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In Sri Lanka, Barriers Fall in a Land Marred by Bloodshed

In Sri Lanka, Barriers Fall in a Land Marred by Bloodshed


We had to cross the causeway leading to the Jaffna peninsula, on the North Vanni continent of Sri Lanka, when the colossus appeared: a pair of bronze hands, mounted on a pedestal, raising a model of this island nation in teardrop shape. A marble frieze on the wall surrounding the statue showed columns of troops and hull tanks passing swamps and Palmyres, spicy palm in northern Sri Lanka. I got out of the car in the torpeuse heat and walked around the monument, which dominates this strategic corridor known as the Elephant Pass.

It was here, in January 2009, that two divisions of Sri Lankan troops have pushed down the peninsula, which converges with two other divisions marching south to initiate a final offensive against the Tamil Liberation Tigers, also known Like the Tamil Tigers. “The gallant operation was launched under the direction of the President of the State … who was born to the grace of the nation,” said a plaque at the base of the statue, commemorating the hardline leader Sri Lanka in the Mahinda Rajapaksa. In an exaggerated language, his record pointed out that the troops had “crossed thickets, impassable walls, buzzing … and terrible traps … liberating this long road and destroying terrorism.”

Until a few years ago, this part of Sri Lanka was banned for foreigners. A civil war had crossed the peninsula of Jaffna and Vanni for almost 30 years, separating Tamil farts against the government of the Sinhalese majority country. The Tigers made devout suicide attacks on Sinhales strongholds in the south, including Colombo; Assassinated political leaders; And massacred Sri Lankan civilians. During the last five months of the conflict, government forces clashed in a relentless campaign to destroy the Tigers and their supporters, hospitals and bombing “Fire Zone No” including civilians and killing tens of thousands of people. In 2014, the government banned UN investigators to enter the country to investigate allegations of war crimes.

But in 2011, the pacified region, President Rajapaksa has begun to relax its strict security measures, allowing Sri Lankes South and foreigners.

Nowadays, tourists can explore the islands, beaches and villages that have not been exposed to visitors for decades; Intensify in the culture and history of the Tamils; And visit the museums of war, the old seals of some of the most famous guerrilla commanders; And the ancient battlefields. The Sri Lankan government has even turned some of those places into the locality, sometimes igniting Tamil sensitivities. “Enjoy the soothing holiday and cool breeze of the Laguna Nanthi Kadal,” says Edge Facebook page Laguna, a villa belonging to the military, overlooking a Vanni estuary where thousands of fighters and civilians have died in 2009 army assault .