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Why this indifference?

One after the other political leaders from the west, especially Britain and France, rushed to the island to show their humanitarian concern for the displaced Tamils who were used as human shield by the now defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam, LTTE, which claimed to fight for the interest of this very same people.

However, these Western politicians' humanitarian concerns dried up completely to the sufferings of Northern Muslims who were driven out at gunpoints, Jaffna Muslims within two hours notice, by the LTTE and languishing in refugee camps in appalling conditions for the past 19 years.

The first to arrive in the island on the eve of the military defeat of the LTTE were British Foreign Secretary David Miliband and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner. They were followed by the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon himself.-perhaps dispatched by the United States that uses the UN as a tool to implement its designs to plunder the resources of Third World countries.

Of the three, none spoke a word about the LTTE's crime on the Northern and Eastern Muslims as if they did not exist. Their humanitarian concern would have received some elements of respect had they, before leaving the island, at least visited for five minutes the refugee camps of Northern Muslims in and around Puttalam and had a glance of their sufferings due to LTTE barbarity.

These Muslims were kicked out by the LTTE from their homes, lands and properties in an unprecedented crime of ethnic cleansing in the island's known history.

The West turned a blind eye to these LTTE crimes and ignored the sufferings of Northern Muslims as they usually do all over the world when it comes to Muslims from Bosnia, Kosovo, Algeria, Albanian, Iraq, Afghanistan Somalia, Chechenya and the list continues. They even failed to criticize leave alone calling the LTTE leaders for war crimes trial as they did in the case of Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic. Instead, they continued to protect and promote the LTTE.

Though it was India that trained, armed, financed and supported the Tamil militants it was with remittances from Tamil diaspora in countries such as Britain, France, Canada, Australia, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the like that help build and sustain the LTTE killing machine which committed some of the heinous crimes and held the country for ransom for more than a quarter century. Certainly, these Western countries were aware that the Tamil diaspora in their countries jointly remit annually around $ 320 million to the LTTE.

Did they do anything to check or block these remittances? Isn't this sheer hypocrisy.

Yet they speak of so-called war against terrorism only to justify their crusade against Muslims especially since the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1990.

Therefore Sri Lankans, keen on eliminating the LTTE threat and safeguarding their country, are justified in their suspicion when Miliband and Kouchner arrived here to show concern for displaced Tamils in the wanni area.

Nevertheless, it is too much for Muslims to expect Miliband and Kouchner to show compassion to them, as Britain and France have been active partners in the United States led crusade against Islam and Muslims. These crimes against Muslims have been legalized by US and its allies using the UN as a mere tool.

Therefore, leave alone the Northern Muslims in Puttalam refugee camps, Muslims any where in the world cannot expect anything from the UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon .In fact only a month ago Ban Ki Moon watered down and meticulously stripped down a detailed 184-page report critical of Israeli crimes during its senseless military strikes on starving Palestinians Gaza last December-January, to a 27-page document.

On the other hand, Mr. Ban ki Moon did not find it worthwhile to visit around three and half million Pakistanis, more than 12 times the number of displaced people in the wanni, who were made refugees in and around Swat during the past two to three weeks. In fact Pakistani government dispatched its troops to fight it own so called Talebans, created by the Americans, more to please the Americans that promptly rewarded the Pakistani government financially, than to solve an internal problem.

Meanwhile on the eve and in the after of the military defeat of the LTTE, politicians, commentators, columnists and others, both here in the country and abroad, spoke repeatedly of a political solution dealing only with the problems of Tamils.

From British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Indian Congress Party Chief Sonia Gandhi to Indian Home Minister Chidambaram and others reiterated in one voice the need to ensure the rights of Tamils. Thereby they give the impression that Sinhalese and Tamils are the only two communities living in this country and there is no such community called Muslims. Seldom have they spoken about the need for solution that would ensure equality and equal opportunities to all to ensure permanent peace in this war battered country just trying to breathe in a fear free environment.

What is conveniently forgotten by many is the crucial role played by the Muslims in preserving the territorial integrity of the island. For example, during the early days, Tamil militants' call for a separate state had the full backing of India and the island's armed forces were not equipped or trained, as they are today, to deal with them. From the very inception, Muslims throughout the country vehemently opposed calls for the division of the country and firmly stood for territorial integrity and unity. They never yielded to the LTTE's intense pressure to join their separatist ranks only to face death, devastation, loss of properties, livelihood and displacement with no appreciation.

Had the Muslims joined with the Tamil militancy the island's fate would have been sealed and history would have been different today.

It is unfortunate that despite all these sufferings and sacrifices the plight of the island's Muslim community remain ignored.



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