With increasing concern, we had been following the news on the internet and the information we received from our friends.
After the first bombardments of government troops in the north of the country, the whole world was talking about war. Only the government and the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) insisted that the cease fire was still effective and that they were only taking retaliations to each other’s actions.
They used terms like “low scale war” but more than 2,000 killed since February was telling another story.
The hostilities were taking place in the north eastern parts of the country and once again, there were bomb blasts in Colombo.
On our arrival September 2nd, it was quiet in Colombo. Very quiet. The government district was off limits for vehicles and on the big radial streets it was strictly forbidden to park a car. Police and Army personnel were controlling tightly. There were many roadblocks and the heavily armed soldiers that were supposed to guarantee security, on the contrary looked quite scary to us.
Besides Colombo and the north east, there were no hostilities in the other parts of the country but the side effects applied to the whole country. The prices for gasoline and diesel had sky rocketed and therefore, also the price of the goods had gone up in an extent that was hard to manage for the people.
An embargo by the government on construction material in the Tamil areas affected the prices for it in the rest of the country. (Only one of the violations by the government against the ceasefire agreement, that was obviously not reported by the international press.) The number of tourist arrivals had dropped to almost zero.
We knew that there would be talks held in Switzerland by the end of October between the government and the LTTE. There was nothing left but very little hope.