THE GRUESOME FINALE of Sri Lanka's 26-year-long civil war drew international attention and considerable concern for the plight of civilians trapped in the war zone. Many people for the first time became aware of a conflict which had already claimed more than 70,000 fatalities. But the publicity tended to obscure rather than clarify the causes of the war, measures that could have been taken earlier to prevent the bloodbath at its climax, and what can be done now to advance democratization in the future. It is especially important to critique the role of socialists, because some of them have contributed to the rise and entrenchment of ethnic nationalism instead of constituting alternatives to it.
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