July 21, 2024


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Sri Lanka: Tigers, the world’s most formidable insurgency movement, beheaded

In this small country of 20 million inhabitants, the defense budget reaches 4% of the GDP . This is to say the weight of the civil war on the economy of Sri Lanka. A war officially started in 1983 even if the first violence dates back to 1972. It left 70,000 dead, weighed heavily on the development of the country and completely jeopardized the chances of reconciliation of the population.

Tensions between the 74% Sinhalese, predominantly Buddhist, and the 15% Tamil, mainly Hindu, go back a long way. After independence, in 1948, the Sinhalese bullied by the British colonists regained the advantage and imposed their law, their language and their religion.

The Tamils ​​are marginalized, the war will end up isolating them in the zones controlled by the guerrillas, in the north and in the east. This is where most of the Tamils ​​in Sri Lanka live. This is where the Tigers had established their stronghold. They controlled a third of the territory 3 years ago and it is here that they wanted to found their independent state. Because despite the attempts at negotiations, under the Norwegian aegis in particular, and compromises aimed at the possibility of a federal state, neither President Rajapakse, nor were the Tigers really ready to give ground.

This is why in 2005, the separatists favored the election of Rajapakse to the detriment of a moderate who advocated reconciliation and the adoption of a federal system. With intimidation and threat, the Tigers prevented the Tamils ​​from electing a man who would have ended the war and dashed their hope of seeing the birth of their state. Because during all these years, the Tigers have become radicalized and have become a dictatorial movement, decreeing the enrollment of children into their ranks, and using the civilian population as a human shield. Civilians trapped and whose alternative most often comes down to exile or armed struggle. What will happen to this youth whose demobilization risks considerably increasing unemployment? Will they find their place in society? The government would still have to take care of it, and nothing is less certain. More likely, the rout of the Tigers will push more Tamils ​​to emigrate, to join a diaspora which has not stopped growing for 20 years.