Friday, August 12, 2005

Killing the Peacemakers

Why is it that people who stand for peace seem to be the ones most likely to be assassinated? In Sri Lanka, Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was trying to come up with a peace plan to end the ethnic divisions between the ethnic Tamil minority and the Sinhalese majority. A conflict in 1983 killed nearly 65,000 people, and Norway had stepped in to broker a cease-fire at that time.

I don't know this country. I don't know what the grievances are. I've read that the Tamil minority claims the government is secretly funding the anti-Tamil forces, in violation of the brokered agreement. So I don't know which side is "right" or if any side is right. I only know that violence and assassination are not the way to go about bringing people to your side. Non-violent protest has been the only effective way for permanent change in the history of our planet. Shame on those who would resort to assassination.

I'm reminded of Martin Luther King, who was killed not when he asked for civil rights for all Americans of all ethnicities, but when he called for an end to the Vietnam war. Robert Kennedy wasn't assassinated until he was in a position to possibly end the war as well. I hope I'm not falling for international propaganda - how would I know if Kadirgamar was a good man? I'm trusting that the press is telling us the truth, and if that is the truth, then he was doing a brave thing and I'm very sorry he was killed for trying to bring peace to his war-torn island. Sri Lanka is about the size of West Virginia. It's sad to see such bloodshed over such a little piece of land. I fear there will be many more such incidents over time as the world's population grows and resources continue to shrink.


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