The “war on terror” – that diplomatic, political and military offensive after the 9/11 attacks – is a war that has been silently waged in Sri Lanka for over 27 years. Generations are woven into the spiral of violence. Citizens across the island, particularly in its north and east, have suffered the twin effects of terrorism and the equally reprehensible counterterrorist strategies of successive governments that have trampled on fundamental rights and humanitarian norms.
Human dignity and respect for human life have eroded so dramatically in two decades of bloody conflict that the killings of a few dozen are now no longer exceptional. Days in which there are only a few killings are now considered “good” days, given the striking rise in violence on the ground in 2006.
Sri Lanka’s own “war on terror” over the past two decades, looked at from the perspective of a citizen, is a multi-faceted and complex series of struggles to secure human rights, basic human needs and above all, the hope for a just and sustainable peace.