Once again the study circle convened on a Thursday afternoon. This time around emphasis was given to discussing as to what conditions would and should prevail if the current prevailing war was to end. There was an interesting array of opinions put forward by the enthusiastic participants, many claiming that the deeply entrenched animosities between the Sinhalese and Tamil would take even upto three generations to subside.
A point well made considering that bombs and bullets can kill terrorists/people (upto you to decide) but not ideas, this implied a possible continuation of attacks by isolated groups of individuals still espousing strong nationalist ideals even after the end of the war.
However it should be noted that there was also one participant who claimed that it would not take a significant period of time to bridge the differences between the Tamils and the Sinhalese if the L.T.T.E. was to be defeated. Another issue that was put forth to the participants by the host was regarding their general take on the ethnic conflict.
Unsurprisingly with the propounding of this specific subject, I witnessed a clear polarization in the group on the lines of people who believed that the prevailing war should be continued to bring about the eventual downfall of the L.T.T.E. and those who claimed that the continuing war was pointless, citing the loss of human life and the viscious cylce of violence and hatred that has ensnared the community with the intensification of the implementation of measures targeted at the Tamil community by the Sri Lankan government which many would consider draconian and the ubiquitious nature of terrorist attacks targeting civilians. Several other interesting talking points were articulated by certain memeber such as there being progressive elements within the L.T.T.E. who would possibly gain strength to voice their opinions and rebel against the tyranical regime of Vellupilai Prabhakaran if the military approach was to continue weakening the L.T.T.E. Some claimed that considering that already much progress has been made by Sri Lankan Armed Forces in relation to the capturing of previously L.T.T.E. held territory it would be “senseless” to halt the military approach which has the potential to defeat this group branded world over as a terrorist out fit.
With the conclusion of this discussion many of us painfully realized that it was impossible to conduct a war against the L.T.T.E. without victimizing the Tamil community and this in turn would prevent a majority of Tamils aligning behind the Rajapakshe government in their bid to defeat the L.T.T.E.
As you can see much was discussed during a period of 1 1/2 hours, but most importantly the discussion was carried out by youth themselves who put forward broad based principal arguments based on facts but also contributed in terms of their personal experiences with the ramifications of the ongoing conflict.