Small country, large hatreds


In June, East Village photojournalist Q. Sakamaki was in Sri Lanka documenting the renewed hostilities between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam separatists and the Sri Lankan government. Although a ceasefire had been in place since 2002, following six months of renewed fighting, on June 15, land mines blew up a crowded bus, leaving 64 dead, including 15 children, raising fears of a return to full-scale war. The ethnic Sinhalese-led government accuses the Tigers of the attack; the Tamil group denies responsibility. The majority Hindu Tamils want to secede from the largely Buddhist country.

This page, top to bottom: The day after the bus attack, at a funeral home in Anuradhpuraq, in northern Sri Lanka, funeral workers prepare a child killed in the explosion for a mass burial; on June 13, in Kilinochchi, the L.T.T.E. stronghold, Tamil civilians conduct military training — using logs to simulate guns — after the escalation of violence; the children’s coffins in the mass grave.

Sinhalese children killed in the attack are laid out in a Kabithigollewa school for their relatives to identify them; in the war-torn town of Jaffna, a Tamil schoolchild passes a government checkpoint; in Kilinochchi, Kandiah Sinnamma, a Tamil, 62, by photos of her sons, Periya, who died at 19 in 1987, left, and Sinna, who died in 18 at 1991, both in suicide attacks; a Tamil woman in her Jaffna building riddled with bullet holes.