Sri Lanka faces a choice between two war criminals

Tomorrow sees Sri Lanka’s first election since the government’s defeat of the Tamil Tigers in May 2009.

Perhaps the most revealing comment of the campaign that I’ve read is from the US Ambassador to the country:

The US ambassador to Sri Lanka, Patricia Butenis, was moved to warn yesterday that election violence threatened to reverse the good image that Sri lanka had started to build up since the war’s end.

“The international image of Sri Lanka is just beginning to change from a land where it is all danger and conflict to one where it is a great country where maybe we can do business,” Butenis said.

“This election violence threatens that improvement. It is a step backward for Sri Lanka. And once the election is over I would urge everybody to focus on the hard work of good governance.”

In reality, the country remains utterly unwilling to investigate its horrendous human rights abuses. The battle is now between two men who have spent years proudly displaying their Sinhalese nationalism at the expense of the Tamil minority.