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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Thursday, December 01, 2005

The other side of paradise

During my travels in Sri Lanka in early 2005 - the photo above is a taste - I saw the aftermath of the Boxing Day tsunami, the almost devastation of the tourist industry and a country struggling to rebuild.

The civil war within the country still rages, though less intensely than in years past. Child soldiers are used by the Tamil Tigers and any number of human rights organisations and the UN are attempting to stamp out this vile process. There are even reports of Tamils sheltering tsunami affected children and then recruiting them for battle. All sides in this conflict are tainted, however.

It is easy in the West to feel removed from a country-specific conflict, but Sri Lanka is practically on Australia's doorstep.

8 Comments:

Blogger Shabadoo said...

Does anyone remember the time Jamie Oliver got in trouble because like an idiot he did an episode of one of his shows wearing a TAMIL TIGERS t-shirt, and he thought it was a baseball team or something? Hubbly-jubbly, indeed.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 10:33:00 am  
Blogger Uccai Siravas said...

I must say you are a victim of the Sri Lankan government propaganda: It is spreading this news of child soldiers to tarnish the image of its opponent.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 11:26:00 am  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Really?
The UN and a host of human rights org are all wrong?
If so, I'd be happy to correct the information, but please provide the information.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 11:55:00 am  
Blogger Pete's Blog said...

Oh AL you are simply off beam when it comes to pointing the finger at the West when Third Worlders decide to kill each other.

Do not let your West-centric biases rule.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 2:49:00 pm  
Blogger Shay said...

The photo's from Sigiriya I gather. Incredible place, I've gotta say.

Did you go to Galle? Was the old walled city totally destroyed or what? I've tried writing to the lady whose guest house I stayed in when I was there and haven't heard back. Just wondering if you can shed some light on whether it's likely that she survived.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 4:30:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Sigiriya, indeed. Amazing place.
Didn't make it to Galle, sadly. Not enough time, though I know it was hit hard.
Keep trying and good luck.

Thursday, December 01, 2005 4:42:00 pm  
Blogger Spangled Drongo said...

shay, i visited galle not long after the tsunami - the old walled part of galle was untouched (the tsunami swept around the walls). many other parts of galle were pretty much flattened...

Friday, December 02, 2005 11:05:00 am  
Blogger Uccai Siravas said...

If you are true journalist, do not rely on other organizations to make the assertion that LTTE recruits child soldiers.

It is a serious claim and a true journalist must independently verify the claim and not simply parrot the UN bureacrats stationed in Sri Lanka. These bureaucrats may have some personal reasons to tow the Sri Lankan government line.

In fact, the Tamil media accuse some of the western UN staff stationed in Sri Lanka to be pedophiles. In return for Sri Lankan authorities turning a blind eye to their continuing crimes against children are active participants in the propaganda effort.

LTTE has a list of 17,000+ fighters who had died so far, including details such as date and place of birth, parents name etc. All a journalist has to do is to select a random sample and verify whether any of them are underaged. Also, verify that the LTTE has included all the dead combatants by enquiring a random sample of Tamil villages.

So much trouble in the world is a result of lazy journalists who simply parrot official press releases!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006 6:33:00 am  

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