Framing the Debate

    2 July 2009, early morning

I’ve been following Indrajit Samarajiva on Twitter recently, since I enjoy reading his blog. He lives in Sri Lanka, so he gets to do interesting things like visiting internment camps:

disease is down dramatically in all Menik Farm zones except three

got back from Menik Farm, inside. Not so bad, but peeps want out. Dusty. Kids need a good scrub. And Permite. Feel humbled

the government has honestly handled this very well. Especially the soldiers and doctors.


Disease is down in an internment camp the government set up. How is that an accomplishment? These internment camps are an entirely man made humanitarian disaster. That the government is slowly managing to overcome this disaster is certainly a good thing, but is that something to be impressed about? I’m not so sure.

Indi seems to be operating under the assumption that these internment camps need to exist. The question then is how to make them more humane, more safe, more sanitary, etc. Obviously this is the just thing to do. No reasonable person is going to argue that the displaced people should be left to die, or to suffer more than they already have. The debate then centres around how much to spend, or whether the military should be in charge of the camps, or what sorts of tents to buy, of family reunification, etc. Arguing the camps shouldn’t exist in the first place is outside the boundaries of reasonably debate. The only people who oppose these camps are the LTTE loving Tamil diaspora, or former colonial powers who want to poke their noses into Sri Lanka’s business. This is how you construct an easy to win argument.

I singled out Indi because I just read his twitter messages today, but I see this sort of thing in other moderate news sources I read, like Ground Views for example. One would think it’d be hard to sell people on mass imprisonment. The Sri Lankan government should be commended in how it has managed to shape this story.



  1. Tamils are getting what they deserve. Enjoy!

  2. Glad to see I attract the crazy, all the way in Australia. I’m always impressed when ignorant people manage to figure out how the Internet works. Stay classy anonymous sinhalese Internet dude. Don’t let them keep you down!

    And as an aside, when one side of the debate is all crazy ass crazy, even people who sort of agree with their case end up having to move their position. You see this with the immigration debate in Canada. So keep doing what you’re doing.

  3. An update of sorts from Indi. Some of the comments Indi gets on his site are “enjoyable”.

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