In Sri Lanka, the silence of weapons ... and feathers
By Frederic Bobin
Feb 26, 2010
No island, war, death in the jungle, the blood on the beach, the rage of ethnic, Sinhalese against Tamils, Hindus against Buddhists, fever diaspora ... Writers, thinks it, go grab a matter so worried they are going to squaring and scoop to feed works. At a time when the Sri Lanka taste finally found peace, the silence of weapons will he fertile? Nine months after the bloody crushing on the hem of sand Mullaitivu (north-east of the island) of the Tamil Tiger rebels, one of the oldest insurgencies in Asia (100 000 deaths in thirty years) The post-war Sri Lanka Will it inspire feathers?

The question was hotly debated at festival end of January in Galle (south), the largest literary event of the island. Each year, the Sri Lankan authors to compare their experiences with other writers from India, Pakistan or Britain. Exiles, blurred identities, women's words, exploration of shape memory works to share. An amazing encounter, a bit chic, beneath the walls green with heavy monsoon Galle Fort, a work built by the Dutchman once against the silvery waves of the Indian Ocean.

As usual, the controversy was invited to the small gathering of scholars of Galle. Or rather, the organizers have invited with the malicious intention to neutralize it. Slayer ritual of meeting Rajpal Abeynayake, Site editor Internet LakmimanewsWas invited to climb the podium to say how evil he thought the festival microcosm in his eyes "elitist" as limiting their horizons to the only English-language literature to the exclusion of local languages (Sinhala and Tamil).

The subject is passionate in Sri Lanka. In the eyes of the majority Sinhalese (75% of the population), decolonization began in earnest in 1956 - eight years after formal independence - when English was dethroned from its status as official language. English, the weapon of the"colonial oppression". In Sinhala, the word "English" is said also kaduwa"Sword". This means the weight of resentment. And once the Sinhalese restored to its supremacy, it was the Tamil minority (15%) who fidgeted in turn to demand recognition of their language parity. In Sri Lanka, languages kindled the war. "Instead of uniting people, language divides, Grimace novelist Ameena Hussein. There are two planets, the Sinhalese and Tamil, flanked by a small satellite English. " The market for English literature does not exceed 5 000 readers. "Marginal", Mocked the curse Abeynayake.

The vein was exhausted
But this marginality of English is paradoxically its strength. For official censorship - very touchy in the name of patriotism state became very martial - it does little. The radar monitors rather editions of the mass in Sinhala and Tamil. So, creating blooms more freely in the "Small Satellite Anglophone". It would have been unthinkable that is published elsewhere on erotic story collection (due summer 2010), which Ameena Hussein will participate. A major first in Sri Lanka.

Can we hope that such boldness is evident in the treatment of war? "It's too early, it lacks the perspective and distance"Warns David Blacker, Metis father burger (descendant of Holland) and Tamil mother. The initial handicap is heavy. The war has so far little inspired fiction in English. Author of thrillers, David Blacker is one of the few writers have ventured on this sensitive (Has Cause Untrue, 2004), drawing from his own experience as a former soldier wounded Elephant PassAt the edge of the bastions of the Tigers. In Sinhala and Tamil, the production is even more arid. There is no any significant work of fiction. Only the theater, film and poetry have been involved, often for partisan. And again, the vein was exhausted, especially in rural Tamil who was most vulnerable. "We were subjected to state repression but also to drift criminal Tamil Tigers, who have killed many intellectuals of the community", Said the Tamil poet Thava Sajitharan.

The official crackdown was bloodshed but she extolled the hearts and dopait creativity of artists, forced to forge new "images and metaphors" to deceive the enemy. But when the heralds of the Tamil cause has given way to terror fratricide, it was the "Disaster"Said David Blacker. The Tamil votes were frozen in "An immense silence"According Thava Sajitharan. Everyone watches for signs of awakening.

Courtesy: Le Monde