The bond of forgiveness

The tragedy of terrorism and conflict has served as a crucible for literary and artistic creativity throughout the ages and all over the world. So has it been in modern Sri Lanka – in poetry, plays, short stories and novels in Sinhala, Tamil and English. Rohini Hensman's novel Playing Lions & Tigers is a saga of the interlaced lives of 14 men, women and children caught up in the maelstrom of Sri Lanka's political violence. It unfolds through three generations against the larger canvas of the country's recent political history, and ends on a note of hope.

The book was first published in 2004, another period of 'no war, no peace' in Sri Lanka. At that time, the Ceasefire Agreement of 2002, controversial and flawed as it was, remained in force, monitored by a Scandinavian-staffed mission. On 26 December 2004, the elemental forces of nature unleashed a blow – the tsunami – affecting all ethnic and religious groups. In Aceh, the tragedy caused by the same storm pushed the Indonesian government and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) to conclude a peace agreement. In Sri Lanka, similar hopes sparkled and then faded.

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Himal Southasian