All of us have a visceral, emotional reaction to the use of chemical weapons. It repulses us... Yet there's a question that must be asked: why are we more offended by the killing of civilians with chemical weapons than we are by the slaughter of far greater numbers of civilians with conventional weapons?
The Sri Lankan military is advertising a newly constructed hotel in the heart of the killing fields in the north of the island, where tens of thousands of minority Tamils were killed in 2009. Right in the heart of what was rebel territory, the hotel overlooks the stretch of water that became the frontline during the final bloody months of the conflict.
If today the United Nations announced that it had received unconfirmed reports of 50,000 casualties in a war off limits to journalists - wouldn't the world take notice and try and stop the killings? We now know the UN system had this information in 2009 about Sri Lanka and suppressed it. We know this because of an internal review, commissioned by the UN Secretary General, Ban ki Moon. It's a report that concludes that the UN's conduct at the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka marked a "grave failure" that "should not happen again".
It saw one of the bloodiest conflicts of this century, and yet many still only see it as a tropical paradise. While the south boasted palm-fringed beaches - a picture-perfect destination for cocktail-sipping tourists - northern Sri Lanka was a hell on earth for the Tamil minority as government troops clashed with Tiger insurgents.
In the north east of Sri Lanka just now there is a brutal and repressive clamp-down on the Tamil population. Thousands are still homeless while the military has seized land and homes. Around the world a generation of Tamil youth are burning with anger. If the world does not take action to find the truth and make the perpetrators face justice, that anger may find its expression in a tragic, awful, repetition of history. WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES