Your View

Well done!

This is a guest post by s.o.muffin

Like many others intermittently blogging, I have been driven to this strange activity by manifest shortcomings of mass media, political parties and the commentariat. It is thus only fair to raise a hand and acknowledge when all the above collectively got something more-or-less right.

In the last few weeks we have witnessed the climax of the long conflict in Sri Lanka. Although I didn’t undertake any wide-ranging study, my impression is that the mass media (those who spared the time from really important issues, like the impending Jordan’s divorce ) and commentators:

• Didn’t anoint one side to the dispute as totally in the right and didn’t delegitimise the other as devil incarnate. They did see that awful conflict for what it obviously was: an ethnic dispute in which rights and wrongs are shared.

• Didn’t attempt to explain the conflict under an overarching slogan of “fight against imperialism” or “fight against terrorism”. Didn’t see it as a conflict between Buddhism and Hinduism. Didn’t scan holy books of either religion to explain the misdeeds committed by either side. Didn’t search under the bed for well-funded Sinhalese lobby or suspect that Tamil residents of UK harbour a secret plot to establish Hindutva on these shores.

• Didn’t have a dog in the race, a dog that is supposed to fight to the last drop of its canine blood to entertain pundits in London and environs and make them feel good about themselves.

• Didn’t preach academic boycott or cricket boycott of either party, didn’t write plays titled “Seven Tamil Children” or “Seven Sinhalese Children”, didn’t send shroud-waving aid convoys to Puthukkudiyiruppu or Mullivaikal – if they really wanted to help, a donation to Red Cross was seen as a more appropriate course of action.

• Didn’t essentialise the awful war crimes of both sides by appealing to their intrinsic wickedness, their religion, their history, their historically-damaged psyche – instead, they have viewed it as an appalling, yet unsurprising, consequence of a long and bitter ethnic conflict.

• Didn’t confuse the necessary opposition to breaches of human rights – breaches that should be always opposed and punished – with the imperative of two communities to share the same island in legitimacy, peace, equality and mutual respect, eventually healing the wounds of the conflict.

Well done!

Share this article.

shares