Saturday, June 06, 2009

Random Country : Sri Lanka

A new project is starting there, so I'll be leaving in about two weeks - and gone for about a month.

From our good friends at Wiki:

Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia, located about 31 kilometres (19.3 mi) off the southern coast of India. It is home to around twenty million people.
Because of its location in the path of major sea routes, Sri Lanka is a strategic naval link between
West Asia and South East Asia, and has been a center of Buddhist religion and culture from ancient times. Today, the country is a multi-religious and multi-ethnic nation: more than a quarter of the population follows faiths other than Buddhism, notably Hinduism, Christianity and Islam.

The Sinhalese community forms the majority of the population; Tamils, who are concentrated in the north and east of the island, form the largest ethnic minority. Other communities include Moors, Burghers, Kaffirs and the Malays.

Famous for the production and export of
tea, coffee, coconuts and rubber, Sri Lanka boasts a progressive and modern industrial economy and the highest per capita income in South Asia. The natural beauty of Sri Lanka's tropical forests, beaches and landscape, as well as its rich cultural heritage, make it a world famous tourist destination.

After over two thousand years of rule by local kingdoms, parts of Sri Lanka were colonized by
Portugal and the Netherlands beginning in the 16th century, before control of the entire country was ceded to the British Empire in 1815. During World War II, Sri Lanka served as an important base for Allied forces in the fight against the Japanese Empire.[10] A nationalist political movement arose in the country in the early 20th century with the aim of obtaining political independence, which was eventually granted by the British after peaceful negotiations in 1948. In Sri Lanka about 15 % of the population live on less than US$ 1.25 per day. [11]

Excitingly enough, the 27 civil war between the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) and the Government ended in May, so that's a bit of good news. Of course, tensions don't just magically disappear overnight, so it's going to be interesting. I'm not sure if I'm going to post much about the conflict itself, for security reasons (both for myself and the project), but here's what wikipedia has to say:

From 1983 to 2009, there was an on-and-off civil war against the government by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a separatist militant organization who fought to create an independent state named Tamil Eelam in the North and East of the island. This has in turn resulted in ethnic cleansing of Muslim and Shinhalese from the area which Tigers claim to be Tamil Eelam. Both the Sri Lankan government and LTTE has been accused for various human right violations. However, number of notorious atrocities committed by LTTE, including suicide bombing, forced conscription of child soldier and ethnic cleansing of non-Tamils cause many countries to classify LTTE as a terrorist organisation.[citation needed]

On May 19, 2009 the President of Sri Lanka officially claimed end of the insurgency and the defeat of the LTTE following the death of its leader and much of its senior leadership.[26]

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