The Sri Lankan governement finally crushed the Tamil Tiger rebellion last week, killing the top three rebel commanders including their leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran The government ignored the pleaas of the U.N. and most of the Europeans nations to allow civilians to escape from the last contested areaa. Civilian casualties are said to be very high. The non Tamil population celebrated the end of the Tiger’s reign of terror, but Tamil people were conspicuously absent from the celebration. Discrimination against the Tamil ethnic group is pervasive in the country and some felt that Prabharkaran’s tactics gave the few Tamil elected officials bargaining chips in governement negotiations. Sensing an opportunity perhaps for real peace, the delivered a speech to the country which included a message to the Tamil ethnic minority, which he delivered in their own language. He alluded to having a power sharing agreement that included the Tamils. Peace can be elusive though, and the lull in fighting is not necessarily a guarantee for peace. Twenty-five years of fighting leaves plenty of memories of injustice and rebellions are easily made. Two things need to happen to insure peace. Government has to offer full participation and representation to the Tamil minority, and atrocities committed during the war, on both sides must be investigated and prosecuted. President Rajapaksathe can make a good first step by allowing medical personnel and U.N. representatives into the Tamil area so that civilians who have been without medical assistance and in some cases without food, can receive immediate aid.
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