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Sri Lanka’s post-war dilemma – The Hindu

Written by kumaran   // July 15, 2011   // Comments Off

Kiliveddy Transit Center Trincomolee, Sri Lanka A volunteer teacher helps children with their studies in Trincomolee District

This collection of essays, contributed mostly by eminent social scientists, looks at the problems of reconstruction and harmonisation Sri Lanka is grappling with in the aftermath of what has come to be referred to as the “fourth Eelam war” that saw the liquidation of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). In the words of the editor of the volume, Gnana Moonasinghe, a scholar of repute, it is a “response to the post-war dilemma of how best to bring together the different communities and build a nation on strong foundations, of inclusivity, fairness, justice, equality and contentment for all.”

Although, as Moonasinghe says, the focus is on “post-war dilemma”, it is rather strange that neither the editor nor the contributors have chosen to examine how the war, which is reported to have taken a toll of nearly 40,000 lives, was won. The omission is all the more glaring, given the recent media reports/footage of various international agencies suggesting serious human rights violations — particularly in the later stages of the war — and refuting Colombo’s assertion of “zero civilian casualties.”


The 21 essays in the volume are arranged in six parts. Moonasinghe provides a synoptic political profile of Sri Lanka since independence, while Susil Sirivardana identifies the fault-lines in the nation-building experiment. The unique problems faced by the two minority groups, Moslems and Indian Tamils; the specific functions of the media and public service; the inter-relationship among education, economic development and nation building; and the role played by diplomacy in Sri Lanka’s image-building are among the subjects analysed in the 10 essays under the overall theme of majority fears and minority aspirations. [Read More]

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