Wednesday, March 21st, 2018

A Twenty-Something American Comments On The Sri Lankan Genocide

Published on February 15, 2009 by   ·   8 Comments Pin It

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We know you are used to reading fashion, diet, and glam living tips in our little online universe but when GirlieGirlArmy reader Jessica Small (this is a pseudonym, as we need to keep her identity secret to protect her safety) reached out to us and asked us to bring some attention to the Sri Lankan genocide, we were reminded that one cannot be an Eco-Glamazon without caring DEEPLY for the well being of others, all around the world.   Sometimes we have to read about and see things that are deeply upsetting, but we must always enlighten ourselves to others suffering to appreciate what we have and to help those in need.     Please read this blog, and share it with your circle.

Sri Lanka’s humanitarian crisis has been making a lot of international news lately, but the gravity of the situation is not being conveyed – not even close – primarily due to the Sri Lankan government’s propaganda and brutal censorship of the media (i.e, they imprison, torture and/or kill any journalist that says something they don’t like).

These Tamil dead were among the scores of civilians killed last week when the Sri Lankan army bombed a school that was being used as a shelter for refugees.

These Tamil dead were among the scores of civilians killed last week when the Sri Lankan army bombed a school that was being used as a shelter for refugees.

I’m a twenty-something American from Washington, DC, who has been working in the country for the past two years. Within the last six weeks, I’ve watched Sri Lanka’s 25-year ethnic conflict become a full-scale genocide against the Tamil population (the primary minority group in the country). Some of the more obvious indications include:

At s point, it is fairly evident that the only way that the genocide will end is through international intervention. The international community, however, while showing growing concern about situation and urging an end to the violence, is generally under the impression that Tamil civilians are merely being caught in the crossfire, not deliberately slaughtered. Unless it becomes clear to the rest of the world that the Sri Lankan government is intentionally trying to wipe out Tamil population, it is unlikely that the international community will take any sort of meaningful action.

This blog is an attempt to help get information about the genocide beyond the borders of Sri Lanka, if even in a very small way.   Here are some ways you can help out as well:

  • Share this blog with friends.
  • Contact President Obama about these abuses and ask him to discontinue all aid to the Sri Lankan government, impose economic sanctions and appoint an official to coordinate a US response to the genocide.
  • Contact the State Department and ask them to urge Obama to do all of the above. Secretary Clinton has already demonstrated her interest in the situation by calling for a ceasefire.
  • Contact the US Mission to the United Nations, and ask them to work with the Security Council to place economic sanctions and an arms embargo on Sri Lanka
  • Contact your Congressperson and urge her or him to take immediate action to help end the genocide in Sri Lanka.
  • Write letters to the editors of your local newspapers along the same lines. You can find contact info for your local media here.
  • Reach out to community organizations to raise awareness about the situation and ask members to do any or all of the things on this list.
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    Readers Comments (8)

    1. Carl James says:

      Wow! This is the first I’ve heard of this. My friend’s wife is from Sri Lanka. I’m going to speak with her about this as I know she speaks well of her heritage often. Any injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere!

    2. dt says:

      thanks for talking about this twenty-someting. i have a question though, from what i’ve heard about economic sanctions is that they generally hurt civilians more than the government. is that not the case here? if not, could you please explain a little more about why sanctions would help? thanks!

    3. Lisa says:

      Hey, I used to work in Sri Lanka with a women’s group. The conflict is a terrible crisis that has been going for years and is a struggle for power by the government against the LTTE, who began their life as an organisation to fight for rights for the then marginalised Tamil population in Sri Lanka. The LTTE has since mutated into an organisation that does not much reflect the views of the Tamil people it supposedly represents. The Sri Lankan government want power.
      People of Sri Lanka with whom I had contact did not at all support the government or the LTTE as both have caused great suffering to hundreds of thousands of people, mostly Tamil and mostly poor.

      Support needs to be given by the international community to grass roots organisations that are aiming at reflecting the views and lives of the diverse people of Sri Lanka.

    4. Jessica Small/Twenty-something says:

      I hope you haven’t mistaken my post for a defense of the LTTE, or a commentary on the LTTE at all. My blog post is in reference to a dramatic and unprecedented shift in the crisis that took place about six weeks ago. Two months ago, the government was fighting a war against the LTTE. Now that they have effectively beat the LTTE as a conventional military force, the situation has changed. They are now massacring civilians instead of fighting a war.

      Sanctions are a hotly contested issue, and in many cases, you are correct that they hurt the people more than the government. They are, however, in this case both appropriate and important. Very little of the government’s budget is spent on things that benefit the people, and some absurd proportion of their budget goes directly to the military.

      As Lisa mentions, the best say to help the general public is by giving aid directly to well-run grassroots organizations. Redirecting financial resources this way would help people who are badly in need of aid, address some of the underlying causes of the conflict and take money away from the government (to be clear, economic sanctions don’t necessarily mean a blanket financial blockade on the country. These days, economic sanctions are often targeted or smart in an effort to avoid hurting the people. In many cases, though, the efficacy of this technique is admittedly debatable). Furthermore, these sanctions would be in response to an emergency situation, not something that would be a sustained policy for the next 20 years (by then the Sri Lankan Tamil population will be long gone if the genocide continues). As of yet, all the international community has really done is express concern. A few years back, expressing concern was enough for the Sri Lankan government to reconsider its policies. That’s not really the case anymore (though, due to ‘international concern’ the government recently said that they will only keep Tamils in detention camps for one year instead of three. I doubt this is true, but at least it shows they are at least a little worried about the international community’s concern). Real consequences like sanctions are likely to have at least some impact on their policies. Hope that makes sense.

    5. dt says:

      Thanks so much for your response. It makes more sense now that you’ve explained it a little. Thanks again for shedding some light on the dire situation over there.

    6. raghul says:

      well i am happy that there is a site to show what is going in srilanka.
      i am very much upset to see my brothers and sisters and students in my agegroup die in the war i think that this war is not aganist LTTE but aganist tamil people. the srilanka army is busy engaging in rapping the mother and brutally beating thier son and daughter and hanging them, and the father is forced to view this and been shot in his head. srilanka doest not want tamil people to live their and want sinhaleese domination i would like to make it clear that “srilanka was the homeland of tamil people” and sinhaleese came to srilanka as refugees.

    7. Jessica Small/twenty-something says:

      Thank you to everyone who helped get the word out about the genocide- it looks like we may have had some success! 38 members of congress just sent letters to Secretary Clinton and US Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, that said Sri Lanka was on “red alert” for genocide, and describing the conditions in the detention camps.

      However, there is still much work to be done! Many people have asked me where they can send donations to in order to help. People for Equality and Relief in Sri Lanka (PEARL) is an American organization that is trying to raise funds to publish an advertisement in the Washington Post about the genocide and discouraging the US’s tentatively planned evacuation of civilians (the US is considering conducting a naval operation to evacuate the remaining 200,000 Tamil civilians still trapped in the conflict zone, and then turn them over to the Sri Lankan government to be put into camps. For more information on this see: For more information on the evacuation please see: PEARL has been increasingly effective at generating publicity in the US about the genocide, and I think that publishing the ad is a great idea.

      If you can afford to do so, I would strongly encourage you to send them a donation. You can donate online at Regardless, please pass this information along to anyone who might be interested in chipping in.

      Thanks again for all your help!

    8. Sudarshana says:

      Its is not true. Sri Lankan government is rescuing people from LTTE who are killing their own people. People who came to government area are very happy. They are saying that living with LTTE is a worse nightmare they ever had. They children were taken to LTTE by force. Their food are stolen. People who talk against LTTE were killed.
      Any leader will not kill their own people when they decide to leave the organization. Only LTTE is the world most barbarian group can do such things.

      Please help Sri Lankan government to rescue these innocent people.

      Talk to people who came to government area. I heard one man said “Living one day without the fear of LTTE is the best day in my life”.

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