Why, asks Geoffrey Alderman in the Guardian, isn’t the carnage in Sri Lanka receiving blanket coverage in the UK and internationally?
I’ll tell you why. Because Sri Lanka is not Israel. Because the Tamils are not Arabs. And because here, in the UK, the Tamil vote is negligible whereas the Muslim vote is not.
Yes, I know there have been some violent scenes in Parliament Square, which is even now occupied by Tamil protesters. But that’s the point. The protesters and the hunger strikers are all Tamils. Where are the homegrown cheerleaders that spearheaded protests in London during the recent military action by Israel in Gaza? Tony Benn, for example? George Galloway? Jenny Tonge? Come to that, where is the saturation media coverage of the Sri Lankan assault on the remaining Tamil strongholds?
Whenever I complain about the British media’s obsession with Israel and its problems with some of its Arab neighbours, I can count on someone to tell me that I’m paranoid. But I’m not, am I? The human tragedy unfolding in Sri Lanka, and its totally peripheral treatment by the media, the British government and the British political elite – not to mention the international community – does, I am very sorry to say, prove my point.
It’s an interesting question, though Palestine remains central to world concerns because it’s utterly supported in its crimes by the Western powers; funded, armed and defended.
This doesn’t mean that the Tamil issue should be ignored.