ICT Fundraising mentions LTTE victims
By Bala Shah
LIRNEasia describes itself as a regional information and communication technology (ICT) policy and regulation capacity-building organization active across the Asia Pacific. Put simply, it is a think tank and research body which strives to improve the lives of the people in the Asia Pacific. Now, LIRNEasia is raising funds for Tamils who were held as human shields.
A number of high profile and respected Indians contribute to the not for profit LIRNEasia. It’s finding on landlines, mobile phones, satellite communication, practical tech solutions for the rural sector are regularly quoted by our national newspapers.
Currently, the majority of LIRNEasia’s programs are funded by the International Development Research Centre of Canada (IDRC). LIRNEasia’s work has also been funded by info Dev, a World Bank unit that has partnered with LIRNE.NET since 2001 in the World Dialogue on Regulation for Network Economies.
In theory and in practice, Sri Lanka-based LIRNEasia is an international non-profit, idealistic venture where many highly qualified telecom and tech experts volunteer their time and energy. It has avoided politics in all shapes or form
But politics has permeated every aspect of life in Sri Lanka. While the Indian Government led by the Congress Party had listed LTTE Chief Prabhakaran as a wanted terrorist, the DMK party from Tamil Nadu (and a vital coalition partner to the Congress) was urging the Sri Lankan Government to declare a cease fire with LTTE to avoid civilian causalities. Indian officials criticized Prabhakaran, but tip toed around LTEE and their supporters in the Tamil community. Politics in India is complicated and often a very dirty game.
And even a simple public fund raising by LIRNEasia has some undertones which may annoy many Tamils in Sri Lanka and South India.
LIRNEasia Executive Direction, Rohan Samarajiva, has just blogged on their official site asking for funds to be raised for Tamils held as human shields by the LTTE
LIRNEasia is a regional think tank based in Sri Lanka. It works in 11 countries. In terms of its research, India occupies its energies more than its home base. However, LIRNEasia cannot be blind to what is going on around it. Several months ago, as the people held as human shields by the LTTE began to filter out, current and former LIRNEasians collected funds that were used by its partner Sarvodaya to purchase nebulizers for children in the camps.
We believe in using our knowledge, in addition to our pocketbooks, in responding to humanitarian crises. We could not do it on the scale that we did in the aftermath of the tsunami in 2005, but we do try.
Will respected LIRNEasia be better served by just mentioning that they are raising funds for displaced Tamils and avoid any mention of LTTE? What do you think?