Demanding sacrifice: War and negotiation in Sri Lanka
Publication date: 
1998
Accord issue: 
4

The authors provide a detailed history of Tamil identity and aspirations. The Colonial-era dominance of Tamil over Sinhala disappeared once the British left Sri Lanka. Sinhalese resurgence in government and the public sector culminated in the 1956 ‘Sinhala Only’ Act that placed Sinhalese as the official language of Sri Lanka. As a result of political and cultural suppression, Tamils have developed a strong sense of collective identity. The government’s inability to offer guarantees of federalism, while simultaneously attacking Jaffna province, has prevented any chance of peace. International attention has been minimal, and recent bans on the LTTE will only cause it to retreat further underground, making the conflict more intractable.