So..What’s up with Sri Lanka?

It’s been just under two months since Sri Lanka was breaking news around the world, as the government crushed the quarter-century resistance of the Tamil Tigers in a bloody total war. Here at, we covered the conflict–including it’s bloody climax and international intrigues– in depth. But since May, there’s been little to report (or at least, little that is reported) from the tiny island nation off the southern coast of India. Then, today, articles from two big names in American media dragged Sri Lanka back into the news. Here’s the recap:

Keith Bedford for The New York Times

Keith Bedford for The New York Times

The Associated  Press is at it’s best today, with a long, investigative piece about conditions for Sri Lanka’s more than 200,000 Tami refugees currently pent up in DP camps in the country’s northern jungles. The results are appalling, to say the least: more than 35 percent of children under five are suffering from some degree of malnutrition, communicable disease is racing through the camps practically unchecked, and severe crowding is routine. The government says conditions are on par with DP camps around the world, that services are adequate and displaced persons will be allowed home by the end of the year. But according to the report, Manik Farm, the most densely populated of the DP camps, would be the second largest city in the country. By it’s own admission, the Press hasn’t had access to the camps since May, but whether that should diminish their authority on the issue is up for debate.

Things don’t look much better over at the New York Times. Earlier this spring, I wrote at some length about the Times’ late arrival in Sri Lanka (the majority of their stories were filed from Delhi) and what, if anything, they had to add to a conversation that was largely being held in the British and South Asian press. They still haven’t answered the question adequately for my money, but  today’s piece lend some insight into the thinking of the Sri Lankan government vis-a-vis the post war situation. Devolution, a word that throughout the conflict was used almost synonymously with peace, is largely off the table. It attempts to shed light on India’s involvement in the conflict, another policy linchpin.


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