Sri Lanka needs ‘political offensive’ for peace, reconciliation: scholar

May 24, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka should commemorate the 25th anniversary of the July 1983 riots and put forward its best offer to the Tamil people as part of a political offensive to end the war and find peace and reconciliation, a US scholar said. William Grassie, a senior Fulbright Fellow, said the commemoration will be “healing” and “helpful” for Sri Lanka to show its commitment to ensure equal protection for all its citizens under the law.

“The 1983 riots provide an opportunity to collect oral histories of survivors which can be translated and printed in newspapers and presented in TV documentaries,” Grassie told a public seminar.

“It will be important to emphasize the individual human tragedies, rather than to rehearse conflicting narratives about who is responsible for the ensuing civil war,

“It would also be important to include oral histories of Sinhalese who helped to shelter Tamils from the mob violence,” he said

Grassie says such a commemoration would send a message to the Tamils across the world that most Sinhalese recognize that a “terrible injustice” was done to their fellow citizens who deserve equal protection.

Rampaging Mobs

The 1983 riots against Tamils fuelled by the killing of 13 Sinhale