Erasing Tamil Eelam: De/Re Territorialisation in the Global War on Terror

by Ajay Parasram, pre-peer reviewed draft published in ‘Geopolitics,’ 17/4, 2012


This paper considers the Sri Lanka/Tamil Eelam conflict with attention to how its dramatic end can be explained through postcolonial territorial politics. I argue discourses of postcolonial nationalism and global terrorism aligned along domestic, regional, and international political levels to enable a military victory for the government of Sri Lanka. At the domestic political level, there was a change in government along with a split and defection within the LTTE command. At the international level, there was a turn away from Western allies due to their perceived inability to understand the needs of the Asian front in the GWOT. This led to a geopolitical realignment with China, a state sympathetic to fighting terrorism and secession movements. The case is studied under a theoretical lens of “de/re territorialisation” from Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari. De/re territorialisation reveals simultaneous efforts to inscribe nationalisms meaning into territory in a constant process of “becoming.”

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