Photo via the NYTimes.
The government has released an estimated death toll for the end of Sri Lanka’s Civil War (not the whole thing mind you, this is essentially 2008/2009). The number is around 9,000 dead. The BBC is quick to qualify this against a 40,000 report in the controversial UN report, but that report is essentially from a reading of TamilNet and dubious. My best guess was around 10-15,000. Let’s say that the government estimate is low but not unreasonable.
This number, of course, is more than a number. It’s people that died, including women and children, often in great suffering and without a proper burial. Until recently, the fact that they had died wasn’t even acknowledged, a great shame to the government and Sri Lanka. Thankfully they’re slowly starting to acknowledge basic reality, starting with the Lessons Learnt And Reconciliation report and now this.
Now they need to actually implement the LLRC report, offer some support to those that have lost, and – most importantly – further acknowledge and publicly mourn the thousands of people we lost. These are all positive steps (out of a hole, admittedly), but it remains a long and winding stairs.