On Naming Genocide in Sri Lanka

So not fun. This post may strike you as a strange way for the ethnomusicologist to start her stint as a guest blogger here, but bear with me. Given the news this week, this question has been on my mind, and I need to get it off my chest before I start blogging about all the other things dear to my heart—- music, movies, food, art, driving my parents crazy with my music major, and living at 6200+ ft above sea level in a pristine Alpine desert climate. Rest assured, there’s time for all of that.

Over the past few months, I have noticed that many people (ok, I’ve especially noticed one) have used the term “genocide” to describe what has happened to the Tamil minority in Sri Lanka. The word is a strong one, evoking the most heinous acts that can be committed against humanity. Tamil civilians have indeed suffered in the civil war over the past two decades, but echoing Amardeep earlier this week, I’m uneasy with the term. Continue reading