Fourteen years ago, the civil war between Sri Lanka’s armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam came to a bloody end, with the government shooting dead, in cold blood, a slew of Tiger officials who had neogtiated a surrender and were making their way across a lagoon, holding up white flags.
This act of bastardry was what enabled the government to show the dead visage of Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhkaran on TV, signalling that the conflict, which had run for 26 years, was finally over.
There were claims and counter-claims after the war ended, with both sides accused of war crimes. But because Sri Lanka is of little importance in the global scheme of things, there has been no push internationally for investigation of these claims.
The country has been left to stew in its own juice.
With no outside pressure, the government, despite a change in leadership, has shown no inclination to negotiate a political solution to the problem, leaving the Tamils fearful that they would continue to be discriminated against.
There has been no resugence of renewed Tamil attacks, though Sri Lanka has had an upheaval or two in the 14 years since the conflict ended. One, a co-ordinated series of bombings by Islamic terrorists on Easter Sunday in 2019, left more than 250 people dead.
Last year, a popular uprising against the then president, Gotabaya Rajapakse, brother of Mahinda, the man who initiated the final war against the Tamils, led to Gotabaya fleeing the country and the moderate, if ineffective, Ranil Wickremasnghe again taking the reigns.
There are some who say the island is slowly returning to normalcy, insofar as economiic activity is concerned. India has helped Sri Lanka negotiate with the IMF and obtain needed loans to stabilise a country that had been looted by the Rajapakse clan.
There does not appear to be a great deal of optimism within the country at the moment. As one editorial put it: “In the shadows of Sri Lanka’s history, a tale of manipulation, betrayal, and societal decay unfolds.
“From the depths of a brutal civil war to the aftermath of its conclusion, the wounds inflicted upon the nation run deep. Today, as we reflect upon the past, we dare to uncover the hidden truths that lie buried beneath a facade of false triumph.
“Brace yourself for a journey into the heart of a society plagued by lies, where the pursuit of power and the erosion of moral values have left an indelible mark on the destiny of a nation.”
It looks like it will be a while before the Pearl of the Indian Ocean regains its lustre.
2 Replies to “14 years after civil war ended, Sri Lanka is still feeling the effects”
Presented in this manner, no one can disagree with you. However, the war is only a symptom of the problems – the historical, social, political, geographical and global power issues faced by the country. To me, after living through the past 5 decades – from the non-violent to violent phases of the country- working reasonably close to the seats of power, the current situation was inevitable.
Loooked at it from historic, social, poliitcal and other angles, Sri Lanka is a fantastic case study of the failure of a country. It is a case worthy of careful study by all aspiring politicians.
Well-written article. In every country minorities will be discriminated against. Ceylon (I like to call it that name) because I was born there, (though Indian), I love that country. But when I view the happenings there, my heart weeps. The suffering of the innocent, the politics played by the high-ups, all this is too much. And yet, because Ceylon is of little use in the global scheme of things, big powers like US etc don’t interfere, as they did in the Kuwait Gulf war 1991,(only for their own gains). Very slowly the country is gaining ground, but we cannot be too optimistic.
More articles of this type are welcome.