Sri Lankan conflict hits Norwegian newspapers, not US Posted by kari on Apr 22, 2009 in Geography, Norway and the world, Politics
Upon perusing the Norwegian newspaper “Aftenposten” online, I came across a headline (with 4 or 5 subheadlines) and a large picture telling recent news of the conflict in Sri Lanka. For those of you who are unaware, the Sri Lankan government has been in conflict with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (AKA the Tamil Tigers) since the early 1980s. �Norway has a long-standing friendly relationship with Sri Lanka and has for years been involved in peace efforts to resolve the conflict. Just to give you an idea of how seriously awful the conflict is, 70,000 people have been reported killed in the war since 1983. There have been times throughout the conflict at which progress seemed to be so near, but like many other civil wars and international wars, the peace that seemed so close can be shattered in an instant if an action or a statement provokes continued violence.
Back to the article that Aftenposten printed in their online newspaper, (which you can view at the following web address: http://www.aftenposten.no/nyheter/uriks/article3037692.ece), I find it very interesting that it is one of the larger headlines on the main site for the newspaper. I have not seen much of anything in the newspaper that I read every morning, the Star Tribune (Minneapolis paper), or on websites that I have checked such as CNN, ABC, or even BBC (which you would think might be more likely to report something global…). The headline for the article in Aftenposten reads literally “Desperate situation for refugees in Sri Lanka” (‘Desperat situasjon for flyktningene på Sri Lanka). 50,000 civilians have fled the Tamil-area for safety. As mentioned earlier, Norway has long been involved in peace-making efforts in Sri Lanka and as you can see, the Norwegian media does a good job of informing the public about recent events regarding the conflict. It is actually quite amazing that we can receive any information at all since the area controlled by the Tamil Tigers is off-limits to international aid organizations and the press alike. The refugees that sucessfully escape the dangerous area are describing the situation as becoming more and more desperate.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sure had good things to say about Norway on April 6 of this year when she met with Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere at the State Department. Senator Clinton praised Norway for the country’s untiring efforts to negotiate peace in Sri Lanka and in so many other areas of the world. She said, ‘Few countries have contributed to the cause of global peace and resolving conflicts around the world than Norway has.’
Unfortunately, shortly after the nice comments from Senator Clinton about Norway’s positive role in the situation, on April 12, the Sri Lankan embassy i Oslo was attacked. The Norwegian government has condemned the act and will compensate the Sri Lankan government for the damages, in addition to completing a thorough investigation into the attack.
If any of you have a particular global conflict or issue in which Norway plays a role and you would like to know a bit more about it, please note this in your comments so that I can address it.