“Touring Terrorism: Landscapes of Memory in Post-War Sri Lanka” by Jennifer Hyndman and Amarnath Amarasingam (Centre for Refugee Studies, York University)


The Sri Lankan state’s power to narrate the war and characterize the enemy is an expression of “triumphalist nationalism” and is a selective remembering of war. Based on photographs taken during several field visits to these sites by both authors between December 2012 and January 2014, we analyze the relationship of war and tourism and how a particular Sinhala nationalist remembering of the war and landscape of memory are being constructed in post-war Sri Lanka. Today, Sri Lanka is a former war zone where the Government’s troops defeated the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers) and ended 26years of violent conflict in May 2009. The end of the war came at a huge cost to civilian life in the northern part of the country ; the UN estimates that over 40,000 people were killed, most of whom were Tamils who form the majority in Northern Sri Lanka. Despite the end of military conflict, war continues by other means, and its representation encapsulates anationalist politics of victory that at once vilifies the defeated LTTE “terrorists” and excludes Northern Tamils from the Sri Lankan polis. The LTTE’s former hideouts, training facilities, weapons, and vehiclesare now tourist sites on display for public viewing.

ICES Working Paper 04: Qadri Ismail

Reconciliation: From Invoking to Understanding 

The International Centre for Ethnic Studies is pleased to announce the launch of Working Paper No: 04 on the theme of Post War Reconciliation titled,‛On (Not) Knowing One’s Place: A Critique of Cultural Relativism’ by Qadri Ismail.

Incited most immediately by the Bodu Bala Sena, the brutal record of Sinhala nationalism more generally, and also by the inadequacy of our response to it, whether liberal, Tamil nationalist, Islamist or leftist, this paper engages four thematics raised by the ICES conference titled “Ethical Futures: Dialogues on State, Society and Ethical Existence’ ethics, history, diversity and dissent. The invitation asks us to imagine the possibility of a Sri Lankan future from an explicitly, if not exclusively, ethical perspective, unburdened by both politics and what it terms “the weight of history.” It acknowledges, admires interventionist “politically engaged scholarship” on Sri Lanka, but asks this gathering to respond to a different charge. If one understands ethics, very crudely, as making a claim upon the good, and politics one upon the possible, the statement effectively challenges us not to be constrained by the could; rather, to imagine the should. To that end, it offers its own ideal of an ethical future: one that respects, even celebrates cultural diversity, enables dissent. Understanding these concepts as problems, not ends, as provocations for thought, this paper poses several questions to the Sri Lankan debate. They will be approached through a critique of cultural relativism, both in general and in the Sri Lankan Muslim instance.

This paper can be downloaded via this link

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source: International Centre for Ethnic Studies (ICES)

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Video: Sinhala Nationalism, Tamil Nationalism And Military Triumphalism – Interview With Nirmala Rajasingam (Newsclickin)

Nirmala Rajasingam, founder of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum and who is based in the United Kingdom speaks to Newsclick about the challenges faced by the civil society and democracy activists in Sri Lanka. Nirmala the sister of the late Rajini Thiranagama who co-authored ‘Broken Palmyrah’ and who was murdered in cold blood by the LTTE for exposing the fraud behind a misguided Theleepan’s famous Nallur fast, has given a balanced interview about the current situation in the island.

Her analysis about the background of the majority of the people who were trapped in the war zone has been from the up-country is not without accuracy as is her preception about the attitude of the Jaffna Tamils for those people.

Her call for all those who aspire for the struggle for a democratic SL and her special appeal to all progressive sections on the left of the political spectrum in the country to unite in that task is something that ought be taken into account seriously.

To watch the video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1ty9mp7P3ac&feature=player_embedded

Source: Youtube