The Fires Within: Sri Lanka at War
Sri Lanka has known civil war for 25 of its 60 years of independence. The conflict started in July 1983 with an attack on government troops by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a group that seeks a separate Tamil state in the north and east of the island nation.
The fighting has taken a tremendous toll on ordinary Sri Lankans: over 65,000 deaths, hundreds of thousands displaced, and rising military spending and economic disruption.
Both sides have been accused of human rights violations by local and international rights groups. Regrettably, the official end of the 2002 ceasefire in January 2008 brings the potential for a new cycle of violence. Already there has been a surge in fighting, aerial bombings, and LTTE suicide bombings.
Photojournalist Ron Haviv visited Sri Lanka in late 2007 to document the humanitarian costs of the civil war. The Fires Within: Sri Lanka at War is his account of the impact of a quarter-century of conflict.