Compiled by Crikey interns Chris Kohler and Elly Keating:

The 25 year war in north Sri Lanka between the rebel L.T.T.E (or Tamil Tigers) and their government is reaching a crescendo. With a spike in the number of asylum seekers reaching our shores, many from Sri Lanka, we’ve collected comments on both the Sri Lankan war and the asylum seekers it produces. Bear in mind that journalists are not allowed in the warzone so figures released are either from the Tamils or the Government and cannot be verified.

A mass slaughter of civilians will take place… and everyone knows it. The Sri Lankan government has issued a deadline of noon tomorrow for the Tamil Tigers to surrender. With the embattled rebels unlikely to put down their guns before then, only forceful and immediate international action to halt the fighting can prevent the possible deaths of tens of thousands of civilians trapped between the warring parties. — Robert Templer, Asia program director at the International Crisis Group

Victims of an underreported war. When a war goes underreported, the agony of its civilian victims goes almost unrecognized. The plight of the Tamils of Sri Lanka provides a poignant illustration, which the civilized world can no longer ignore. The 25-year-old conflict has been too much with us, and it has come to be regarded as an internal disturbance, in which outsiders cannot show much interest without appearing to be interfering. — J. Sri Raman, Truthout

Two Sri Lankas struggle to tell their tales. International reporters are still barred by Sri Lanka’s government from the war zone, so The Times, like the BBC and other news organizations, is forced to rely on the conflicting statements of spokesmen from the country’s ministry of defence and for the rebel force, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam on what is happening there. — Robert Mackey, New York Times News Blog

Of diasporas and “that” international community. The question is, how would the existence of a terrorist organization that has forced both the community it was meant to be representing and all other communities through the most inhuman of treatments, been responsible for the death of a large section of the community’s intellectuals and destabilized a developing economy for three decades, serve the world at large? Whose interests would be met by keeping the LTTE alive? It is certainly not that of Sri Lanka and most definitely not the Tamil community. — Shakuntala Perera, Daily Mirror

Tamils try to pressure Ottawa. As the Sri Lankan military makes what it says is its final push to destroy the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam who have fought a vicious war for a separate homeland against Colombo, many politicians find the issue of Tamil protesters in Ottawa a touchy subject. The Tamil Canadians’ cause has international ramifications, being part of a campaign mounted by the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, many of whom reside in Canada, against the ongoing “genocide” in their native country. — George Abraham, international affairs analyst, in Ottawa, Al Jazeera

“Civilians are dying, and the hospital is paralysed”. Cluster bombs and artillery shelling have killed many civilians at a makeshift hospital within the last strip of Sri Lanka’s coastline still controlled by the Tamil Tigers, a doctor said today. Thangamutha Sathiyamorthy is a doctor working at the hospital in Puttumatalan. He described to the Guardian the appalling conditions inside the no-fire zone, with cluster bomb attacks killing and injuring many civilians, including a doctor. Speaking by radio telephone from a temporary hospital at Mullaivaikal, he said the bodies still lay where they were killed inside their bunkers. — The Guardian

Refugee crisis worsens. Northern Sri Lanka has been engulfed by a refugee crisis as tens of thousands of civilians flee fighting between Tamil Tiger rebels and Sri Lankan troops. The Sri Lankan military says more than 81,000 refugees have crossed from the small area controlled by the Tamil Tiger rebels to government-controlled territory over the last three days. The mass exodus began when the Sri Lankan military broke through a key rebel bunker on Monday. — The Age

Sri Lankan refuges head to Australia. The ongoing conflict in Sri Lanka is seeing a very considerable number of displaced peoples and that fact does add to the risk that some of them will seek to leave Sri Lanka by boat heading in Australia’s direction. — Foreign Affairs Minister Stephen Smith, The Brisbane Times

Ending the war with dignity for all. There is a tragedy in any kind of end that involves the deaths of so many, even if they largely be LTTE cadres and Tamil civilians who were forced to stay with them. The point is that the need of the future is reconciliation, which alone will sustain a political solution. In an ethnic conflict, there cannot be unilaterally imposed solutions. The way forward therefore lies in the willingness of all parties to change their positions- in the LTTE agreeing to lay down arms and facilitating the movement of civilians to government welfare centres until they can be resettled in their home areas as soon as possible and in the international community and the Tamil diaspora urging the LTTE to permit the civilians to move out of the safety zone. — Jehan Perera in the Daily Mirror Sri Lanka

Are Tamil Tigers targeting Sonia Gandhi? In perhaps the clearest sign yet that the relentless military assault by Sri Lankan government troops is hurting the Tamil Tiger separatists where it hurts, the media controlled by the rebels is blaming India in general and ruling Congress party president Sonia Gandhi in particular for the debacle. — Mayank Chhaya, South Asia Daily

Let not this silence on Sri Lanka by India and UN Security Council persist. Most unfortunately the rest of the world remains silent, unconcerned and uninvolved except for odd statements and pious intentions. UN Security Council, the only International Institution that is capable of making a difference, do not even have Sri Lanka on their “agenda for discussions” despite their senior officials making heart-rending statements. It is alleged that India has a hand in the conspiracy for blocking this agenda! — M.G. Devasahayam, transCurrents

How I was barred from reporting Tamil Tiger Conflict. Despite multiple applications, I’ve been denied a journalist’s visa for Sri Lanka since August. For almost two years, the Sri Lankan Government has prevented most independent reporters from getting anywhere near the military campaign against the Tamil Tigers. So I was trying to enter as a tourist to write about the 150,000 civilians that the UN estimates are trapped in a no-fire zone with the remnants of the Tigers. The only other countries that I can think of where foreign journalists have to pose as tourists are Zimbabwe, Turkmenistan and North Korea. — Jeremy Page, Times Online

Media freedom low priority for Sri Lankan army. For the foreign correspondent, everything in Sri Lanka begins and ends with the armed forces: where one can travel; what one can film; even to whom one can speak. And dealing with the military is like travelling through the looking glass, although a blunter analogy would be with George Orwell’s 1984. They lie brazenly and the lies aren’t even credible. — Amos Roberts, The Australian

Innocence crushed by two guilty forces. This conflict has long been inaccurately described as a war between minority Tamils and majority Sinhalese. But while ethnic tensions play a role, this has become more truly a war of the armed against the unarmed. This has never been more apparent than now, as the unarmed civilians suffer fire from both sides. — Ash Kandasamy, Times Online

Peter Fray

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