Peace and Conflict


Here is an extract from “Emergency ’58 – The Story of the Ceylon Race Riots”, a book Tarzie Vittachi wrote in 1958.

Between eight and ten o’clock that morning the situation all over the country, notably in Colombo district, Kurunegala, Polonnaruwa and the Batticaloa—Eravur area had deteriorated so badly that even the stoutest heart and most cynical mind could not possibly help quailing at the continuance of this barbarism. In Colombo Fort, Pettah and Colombo South the thugs ran amok, beating up people who wore their shirts over their vertis, Tamil fashion. They stopped pedestrians and passing cars looking for ear-ring holes in men’s ears. It was impossible to disguise these marks of early parental affection and many Tamils paid dearly for this traditional feature.

That was back in 1958. And we shouldn’t need reminding what happened 24 years ago.

Black July 1983, was a turning point in Sri Lanka’s modern history. We know our history, and I won’t go in to it here. Unfortunately, Sri Lanka doesn’t seem to learn from such events.

Here’s another grab from Emergency ’58:

The people of Ceylon have seen how the mutual respect and goodwill which existed between two races for several hundred years was destroyed within the relatively brief period of thirty months.

The game continues…