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Ethnicity, religion and nationality

Posted Feb 02 2009 10:48pm
In the wake of the swift, firm and decisive action by the Sri Lankan government in almost wiping out the LTTE, one of the most potent terrorist organizations in these parts of the world, we see Tamil people all over the world protesting against the deaths of Tamil civilians in the process. Nothing wrong with that.

Sometimes, however, we see ethnicity and religion overpowering nationality while reacting to situations.

The world today, is divided into nations which are almost always political in nature, not based on ethnicity or religion. So, you have people of different races and religions existing in the same nation. Though you will most often have one group, ethnic or religious dominating the demographics, there will always be other groups in smaller numbers.

For example, when Sri Lanka is cleaning up its backyard, the last thing it needs is the Indian Foreign Minister air-dashing to Colombo to discuss the safety of Tamil civilians. The Tamil civilians are Sri Lankan citizens. Not Indian Tamils on a holiday there. What is the locus standi of the Indian government to bring up this issue? In any such operation, there are bound to be civilian casualties. It is the bounden duty of the government of Sri Lanka to make sure that they are minimized. But, it is not India's business to enforce this.

India has been a victim of this too many times in the past.

Take the example of the attacks on Christians in Orissa. This was entirely an internal issue for the Government of India to tackle. No other government, including that at the Vatican, had any right to lecture India on the safety of its citizens. These were Indian citizens. And India is capable of protecting its citizens. One swallow does not a summer make, remember?

That's where the concept of ethnicity, religion and nationality comes in. People are emotional at different levels about these three identities. But keeping in mind the political order in the world today where people are divided not by ethnicity and religion but nations, this kind of belligerent posturing by sundry groups should not be tolerated by anyone.
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