ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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War and Peace in Sri Lanka-Government s Reform Proposals and Beyond

Government's Reform Proposals and Beyond Sumantra Bose THE constitutional reform proposals presented by the Chandrika Kumaratunga government have been broadly welcomed in Sri Lanka, India and internationally. This generally positive response is in itself not unexpected or inexplicable. When one of the parties to a seemingly intractable and interminable civil war, which has exacted a horrifying human toll, finally puts forward a detailed blueprint for a political resolution of the stalemated crisis, a certain level of optimism is neither avoidable nor unwarranted. Yet it might be prudent to temper that optimism with a good measure of circumspection and even a sizeable dose of scepticism. First of all, there is the perhaps unfortunate but nonetheless inescapable reality that any peace process' in Sri Lanka that does not involve the participation, in a central role, of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), is likely to remain an exercise in futility. The relapse into massive violence that has followed the breakdown of the ceasefire on April 19 is a maximally unfavourable context for peace-making efforts of any kind. Prospects of a change for the better in the foreseeable future appear dim, since both belligerents seem committed for the time being to a trial of military strength.

Tamil Self-Determination in Sri Lanka-Challenges and Prorspects

Challenges and Prorspects A SINHALESE prime minister speaks of rebuilding Sri Lanka as "a country where people can live without fear, a vibrant living democracy of new systems and new institutions'' On her new approach to the Tamil question, an aide reveals that Chandrika Kumaratunga was "deeply influenced by her student days at the Sorbonne in the 1960s, where she studied the history of France's colonial war in Algeria and learned the futility of confronting a popular liberation struggle with force". In an unusually effusive response, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam's (LTTE) international secretariat in London declares that the Tigers would be "very, very willing and pleased to talk to Chandrika and have a negotiated settlement". Days later, the movement's ideologue, Anton Balasingham, confirms this position from Jaffna; significantly, his remarks are given wide publicity in the (LTTE-controlled) Jaffna press. Travellers to the south from LTTE- held territory report seeing Tiger posters announcing readiness for a ceasefire. Finally, Velupillai Prabhakaran, in a rare public statement, reiterates willingness to engage in unconditional dialogue.

Yugoslavia Crisis of the Titoist State

Sumantra Bose The political elite that was to preside over the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1990-91 did not have shared memories of a historic ordeal to bind them together, while they had every incentive to capitulate to the more parochial loyalties of a Serb, Croat or Slovene national identity in order to preserve and consolidate their own political power. In this regard, the bellicose posturing of the Serbian leadership of Slobodan Milosevic bears a great deal of culpability for precipitating the current catastrophe.

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