James Morris thinks

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

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I have an affection for Sri Lanka (See yesterday’s posts) having travelled to the country twice, in 1990 and in 1999. In 1990 I travelled around the Island, as a student researcing and writing an article for a magazine on the long civil war that has been fought between the Sinhalese majority population and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE) who have been fighting for independence in the North and the East of Island. I spent a lot of time in the Eastern province near a town called Ampara and on the Eastern coast at Arugam Bay where intrepid surfers took advantage of some of the best waves in the world while a jungle war raged just down the road. I went back to Sri Lanka in 1999 to celebrate the millenium there and, if anything, the country had deteriorated further. Colombo was under a virtual siege with roadblocks every few hundred yards and suicide bombings becoming more common. There was a brief period of hope when both sides in the conflict engaged in a Norweigan brokered peace process but in the last year the conflict seems to have escalated again. The country is very beautiful and has many things going for it if the war could be ended. The conflict absorbs something like 50% of GDP which is simply crippling the country. I have two friends who have gone to live there for a time so will try and get some reports of life on the ground there now. If you want travel there would recomend the South coast beaches which, despite the tsunami, are still some of the most beautiful and remote in the world.


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