Sri Lanka after thirty years of war; the achievements so far and the challengers ahead
For nearly three decades, Sri Lanka has been scarred by a bitter civil war driven by ethnic tensions. In May 2009, the Government of Sri Lanka announced a decisive military victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE or Tamil Tigers). The war claimed thousands of deaths and tensions between ethnic groups remain high. If left to simmer below the surface, these tensions could threaten the fragile peace Sri Lanka is working to build. The general public of Sri Lanka took to streets to celebrate the end of the decades long war. Steets were filled with joyous scenes of jubilation. Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, through a telephone call, congratulated President Rajapaksa and the state security forces for their victory over the LTTE. Religious leaders too hailed the end of the bloodshed. International response for the end of the fighting has also been positive and welcoming, while some countries expressed concern over the civilian casualties and the humanitarian impact. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, "I am relieved by the conclusion of the military operation, but I am deeply troubled by the loss of so many civilian lives. The task now facing the people of Sri Lanka is immense and requires all hands. It is most important that every effort be undertaken to begin a process of healing and national reconciliation". Time magazine named the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War as one of the top 10 news stories of 2009. When the European powers colonized the globe, they modified or replaced native governments and customs. They also redrew map boundaries to suit their narrow interests. When colonization was more or less abandoned between the 1850s and 1950s, the European rulers often left a power vacuum resulting in ethnic violence as old ways tried to re-assert themselves. The civil war in Sri Lanka, begun in 1983, is yet...
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