6    From inter-ethnic conflict toplural democracy in Sri Lanka

Martin Mulligan

Introduction

At 8 a.m. on a relatively crisp morning in April 2008, many thousands of young men had formed an enormous line outside the Bureau for Foreign Employment in Colombo for when the doors would be opened an hour later. Near the front of the line the faces were anxious because the weight of bodies was beginning to push on them; further back the atmosphere was more relaxed, even jovial, and still-hopeful young men, clutching essential documents in see-through folders, were joining the back of the line well over a kilometer from where it began. Word had got around that South Korea and Japan would issue a total of 3,000 work visas on this day for fit young men. ...

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