Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The idealist I once knew became the Tamils' Pol Pot

This paranoid tyrant has led his people to disaster – but once I believed he could shape a future for them within Sri Lanka

(guardian)The bloody end came in a sliver of nondescript coastline near the fallen garrison town of Mullaitivu in Sri Lanka's north-east. Velupillai Prabhakaran, the founder and ­supremo of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam – one of the world's most feared extremist organisations – had made a last stand that had pointlessness writ all over it. The charismatic 54-year-old perished along with his senior commanders and hundreds of fighters – including his elder son – with hardly anyone able to figure out what the final strategy was. Prabhakaran's war of "national liberation" for a separate, Pol Pot-ist state of Tamil Eelam was over. Belying conventional wisdom, the Sri Lankan state had found a military solution to what used to be regarded as an intractable secessionist and terrorist challenge. Full text