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Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."

- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home > Tamilnation Library > Eelam Section > Accord: An International Review of Peace Initiatives, August 1998 

TAMIL NATION LIBRARY: Eelam

  • Sacrifice: War and Negotiation in Sri Lanka

AccordAccord

 

A special edition on Sri Lanka, published in August 1998 is available both in print and on the internet.( http://www.c-r.org/accord/sri/index.shtml )

The contents include chapters on the Historical Context by Elizabeth Nissan; Straining Consensus: Government strategies for war and peace in Sri Lanka 1994-98 by Kumudini Samuel; Trying Times: Constitutional attempts to resolve armed conflict in Sri Lanka by Rohan Edrisinha; Self-Determination: A Ceylon Tamil perspective by Sachithanandam Sathananthan; Popular Buddhism, Politics and the Ethnic Problem by Priyath Liyanage; Tamil Identities and Aspirations by Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson with A. Joseph Chandrakanthan.

From the Introduction by Jeremy Armon, Andy Carl & Liz Philipson, Conciliation Resources, London:

"In the fifty years since independence, Sri Lanka has been riven by an ethnic/ national conflict which degenerated into war in 1983. Fought between the government and the forces of militant Tamil nationalism, spearheaded by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), this war has undermined the livelihoods of millions of Sri Lankans, especially in the Tamil-dominated north and east. It has also claimed in the region of 50,000 lives. ...

In July 1998, government forces are in their fifteenth month of an operation to open a road to Jaffna which was expected to take three months. The offensive has caused the deaths of many LTTE cadres, but army casualties are also very heavy. While the government says it is taking ground from the LTTE, the Tigers claim to have increased the number of their cadres every year since the war started. They are now fighting a largely conventional war against the Sri Lankan armed forces in the north, while also pursuing a rural guerrilla war in the east and an intermittent bombing campaign in the south. Though the LTTE may not be able to sustain the current conventional war over a long period, it remains extremely well equipped to continue protracted guerrilla warfare throughout Sri Lanka for some time to come.

It is unclear if and when the social and economic costs of the war might become untenable for the government, nor is it obvious what forces might fill the political space once the ‘war for peace’ strategy runs its course. What is clear, however, is that peace requires inclusive negotiations between the government and all representatives of Tamil nationalism, and that a sustainable settlement will demand sacrifice and compromise on all sides...."

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