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‘To Solve Its Economic Crisis, Sri Lanka Must Demilitarize’

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Brothers in arms? Indian army chief tours Sri Lanka | Tamil Guardian

Sri Lanka’s violence will not end until “the country ends its war on Tamils and Muslims and drastically scales back its military budget,” writes Tamil Guardian staff writer Ben Andak in Jacobin Magazine this week, as the economic and political crisis on the island continues.

“Many are increasingly alarmed by the authoritarian nature of their government and blame President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, taking to the streets and demanding that “Gota Go Home”,” writes Andak. “But the crisis in Sri Lanka cannot be placed solely on one family. Nor will the IMF rescue the island from the root cause of the crisis: the country’s militarized and ethnocratic state.”

“Over generations, a racist ideology has entrenched Sri Lanka’s military into several aspects of civil society at the expense of the economy and the liberty and democratic aspirations of its citizens," Andak adds. "This has been particularly hard-felt by non-Sinhala peoples, namely Tamils and Muslims in the northeast of the island.”

For its citizens to break free from this cycle of violence, it must break from the ethnonationalist ideology that promoted figures such as the Rajapaksas to the forefront of Sri Lankan politics. Even to alleviate much of the economic crisis, government expenditure on a bloated and overwhelming military must cease. Sri Lanka needs to rebuke the infiltration of the military into every remit of society and demilitarize.

Read the full text of the piece at Jacobin here.

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