To Advertise with Us: ads@almeezannews.com
World

The Sri Lanka attacks: New front, old wounds

by Mario Arulthas

The attacks in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday for many brought back memories of the long ethnic war, which came to a bloody conclusion 10 years ago in May. Although the Sri Lankan authorities are yet to identify the perpetrators, it appears the attacks are of a different nature, one fuelled by global dynamics, rather than a response to local communal grievances.

Despite this, the violence is bound to exacerbate already-deep ethnic and religious fault lines, increasing existing tensions and possibly fuelling further violence.After 1948, newly independent Sri Lanka embedded a virulent form of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism in the formation of the state. This ethos, in simple terms, holds that the entire island is home to Sinhala Theravada Buddhism and that minorities are invaders, who will be tolerated if they accept Sinhala hegemony. Any threats (perceived or real) to the Sinhala identity of the country are attacked resolutely.

This revealed itself in racially and linguistically discriminatory policies as constitutions were written, making non-Sinhala communities second-class citizens. To this day, Sri Lanka’s constitution places Buddhism above other religions, assigning the state the responsibility “to protect and foster” Buddhism.The entrenched Sinhala Buddhist nature of the state manifests itself in its institutions, particularly those linked to security. For example, the military rank and file is almost entirely Sinhala Buddhist. Some of its units, like the Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment, are named after ancient Sinhala kings, famed for defeating Tamil “invaders”.

Increasingly violent reprisals by the state against peaceful demands for autonomy and equal rights by Tamils from the 1950s to the 1970s eventually led the Tamil population to seek an independent homeland in the island’s northeast, home to the Tamil Hindu and Christian populations and the Tamil-speaking Muslim groups.

A low-level trench war escalated into a full-blown war in 1983, after the Black July pogroms, in which Sinhala mobs killed thousands of Tamils, looting and burning their properties in the Sinhala-majority south of the country.

During the war, the Sri Lankan military routinely targeted civilians, killing tens of thousands. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), the Tamil group that emerged most prominently and enjoyed widespread support, deployed suicide bombers in the south of the country with devastating effects.Meanwhile, tensions between Tamils and the Muslim Tamil–peaking community, who, in many cases, do not identify as ethnic Tamils, increased, marked by violence and massacres by both the LTTE and Muslim paramilitaries. In 1990, the LTTE expelled some 100,000 Muslims from the Northern Province, furthering the divide between the communities.

Throughout the war the Sri Lankan military repeatedly bombed churches and Hindu temples sheltering Tamil civilians; in 1995 an air attack on a church in Jaffna killed around 147 people. While those attacks were not religiously motivated per se, they portrayed the state’s willingness to attack places of worship.After three decades, during which the LTTE was able to establish a de facto state, the Sri Lankan military crushed the movement, in a brutal crescendo of violence. The United Nations says there could have been over 40,000 deaths during this last phase, while some activists say the figure is closer to 140,000.

To this day, impunity reigns for the crimes committed during the war, despite international pressure for an accountability mechanism and demands by the Tamil community for an international war crimes tribunal. Hundreds of family members of Tamils forcibly disappeared during and after the war by state forces have been protesting and demanding answers. UN officials have warned that impunity may further increase violence in Sri Lanka.

Since 2009, the attention of the Sinhala Buddhist nationalists turned to the minority Muslim and Christian communities. While the security forces maintained an iron grip on the Tamil population, Sinhala Buddhist mobs started attacking Muslim and Christian populations repeatedly. In 2018, there were anti-Muslim riots in Kandy and dozens of attacks against Christians. A report by the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) said extremist elements were able to influence entire communities and lead violent attacks against places of worship and people. Only last week, a church was attacked during Palm Sunday mass.

Muslim and Christian communities in Sri Lanka have responded with remarkable restraint to Sinhala nationalist violence in the past – also because they saw the potential repercussions to them in the brutality unleashed on Tamils by the state in response to their own resistance.
However, the attacks on Easter Sunday do not appear to be a response to past Sinhala Buddhist violence. The perpetrators did not target Sinhala Buddhist, but Christian institutions and tourism infrastructure.

While many Tamil Christians were supportive and sympathetic to the Tamil armed movement, as a whole, Christians as a religious community were not antagonistic to other communities. As such, to see this in the vein of an escalation of existing violence against the Christian community in Sri Lanka would be a mistake. These attacks are likely a hitherto unseen dimension to tensions, a new front of violence in Sri Lanka.

After the Sunday attacks, the tensions that already exist are likely to deepen. Already hate speech is circulating on Sinhala-language social media. There are also reports of reprisals against Muslims, as a number of Sri Lankan officials have said that a little known Muslim fighter group might be responsible for the attacks.

Relations between Tamils and Muslims are also likely to suffer. The choice to conduct an attack in Batticaloa, a Tamil-majority town on the east coast, far from Colombo, may not be a coincidence. The town, and the district it is located in, saw some of the worst Tamil–Muslim violence during the war years. The St Anthony church in Colombo is also one that is frequented by a large Tamil congregation. Consequently, there are serious concerns mong Tamil and Muslim civil society in Batticaloa of a flare-up of violence.

While tensions are high in the aftermath of the attack, the propensity of the state to respond with repression must be prevented. The existing draconian counterterrorism legislation has been used to violently repress communities, while journalists and activists continue to face harassment and surveillance. On April 22, President Maithripala Sirisena also declared national emergency, which gives the military sweeping powers.

While those responsible must face justice, a similar crackdown and harassment of minority populations in response to the attacks must be avoided. Otherwise, Sri Lanka risks furthering existing divides and paving the path to renewed violence.

Show More

Related Articles

188 Comments

  1. Great blog here! Also your site loads up very fast!

    What host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link
    to your host? I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

  2. With havin so much content do you ever run into any
    problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My website
    has a lot of exclusive content I’ve either authored myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the internet without
    my agreement. Do you know any techniques to help reduce content from being stolen? I’d truly appreciate it.

  3. Today, I went to the beach front with my children. I found
    a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.”
    She put the shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  4. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it seems as though
    you relied on the video to make your point. You obviously know what youre talking about, why throw away your intelligence on just
    posting videos to your blog when you could be giving us something informative to read?

  5. I will right away clutch your rss as I can’t to find your e-mail subscription hyperlink or newsletter service.
    Do you’ve any? Kindly allow me realize so that I may
    just subscribe. Thanks.

  6. Write more, thats all I have to say. Literally, it
    seems as though you relied on the video to make your point.
    You clearly know what youre talking about, why waste your intelligence on just posting videos to your weblog when you could be
    giving us something informative to read?

  7. Amazing issues here. I’m very happy to peer your
    article. Thanks a lot and I am taking a look forward to touch you.
    Will you please drop me a mail?

  8. Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing months of hard work due to no
    backup. Do you have any solutions to stop hackers?

  9. I like the valuable information you provide in your articles.

    I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly.
    I’m quite sure I’ll learn many new stuff right here!
    Good luck for the next!

  10. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I definitely enjoyed reading it, you
    could be a great author. I will always bookmark your blog
    and will often come back someday. I want to encourage you to definitely
    continue your great work, have a nice morning!

  11. Whats up are using WordPress for your blog platform?

    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create my own. Do you require any html coding knowledge to make
    your own blog? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

  12. whoah this blog is fantastic i like reading your articles.
    Keep up the great work! You understand, lots of persons are
    hunting round for this info, you can aid them greatly.

  13. I think this is one of the most vital information for me.

    And i’m glad reading your article. But wanna remark on some general
    things, The web site style is perfect, the articles is really great : D.
    Good job, cheers

  14. Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it
    from somewhere? A design like yours with a few simple tweeks
    would really make my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your theme.
    Thanks

  15. I blog quite often and I really thank you for your information. This great article has truly peaked my interest.
    I’m going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information about once
    a week. I subscribed to your RSS feed too.

  16. Hello, i read your blog from time to time and i own a similar one and i
    was just curious if you get a lot of spam responses? If
    so how do you prevent it, any plugin or anything you can recommend?

    I get so much lately it’s driving me insane so any support is very much appreciated.

  17. Hi! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know
    how to make your site mobile friendly? My blog looks weird
    when viewing from my apple iphone. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might
    be able to fix this problem. If you have any suggestions,
    please share. With thanks!

  18. You can definitely see your skills in the work you write.
    The sector hopes for more passionate writers such as you who are
    not afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  19. Whats up this is kind of of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code
    with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no
    coding know-how so I wanted to get guidance from someone with
    experience. Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  20. Everyone loves what you guys are usually up too.
    Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the very good works guys I’ve included you guys to blogroll.

  21. I was extremely pleased to find this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time
    due to this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoyed every part of it and I have you book marked
    to see new things on your web site.

  22. Greetings! Quick question that’s completely off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My blog looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to resolve this issue.
    If you have any recommendations, please share.
    Thank you!

  23. Alcohol Rehabilitation Treatment http://aaa-rehab.com Drug Rehab Near Me http://aaa-rehab.com Drug Rehabs That Accept Medicaid
    http://aaa-rehab.com

  24. 12 Step Rehab http://aaa-rehab.com Drug Rehab http://aaa-rehab.com Substance Abuse Clinics Near Me
    http://aaa-rehab.com

  25. Just a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw outstanding style and design. Reading well is one of the great pleasures that solitude can afford you. by Harold Bloom.

  26. I would like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this website.
    I really hope to check out the same high-grade content from you later on as
    well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated
    me to get my very own site now 😉

  27. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I all be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

  28. FKetwA There as certainly a great deal to learn about this issue. I really like all the points you ave made.

  29. Im no professional, but I imagine you just crafted the best point. You undoubtedly know what youre talking about, and I can truly get behind that. Thanks for staying so upfront and so honest.

  30. lungs, and cardio-vascular tissue. If this happens, weight loss will slow down and it will become more and more difficult to maintain a healthy weight.

  31. Pingback: doctor7online.com
  32. I used to be suggested this web site through my cousin. I am no longer certain whether or not this post is written by way of him as no one else know such special about my problem. You are wonderful! Thank you!|

  33. Lamar barcelona drakt barnhvis du fotballsko til fjøset er ute etter å få ekstra inntekt
    Fotballdrakter barn, investere i aksjer er veien å gåportugal drakt sammenligning at på selvtillit Keira

  34. qui forme. De plus cela le monde dans, expose qu aavant de c?ur bois le, le monde et et et de lotophages

  35. Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped me out a lot. I hope to give something back and aid others like you aided me.|

  36. Link exchange is nothing else but it is only placing the other person’s webpage link on your page at proper place and other person will also do same in favor of you.|

  37. You ave made some good points there. I looked on the internet for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

  38. Pingback: natural viagra
  39. I have been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.|

  40. It as truly a cool and beneficial piece of data. I am content that you simply just shared this valuable information and facts with us. Please preserve us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  41. It’а†s really a cool and useful piece of information. I’а†m happy that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  42. Thankyou for this post, I am a big big fan of this internet site would like to go on updated.

  43. Thank you, I ave just been looking for info about this subject for ages and yours is the best I ave found out till now. But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you sure about the supply?

  44. Wow, great article.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  45. certainly like your web site but you need to check the spelling on several of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling issues and I in finding it very troublesome to tell the reality nevertheless I’ll surely come back again.|

  46. Good day! I know this is kinda off topic however I’d figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in exchanging links or maybe guest authoring a blog post or vice-versa? My site addresses a lot of the same subjects as yours and I think we could greatly benefit from each other. If you might be interested feel free to send me an email. I look forward to hearing from you! Excellent blog by the way!|

  47. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is excellent, as well as the content!

  48. It as difficult to find knowledgeable people for this topic, but you seem like you know what you are talking about! Thanks

  49. Heya! I’m at work surfing around your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Keep up the excellent work!|

  50. My partner and I stumbled over here from a different page and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking into your web page again.|

  51. Heya i am for the primary time here. I found this board and I in finding It really useful & it helped me out a lot. I am hoping to give something back and help others like you aided me.|

  52. I am curious to find out what blog system you’re working with? I’m experiencing some small security issues with my latest blog and I’d like to find something more secure. Do you have any recommendations?|

  53. Does your blog have a contact page? I’m having problems locating it but, I’d like to send you an email. I’ve got some ideas for your blog you might be interested in hearing. Either way, great site and I look forward to seeing it develop over time.|

  54. We are a bunch of volunteers and opening a brand new scheme in our community. Your website offered us with helpful information to work on. You have done an impressive job and our whole community might be thankful to you.|

  55. I know this if off topic but I’m looking into starting my own weblog and was curious what all is needed to get set up? I’m assuming having a blog like yours would cost a pretty penny? I’m not very internet savvy so I’m not 100 certain. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks|

  56. Hi, i think that i saw you visited my web site so i came to “return the favor”.I’m trying to find things to enhance my web site!I suppose its ok to use some of your ideas!!|

  57. Some times its a pain in the ass to read what people wrote but this site is real user friendly !.

  58. Useful information for all Great remarkable issues here. I am very satisfied to look your article. Thanks a lot and i am taking a look ahead to touch you. Will you kindly drop me a e-mail?

  59. Right now it appears like Drupal could be the preferred blogging platform available at this time. (from what I ave read) Is the fact that what you are making use of on your weblog?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Back to top button
Close