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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2864

Them and Us

[b]Them and Us[/b]

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

[i][b]"And we are here as on a darkling plain
Swept with confused alarms of struggle and fight,
Where ignorant armies clash by night."[/b][/i]
[b]Matthew Arnold [/b]([i]Dover Beach[/i])

The killing of Vanniasingham Vigneswaran, President of the Trincomalee District Tamil Peoples’ Forum should be condemned in the strongest terms, irrespective of the identity and the political affiliations of the killers. Mr. Vigneswaran was a civilian and as such had a right not to be killed by men bearing arms. He supported the LTTE but as a citizen of a democratic country, Sri Lanka, he had an inalienable right to do so.

If he was killed by his own side, the LTTE, his death would not raise any existential issues – because it is in the nature of the Tiger to devour anyone, foe or friend, if dictated by self-interest. But if the killing is the work of either the Sri Lankan Army or anti-Tiger Tamils, it raises seriously disturbing questions about who we are and what we stand for; it also serves as a warning that we too can become as intolerant and as barbaric as the Tiger, a possibility that bodes ill for both Sri Lanka and Tamil democracy.

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