Sri Lanka Civil War Ends– But Does Peace Begin?

In the spring of 1865, defeated General Robert E. Lee turned over his sword to General Grant of the Union Army, and then Lee and his men got on their horses and headed home to begin the arduous process of re-uniting a nation that had just witnessed 500,000 men die. In the spring of 2009, Sri Lanka forces smashed the last holdout of the Tamil Tiger rebels and killed virtually all the top officers of the rebel army including the leader, Velupillai Prabhakaran. The issue is the same as in 1865, how do those who have killed one another for years begin the process of peace? It is estimated about 7,000 Tamil civilians were killed by Sri Lankan forces during the past three months in their determined effort to wipe out the entire Tamil Tiger force.

European Union officials are calling for a war crimes investigation about the deaths of civilians who were never able to escape the tight situation of being trapped behind enemy lines. The Sri Lanka government insists they did not kill civilians and it is all the fault of the dead Tamil Tiger leaders. General Sarath Fonseka told the world: “We can announce very responsibly that we have liberated the whole country from terrorism.”

Actually, his statement may not be accurate. There are still terrorist groups within the cities of Sri Lanka. Now, is the time to reach out to them with amnesty, promises of assistance to secure work and incorporation into the government of the nation. Reconciliation is the best path to peace.