I see that one of the first things in the blockquote from DT (via Rosen) is the borderline antisemetic myth of Jews being the [only] chosen people. I disagree to some extent of Johns reply though: Jews are “chosen” by antisemites to-be-sure but I don’t know of any religion who thinks that God hates their guts. Every religion implies that God has cut a special deal with them. Even when the acknowledge that His house has many mansions, they have the only key to the concierge floor. The rest, to use the Christian story, get to eat the crumbs off the master’s table (but you know it’s just not the same – otherwise what’s the point of their particular guest loyalty program).
(And David T’s shoe-on-the-other-foot analogy about the play is dead on, so dead on that I’m sure that Rosen it’ll go right thorough him – indeed, no one who has been presented with similar analogies wants to even think about it which shows that there’s something running under the surface and it’s not running deep.)
Given Bill’s comment, what I thought to be off topic isn’t as far off as I thought. While walking through Parliament Square this afternoon, I was struck by an irony (in, I believe, the dictionary definition sense): there were all these Tamil Eelam supporters in front of the Houses of Parliament demanding that the UK government do _something_ to halt the “state fascism” and “genocide” in Sri Lanka and by the Sri Lankan government.
Let’s leave aside that these people have no understanding of what genocide means (and that the Sri Lankan government appears to have no intenion of committing it). Let’s also leave aside the fact that the UK government has a whole host of problems all of its own right now, such as the economy, a small but embarrassing number of MPs of all parties caught with their hands in the till, the Speaker of the House of Commons being forced to resign…
What this leaves is the irony that the supporters of the inventors of the concept and practice of the suicide bomber appealing to a democratic government (which it is), which has _itself_ seen its population attacked by suicide bombers, for their support against a government, similarly democratically elected, which appears (at least for the moment) to have solved its own problem of suicide bombers.
I pass no comment on the tactics of the Sri Lankan government, but it _has_ fulfilled its election pledge, however appalling that pledge might, in practice, be.
Then there was a further irony: alongside them was a small group appealing for the UK government to do something to “stop the siege of Gaza”. A second group in support of students of the first group: Hamas learned the lessons of the suicide bomber from the Tamil Tigers.
The irony was not that they were side-by-side (they are, after all, partners in terrorism), but that they were both appealling to a government that has declared “war” (silly term) on terrorism, and has certainly declared Hamas, if not the Tamil Tigers, a terrorist organisation, and thus not to be treated with.
Go figure. Especially given Academic’s comment attached to Eve Garrard’s Normblog article below.
It is unclear whether the LTTE were the inventors of suicide bombing or not. Two senior operatives had connections to Hezbollah in the LTTE’s early days, which were also Hezbollah’s early days.
The problem I have with the Tamils, and we have a large community in Toronto, is that the leader of the LTTE turned to extreme violence in order to create an independent state on the island of Sri Lanka as the only means of asserting the Tamil minority’s human rights rather than political action.
Throughout the LTTE’s history, the Tamil diaspora sent money, not always willingly but under what amounted to extortion, and the children of the diaspora community who are the loud voices, think of the LTTE’s leader as a great hero.
There have been tens of thousands of people, civilians and fighters, killed in the last few months and days by Sri Lankan forces. Tamil sources are saying that 600,000 people have been killed since last February.
This is not the moment to be using the Tamils as a political football.
This, in my view, is the moment to be shocked, astonished, angry and sad.
David, you may well be right concerning the number of deaths resulting from the Sri Lankan army’s drive against the Tamil Tigers, but the point remains that the Tamils (or a segment of them) took up arms and trained suicide bombers to achieve their ends rather than pursue political means, as Lynne notes. I stand by my finding of irony that their supporters (however willingly or otherwise) in the UK are protesting alongside supporters of Hamas outside the UK Parliament, which has its own problems with suicide bombers and those making what the rest of us would see as extreme demands.
Hamas, for one, would be quite happy to see the form of government represented by the Houses of Parliament replaced by the Caliphate, and the Tamil Tigers have, by definition, relied for two and a half decades on non-parliamentary, non-democratic means to attempt to achieve their ends.
If we here stop noting these things and noting the ironies involved in _their_ demands for parliamentary systems to do something to help them achieve their non-democratic, non-parliamentary ends, then we might as well pack up and go home: we’ve lost if we do that.
I really don’t see that I am using the Tamils as a political football. Rather, I believe that I am pointing out the similarities between them and those we find ourselves debating (if that in itself is not too ironic a word) with.