- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2007

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

Daily Star

On the root of violence in Lebanon

BEIRUT — The fighting, human suffering, political complications and security threats that emanate from the recent events at Nahr al-Bared refugee camp in North Lebanon cannot be resolved only in Nahr al-Bared. They neither originated nor will end there. They represent a legacy of political and security events in the past half-century that will become a continuing trajectory if they are not addressed in their full regional and global context. … If there is a single thread that runs through the modern history that has brought us to this point, it is the lingering problem of Palestinian refugees and their unachieved rights, which in turn has expanded over the years to become the wider Arab-Israeli problem.

At the same time, the particular threats and tensions in Lebanon today are widely linked by many people to the often antagonistic relations between Syria and Lebanon. The ongoing U.N. investigation into the murder of [former Lebanese Prime Minister] Rafik Hariri and many others in this country in the past two years may shed light on who is responsible for these crimes, and who may be behind the intermittent bombs that terrorize, kill and maim innocent Lebanese. Until then, the Nahr al-Bared crisis must not be allowed to become yet another unresolved political dilemma whose fundamental causes are swept under the rug.

The Hindu

On amendments to Sri Lanka’s Citizenship Act

MADRAS, India — The readiness shown by the Sri Lanka government to amend the Grant of Citizenship to Persons of Indian Origin Act, 2003, to enable an estimated 28,500 “Ceylon Tamil refugees” living in various camps across Tamil Nadu to get Sri Lankan citizenship is commendable. These poorest of the poor among the refugees, who fled the northeast of the island in 1990 on account of the ethnic conflict, could not become Sri Lankan citizens because of an anomaly in the Citizenship Act as amended in 2003. The legislation stipulates continuous stay in Sri Lanka from 1964 as a condition for the grant of citizenship; and does not provide for those who had to leave the country for reasons beyond their control. …

In one callous stroke, the Citizenship Act of 1948 rendered nearly 90 percent of a million-strong population of people of recent Indian origin, overwhelmingly “plantation Tamils,” stateless. The government of India, which unfortunately compromised on this issue after taking a firm stand initially, must share responsibility with the Sri Lankan state for the long-term injustice done to these hapless people. … The [People’s Liberation Front’s] progressive initiative to win for the 28,500 “Ceylon Tamil refugees” (possibly a slight underestimate) the citizenship rights they are entitled to should bring to a close an unsavory historical chapter in the India-Sri Lanka relationship.

The Independent

On politics and television

LONDON — Television has become the primary political battleground in Venezuela. At midnight on Sunday, Radio Caracas Television ended its final broadcast — a consequence of President Hugo Chavez’s refusal to renew its public broadcasting license. RCTV has already been replaced with a new state-funded channel that will, in the president’s words, “better reflect society.” The channel’s closure brought some 5,000 anti-Chavez protesters onto the capital’s streets. Ugly scenes followed as police tried to scatter them. …

We should be wary of regarding this as a typical case of autocratic suppression. Venezuela has long been a deeply divided country. And this is reflected in the public debate about broadcasters’ rights. Many Venezuelans, like the president, genuinely wanted the closure of the station. …

Yet the Venezuelan president is quite wrong to suggest that he is bolstering democracy by driving dissenting voices from the airwaves. …

All governments need media opposition to keep them honest. But it appears that President Chavez does not have much time for this concept.

Ominously, another Venezuelan TV station, Globovision, was accused yesterday — on what appears to be flimsy grounds — of calling for Mr. Chavez’s assassination. If this growing intolerance of opposition voices is an indication of the shape of things to come, Mr. Chavez is taking his country down a dangerous road indeed.

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