Saturday, May 30, 2009

Jim Luce - In Sri Lanka: On the Streets of Colombo

Colombo, Sri Lanka (Huffington Post). The euphoria remains on the balmy streets of Colombo. One week ago the Tamil Tigers were at last defeated -- on the beaches of the north -- after 26 years of terrorism. Their human hostages have escaped.

The Sri Lankan flag flies now from virtually every tuk-tuk (three-wheeled taxi) and every building. Children grin broadly as they come home from school, and on this Friday afternoon, the small Muslim community heads for the city's mosques.

I can easily identify the Muslim community here. I cannot tell Sinhalese from Tamil, to me they are all -- Muslim, Hindu and Buddhist -- Sri Lankan.

Last week, in his speech announcing the end of the conflict, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha announced that from now on one should differentiate between Tamil and non-Tamil - all were Sri Lankan.

That is not to say that Tamil culture is not respected here. In fact, all signs in this nation are posted in three languages: Sinhalese, Tamil, and English. Sri Lanka announced its independence from Britain in 1948 and became a republic in 1972.

Signs in Sri Lanka are written in Sinhalese, Tamil, and English.

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