Monday, January 22, 2007

LTTE's Child "Soldiers"

KS pointed me to this report in Sri Lanka’s Daily Mirror, which has several testimonies from child soldiers about being kidnapped and forced to perform military duties for the LTTE.

Horrible.

Wrong.

And the reason I won’t support any commercial ventures that validate or replicate LTTE culture.

The children are quoted as being 16 and 18--and I’ll forgive you once if you're thinking that they’re more adolescent than child. Because, really, we have to take into account that they are generally drafted around 12 years of age. That is incontrovertibly a child, dammit.

I meandered down the rest of the article and perked up a little when I saw Radhika Coomaraswamy mentioned. I met her once upon a time in Colombo--a very unassuming, highly efficient, and quite jolly person. It turns out that she has recently been appointed as the UN’s special representative for children in armed conflict. Here's hoping that she can hold the LTTE to their frequent denials and resolutions regarding child soldiers.

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Incidentally, Radhika Coomaraswamy’s is the *only* Tamizh name amongst the reams of Sinhala and European names on the acknowledgements page of Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost. It's a dismaying indication of a lack of balanced research in an otherwise dazzling book.

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