In this recent exchange on Bloggingheads TV and in a number of emails, people have asked why Enough has not spoken out on the unfolding tragedy in Sri Lanka. Certainly, Sri Lanka’s conflict is one of the world’s deadliest and ugliest. As a recent report by Human Rights Watch makes clear, both sides have repeatedly violated international law and targeted civilians with numbing frequency. Certainly, we at Enough recognize the severity of the problem, and the need for greatly improved efforts to protect civilians. Having done field humanitarian work in Sri Lanka earlier in my career, I think Sri Lanka stands as something of a monument of international indifference. There has been very little international outcry as the Sri Lankan government tries to end the war with a decisive military victory – regardless of the cost it imposes on the long-suffering citizen’s caught in harm’s way.
The reason that Enough has not taken on Sri Lanka to date is a practical operational issue rather than any kind of value judgment. As a young organization, we have focused our initial efforts on a series of deadly conflicts and profound abuses in Africa. Our reporting and analysis are driven from our experts on the ground, and we feel that field perspective is absolutely crucial in getting the right information to like-minded activists and concerned citizens. Right now, we don’t have analysts working in Sri Lanka, and thus our relative silence despite the severity of the situation. Over time, we hope to expand our operations beyond Africa, and use some more detailed criteria for determining where we think war crimes, crimes against humanity, genocide, and ethnic cleansing are most severe. Until that time, we will weigh in occasionally on our blog, and a sincere thanks to all of you who are calling on us to do more: we want to; and we will. More to come.