Post-war Lived Experience: ‘Sinhalisation’

  • Rachel Seoighe
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Compromise after Conflict book series (PSCAC)


This chapter explores the post-war landscape, from mid-2009 to the beginnings of Maithripala Sirisena’s governance, and highlights the realities of ‘conflict transformation’ that Tamils have experienced in their daily lives. Beginning with the initial post-war ‘screening’ process, where Tamil victim-survivors of the End were detained in ‘welfare camps’ by the state, this chapter relies on interviewee descriptions of the militarised environment inhabited by the Tamil population in the post-war Northeastern Provinces. The state is, I argue, re-marketing the armed forces in the post-war phase as a benevolent, positive presence in the Northeast. The military is involved in a range of practices that embed and naturalise its presence, including infrastructure development, economic growth and the ‘rehabilitation’ of ex-LTTE cadres (Satkunanathan 2013). This chapter draws on narratives that describe post-war life as a military occupation designed to suppress and destroy Tamil political and cultural life. Tamil political and civil society actors, the Tamil diaspora and the global actors entwined with the liberal peace project (including international human rights organisations) argue that genuine reconciliation can only arise from accountability: justice must be achieved for the Tamil people killed in their thousands by the state forces at the End. The state’s post-war reconciliation and investigative initiatives, discussed in Chap. 7, can be regarded as a performance—both in discourse and praxis—that conceals the institutionalisation of militarisation. Adopting a view ‘from below’ through the narrative of the Tamil population, this chapter argues that post-war developments indicate the evolution of a national security state. Post-war, the hierarchy of power has been reconfigured and reproduced with Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism at its peak, reinforced by a new logic of triumph over terrorism. The marriage of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism and militarism continues, borrowing heavily from discourses of reconciliation and development designed to pacify the ‘international community’ and extending the naturalisation of the war economy by appealing to tourists interested in ‘war tourism.’


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel Seoighe
    • 1
  1. 1.Middlesex University, UKLondonUK

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