The infrastructure in the North of Sri Lanka has been changed, and the intention is clear. Indeed, there is no need, and no attempt, to hide it. Everywhere, land is reserved for settlement by the army. In the past, the Vanni was able to cultivate sufficient paddy for the entire North; now I met famers turned into helpless beggars, waiting for rations doled by the army-controlled administration. In this area, property, houses and land once belonged to the people. Later, they were taken over and occupied by the LTTE. Now, they are the possession of the Army. I saw land near where my father-in-law lives which belongs to a close relation of ours. She lost her husband, and was delayed returning because she was alone. That land has simply been taken over by the army, and is being cultivated by them.
Posts Categorized: First Person
Sri Lanka has long had a problem with disappearances. Accordingly, the LLRC sought to address this issue in its final report, which includes the following two recommendations:
Recommendation 9.46: Investigate allegations of abductions, enforced or involuntary disappearance; bring perpetrators to justice.
Recommendation 9.51: “…the Commission recommends that a Special Commissioner of Investigation be appointed to investigate alleged disappearances and provide material to the Attorney General to initiate criminal proceedings where appropriate.”
Yet the GoSL’s record on disappearances continues to be a concern. Appallingly, 25% of TSA survey respondents have had a family member disappear. And that individual was usually the principal incomer earner of the family.
Despite all their suffering and deprivation during the war, the spirits and dignity of the people of the Vanni were resolute and indomitable. That spirit was infectious, and I felt for the first time that I could hold my head up proudly and not feel the indignity of a lesser class of citizenship in my own mother country.
Heinrich Böll said of the Second World War: as long as the pus continues to drain from the wound of war, you cannot say the nation is free from war. I saw that, in Sri Lanka, an unseen war is still being waged, one that seeks to destroy the spirit of a people.
Despite all their suffering and deprivation during the war, the spirits and dignity of the people of the Vanni were resolute and indomitable. That spirit was infectious, and I felt for the first time that I could hold my head up proudly and not feel the indignity of a lesser class of citizenship in my own mother country…
There was always one thought in my mind: I was surely in God’s own country with God’s own people and I wished and hoped that I would be able to spend the rest of my mortal life here in the midst of these idyllic surroundings and people.