Here in Toronto the Tamil community, along with others who support them, was out in force for demonstrations calling on the Canadian government and the US governmment to broker a peace, so that the killing could stop. I saw a man swearing at to a middle-aged Tamil woman who was carrying a "instead of one country at war, why not two countries at peace?" sandwich board. The man was angry because he'd been inconvenienced by the protests, as had many others. I intervened, told him to stop speaking so roughly and rudely to her. And I said "she has a right to protest; her rights are your rights" But the guy said, "It is on the other side of the world. It has nothing to do with me. They should just all go back to Sri Lanka." So then I repeated "Her rights are your rights."
But the day the Singhalese Army declared victory, every Tamil I saw (so many people from the community work in restaurants like those down the street from us) looked sombre. All that death and suffering, all that effort, and in the end the hope is steam-rollered by the Singhalese military. Heartbreak.
PostScript: There's a comment just in on this post, asking why we always seem to sympathise with those who want to separate but oppose separatists in Quebec. I don't necessarily agree that the Tamils should have a separate country, I don't know enough, but I do agree that there has been murderous bloodshed and there have been horrible acts committed by both the Singhalese army and the Tamil Tigers. The result is that many civilians have suffered. And that's what the post is about, the harshness of the siffering. The same goes for my post a long while back that mentions the murderous situation in Gaza. War is always hardship and murder and devastation, especially for the civilians caught in the cross-fire.