This morning, I came upon the website of the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice and found an invitation to write my own letter to Ban Ki-Moon.
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Like you, I prefer the poignant quotes about how when we do nothing about injustice, we are actually participating in it, like dumb accomplices. In the end, though, you are stuck in political red tape and, let's face it, Sri Lanka doesn't have oil, so America yawns and turns its attention elsewhere.
How can we make this genocide "sexy" so the United States, the superpower du jour, and the rest of the world are sufficiently outraged that you will be able to do your job? Everything has to be sexy, right? Documentation of Sri Lanka's genocide and continued human rights violations (murder, torture, kidnapping, rape, intimidation, of course you know the drill) doesn't seem to mobilize the average American, who probably thinks a Tamil is a kind of Mexican food.
I would like to know how you keep working and fighting for what's right when it's always one step forward and two steps back. We don't really make progress, do we? But at least we try.
I went to Sri Lanka 30 years ago as an exchange student. The ISLE Program still takes students to Sri Lanka, year after year—and they call it "immersion." Of course you know it's a beautiful, exotic country with a rich, multi-cultural history, and really great food. We weren't taught about the atrocities that were happening under our noses; we learned instead about Theravada Buddhism. We're so accustomed to associating Buddhism with compassion, and palm trees with paradise. The boy I fell in love with in Sri Lanka when I was 20 years old, the man who wrote me letters for over a decade, has been missing for more than 10 years. Rajah would be 50 now.
Isn't it baffling that an educational institution can so successfully promote tourism in a genocide zone but we can't find a way to promote justice?