Swords or plowshares* in Sir Lanka and Indonesia
From Reuters (Jan 22):
KILINOCHCHI, Sri Lanka (Reuters) - Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels said on Saturday they had put politics aside to clear up after the Asian tsunami, but added that swifter, fairer government aid distribution could boost peace prospects.(For the "Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam", see this article from Global Security.) In the meantime (AFP, Jan 22) US State Department officials
In contrast to their threat in November to resume a war for autonomy that killed 64,000 people, the rebels urged Sri Lanka's government to do more to build trust and open "new perspectives" for peace talks stalled for nearly two years.
"This is a sudden intervention of nature, for which we have to give total attention, leaving the political aspect aside," chief rebel negotiator Anton Balasingham said after top level talks between reclusive Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and Norwegian peace envoys...
...express support for the resumption of peace talks between the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, suspended since April of 2003...And in Aceh, Indonesia, things are moving along as well (AFP, Jan 22):
BANDA ACEH, Indonesia (AFP) - Indonesia ramped up its peace bid for tsunami-hit Aceh, saying it would consider anything except independence in talks with separatist rebels, while trying to reassure the world that relief aid was safe from endemic corruption.However (AFP, Jan 22),
"We will entertain any demand short of independence," Social Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab, who is jointly overseeing relief operations in Aceh with army chief General Ryamizard Ryacudu, said in the devastated capital of Banda Aceh.
Shihab also indicated the government may be willing to accept international help in negotiating an end to the conflict, which has long been regarded as a strictly internal issue.
"This is the time for Indonesia and the global community to do its utmost efforts to get back Aceh into a peaceful period," he said, without elaborating.
"We will entertain any demand short of independence," Social Welfare Minister Alwi Shihab, who is overseeing relief operations in Aceh, told reporters in the devastated capital of Banda Aceh.See also this earlier post for some context.
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*The title, if you know your Old Testament, alludes to Isaiah 2:4
And He will judge between the nations,The passage pictures an eschatological time when war and strife cease under Messiah's rule. The highlighted phrase is sometimes (not as often today) used idomatically to refer to the coming of peace after a period of war, or to look forward to such a time.
And will render decisions for many peoples;
And they will hammer their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
And never again will they learn war.
Interestingly, there is an (almost) equivalent Chinese idiom: 化干戈为玉帛 hua gan ge wei yu bo: to transform the shield and the halberd into jade and silk--to turn hostility into friendship.
Swords or plowshares: as the peace talks in Aceh and Sri Lanka proceed, a world awaits the answer to that question.