Sharika Thiranagama and Zerrin Özlem Biner introduce the dossier.
Civil war in Sri Lanka ended in 2009 with the military defeat of the separatist LTTE. International and local pressure around war crime allegations and the lack of political reform subsequently forced the state to initiate the 2010 Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. This essay first takes the LLRC and the minority response to it to argue that this reconciliation process in Sri Lanka is very little about ethnic reconciliation between communities and instead is a “state performance” in the midst of ongoing violence. Secondly, the essay takes into account everyday relationships between displaced Sri Lankan Tamils returning “home.” The essay argues that long-term reconciliation between former neighbors rests upon the possibility of larger political transformation rather than face-to-face coexistence alone.