BBC is reporting that Kofi Annan will not visit with Velupillai Pirabhakaran, leader of the terrorist group LTTE, on his on-going visit to Sri Lanka. Apparantly, Mr. Annan had accepted an invitation to visit with him -- surprise, surprise -- but his trip was sensibly vetoed by Colombo.
Mr. Pirabhakaran is a murderer with Rajiv Gandhi's blood on his hands. No world leader should ever make the mistake of shaking hands with him. His place is in an Indian jail -- and were we supporters of capital punishment, we would have advocated the noose for him.
This is not to say we don't empathize with Tamil frustration in Sri Lanka. There are understandable reasons why they have felt acute alienation over the decades. We also have close friends from the region -- who, in their official and private capacities, are currently engaged in raising and directing aid to the Tsunami stricken in Northern & Eastern Sri Lanka. We hope that Colombo will not discriminate against Tamils in terms of aid provision, nor will it use this moment to press political advantages.
All we are saying is that Mr. Pirbhakaran is a murderer with Rajiv Gandhi's blood on his hands. If he cares for the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, he should surrender and face justice -- we hope this justice is delivered by Indian hands, if not then preferably at the hands of his own people. Once he is gone from the scene, it'll make it a great deal easier for India particularly, and the world more generally, to assist Sri Lanka's Tamil victims of the Tsunami with long-term reconstruction. Also, much like Yasser Arafat's exit in Palestine, Mr. Pirabhakaran's exit will enable India & selected others to use their good offices to forge a durable peace where both Colombo & Jaffna can disengage with honor.
Mr. Pirabahkaran, are you listening? Do you have the courage to sacrifice yourself for the sake of the people you claim to lead, the same courage you demand of brainwashed teenagers you have long sent to die as suicide bombers?
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