Elusive Peace

One Step at a Time is a new book by Sumanasiri Liyanage of the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. An economist with a very wide pallette-he teaches political economy and has written in both English and Sinhala on constitutional reform and on devolution, Liyanage has analysed the events and processes that occurred in Sri Lanka between 2001 and 2006. The idea that increased trade and economic growth would help in transforming the conflict and bring peace has largely failed, not because it was intrinsically a poor idea, but more that this "liberal theory of conflict and conflict resolution fails to grasp the rich complexity of modern ethno-political conflict".

The rich complexity is something most of us can't fathom, either, living as we do in a land of even greater apparent contrasts and diversity, so the book- which has been widely praised by scholars in Sri Lanka as "comprehensive and well-researched' and "a useful read that asks us to take an open-ended and transformative process seriously" should be of interest to students and observers of strategic affairs and politics the world over, and especially here.

In an earlier post, we had drawn attention to another of the many books that analyse the problem from an Indian perspective. Nirupama Subramaniam's Sri Lanka: Voices from a War Zone, is a journalist's take on the conflict. She uncovers "these ‘little histories’ as she calls them—of children forcibly recruited into Tiger training camps; of parents waiting for mass graves to reveal their bleak secrets; of people fleeing their homes in war zones only to become prisoners in refugee camps; of the families of the missing who still wait and hope; of women in the maid-trade bonded in virtual slavery in foreign lands." From Penguin.

Professor Liyanage's book is published by the South Asia Peace Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka and can be ordered through us. Write in our usual addresses...
mail@scholarswithoutborders.in or scholarswithoutborders@gmail.com.

In our Politics Section. Paperback, 269 pages, Rs 300. ISBN: 978-955-9098-79-9