"To us all towns
are one, all men our kin.
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THE MASSACRE IN TIRIYAI -
"The village of Tiriyai a few miles north of the famous old Royal Navy base at Trincomalee, is in normal times a contented and pretty little place, best known for its market where local farmers come to trade cashew nuts and cattle. Eastern Sri Lanka is dry and sultry, and the farms there are not especially prosperous, so none of the 2,000 villagers of Tiriyai has much money. But nobody starves. Everyone gets along. The village, in spite of its poverty, has an undeniable dignity, and serenity about it.
Once in a while, tourists arrive, although the drive is long and bumpy and there are enough stray elephants around to make a lone driver rather nervous. ...But no tourists visit Tiriyai today, and nor will they for many years to come.
And since the terrible morning of June 15 last, hardly anyone lives in Tiriyai either. The village has been almost totally wrecked. Nearly every house, shop, farm has been burned. Cattle have been butchered in the fields. Such carts and motor-cycles as the villagers once owned lie rusting on the sandy roadsides, smashed to pieces, useless. Just a few people - old-women, bedridden men and young children - remain, some still whimpering with the memory of what happened on that fateful Wednesday morning.
And all the while, the villagers looked on from the security of the jungle, watching with stunned amazement as their community was destroyed. Many of them started running, and ran and ran, deep into the forests, and have not been accounted or since. Fewer than a hundred waited until the marauders had gone at dusk and then crept back to see what they could salvage. There was not much A few sacks of paddy had escaped the inferno. A dozen houses were hat table, though burned. But the school had gone' and the post office. There was no food left in the two shops which had in any case been utterly wrecked. And, most terrible of all, the Hindu temple had been sacked, and the images of Vishnu and Shiva had been mutilated and broken....
Today, Tiriyai is almost wholly peopled by Hindus - and specifically by the people of ancient Dravidian stock who are known by the name of the language they and their three million fellow Sri Lankans are wont to speak - the Tamils. The soldiers who attacked the village on that blistering morning were members of the island's majority ethnic and linguistic group, the predominantly Buddhist Sinhalese....."