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April 20th, 2009
06:56 PM ET

It's showtime![cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/04/20/art.iran.afp.gi.jpg caption="Ahmadinejad delivers his speech Monday."]A big warm welcome to Becky's Briefing - the blog that gives you the lowdown on how we're developing the rundown for CNN's daily Connect the World show – the new prime time program that airs at 9p London time.

Every day around this time I'll post my thoughts on the day's best stories and events.

And we're looking for your feedback and the connections - or links that you think matter. Wherever you live, whatever you do - get engaged. Tell us how the stories we'll be reporting are playing out in your region.

TONIGHT: Iran's president torpedoes a U.N. conference in Geneva, accusing Israel of racism, leading many of those attending on behalf of Western governments to walk out.

Difficult though to ignore the cheers from those who stayed - a reminder, if nothing else, that not everyone disagrees with what President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has to say on the subject.

Our Connections take us to Israel, Iraq and Washington tonight as we get a 360-take on this story.

We're also following the fallout from the latest salvo from Sri Lanka as government troops force the mass exodus of tens of thousands of Tamil civilians.

From rare, must-see footage to scenes of mass protests in London by Tamil exiles, we make connections with the people who count in what is one of Asia's longest running wars.

No time for any more tonight as this is late and I've got to help edit the show.

Tune in and GET CONNECTED!

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soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Mian Abbas Gul

    I would like to begin by saying that it was wrong of countries to boycott the conference in Geneva.
    It was not a conference called by Ahmedinijad but by the UN. There act of boycotting directly disrespects the UN and shows their lack of tolerance.
    Secondly , Putting Israel and Zionism apart, whatever the Iranian President said makes a lot of sense especially the VETO rights few countries enjoy.
    Thirdly, I would like to point out a few issues which can associated with bias, discrimination and racism. These issues relate to Israel, these are general issues and should not be ignored and brushed aside on the pretext that a Muslim has put them forward.

    * Jews in Germany, Poland , Austria and the rest of Europe suffered by the hands of Hitler and his Nazi regime and a lot of them were forced to become refugees. Once the war was over and Hitler and his regime was crushed was it not more appropriate for the Jews to go back to where they were removed from. They surely must have had a lot of businesses, land and property and had obviously been living there for a long time before the war. Why was there a need to create a new country for Jews by forcing out Muslims and the idea for it being that the bible declares it. While on the other hand the same parties involved nowadays proclaim to epitomize secularism.
    * The Jews have the right to come and settle in Israel in as many numbers as possible and on the other hand there is rejection of the right of return for the Palestinian refugees.
    * The statement by the Israeli minister ,that Israel is the only safe haven for Jews is totally an exaggeration. Surely Jews are secure in other parts of the world especially the West.
    * Why is there a tendency in the western media to portray Ahmedinijad as some kind of evil dictator. He is an elected leader of a country with normal human beings and that country is also a part of the UN. The Iranian president talk about matters other than Israel which make sense but almost always the only highlights the media presents are the negative ones and sensational.
    * Why is it a Taboo in the western Politics and media to discuss Israel and Palestine in the light of true underlying facts. Why has the damage sustained by the UN last December never become a big deal. It is a BIG deal. Why on earth is Israel as important as it is. Its just another country among many and Jews are just as normal and equal as Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Muslims , Atheists, Agnostics Etc.

    I know these are my personal opinions and may not be shared by anyone else but they are opinions none the less . It would very encouraging and satisfying if some light is shed upon them. Maybe positive criticism can help me conclude any opinion wisely in the future.

    April 20, 2009 at 7:33 pm | Reply
  2. Austin, Mumbai India

    Ahmedinejad is just another attention seeker like Hugo Chavez. The day the world stops walking out or reacting to his shenanigans, he would stop pulling such stunts.
    Such antics only take away from the real issue the conference was supposed to discuss – racism.

    That being said, Israel has much to answer for regarding it's treatment of Palestinians.

    April 20, 2009 at 8:26 pm | Reply
  3. Dharshana

    This is a very biased program on LTTE terrorists! Why cant you call LTTE a terrorist group as it is? does a gang of ruthless killers become terrorists only when they are a threat to the west?? do you know how many of the 70000 people killed in the conflict are innocent Sinhalese people massacered by the LTTE??

    April 20, 2009 at 8:27 pm | Reply
  4. pedro

    Clearly there is no full legal equality between all citizens of the State of Israel. And when Israeli progressives and Arab citizens of Israel raise demands equality for all citizens, the Zionist rightwing comes out in protest.
    Israeli government is an example of racist government in the current era.
    it is very childish to walk out of a conference when the questions are so tough to answer!

    Pedro, Portugal

    April 20, 2009 at 8:30 pm | Reply
  5. Abdullahi Edward, Kano, Nigeria

    As an American who followed the Apartheid system of South Africa since the end of 1962 when I first became acquainted with it at a conference sponsored by the Collegiate Council of the United Nations at the University of Maryland, I can honestly say that the racism practiced by Israelis against the Palestinians is far worse. I can recall no time that the racist regime of South Africa bombed the black population either in Soweto or anywhere else. In fact the shooting of innocent protesting high school students in the mid 70's, caused such an uproar when the rest of the world learned of the realities of the inhumane conditions that the black population of South Africa lived under, that I saw the impossible happen when Nelson Mandela was eventually freed from Robbin Island and went on to be elected president of the country that had shackled him and his people for decades. I also find it totally abhorrent that the Israelis can get away with what they are doing in Palestine without the total and un-mitigated revulsion of the rest of the world. The fact that President Ahmadinejad speaks the truth now will eventually become self evident. In sha Allah. In the meantime, let the hypocrites boycott and walk out, they will one day have to face the truth. As Malcolm X said, they have succeeded in making the victim to be the criminal and the criminal to be the victim, but, as Martin Luther King Jr said. We shall overcome!!

    April 20, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Reply
  6. Abdullahi Edward, Kano, Nigeria

    As an American who followed the Apartheid system of South Africa since the end of 1962 when I first became acquainted with it at a conference sponsored by the Collegiate Council of the United Nations at the University of Maryland, I can honestly say that the racism practiced by Israelis against the Palestinians is far worse. I can recall no time that the racist regime of South Africa bombed the black population either in Soweto or anywhere else. In fact the shooting of innocent protesting high school students in the mid 70's, caused such an uproar when the rest of the world learned of the realities of the inhumane conditions that the black population of South Africa lived under, that I saw the impossible happen when Nelson Mandela was eventually freed from Robbin Island and went on to be elected president of the country that had shackled him and his people for decades. I also find it totally abhorrent that the Israelis can get away with what they are doing in Palestine without the total and un-mitigated revulsion of the rest of the world. The fact that President Ahmadinejad speaks the truth now will eventually become self evident. In sha Allah. In the meantime, let the hypocrites boycott and walk out, they will one day have to face the truth. As Malcolm X said, they have succeeded in making the victim to be the criminal and the criminal to be the victim, but, as Martin Luther King Jr said. We shall overcome

    April 20, 2009 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  7. Josh

    Just listen to Becky's report about the ongoing conflict in the nothern part of Sri Lankan. As she correctly ponted out LTTE is responsible for inventon of suicide techniques and brought so much misery to all Sri Lankans including Tamils. All the LTTE members must carry cyanide capsules and are instructed to swallow them in case of captivity. They have killed many moderate tamil politicians over the years, who wanted to find a political solution, including a well respected foreign minister.

    A large number of the tamil population lives in other parts of Sri Lanka without any problem. They are Sri Lankan and they are treated as same as sinhalese. Therefore MIA's accusation of wiping out tamils is factually incorrect.

    I hope the conflict will end soon and eventually set ground for moderate tamils to rise up as a political movement. That way all Sri Lankans could live peacefully.

    April 20, 2009 at 8:47 pm | Reply
  8. kevin john dirckze

    hi my name is kevin and i was watching cnn and saw the report on the conflict on sri lanka,and the pop artist i thik who goes by the name m . i . a .what troubled me and enraged me is the comment, that tamils in sri lanka are bieng wiped out .theres nothing far from the trouth . undersatand im not a tamil nor a sinhalese im a dutch decendent so i take no sides. by defination the ltte is a terrorist organisation that has destroyed and held back the progress of the country , also remember the sinhalese are the natives of the country the tamils are not , but they can live in any part of the country and go along with their day to day business,but the sinhalese cannot do that ,they cannot live in the north and in most parts of the east as well . plus most of the tamils although they do not admit it openly they support these terrorists by the way of cash and equipment . so the tamils are not victoms , not all but most of them enpower the ltte to go on and complain when the gouvernment reacts. regards kevin.

    April 20, 2009 at 8:48 pm | Reply
  9. robert alfaro

    I cannot believe that I saw and heard a us senator make the comment that Hugo Chavez is a " brutal dictator". Mr. Chavez is the twice elected president of Venesuela by popular vote, and how come George Bush can go to china and attend the olympics and hob-nob with leaders from various countries that have human rights issues?

    April 20, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  10. Edward

    Tamils do not have equal rights in Sri Lankan constitution. It was British who annexed Tamil Kingdom with Sinhalese kingdom for administration purposes. But while giving independence to Sri Lanka, British gave the authority to Sinhalese to rule the whole place. This is where the whole problem started.

    Even now, Sinhalese don't want to give equal administrative and political rights to Tamils. They won't in the future too. It is in Sri Lankan constitutional law that Tamils cannot become Sri Lankan president, Cheif Justice, etc.... Only Sinhala Buddhist can become president. Christians, Hindus, Muslims etc..cannot become president in Sri Lanka. There were lots of riots on Tamils by Sinhalese government, in which they massacared thousands of Tamil civilians.

    Tamils fought for this discrimination non violently for 30 years. All those time they were repressed brutally by Sinhala majority Sri Lankan government. The youth of 1970's being fed up with Sri Lanka, took to arms to fight for their rights. And it continues, till now, because the whole world which stands for humanity abetts racist Sri Lankan government in the genocide of Tamils.

    What Tamils want are equal rights. The next second when Sri Lanka accepts to give equal rights to Tamils by amending it's one sided constitution, the problems are all solved. But Sinhalese don't want to give equal rights to Tamils.

    Even those Tamils, who fight also, don't want war anytime. They are not mad to crave for it. But they don't have any other option too, from 1970's. Nobody in this world will come forward to get them their equal rights and to survive they have to defend themselves.

    My request to CNN is, please look in to the reason that led to the conflict.

    Is it asking for equal rights a sin in this world?

    April 21, 2009 at 11:11 am | Reply
  11. Dharshana

    Dear Edward,

    You have got your facts worng.
    There was no such tamil kindom in srilanka when the british came and it is only presnt in the minds of people how have been mislead by others or who are deleberately fabricating bogus history records to suit your needs.

    I agree with the fact that It is only a sinhala buddhist can become a president, because it is a "Sinhala buddhist country" and it has been like that for 2500 years (I think it is ok as 85% of the population is sinhalese and tamil is only 10%). And please dont lie by saying ther are any other restrictions for any race or religion in the country to even become prime minister. If LTTE haddnt assinated Dr Lakshman Kadiragamar (former foreign minister of sri lanka who you conveniently forgot to mention) he would have been the priminister of our country.

    I'd like to know in what areas you are asking for the equal rights? Can you tell whether a sinhala person can buy land in Jaffna? can you answer that simple question?

    Please dont fabricate stories and try to mislead other people.
    If you have time please look at this article and see the light!
    http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20090421_03

    Regards,
    Dharshana

    April 21, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Reply
  12. Edward

    Dharshana,

    There were so many kingdoms for Tamils ruled by Tamils kings like Vanni, Jaffna Kingdom etc. before they were colonised. Tamils were defeated by Dutch first and then Portugese took over. Finally British took over the administration in their hands.

    For example, the constituion in Sri Lanka is executive presidency (to sum it up, the power rests in his hands), for which ethnic Tamils(not those came from India, who are called Plantation Tamils) are not eligible. In US, people of African origin, can become President. That's what one calls equality and democracy.

    One of the completely unacceptable and most heinous crime committed by Sinhala mobs with assisstance from Sri Lankan government is burning of Jaffna library, which contained thousands and thousands of valuable manuscripts, books, etc. about Tamils and their culture in Sri Lanka. What they did was to completely ethnic cleanse centuries and centuries of Tamils culture from Sri Lanka. It was a premeditated, pre planned, motivated and engineered crime to ethnic cleanse Tamils from Sri Lanka.

    Everything cannot be simpled summed up, only because of LTTE. LTTE do have crimes the worser ones, comitted by them. One needs to see the overall picture and what was the cause for all these things.
    It's discrimination of Tamils by Sinhalese from 1948. LTTE came in to the picture only around 1980's onwards. Before that there were lots of democratically elected Tamil representatives, who fought for Tamils non violently. But all the pacts with those democratically elected Tamil representatives, were unilaterally abrogated by successive Sinhala governments.

    Both Tamils and Sinhalese are providing facts and figure for who came first to Sri Lanka. Both of them have centuries and centuries of culture in Sri Lanka. But the issue right now in fornt of Sri Lanka is, equality to all citizens of Sri Lanka.

    The rights which Tamils are asking for were equality in political rights, administrative rights and self determination rights, as equal to Sinhalese in Sri Lanka.

    As per UN charter, anybody in this world are protected by UN to claim for those basic rights, which itself is a basic human right by any nation to it's citizens.

    April 22, 2009 at 9:56 am | Reply

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