Citizen to City as Slave to Master


A few days ago, Rick Perry implied that it is OK to overlook the recently released video of US soldiers pissing over dead Afghan bodies because they are just “19-year-old kids”. He additionally “accused the Obama administration of ‘over-the-top rhetoric’ and ‘disdain for the military’ in its condemnation of (this) video”. Yesterday a crowd of Americans in South Carolina chanted “U.S.A! U.S.A!” in a homicidal manner as they stood in front of their idol, Newt Gingrich; a person who suggested that the way for Black people to get out of poverty is to make their children work as janitors. In December last year Gingrich said that the Palestinians are an invented people, who have no right to Israel’s promised land. This man has a PhD. in History. George H.W. Bush (and more recently Mitt Romney) has time and again repeated that he “will never apologize for America!”

In Crito, Socrates refuses to escape from Athenian prison, even though he knows that he is going to be sentenced to death. He argues that he has a moral obligation to honor his legal obligation, since he owes all he has to the city. So do we support everything our country does, provided it deems itself a Republic?

What when the state turns against humanity in the name of security? In the fiscal year 2011, the US was providing Israel with $8.2 million/DAY in military aid to murder Palestinians in broad daylight. The Republic of India stations approximately 700,000 troops in the tiny valley of Kashmir, the most militarized region in the world, and commits human rights abuses daily.

How much nationalism is too much?

gen·o·cide [jen-uh-sahyd]


the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.

We are all aware of genocides in modern history in Armenia, Germany, Cambodia, Bosnia, Rwanda, East Timor and most recently Darfur. The “deliberate and systematic extermination” of Palestinians in Israel makes the treatment of Palestinians in Israel genocide. By the same means, the “deliberate and systematic extermination” of Tamils in Sri Lanka by the Sri Lankan government makes it genocide.

The conflict between the two largest ethnic groups in Sri Lanka, the Sinhalese and Tamils originated during the British colonial rule. Rivalries led to the Tamils being subjugated to discrimination, which in turn led to the Tamils demanding an independent state. The formation of the extremely violent organization, “The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam” (LTTE) or Tamil Tigers, was propelled by this need for an independent state. The LTTE was trained secretly by the Indian army, making them highly dangerous. The clash between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government led to the genocide of thousands of ethnic Tamil civilians in Sri Lanka, especially in 2009. At the peak of the crisis, the government  banned all media, journalists, and aid groups from the conflict zone.

  • 300,000 Tamil people estimated to have be killed or disappeared
  • In 2009 alone, 35,000 Tamil people estimated to have been killed
  • Over 600,000 internally displaced or evicted Tamil refugees
  • 20,000 Tamil children have been orphaned
  • 35,000 Tamil widows
  • Thousands of Tamils were kept under military rule in Northern Sri Lanka, where they were starved; raped; slaughtered; and kept devoid of medicine, fuel, and electricity.

The Sri Lankan government has denied all charges of human rights violations. The international community and developed nations of the world failed to intervene or condemn the actions of the Sri Lankan government despite having adequate satellites, telecommunications and all the technology in the world to have knowledge of the massacre. However, nothing was done about it because geopolitical interests in the region were deemed more important that the dignity and lives of human beings. Moreover, it would be like the pot calling the kettle black, since most of these “civilized” nations indirectly or directly bomb most of the Middle East regularly.

Governments and corporations can only be kept ethical if people hold them accountable. It is important to remember this slaughter and others to ensure the end of inhumanity, especially of this nature. The genocide of ethnic Tamils of Sri Lanka is not unlike the genocide of Palestinians in Israel or the genocide of tribal people in India by the government. It is disgusting and frustrating that people across the world are not outraged by this inhumanity and have failed to substantively condemn governments that carry out these atrocities. It is such a tragedy if in this age of information we fail to acknowledge the presence of these conflicts, or worse yet, believe the lies governments orchestrating these inhumane operations publicize. Who are the real terrorists?


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