Ilankai Tamil Sangam

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

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A Deepening Ethnic Conflict

The Role of Sinhala Buddhist Nationalism and the Tamil Experiences of Violence

by Alex Papo, for an upper level university class in anthropology, April 23, 2006

The Sinhala Buddhist revivalist movement proved to be an important catalyst and contribution to the riots of 1983 and the ethnic violence that has followed since then. While forming a national identity is important, it is a deadly mistake if the ideas behind it are based on the discrimination of minority groups. Prejudice will often invoke violence, especially if it is promoted by the government. From favoritism in politics and education, Sinhala chauvinism moved on to genocide of the “second hand” Tamil citizens of the north and east areas of the country.

In the Indian Ocean, located slightly southeast of India, rests a small island with a considerably large problem. Sri Lanka has experienced civil war for over 20 years now, stemmed from an ethnic divide that developed primarily over the past 50 years. My goal is to illustrate how a main driving force in this ethnic divide, Sinhala Buddhist nationalism, came about and was used to carry out acts of violence in several instances. Furthermore, I hope to expose the conditions of the people living in these areas of violence and explore their attitude towards life.

The roots of the ethnic conflict currently seen in Sri Lanka traced back over the last three decades of the twentieth century, but to fully understand why the violence seen in this era occurred, we must look even further into the past. To do this we will look briefly at the early history of the island, and then move on to developments within the last century. The movement towards Sinhalese Buddhist nationalism is described by Stanley J. Tambiah in two texts; Buddhism Betrayed and Sri Lanka: Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy.

The Sinhalese people arrived on the island in the late 6th century BCE from India, and began the practice of Buddhism began a couple centuries after. Shortly after, a Hindu worshiping and Dravidian speaking race, the Tamils, left South India and arrived in Northern Sri Lanka. War broke out between the two groups, and the island was controlled by Tamil princes until 1000 CE. In the 11th century, the Sinhalese established a dynasty and brought the country under one ruler in the 12th century.

Sri Lanka was subjected to colonial rule when the Portuguese arrived early in the 16th century. During this time, the country consisted of several sovereign indigenous kingdoms that were isolated from each other. The Dutch had control of a significant part of the island until 1796 when they were replaced by Great Britain. The British conquered the entire island, naming it Ceylon, and brought it under a single ruling body early in the 19th century. Colonial rule was maintained until 1948 when Ceylon became a self-ruling part of the British Commonwealth.

Several advocates who believed they represented the Sinhalese majority felt that they had been highly subjected under the rule of the British and sought to reestablish a Sinhala Buddhist national identity that had been lost over the previous centuries. The movement to establish this identity began with the anti-Christian movement lead by Buddhist monks during the 19th century. One of the most important activist in this campaign during the late 19th and early 20th century was Anigarika Dharmapala. An important goal of Dharmapala’s Buddhist revivalism was to find a way to “appeal to the past glories of Buddhism and Sinhalese civilization celebrated in the Mahavamsa and other chronicles as a way of infusing the Sinhalese with a new nationalist identity and self-respect in the face of humiliation and restrictions suffered under British rule and Christain missionary influence,” (Buddhism Betrayed 7). The Mahavamsa and other texts referenced describe a history of Sri Lanka before colonial rule; a “golden-age” of the island in the eyes of the Buddhist monks. In several texts Dharmapala wrote, he claimed that during colonial rule the Sinhalese were subjected to labor-intensive jobs while other groups, such as the Muslims and Tamils, were controlled the profitable sector of trade. This was culminated with the idea that “the industries, habits, and customs of the Sinhalese began to disappear and now the Sinhalese are obliged to fall at the feet of the Coast Moors and Tamils,” (Buddhism Betrayed 8). Another goal was to create an identity that differentiated the Sinhalese from people in India. Monks felt that throughout colonial rule, Ceylonese people were considered Indian by many foreigners. This is the beginning of the Buddhist revivalist movement that separates the Sinhalese from minorities and would eventually lead to the formation of a national identity that has greatly fueled the ethnic conflict still occurring today.

A movement for political independence from the British in Ceylon was also present in the early 20th century among the members of the Ceylon National Congress. With the passing of the Doughmore Constitution, politicians within Congress gained universal suffrage for all citizens, and a significant amount of power given to a separate state council that was to be elected by the voters. Previously voting had been limited to citizens with qualifications based on literacy and ownership of land, and these voters consisted of both Sinhalese and Tamils. With voting extended to all citizens, politics on the island came under control of the Sinhalese majority for the first time. At this point, concerns between the Sinhalese and Tamils (and other minorities) arose over governmental representation and affirmative action. This tension is described by Tambiah:

“As representative government on a territorial basis was extended and made more participatory with the granting of universal franchise in 1931, the Sinhalese, Tamils, and other minorities bickered over two issues that would continue to be salient for many decades to come. First was the issue of the rights of the majority community to dominate the State Council (and subsequent elected parliaments) versus the minorities’ demand that special provisions be made for their representation in order to protect their interests. Second was the issue of the criteria for recruitment to public service, and on this matter the two parties reversed their positions. The Sinhalese politicians frequently accused the Tamils in terms of “race” and in relation to their number in the population of being overrepresented in public service, while the Tamils argued for open recruitment on the basis of technical qualifications and competence,” (Buddhism Betrayed 11).

These two political issues are still present today and are driving forces of the ethnic conflict that peaked nearly 50 years later. While the first issue is primarily a political one, affirmative action would later be implemented in other areas, most notably education, which we will later see led to the formation of Tamil militant groups in the Northern provinces of Sri Lanka.

Buddhist Nationalism in Ceylon faded during the 1930s and 40s, but once again began to gain strength in the 1950s led by organized groups of monks. These were important times in the development of politics and law in Ceylon, as it had recently gained independence from Great Britain. The United National Party (UNP) maintained control of the government until 1956. Certain groups of activist monks, such as the Eksath Bhikku Peramuna (EBP; translated to United Front of the Monks) and the All Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC) were highly opposed to the UNP because they felt that its interests were not consistent with that of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism. First the ACBC published a report called The Betrayal of Buddhism which further described the oppression of the Sinhalese during colonial rule, and further pressed the concepts and gave proposals to strengthen Buddhist revivalism, such as a shift from the English language and promoting the education of indigenous languages. The EBP had great influence on the elections, “[listing] ten points that Buddhists should take into account in their voting: these included the willingness to implement the proposals in The Betrayal of Buddhism, [and] to make Sinhala the only official language,” (Buddhism Betrayed 44).

The campaigning of the EBP for the Mahjana Eksath Peramuna (MEP; the opposing party in the election) helped ensure a decisive loss for the UNP. The EBP and MEP would not hold power for many years to come, but were responsible for spawning one of the greatest causes of the ethnic tension. In 1956, the newly elected president S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike implemented the Sinhala Only Bill; this made Sinhalese the only official language of Ceylon. This resulted in non-violent protests by Tamils countered by small scale riots by Sinhalese groups. Over the following years, Tamil leaders attempted to negotiate the recognition of Tamil as the language of a minority, and the creation of regional councils to disperse power among the Tamil people in their regional areas. The pact was agreed upon by Bandaranaike, but he was then pressured by Buddhist monk groups (EBP and others) and the UNP (who later would highly support Buddhist Nationalism to promote their party platform) not to give in to any Tamil demands and denounced the pact over national radio a few days later. The implementation of the Sinhala Only Bill had several effects “such as reserving a leading teachers’ training college for training Sinhalese teachers only, creating scholarships and distributing them on a quota basis six to one in favor of the Sinhalese,” (Buddhism Betrayed 48). For the first time the Tamils felt that they had been demoted to second class citizens. This produced tension that led to the first significant riots against Tamils in Ceylon.

The 1958 riots were miniscule in comparison to ones seen 25 years later, but demonstrate the willingness of the Sinhalese to use violence against the Tamil population. The riots began with the defacing of Sinhalese letters, changing them to Tamil on license plates attached to government busses that had traveled through the Northern Provinces. The riots spread from the North Central Province to other Sinhalese majority areas. One group of Sinhalese thugs dressed up as monks, chased frightened Tamils into a sugarcane field, lit the field on fire and then slaughtered them with home-made swords and grass cutting knives as the Tamils ran from the flames. This clearly shows the use of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism as a vehicle for violence. In retaliation to Sinhalese violence, Tamil people in the North carried out their own wave of violence primarily targeted at government property. It took some time, but the government eventually halted the violence by declaring a state of emergency and imposing martial law in the Northern Province.

During the period between 1960 and 1977, there was no significant violence on the island. By this time, advocates had accomplished their goal of creating a Sinhala Buddhist nationalist identity. Tambiah argues that over the previous century there was a trend in Buddhism that went from religion as a moral practice to religion as a cultural and political procession. The identity was being used to promote a Sinhala chauvinist attitude. The “energies of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism were translated into concrete policies and programs of language, education, employment, peasant resettlement, [and] territorial control of the island,” (Buddhism Betrayed 58). All of these instated policies and programs excluded the interests of Tamils. This was the beginning of discrimination that would lead to large scale violence in years to come.

It is important to note that during the 1960s and 70s Ceylon’s government went through several changes, including the implementation of a new constitution in 1972 and the changing of the country’s name to Sri Lanka. By the late 1970s, the UNP had regained it’s seat at the head of the government, with J. R. Jayewardene brought to power. He was elected the first President of Sri Lanka in 1978 and would maintain control until 1989. During these years, most of the Tamil interests were represented by the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), which had only a small amount representation in the government. The Tamil people and politicians were beginning to dream of their own separate sovereign state.

Two main factors led to the emergence of Tamil militants in the North and eventual beginnings of violence in the early 1980s. The first was changes in the educational system that further discriminated against minority groups. Between 1977 and 1979, quotas for admittance to universities were changed from 70 percent based on grades and performance and 30 percent on district basis to 30 percent based on grades and 70 percent on district; which clearly favored Sinhalese areas. These changes were important in “that the Tamil youth resistance became militant around the mid-seventies, as their higher educational opportunities were perceived to be irretrievably eroding,” (Buddhism Betrayed 68). These discriminatory acts further show the influence of Sinhala chauvinism in politics. Around this time is where we start to see the creation of Tamil militant groups such as the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The second cause was due to government resettlement programs that moved mostly Sinhalese peasants to “Dry Zones” of Sri Lanka, which were sparsely populated areas primarily located in or around territory that Tamils felt was their own. The Tamils saw this as a way to even out the proportions of ethnic populations in these areas. These programs also brought plenty of government support for the resettled Sinhalese, but included none for the Tamils. Indeed, these programs did bring together Sinhalese and Tamil people in the same areas; unfortunately, these areas that would see a large amount of the violence of the 1980s.

The vision of a separate state (known as Eelam) had already been in the minds of many people for several years. The reasons for seceding were not entirely due to discrimination. Politicians felt “that the northern and eastern provinces could constitute a viable autonomous political and economic entity,” (Buddhism Betrayed 69). The success of agriculture in the “Dry Zones” resettlement programs gave promise to Tamils that they would be able to do the same if they were able to form their own nation. To the Sinhalese chauvinists, the creation of a new Tamil state was not acceptable, and keeping a unified nation would be one of their main goals.

Tamil militancy began in the mid 1970s, and in response the government passed “the Prevention of Terrorism act of 1979, which permitted the government (that is, the army and the police) to hold prisoners incommunicado for up to eighteen months without trial, (Sri Lanka 18). This act resulted in the imprisonment of many Tamils that the government had suspicions about. In 1981, Tamil militants greatly disturbed elections in Jaffna, a large city in the northern province. This resulted in the government sending a large number of Sri Lankan troops to the north (it must be noted that members of the Sri Lankan Army were almost all Sinhalese). Security forces caused great damage in Jaffna, most noteably the burning of a public library. The library contained “irreplaceable literary and historical documents, and this book burning by Sinhalese police has come to signify for many a living Tamil the…barbarity of Sinhalese vindictiveness that seeks physical as well as cultural obliteration,” (Sri Lanka 20). This is a striking incidence of hatred against Tamil culture brought about by Sinhala Buddhist nationalism.

On July 23, 1983 members of the LTTE ambushed an army truck killing 18 soldiers in the northern province. The army decided to publicly display the bodies of the soldiers in front of relatives, friends and other local Sinhalese at a graveyard in Colombo. This display enraged the crowd and set them off on a path of violence through Colombo targeted at Tamils. The riots began as small scale mob violence primarily consisting of physical attacks, but shortly thereafter violence erupted to a level never seen before in Sri Lanka.

The riots spread rapidly across the country and hit hardest in areas with high populations of Tamils outside of the northern and eastern provinces. The total number killed in the riots is unknown with estimates in the range of 350 and 2000. Many were left homeless; the number of refugees after the riots was estimated to be between 80,000 and 100,000 in Colombo alone. The rioters also destroyed vast amounts of commercial property including 100 industrial plants and a large number of shops and market areas.

These riots were especially frightening for several reasons. Tambiah describes the first:

“More than any other previous ethnic riot, the 1983 eruption showed organized mob violence at work. Gangs armed with weapons such as metal rods and knives and carrying gasoline (frequently confiscated from passing motor vehicles) and, most intriguing of all, because it indicates prior intent and planning, carrying voter lists and addresses of Tamil owners and occupants of houses, shops and other property, descended in waves to drive out Tamils, loot and burn their property, and sometimes kill them in bestial fashion,” (Sri Lanka 23).

The second point that needs to be illustrated is that the armed forces and police did very little, if nothing at all, to stop the violence. It is even noted that they participated in some of the crimes committed. One incident involved the stoppage of a civilian bus and the execution of the 20 passengers on board in Jaffna. Another occurred in Trincomalee, an eastern coastal town, where “sailors from the Sri Lankan navy ran amok, themselves setting a bad example for the civilians to follow. The sailors, later assisted and accompanied by civilians, ran riot, killing and looting and setting houses and shops ablaze,” (Sri Lanka 25). Throughout the early portions of the riots, the President and his cabinet were powerless and unable to end the crisis. A third thing to note was that during the riots in Colombo, Indians and their businesses were also targets of violence. This included the Indian Overseas Banks that serviced many Indians and Tamils in Sri Lanka.

The extensive planning of the riots shows that the Sinhalese were willing and expecting to carry out acts of violence towards Tamils before the small scale riots had begun. Involvement of the army and police in the violence proved that Sinhala chauvinism had moved on beyond discrimination to genocide. The targeting of Indians further supports the effect of Sinhala Buddhist nationalism. To the Sinhalese, Tamils were not “sons of the soil” but were immigrants from India, no matter how many centuries ago they arrived. An interesting quote by a Tamil Tiger explains “that for many Sinhalese India as a whole is populated by Tamils, not merely South India with its fifty million Dravidians. Indeed, for them Indira Gandhi and even the great Mahatma Gandhi were Tamils,” (Sri Lanka 24).

Destruction of Tamil corporations and businesses in Colombo was supported with the claim that “Tamils…[had] control of 60% of the wholesale trade and 80% of the retail trade in the capital. Whatever the exaggeration in these numbers, the rumors reveal the deadly strategic efficacy of ‘punishing’ the Tamils in the city of Colombo itself, where most of their professionals, entrepreneurs, and white-collar workers were aggregated,” (Sri Lanka 32). This advocates the same attitude promoted by Dharmapala more than 60 years earlier when he accused the minorities of running the money making industries while the Sinhalese were subjected to hard work with little pay.

The riots of 1983 demonstrated a peak in the power of the Sinhala Buddhism movement. The identity promoted by radical monks half a century earlier had consumed the majority of the Sinhalese people, first invoking feelings of hatred and jealousy towards the Tamils and later giving reason to carrying out violent acts towards the minority.

In subsequent years, violence consumed Sri Lanka, although much of it occurred between the government and the Tamil militants. India attempted to intervene and force a cease-fire by bringing in over 100,000 troops, but this proved unsuccessful. Several attempts were made by the government and the LTTE to stop the violence during the 1990s, but neither side would give in to the other’s demands. War continued through the late 90s with several army offensives in the northern provinces and acts of terrorism carried out by the LTTE. A cease-fire was finally agreed upon in 2002 with the help of Norwegian peace keepers. According to estimates, “as of February 2003, the number of people killed in the fighting was approximately 65,000, and the number displaced was 1.6 million,” (Gale). The tsunami that occurred on December 26th, 2004 brought hope to many Sri Lankans that the government and LTTE would work together in dealing with the disaster, but this turned out to be a false aspiration. Throughout this time, Sinhala chauvinism would still be persistent as we will later see in specific examples of violence carried out in Eastern Sri Lanka.

Currently, the situation in Sri Lanka is heading in a bad direction. Violence reemerged in January 2006, and has escalated even more during the past few weeks. Many fear that the cease-fire will soon be broken and civil war will resume. At the moment, the only thing that can be said is that more and more people are dying, and the situation is worsening. Foreign pressure to stop the violence is becoming stronger, but has not yet been influential enough. Whether the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government will hold peace talks in the near future is up in the air.

We will now turn to examine the effects of violence and war on the everyday lives of the common people in Sri Lanka. The war has had severe consequences for both Sinhalese and Tamil people, but the majority of violence is still experienced by the latter. All Sri Lankans have suffered economically, as the war consumes money and continued violence hurts business and more importantly, tourism. Social life has also been troublesome for many Sri Lankans, especially in areas of violence where mobility is minute and fear is a common feeling. The most dramatic impact of the violence and the war may be on the emotional stability of Sri Lankans, as demonstrated by the 10 fold increase in suicide rates between the 1950s and 1990s which are now the highest in the world (Berger). I will concentrate on describing the social and emotional consequences of the civil war for Tamils; and to show their ability to move on from tragedy, attempting to live as normal a life as possible.

Many people in the world can only imagine the circumstances of living in an area plagued with war. I will attempt to examine the everyday lives and attitudes of people situated in zones of conflict, but in reality it is very difficult to illustrate the complete picture. To give the best representation, I will draw on two sources of interviews, and my own personal experiences from my visit to Sri Lanka in August, 2005.

Margaret Trawick’s “Interviews with High School Students in Eastern Sri Lanka” provides a sense of life in an Eastern Sri Lankan village. She calls the village Anilaaddam; a name used to conceal the true name in order to protect the people living there. This village is located in a territory controlled by the LTTE, but is very close to areas controlled by the Sri Lankan army. It is necessary to give a brief overview of the violent events that have occurred here in order to understand the stories of the students.

In 1987, the Sri Lankan army captured 80 civilians and executed them due to the suspicion that a foreign farm owner was supplying the LTTE with kerosene. In 1991, a land mine set up by the Tigers blew up a tractor carrying army soldiers and killed several of them. Other soldiers in the area began killing all civilians in sight, forcing many to flee into a rice mill, which was then burned down by the army. The number of people shot and burned alive in this incident was over 160. Locals are also subject to “intermittent aeriel attacks, shelling, ground attacks, disappearances, and abductions,” (Trawick 367).

The violence in the area had affected several of the interviewed students directly. One student stated, “I have gotten a beating by the army…I was fourteen years old then…They beat me with sticks…when I was going by bicycle from home, on the road…They said that I supported the LTTE,” (Trawick 375). It is tough to imagine what threat a fourteen year old would pose to the army, but this can be seen as a common act of intimidation. Another student describes an even more surprising incident; “They came to the school and closed the window and seized us and beat us. They fired their rifles. We were very afraid and we threw down our books and ran away,” (Trawick 379). Other students describe the loss of family members; “Father was affected by the violence…I was ten years old then. A land mine exploded and the army got angry and shot him…When they came into the house, we did nothing. We were afraid,” (Trawick 374).

These stories are just small examples of the brutality carried out by Sri Lankan troops, and several years earlier by Indian Peace Keeping Forces. Most of the violence committed was in retaliation to LTTE attacks. Many of these students had sympathy for the LTTE, and it’s easy to see why. Some even joined the ranks of the rebel group, for reasons ranging from revenge to the feeling that death was inevitable and they would rather die fighting.

To any human being, living under these circumstances would cause a condition of fear. This is quite true of the civilians living in Anilaaddam, but they do not let it consume their lives. Trawick notes that “students took strong pride in being students, that they had what can only be called intense school spirit, and that athletic and academic accomplishment were the arenas in which their pride was asserted,” (Trawick 370). Even living under the constant threat of violence, these students were dedicated to education and knew how to have fun. They talked about their love of the earth, and showed pride in their agricultural traditions. Throughout their lives they had constantly lived in violence; they were too young to know what peace was. While these students realize that they and their family could be killed at any moment, there is still feelings happiness and enjoyment among them, and most importantly a sense of cultural identity.

An interview carried out by Jim Mitchell, a reporter for the South Lyon Herald, gives a detailed story that clearly shows the emotional effects of the violence in Sri Lanka. A Tamil woman, who’s name will remain undisclosed, was born in 1953 in a hillside near Kandy, a city in the central province. She was married and had one child. In 1983, her 10 year-old son was killed in front of her. Part of her story as interpreted through a translator details that “somebody cut her son’s neck off… the head was on a different side, the body was on a different side. When she saw that, she went crying and banged herself on a tree, her teeth were all broken, [and] she [became] a psychiatric patient…[she was] disturbed,” (Mitchell 2005). This is a perfect example of the emotional hell that some Sri Lankans have experienced in these troubled times. This woman not only lost her son, but witnessed the killing of her husband a few years later. She was released from the mental hospital and has since been taking care of her 82 year old mother. This Tamil woman has experienced great losses, but has found the strength to move on and care for her remaining loved ones.

During my visit to Sri Lanka in August 2005, I experienced and learned more in one week than I had in my entire life. The majority of my time spent in the country was in the city of Trincomalee, which consists of equal numbers of Sinhalese and Tamils. It is controlled and occupied by the Sri Lankan army. During my stay, I did not witness any acts of violence, but I was able to take in the atmosphere that the civilians in the city were living in.

When traveling through the city, it was impossible not to notice the several army and police checkpoints. Hundreds if not thousands of troops were stationed throughout the city, all armed with automatic weapons. I heard several stories random grenade attacks on checkpoints that can occur at anytime. The general feeling I encountered was one of boundaries and limited mobility. It was necessary to be extra careful around the army, as they would often direct intimidating looks at me while I was taking pictures. It is easy to imagine why the economy and especially tourism has suffered in this area; who wants to go on vacation in a city with large number of army troops patrolling the streets?

Aside from the large presence of the army, the most astonishing sight was the widespread poverty throughout the city. Refugee camps were located all over, and while many of them were newly created due to displacement from the tsunami, there were several that contained refugees put out of place by the civil war. Poverty was not limited to those in refugee camps. In one instance, we came across a family of nine that lived in a tent that was no bigger than a college dorm room.

The high point of my experience in Trincomalee was spending time with orphan girls, elders in need, and the staff at the Grace Care Center, an orphanage and elder’s home. It was during these times when I was able to learn the most about the character of the people in Sri Lanka. Many of the qualities I noticed in the girls were very similar to those described by Trawick. The Grace girls’ positive attitude towards education was shown through their desire to learn. At one point I sat down with one girl and began help her with her basic English skills. Within less than two minutes, there were more than ten other girls taking part in the exercises. While some of them were unable to actually complete each exercise correctly, each and every one of them tried all of the tasks I presented. Living in a war torn and poverty stricken atmosphere, the only one true opportunity that these girls had was through education, especially of the English language.

While I did not have time to learn a significant amount about how the war had affected the residents and staff at Grace, I was still able to take notice of their attitudes. For the most part, they were completely filled with joy, which was shown through constant laughter and smiling. At times though, I would run into someone who was in a deeply saddened or troubled state. Although I could only imagine what was going through their mind, it seemed reasonable to think that it might have had something to do with memories of violence. Just as the students in Anilaaddam, many of these people had experienced only war in their loves until just recently. In my next visit to Trincomalee, I hope to learn more about the personal lives of people, in order better understand what they have been through. Using this knowledge my goal is to find ways to improve the lives of the girls and other people in the community as effectively as possible.

The Sinhala Buddhist revivalist movement proved to be an important catalyst and contribution to the riots of 1983 and the ethnic violence that has followed since then. While forming a national identity is important, it is a deadly mistake if the ideas behind it are based on the discrimination of minority groups. Prejudice will often invoke violence, especially if it is promoted by the government. From favoritism in politics and education, Sinhala chauvinism moved on to genocide of the “second hand” Tamil citizens of the north and east areas of the country. This is something we still witness today, and it is unclear whether there is a solution in reach. Sinhala chauvinism and violence between the government and the LTTE greatly affects the lives of many civilians throughout the country. While civil war has plagued these people for many years, they still find ways to carry out their lives in an enjoyable fashion, with nothing to hold onto but hope for peace.

Works Cited

Berger, L.R. “Suicides and Pesticides in Sri Lanka.” American Journal of Public Health. 78.7 (1988): 826-828.

Gale, Thompson. “Sri Lanka History.” Encyclopedia of Nations. 2006. Thompson Corporation. 23 April 2006.

Mitchell, Jim. Interview. August 2005.

Tambiah, Stanley. Buddhism Betrayed. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992.

Tambiah, Stanley. Sri Lanka: Ethnic Fratricide and the Dismantling of Democracy. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1986.

Trawick, Margaret. “Interviews with High School Students in Eastern Sri Lanka.” Everyday Life in South Asia. Ed. Diane P. Mines, Sarah Lamb. Bloomington: The Indiana University Press, 2002