In My Mother's House: Civil War in Sri Lanka

In My Mother's House: Civil War in Sri Lanka

In My Mother's House: Civil War in Sri Lanka

In My Mother's House: Civil War in Sri Lanka

Synopsis

In May 2009, the Sri Lankan army overwhelmed the last stronghold of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam-better known as the Tamil Tigers-officially bringing an end to nearly three decades of civil war. Although the war has ended, the place of minorities in Sri Lanka remains uncertain, not least because the lengthy conflict drove entire populations from their homes. The figures are jarring: for example, all of the roughly 80,000 Muslims in northern Sri Lanka were expelled from the Tamil Tiger-controlled north, and nearly half of all Sri Lankan Tamils were displaced during the course of the civil war. Sharika Thiranagama's In My Mother's House provides ethnographic insight into two important groups of internally displaced people: northern Sri Lankan Tamils and Sri Lankan Muslims.

Excerpt

It is a pleasure to write a foreword to this elegantly written, jargon free work on the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka. For me In My Mother’s House is the most significant contribution written to date for understanding that conflict, mostly from the perspective of Tamils and the Muslims of the north, the latter brutally evicted from their homes by the Tamil Tigers (the LTTE). I hope this work will be read not only by Sri Lankans and South Asians but also by those interested in political violence, the disrupted lives that result from it, and the resilience of those living under the shadow of terror and war, so poignantly described by Thiranagama. Thiranagama herself suffered from the war; her mother, a human rights activist and university professor, was killed by the ltte in its “liberation struggle,” which like many other liberation struggles ended up in mass violence and the targeted “rational killing” of those who refused to accept violence as an antidote to the political ills of the nation. At the time of producing her book the war was drawing to a close, but it is hard to believe that such a close will result in a closure of the issues that, from the Tamil perspective, provoked forms of resistance, including violent resistance.

Few outside Sri Lanka know that alongside the ethnic conflict there was another internal conflict in which Sinhala youths took up arms against the government, initially in 1971 and, when this failed, in yet another three-year conflict in the late 1980s. This too was a liberation struggle, and this too led to enormous violence and brutality. the jvp (National Liberation Front) practiced enormous brutalities, and equally brutal was the government reaction when paramilitary groups retaliated with scant regard to the Geneva Convention (that few I am sure had heard of) or any other decent convention. This conflict resulted in the loss of 60,000 lives according to current estimates. Statistics on violence are unreliable, but even if one reduces this figure by . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.