Thursday, September 04, 2014

Reconciliation in Sri Lanka: Voices from Former War Zones

Minna Thaheer Pradeep Peiris and Kasun Pathiraja

Study of this book is an effort at understanding the post-war reconciliation process as experienced by the different communities in the war-affected villages in the North and East of Sri Lanka. Since May 2009, ‘reconciliation’ has been an abiding concern for all concerned with the future trajectory of the post-war Sri Lanka. ‘Reconciliation’ is defined, understood and constructed in diverse ways by the stakeholders involved. Of these actors, the State, the Tamil National Alliance and the International Community seem to agree on reconciliation in principle but they differ significantly and at times irreconcilably on its substantive meaning. This complicates an already complex and fraught situation. In this context, this book attempts to give voice to the voiceless by contributing to the bourgeoning discourse on reconciliation in Sri Lanka. This research was an endeavor to understand the many interpretations or renditions of reconciliation as seen through the living experiences of people whose lives were shattered by a war that was not of their making. If anything has survived the conflict of three decades it is their hopes to live in dignity in their own land. Whatever, definition that is given to reconciliation, it remains a proposition that looks at the future.

This study used a pluralist research methodology comprising a series of in-depth interviews and dialogue sessions with communities in the former war zones combined with a survey of 600 respondents in six districts in the North and East. The findings of the study are presented in six chapters in order to capture the multi-dimensional nature of reconciliation on the ground. The analysis in this book has been informed by and will inform the work of scholars who, through rigorous and dedicated scholarly interventions, strive to build a just and democratic society in Sri Lanka.

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