Atherton: Tamils’ plight must prick English consciences

Cricket commentator and former England captain Mike Atherton wrote in The Times Thursday:

“Throughout Sri Lanka’s tour to England, a small and dedicated band of Tamil protesters have done their best to raise awareness of the persecution that members of this minority have suffered and continue to suffer in their homeland.

“They were at the Sri Lankans’ opening match, at Uxbridge, and at the Test matches at Cardiff and Lord’s. By and large, it is a voice that has been ignored.

“Channel 4’s distressing documentary on Tuesday evening that highlighted the systematic killing, torture and sexual abuse of Tamil prisoners of war and civilians during the past couple of years of the civil war, and that showed images that were more shocking than anything seen on television since the Ethiopian food shortages, should change all that.

“Increasingly, the United Nations’ inaction on the evidence of war crimes looks inexcusable. If that continues, it is likely that questions will be asked about the suitability of England’s tour to Sri Lanka, scheduled for this winter.

“After all, there seems little to differentiate President Rajapaksa’s brutal regime from that of Robert Mugabe’s in Zimbabwe, about whom English consciences were severely pricked.”

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