are not, instead, they are the words of Sri Lanka's Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona, a name which by all means would leave just about any voter casting a ballot this November scratching their head and wondering "who?"

"There is no room for terrorism in this modern world. Terrorism is an unacceptable means of political expression"

Take a minute to realize that Kohona is a foreign minister of a country that faces terrorism on a daily basis...Sri Lankans are reminded of the grim reality of fanaticism regularly, even when we Americans are most concerned Barack Obama or John McCain accepting endorsements from a controversial figure or making "gaffes" on non-isses. The stakes will be very high in the coming months as American voters chose the next leader of the free world...and the most important issue of all remains terrorism, and the threat it poses to people of all walks of life and from all over the world. There is no doubt the issue has been politicized by both sides--some on the right have used it as a "fear mongering tool", while others on the left continue to deny terrorism is a real threat and beat the drum saying that America is the real villain in the world, and not the homicidal fanatics who blow up innocent people and burn cities. then of course, there are the Ron Paul types, who fear our "civil liberties are being violated" in the name of counter-terrorism.

But at the end of the day, it might not hurt to have a look at a country like Sri Lanka, which is engaged in a violent power struggle with terrorists who are determined to sabotage its democratic way of life. No matter what their political beliefs, Sri Lankans who are trying to make a living and go about their lives need to do so with an eye for danger, even with the simple things, like riding a bus or a train, which is something a disgruntled businessman dissatisfied with President Bush's handling of our efforts in Iraq probably doesn't contemplate much.

Imagine what it might be like for a second to live in Sri Lanka, perhaps in the northern Jaffna Peninsula where the Tamil Tiger rebels engage in fierce battles with government forces on a daily basis while targeting civilians, in addition to plotting the next deadly strike against public transportation.

By the way, here is part of the article in which Foreign Minister Kohona was quoted in, which I provided a link to above. What would things be like if America was faced with a domestic terror threat like this?

Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels are becoming more violent as they suffer setbacks because of a new government offensive, a top official from the war-torn South Asian nation said Saturday.

Foreign Secretary Palitha Kohona said the Tigers have shown no interest in negotiating for permanent peace to end 25 years of separatist violence on the island nation off southern India.

On the contrary, there is a "continuing focus on their part to resort to violence and terrorism" — evident from recent deadly train and bus bombings — Kohona told reporters on the sidelines of a regional security conference in Singapore.

"It looks like they are absolutely committed to terrorism and nothing else. Maybe because in the battlefield they have been pushed back methodically by the government and their only response is to blow up civilians," Kohona said.

Public affairs personnel for the Tamil Tigers were not immediately available for comment.

Definitely worth thinking about, isn't it? At least the libertarians out there who fear for our civil liberties can do so in the safety and security of an American city.

One other thing I would like to say...when I mentioned fanaticism up above, notice I was not specifically referring to "Islamist" extremists. As I have noted many times here on this blog, the LTTE--the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist group which was the focus of this post, is a devout secularist group that embraces (and often sets the bar) the same destructive means of committing brutal acts of violence against the most innocent of all people as anyone from Al-Qaeda, Hamas, or the other "Islamic" groups. It is also worth noting that the threat we here in the west are primarily concerned with, so-called Islamic terrorism, is primarily setting its sights on Muslims who refuse to go along with their ideology, which I believe betrays everything the religion of Islam teaches in the first place. The true and good Muslims in this world are in this battle with us just as much as people in Sri Lanka or any other country in the world faced with the threat of terrorism.

This is a reality that cannot be stressed enough.

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