The LTTE and the Lost Quest for Tamil Separatism

Neil De Votta, in Asian Survey Vol. LXIX, No. 6, Nov-Dec. 2009 …. access via University of California Press and

DE VOTTAAbstract: The ethnocentric policies successive Sri Lankan governments pursued against
the minority Tamils pushed them to try to secede, but the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam’s (LTTE) immanent contradictions—the quest for state-building and independence juxtaposed with fascistic rule and terrorist practices—undermined the separatist movement and irreparably weakened the Tamil community. The Sri Lankan government’s extra-constitutional counter terrorism  strategies under Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa helped defeat the LTTE,
but the attendant militarism, culture of impunity especially among the defense forces, and political machinations bode further ill for the island’s democratic and polyethnic future.
Keywords: Sri Lanka, LTTE, eelam, terrorism, Sinhalese Buddhist NationalismDr. Neil DeVotta with HRLC Participants. de Votta with HRLC participants

Neil DeVottaSri Lanka: From Turmoil to Dynasty Article, April 2011 Having only recently emerged from a prolonged and remarkably bitter civil war, Sri Lanka is now slipping steadily under the hardening authoritarian control of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family – See more at:


Blowback: Linguistic Nationalism, Institutional Decay, and Ethnic Conflict in Sri Lanka

Stanford University Press, 2004 276 pagina’s
In the mid-1950s, Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese politicians began outbidding one another on who could provide the greatest advantages for their community, using the Sinhala language as their instrument. The appeal to Sinhalese linguistic nationalism precipitated a situation in which the movement to replace English as the country’s official language with Sinhala and Tamil (the language of Sri Lanka’s principal minority) was abandoned and Sinhala alone became the official language in 1956. The Tamils’ subsequent protests led to anti-Tamil riots and institutional decay, which meant that supposedly representative agencies of government catered to Sinhalese preferences and blatantly disregarded minority interests. This in turn led to the Tamils’ mobilizing, first politically then militarily, and by the mid-1970s Tamil youth were bent on creating a separate state.

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Filed under authoritarian regimes, cultural transmission, Eelam, governance, LTTE, military strategy, nationalism, politIcal discourse, power politics, power sharing, prabhakaran, Sinhala-Tamil Relations, sri lankan society, Tamil migration, world events & processes

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