January 13th, 2014
10:26 AM ET

Four steps to secure lasting peace in Sri Lanka

By Maha Hosain Aziz, Special to CNN

Editor’s note: Maha Hosain Aziz is a professor of politics (adjunct) in the MA program of NYU’s Politics Department, a senior analyst at geopolitical consultancy Wikistrat and advisory board chairwoman of Afghanistan’s first university e-mentoring program (New Silk Road Generation). The views expressed are her own.

“While building the nation, we have set aside all differences and divisions.  As a result there is today a new political and development culture before the country,” Sri Lanka’s media reported President Mahinda Rajapaksa as saying in his New Year’s message. “Further consolidating this, we must forge ahead in the New Year. Having won freedom and peace for the people, we are committed to give them progress and happiness, too.”

The question many Tamils are no doubt left wondering, four years after the country’s brutal civil war ended, is whether this commitment includes their own happiness. And right now, many appear to have their doubts.

A survey released in November by the Center for Policy Alternatives suggested that more than a quarter of those hailing from the country’s Tamil minority say the government has done “nothing” to address the root causes of the conflict, while half feel a little has been done, but “not enough.”

Yet the opportunity for Rajapaksa to fulfill his New Year’s pledge is there, if only he has the political courage to seize it. Indeed, by taking a four step, holistic approach that tackles the political, economic, social and psychological challenges of reuniting his country, President Rajapaksa will be able to regain the initiative and right the drift in what U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has described as an “increasingly authoritarian” direction.

There are four steps Rajapaksa should look to implement as soon as possible:

Give the Tamil minority a legitimate role in politics. It’s no secret that politics is a Sinhalese-dominated and family business in Sri Lanka. Nothing can be done about that in the near-term. But the country can still work toward more inclusive politics now – in fact it’s already happening.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won 30 out of 38 seats in the northern provincial council elections in September with a 68 percent voter turnout. This was a huge step forward to give the Tamil minority a legitimate political stake and a boon for the country’s ongoing democratic development.

But the perception of having power is simply not sufficient in a post-war Sri Lanka. A November 13 report from the International Crisis Group highlights the “reluctance” of the government to devolve power to the TNA. There were also reports of some citizens being intimidated by the military and certain party officials during the voting process (although officials denied this). Threats against journalists, activists and government critics do not help matters. Something has to change for lasting peace.

Give the Tamil minority a significant stake in the country’s post-war economic boom. Yes, the economy has been booming – an average GDP growth rate of 7.5 percent since 2010 is nothing to be sniffed at. But tackling ethnic inequality – real or perceived – should be the top priority.

Are all Tamil minority as a whole feeling the benefits of the island’s post-war economic boom? It’s not an easy question to answer. But we know the former conflict areas in the north have enjoyed over $3 billion in infrastructure investment and an average nominal annual growth of 20 percent since 2010.

Unfortunately, this hasn’t always led to job creation. One estimate suggests unemployment is as high as 30 percent in the region compared with the national rate of about 4 percent. In two northern districts still recovering from the war, almost seven in ten households are described as “food insecure.”

The CPA survey meanwhile, suggested more than 50 percent of Sri Lankans feel the economic situation is “somewhat bad” or “very bad.” These figures will hurt any chances of lasting peace – or at least serve to undermine the legitimacy of the Rajapaksa government.

Push to end the ethnic and sectarian violence that keeps bubbling up. Yes, the war is over. The Tamil Tiger rebels surrendered and many have been rehabilitated (even if many still feel lost in the shuffle). But there are still reports of Sinhalese-orchestrated violence against the Tamil minority (a little over 10 percent of the population). In April, the offices of the Tamil-language daily Uthayan were attacked in both Jaffna and Kilinochchi, according to global media watchdog Reporters Without Borders. And Tamil women continue to face sexual harassment and violence at the hands of the military in the north.

Meanwhile, there is also an extremist contingent of Buddhist monks who have been attacking the Muslim minority. Attacks have occurred at a number of sites, from a law college with Muslim teachers, to a slaughterhouse and a mosque. The Christian minority (about 7 percent of the population) has not been spared either – in September, a mob led by Buddhist monks attacked a Christian church. There have been 45 anti-Christian incidents this year.

This violence is obviously not comparable to wartime levels, but the government should still do what it can to nip it in the bud to reduce the potential for greater social instability.

Publicize policies that can specifically benefit the Tamil minority. There have so far only been limited attempts to develop the Tamil-dominated north, both politically and economically, since the civil war ended. With this in mind, the government should make clear how the Tamil minority can benefit from the country’s democratic and economic development. A public communication strategy specifically directed at the minority could help ease existing concerns over ethnic discrimination that may no longer be rooted in today’s realities, at least not to the same extent.

It’s a deceptively simple strategy that would only help with the psychological component of post-conflict reconciliation.

Speaking in November, President Rajapaksa outlined his dual goals of attracting $2 billion in foreign direct as well as making the island nation a middle income nation by 2016. If such lofty economic goals are to become a reality, Sri Lanka will need all of its people on board.

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Topics: Asia

soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. Marine5484

    On good step seems to be left out, that is to get together with Tamils and set up a timetable for the eventual establishment of a home state in the north for them there since they fought hard over 26 years for this right.

    January 13, 2014 at 11:25 am | Reply
    • Sam

      Sorry, that won't be happening. The Tamils already have a state and it's called Tamil Nadu.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:53 pm | Reply
      • j. von hettlingen

        One has to look at the historical context of the conflict. Again British colonialists were responsible for the ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka. The majority Buddhist Sinhalese resented what they saw as British favouritism towards the mainly-Hindu Tamils, who were brought from the north to work the coffee and tea plantations in the central highlands. The growth of assertive Sinhala nationalism after independence fanned the flames of ethnic division, and civil war erupted in the 1980s against Tamils pressing for self-rule.

        January 14, 2014 at 7:24 am |
      • ShivNader

        Learn some history my friend. Tamil have more than 4000 years of history in Sri Lanka. Sinhalese came from East India. Don't get mixed up with Plantation Tamils who were brought to "Central" Sri Lanka by the British to work in Tea and Coffee estates. Sri Lankan government burnt most references to historical Tamil existence by burning the Jaffna library in 1981.

        January 14, 2014 at 8:43 am |
      • somefuccinnathan

        Tamils need to understand that they were brought down by the British as slaves to work in the plantations. Due to their ruthless character and total disregard for law and order, just like their kith and kin in Tamil nadu, they started to cause death and distruction to many sinhalese, christians, tamils, and muslims. These people should be put into small boats and sent back to tamil nadu where they have their true heritage!

        January 14, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
      • Rainbow

        Actuall ShivNader, there is no evidence WHATSOEVER of Tamils being in Sri lanka 4000 years ago. And the Sinhalese didn't come from anywhere. They emerged as a people in the island; it is their homeland. On the other hand, the Tamils came to the island from Tamil Nadu which is their homeland.

        January 14, 2014 at 8:53 pm |
    • sirisena

      They fought hard, by doing what by killing thousands of innocent civilians, irrespective of race, religion. They killed Sinhalese, Muslims and the Tamil people. destroy roads, railways, bridges, factories, farms, buses, bus stands, prevented tamils leaving the LTTE controlled area, unless they pay huge bribes ( which they referred to as taxes), recruited the young generation, Children and provided them with weapons thus destroying a generation of tamils, attacked the Central Bank of Sri Lanka killing more than 100, attacked vital economic centers in the capital Colombo, kept bombs in public places such as trains, buses, bus stations, railway stations, killed political leaders including the Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi, Sri Lankan President Ranasinghe Premadasa, killed Moderate Tamil politicians such as A. Amithralingam, World Famous intellectuals such as Lakshman Kadirgarm, future Sri Lankan leaders such as Gamini Dissanayake and more more brutality. In such scenario what do you talk about "FOUGHT HARD'... Now come and see all Sri Lankans are living happily, despite minor issues, which I think needs to be resolved....

      January 14, 2014 at 4:02 am | Reply
      • Canuck

        Who started all these. You singalese mathaya Srisena. Probably you were not born when your for fathers started tokill Tamil for no reason... Read the history which destory by SL government...

        January 14, 2014 at 9:46 am |
      • THAMILAN

        Sirisena,
        Can you please answer these questions
        1.Who create the LTTE?
        2.Are they came from the sky and landed in srilanka?
        3.Are the buddhist people peace loving people?
        Thanks.

        January 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
  2. Naty

    Lack of equal oppurtunity in education, higher education and employment was the fundamental reason for the begining of unrest in Sri Lanka. A home state for Tamils in the north may be a starting step towards peace, however if national welth is not enjoyed/distributed equally among all citizens trouble will start again.

    January 13, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Reply
    • Chan

      "Naty
      Lack of equal oppurtunity in education, higher education and employment was the fundamental reason for the begining of unrest in Sri Lanka"

      This charge has been pedalled for a very long time. There is no truth in this whatsoever. Look at the proportion of Tamils in higher education – significantly higher on a proportional basis.

      January 14, 2014 at 4:24 am | Reply
    • Zoidberg

      This is an outright lie. Outstation students (including Tamils from Jaffna and the rural northeast) are given privilege when applying for universities to account for any socioeconomic difficulties.

      Sri Lanka is probably the only country in the world that has a Tamil syllabus. Even India doesn't have a Tamil syllabus.

      January 14, 2014 at 4:32 am | Reply
      • truth

        India has Tamil syllabus. There you can choose the medium you want to study. Every state have their own language and English and the people have a free choice. Don't mislead people for proving your point and don't show your ignorance!!!

        January 14, 2014 at 4:58 pm |
    • Kadira

      CNN seem to have its own agenda when it comes to publishing comments here. My comment earlier never got published. As usual western media is pro separatism when it comes to Sri Lanka.

      January 14, 2014 at 8:05 am | Reply
    • Banda

      No , it was not the lack of equal opportunity, the Tamils were the favored lot with good Christian schools and the were out numbering the Sinhala students at the university level in both medicine an engineering. This was happening with population being respective % levels being 10 and 70. (They were favored also in the University too by the majority of lecturers on those subjects being Tamil.) When this was addressed and Sinhala students too were entering the university, Tamils who are very selfish on those matters resented and troubles started.

      January 15, 2014 at 3:01 am | Reply
  3. William J. Holland

    Another outstanding article from a regional expert. Glad to read sound analysis concerning regional opacity that stumps even the most astute.

    January 13, 2014 at 1:02 pm | Reply
    • eureka14

      D0

      January 14, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Reply
  4. John Smith

    America is the root of all terror. America has invaded sixty countries since world war 2.
    In 1953 America overthrow Iran's democratic government Mohammad Mosaddegh and installed a brutal dictator Shah. America helped Shah of Iran to establish secret police and killed thousands of Iranian people.
    During Iran-Iraq war evil America supported Suddam Hossain and killed millions of Iranian people. In 1989, America, is the only country ever, shot down Iran's civilian air plane, killing 290 people.
    In 2003,America invaded Iraq and killed 1,000,000+ innocent Iraqi people and 4,000,000+ Iraqi people were displaced.
    Now America is a failed state with huge debt. Its debt will be 22 trillion by 2015.

    January 13, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Reply
    • Asoka

      Before the Presidential race Barak Husain Obama and Democratic Party used the slogan "WE CAN CHANGE". Anything changed after he became as a President of America? He received a Noble Peace Prize. He only changed America's worst Secretary of the State, Hillary Clinton. Barak Husain Obama holding Noble Peace Prize in one hand and his other hand full of Missiles (Drone attacks), killing innocent Afghanis, Yemenis and Pakistanis. Iraq, Libiya and Afghanistan still blood bath countries now. Where is UNHRC? Where is Amnesty International? Where is EU stand?

      January 13, 2014 at 2:16 pm | Reply
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Great post, Asoka. You're right on the money concerning both Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton. These are terrible people to say the least, especially Hilary Clinton who went around disgracing this country by representing it! Although he's war criminal, Barack Obama will go back to Illinois and live like a king proving just how fair life is not!

        January 13, 2014 at 2:36 pm |
    • Sarath

      What about Korean war, and Vietnam war? Millions of innocent unarmed Vietnamese killed by Americans.

      January 13, 2014 at 2:26 pm | Reply
      • Joseph McCarthy

        Thank you, Sarath. How true that rings. These horrific people(us) literally got away with murder in these countries. They should have let the Russians occupy all of Korea after WW2 . That way, the Korean War(1950-53) would never have taken place!

        January 13, 2014 at 2:40 pm |
      • Darshi

        The Bombing of Dresden was an attack on the city of Dresden, the capital of the German state of Saxony, that took place in the final months of the Second World War in the European Theatre. In four raids between 13 and 15 February 1945, 722 heavy bombers of the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and 527 of the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) dropped more than 3,900 tons of high-explosive bombs and incendiary devices on the city. The bombing and the resulting firestorm destroyed over 1,600 acres (6.5 km2) of the city centre. Between 22,700 and 25,000 people were killed.[3] Three more allied air raids followed, two occurring on 2 March and 17 April aimed at the city's Marshalling yard and one small raid on 17 April aimed at industrial areas.

        Post-war discussion of whether or not the attacks were justified has led to the bombing becoming one of the moral causes célèbres of the war.

        Now they talk of "war crimes" by others! Chemical weapons, war crimes, human rights ... all are political weapons!

        January 15, 2014 at 7:34 am |
    • Asoka

      USA (United States of America) but other countries divtded states. See Yugoslavia, six countries now. See Chechoslovia, now 2 countries. See USSR, now 16 countries. It was earlier West and East Germany. See earlier One Korea, now 2 Korea. Now, USA targeting India. All these countries divided by USA and each country now having American Bases.

      January 13, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Reply
    • eureka14

      Sri Lanka is a case of internal colonialism – the world doesn't yet know how to deal with internal colonialism:

      "Despite the withdrawal of colonial power from Third World countries, forms of oppression that might well be termed "colonial" still persist in many of them — the oppression wrought by nationalist Third World governments whose regimes fail to respect the rights of indigenous minorities. For ethnic and regional minorities in many Third World countries, the arrogance and injustice of these governments matches — and often exceeds — those of the departed European colonial regime. The island nation Sri Lanka presents a case in point. Little public investment appears to reach the Tamil lands…." – Fourth World Colonialism, Indigenous Minorities And Tamil Separatism In Sri Lanka, Bryan Pfaffenberger (Virginia University), Bulletin of Concerned Asian Scholars, Vol. 16, 1984

      January 14, 2014 at 7:10 pm | Reply
      • eureka14

        "But that truth cannot excuse human rights violations that currently afflict the nation as a whole; or for that matter obscure the looming threat of the cultural and political colonisation of the north by the Sinhala Buddhist majority" – Biased and Prejudiced Collection on Sri Lanka, Gananath Obeyesekere (a Sinhalese Buddhist and Emeritus Professor of Anthropology), Economic & Political Weekly, VOL 47 No. 04, 28 January-03 February 2012, http://www.scribd.com/doc/82525102/Biased-and-Prejudiced-Collection-on-Sri-Lanka

        January 14, 2014 at 7:12 pm |
  5. Lotus

    There are only 33 congressmen and senators for 57 million hispanics in the US which is about 17% of population. Sri lanka has more tamil representation in government for 12 % minority and they have the equal opportunity to get elected like the sinhalese. Their own terrorist group is the one repsoisble for killing all moderate Tamil political leaders not the Sinhala government. Nothing to be racist but how much of minority is (Blacks, hispanic) are represented in the mostly-white US government?

    January 13, 2014 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  6. Asoka

    Barak Husain Obama, America's first Black President and religion wise first converted President of USA. He can't change the majority white peoples sentiment. " Do what we say not as we do", policies he have to do.

    January 13, 2014 at 2:23 pm | Reply
  7. chrissy

    Lol @ Lotus, thats a very easy question to answer because it has nothing to do with race. OUR congressional clowns dont represent ANY of us they only represent theirselves!

    January 13, 2014 at 2:34 pm | Reply
    • Quinton

      Thank you, chrissy. How so very true that is!

      January 13, 2014 at 2:44 pm | Reply
  8. chrissy

    Yw @ Quinton. And @ Joseph please explain HOW Barack Obama is a war criminal? And how is it you are the ONLY one to know this?

    January 13, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Reply
    • Quinton

      Tell me chrissy, how can Barack Obama order the slayings of people in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and only God knows where else this butchery is going on by those ungodly drones and Apache helicopters and not be a war criminal? Do you know that at least 70% of those who are slaughtered are civilians who just happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time? This obscene practice needs to be outlawed at the UN!

      January 13, 2014 at 7:18 pm | Reply
  9. Kalyani

    Tamils hate Sinhalese no matter what we do. They hate us.

    January 13, 2014 at 5:09 pm | Reply
    • Raja

      What have you done except discriminating, repressing, maiming, raping, killing and ethnic cleansing the Tamils?

      January 14, 2014 at 1:35 am | Reply
      • Equality

        Could you list sources of information on "discriminating, repressing, maiming, raping, killing and ethnic cleansing the Tamils"?

        January 14, 2014 at 10:33 am |
      • Kalyani

        If Sinhalese are so bad why you dont go back to your homeland Tamil Nadu. Tamil people dont have good genes. very ugly

        January 15, 2014 at 4:55 pm |
  10. chrissy

    And @ Asoka the key part of our POTUS slogan "We Can Change" was the "WE"! Unfortunately he did not know at that time that the team that has been afforded all other POTUSs was NOT going to be available to him and that team is CONGRESS! Nothing can change as long as those fools are not willing to work for the good of this country!!! May as well not have representatives at all for all that these fools have NOT done! High end welfare recipients is all they are!

    January 13, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  11. Shan

    There are valid points highlighted in this article but there are some inaccuracies.

    "Are all Tamil minority as a whole feeling the benefits of the island’s post-war economic boom?" No is the short answer but same applies to Sinhales and Muslims as well. This has nothing to do with race. There are very wealthy Tamil businessmen. One of the top TV channels in Sri Lanka is owned by a Tamil. Tamils virtually own all jewelry business. Just go to Colombo and to other cities around and you would see so many Tamil owned businesses. The reason for this is simple. Despite propaganda and deceptions by all pro-LTTE diaspora, more than 50% of Tamils live among majority in South of the country, outside the former war zone.

    One more interesting fact. Fishermen from south Indian State Tamilnadu poach in Sri Lanka depriving fishermen from North and East who are mostly Tamils while Tamilnadu politicians shedding crocodile tears for Sri Lankan Tamils.

    Those politicians from Tamilnadu with proLTTE Tamil diaspora do all they can to devide the country again, making ethnic reconciliation very difficult. There is no trust between Sinhalese and Tamils. Politicians from both parties do their dance for votes and positions taken by Western powers also are playing into current governments hand.

    January 13, 2014 at 6:32 pm | Reply
    • Lotus

      Shan, you are totally right. When the West and the Diaspora say Tamil they mean only the Jaffna Tamils. They don't even consider the Eastern Province. The TNA dosen't speak for the East or the colombo or tht estate Tamils. What ever problems Tamils having in the North Sinhala people in the SOuth and Muslims in the East are having too. In reality East is the poorest province iin Sri Lanka. All these US, UK canada speak for Jaffna because that's what dispora projects to the west.

      January 13, 2014 at 11:30 pm | Reply
  12. James

    Zakaria claimed (or at least implied–have not seen a transcript of Sunday's show) that the US invaded Iraq to establish democracy.

    That of course was not the course. The US invaded because Congress and the media were misled by the Bush administration's prevarications about WMD in Iraq. When none were found, the administration changed the emphasis to establishing democracy. A war of choice is still a war of aggression.

    January 13, 2014 at 7:01 pm | Reply
  13. JAL

    Da Bulls!

    January 13, 2014 at 8:05 pm | Reply
  14. chrissy

    @ Quinton, i also am not a fan of the use of drones, however, they are used by many countries, not just the US. And there are policies in place under the ROE (rules of engagement) to make certain that power is not being abused. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee reports that the military requires "two verifiable human sources" and "substantial additional evidence" that a target is an enemy! As bad as our congressional clowns dislike our POTUS and have stated they want to make sure he fails, they would've already requested he be charged as a war criminal, if in fact he were, dont you think??

    January 13, 2014 at 10:01 pm | Reply
  15. chrissy

    And i would also like to add (and you can easily verify this) that there is a large legal team that checks each drone attack out, both before and after! But yes like you, im very much against the use of drones but nevertheless, no laws are being broken.

    January 13, 2014 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  16. chrissy

    And if memory serves me the use of drones by the US began in 2007 which was prior to Obama. I know that wont mean much to the Obama haters but its still a fact. And i also want to clarify that i am against the US being in these wars with the ME countries. They need to sort out their own problems, just as the US does! But unfortunately again we are just the little people and our opinions dont mean squat to the washington warmongers!

    January 13, 2014 at 10:20 pm | Reply
  17. sirisena

    Did Maha Hosain Aziz, the writer of this article, have visited Sri Lanka atleast once. Has he visited the North Easter provinces, before and the after war. has he spoken to people of all races, religion. Has he spoken to Muslims, who suffered immensly due to the LTTE terror. Please do come and visit Sri Lanka and find out, you will write better.. has he seen the vast development taking place in the once war ridden North Eastern region. I my self has visited and spoke to the people and saw that they are happy... Please dont be a bench warming analyst for god sake. First atleast find out what is US forces doing in other countries..

    January 14, 2014 at 4:08 am | Reply
    • truth

      Your government does not allow free speech, free movement!! If he goes to the North and East, he will be trailed by your MURDEROUS army, and any civilian Tamil who speaks to him will be taken in a white van by your Presidents brother and disappeared without a trace!!! Developments are for your Presidents other brother to make his 10% commission on all the so called development work. None of them benefits the Tamil population. The army is running all the businesses which was run by the Tamils, there by depriving Tamils of their livelihood. People want their FREEDOM, not the Substandard Roads, not ARMY CAMPS which are constructed after chasing the rightful owners from their properties.
      The poor owners are living in refugee camps for ages!!! Why don't you tell that to the readers? Your country is run by a DREADFUL family of brothers, cousins, sons, uncles and aunts!!! You need to tell this to the readers also!!!

      January 14, 2014 at 5:12 pm | Reply
      • Alan Pavo

        Truth, it was Tamil terrorism really took the nation and also Tamil race back to cave era. Tamils terrorists were recruiting kids as young as 10 years old and created a baby brigade (read UN reports). They have heartlessly murdered their own Tamil moderate and educated leaders such as Neelan Thiruchelvam, Kadirgamar, Amirthalingam, why? Just because those leaders were moderate and wanted to have a peaceful nation. LTTE saw them as a threat to terrorist agenda and killed them. Tamil terrorists murdered many Tamil scholars such as Radhika. They have murdered much respected Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandhi. Tamil terror gangs were looting medicine and food supplied by Sri Lankan government and deprived poor people from welfare. When innocent Tamils were escaping fighting from LTTE controlled areas, Tamil terrorists shot hundreds of them from behind. This is simply Tamil Genocide by Tamil terrorists and their blood thirsty expat supported. Yet, Central Province combined with Western Province of Sri Lanka where the Capital has more than 40% of entire Tamil population of Sri Lanka and the majority is Sinhalese people. Truth must be said and world will realize true nature of Tamil terrorism and appalling murderous mindset of Tamil expat community who does not want any balanced progress in Sri Lanka.

        January 15, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • Hambaya jara

      Not a single Buddhist temple allowed in Islamic countries. In Sri Lanka there are 20000 mosques and they ask for equal rights

      January 15, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Reply
  18. Eurolion

    To professor. which country is in the World can develop within 4 years(as you want it perfect). thease religious fellows fights Always. ex. Afghanistan, Iraq, even US eu etc) small to large incidents. professor can read books and papers. but practicaly you cant do it . you are a desk top analyser. Did Obama make that change. Nobel prize Winner?? Do you have change in Afghnistan now ? if so what? answer we need not from your desk. from people of Afghan. This religious tension happing even in Sweden with Arabs/ Muslims. (you dont need a better ex.). CNN Soory you failed this time. you need a new analyst....

    January 14, 2014 at 4:47 am | Reply
  19. Bandu

    These are hearsay versions using prejudiced sources by someone who has not made an attempt to present the other side. .

    January 14, 2014 at 8:35 am | Reply
  20. Gama10

    I bet author of this article never step in to the land of Sri Lanka at least once in her life. Her all article based on pure internet propaganda directed by interest parties, but nothing else. What an idiotic statement that she mentioned that Tamils not in the politics? What happened to all Tamil leaders who were in main stream politics with majority Sinhalese in the past...all heads blow out by Tamil tiger suicides, isn’t it?. Now tiger proxy party TNA try to run the show with the west. Sri Lanka is a democratic country, and leaders elected by the votes. As far as majority Sri Lankan citizens given the mandate to the current leaders, why government want to listen to this bull sh**t by the western politician’s and the journalists?

    January 14, 2014 at 9:31 am | Reply
  21. IshanEliyapura

    Yes Tamils should have political power but I don't think major post war development benefits should go to one race alone. There are enough Sinhalese and Muslims people around the country who are equally deprived of economic benefits. The key to economic success is to eliminate religious propaganda and establish job opportunities in North. In order to do this the main Tamil party TNA should come forward with their economic proposals and have agreements with government to establish them, but currently TNA is hell bent to insult the government because TNA itself is in power struggle within. Inside TNA you have people who still support LTTE and they want a separate state, which they will never gain. Thus, the problem is not only with the government but TNA should also come forward to propose what they will do. I have seen development in North myself and government have done a credible job. However, I see the main problem going to be in future is job opportunities. I agree that the army should not get involve in civilian economic activities however I see another side to this problem. I think government is trying retire some soldiers because current force of 250,000 is too great for our small island and government budget. Thus, the government is probably trying to lay off some by establishing economic opportunities or trying to fund the army bill through economic welfare projects managed by army. Apart from those there are small scale industries in North however they are not enough there must be an economic development plan for the area. Private and public partnership should be a good thing. Lastly, government should try to develop trust between people. There is no point creating division based on particular race. Our country is geographically positioned in a great place with wonderful beaches, rain forest, dry lands, animals and history. We also have wonderful diversity we have Thai Pongal, Sinhalese new year, Ramadan and Christmas if we can embrace it and create a vision for the future Singapore will admire us again.

    January 14, 2014 at 9:37 am | Reply
  22. Raja

    What Sinhalese wants for Tamils? Annihilation or assimilation. Tamils have been living in the Northern and Eastern provinces as an overwhelming majority for at least 1500 years. Hill country Tamils were brought by the Britishers during the 19th Century to work in the Tea estates. After independence from Britain, successive Sinhalese governments undertook colonization of Sinhalese from the South into traditional Tamil homeland of North-East Sri Lanka and ethnic cleansing the Tamil inhabitants. The sole purpose of doing so is to make them minority in the North-East itself and ultimately assimilate them. Simultaneously anti-Tamil activities such as discrimination in Education, jobs, funding etc, destruction of Tamil worship places, attack on Tamil people and burning and looting their homes and businesses etc took place all over the Island. This led to the birth of the rebel movement called LTTE who sought to protect the Tamils from attacks by the Sri Lankan Security forces, police, Sinhalese goons and Sinhalese civilians. They also demanded autonomy for the Tamil North-East so the Tamils could manage their own affairs. The Sinhalese of course wanted/wants all the Tamils to leave Sri Lanka or face horrible discrimination, torture and death.

    January 14, 2014 at 9:44 am | Reply
    • IshanEliyapura

      Raja,please don't lie if Tamils were an overwhelming majority they would have ruled the country but no they are not.Plus there are political reasons for discrimination which some of your politicians are responsible for during negotiation after independence learn history even MP Sumanthiran accepted it during a parliament session.Even your fellow Jaffna Tamils refused to accept hill country Tamils and that's why some of them were deported to India.Your so called Jaffna Tamils not only discriminated low caste Tamils but Sinhalese as well during British occupation.Don't blame everything on Sinhalese you created the environment for some of your problems.Plus LTTE was not fighting for your freedom they fought for their survival thats why they killed your own including your children.LTTE leader prabahkarans father worked under one of my relations and during those days his father wanted him to go to school and learn but he instead skipped school and joined LTTE.Educated politicians and administrators came to govern north be it Tamils or Sinhalese but LTTE killed some of them and chased others away.They even chased/killed Muslims and Sinhalese who were traditionally living in those areas.He deprived the opportunity for your people to join politics,killed children ,women and men.You ask who is responsible for the damage... us or your own kind.

      January 14, 2014 at 10:37 am | Reply
    • Alan Pavo

      @ Raja – Annihilation or assimilation? It was the terror gang you warship who killed thousands of Tamils. Did not they killed thousands of kids by creating the world's youngest baby brigade? Did not they kill your own mainstream leaders such as Amirthalingam and Thiru? Did not they murder parents who objected to forced recuruitement of their children? Did not they prohibit marriage for young people? Did not they destroy the school education so that they can recruit more misguided youth as future terrorists? Why did America, India and major countries have banned your heroes as terrorists? Do you get it? At least protect and better your own race, stay away from destroying their future as a Tamil. Shame on people like you!

      January 15, 2014 at 12:13 pm | Reply
  23. Tamil

    What Sinhalese wants for Tamils? Annihilation or assimilation. Tamils have been living in the Northern and Eastern provinces as an overwhelming majority for at least 1500 years. Hill country Tamils were brought by the Britishers during the 19th Century to work in the Tea estates. After independence from Britain, successive Sinhalese governments undertook colonization of Sinhalese from the South into traditional Tamil homeland of North-East Sri Lanka and ethnic cleansing the Tamil inhabitants. The sole purpose of doing so is to make them minority in the North-East itself and ultimately assimilate them. Simultaneously anti-Tamil activities such as discrimination in Education, jobs, funding etc, destruction of Tamil worship places, attack on Tamil people and burning and looting their homes and businesses etc took place all over the Island. This led to the birth of the rebel movement called LTTE who sought to protect the Tamils from attacks by the Sri Lankan Security forces, police, Sinhalese goons and Sinhalese civilians. They also demanded autonomy for the Tamil North-East so the Tamils could manage their own affairs. The Sinhalese of course wanted/wants all the Tamils to leave Sri Lanka or face horrible discrimination, torture and death.

    January 14, 2014 at 10:47 am | Reply
    • Arumugam

      I am a hil lcountry tamil,. Please dont change the history. we were here for centuries. Jaffna tamils were brought into work in tobacco farsm in 1800s. still many have relatives in Tamil Nadu so as Prabhakaran

      January 15, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Reply
  24. SINGING FISH

    For reconciliation not necessary four steps only one step is enough that is to punish all the perpetrators in an international court whoever the culprits may be.Reconciliation without justice is not at all posible.Forget and and forgive is difficult for an ordinanary human.Remember very well almost all the tamils lost either a close relative or a distant one during the last thirty years, how can you pacify their souls?

    January 14, 2014 at 2:30 pm | Reply
  25. V Greentree

    Tamils are not a minority. They formed a nation on the territory of N&E.

    January 14, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Reply
  26. Jerry Falwell

    The 2009 defeat of the Tamil tigers by the army of Sri Lanka was one of the tragedies of our time. The Tamils deserved to have their own home state in the north but now it's a lost cause. This proves that the good guys don't always win. The Spanish Civil War(1936-39) had a similar outcome!

    January 14, 2014 at 5:22 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Well said, Jerry. Thank you.

      January 15, 2014 at 2:22 pm | Reply
  27. Victim Tamil

    Srilanka state terrorism, Sinhala Buddha chavushim, never accept the truth, and never let Eelam Tamils to live with peace and harmony in their traditional home land north and east of the island. If someone know the history of the island since the independence 1948, he/she can realize the truth.

    January 14, 2014 at 9:46 pm | Reply
    • Liberal One

      There are no tamil homeland in Sri Lanka since Tamils didn't originate in Sri Lanka. Whole of Sri Lanka belongs to all Sri Lankans. Ultra nationalist racist Tamils who are trying to carve out an apartheid type mono ethnic state out of Sri Lanka should be put in jail to rot and western politicians who were trying so hard to deprive us of peace by forcing us to hold peace talks with armed separatist criminals are the ones who should be investigated for war crimes. These cold blooded opportunists deprived us our right for peace for 3 decades. Do these elite countries ever understand how discriminating they are when it comes to 3rd world countries?

      January 14, 2014 at 11:23 pm | Reply
      • Jay

        Liberal one
        If not for these 'cold blooded opportunist' western politicians and the 'reds' providing all the logistics ,technology, funds and mercenaries and and finally using banned weapons and slaughtering innocent civilian Tamils GOSL could never have won the war , which despite the KIFIRs and the Dora's GOSL struggled to contain the great LTTE warriors – the most powerful and disciplined force in modern times. Fearing exposure to war crimes crimes against humanity and downright genocide – structural and otherwise GOSL is desperately trying to avoid international censure by hiding behind the so called LTTE 'atrocities'

        January 15, 2014 at 8:48 am |
      • Jay

        Egypt is a Moslem country where Christians and Muslims live without problems . In other Muslim countries other religious people are recent immigrants. In Srilanka Hindus Muslims and Christians are indigenous and own the country just as much as the sinhala Buddhists. The sinhala Buddhists who talk about all being SriLankans feel that Buddhism should be given special treatment. One must remember that Buddhism is a faith just as much as other religions and one could always change their I.e their religion if they feel inclined to

        January 18, 2014 at 6:49 am |
    • Lara Bama

      I was told that tamils were brought in by English to work in tobacco farms. Due to this reason they were discriminated

      January 15, 2014 at 1:04 pm | Reply
    • Joseph McCarthy

      Well said, Victim Tamil. I deeply sympathize with you and the tragic plight of your people. It's terrible that the UN didn't feel the same way.

      January 15, 2014 at 2:20 pm | Reply
      • Liberal One

        Do you agree that north of Sri Lanka is the homeland of Tamils and that it doesn't belong to other Sri Lankans and with the violent separatist struggle? Racist subhumans like you should be held accountable for crimes against humanity for passively supporting violence against Sri Lankans.

        January 16, 2014 at 1:11 am |
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