A Journey of Remembrance and Transformation together !

 

iSrilankan wishes to remember today the people who lost loved ones, livelihoods, homes and identity in the long ethno-political war in Sri Lanka. Diverse and some yet unknown sorrows could make this nation and her people grieve without end.

I could grieve and move on.  A grieving father could grieve a lifetime.  A mother who still awaits in her heart in a Kandyan home for that MIA son in the Sri Lankan Army who fell in Killinochchi is perhaps not celebrating the end of the war and its verdict of certain death of her son.  A Diasporan caught up with the burden of guilt and identity is torn apart by what he owes to his ‘people’.  A child whose first ten years was marked  by the death of one parent and abandonment by another, faces the breakdown of social structures in the North due to war and cannot be cared for adequately in the post-war situation. She is growing in grief.

One day is not enough. Yet this is a time to remember the fear and horror that should never return : The terrible suicide bombers in the South, the child soldiers in the North, the shelling of civilians having dinner and doing their homework and getting married in the North and East, the terrible civilian deaths that marked the final battles, the many parents who lost their children to war, to paramilitary abductions and assassinations, and the fatigue and emotional exhaustion of all Sri Lankan people both home and away who have no energy any more to dwell on the carnage, war and related themes. It is human. We are all half-dead it seems at times with remembering.

There is much to grieve after. But there has to be transformation for us to breathe as individuals and to save our energy for those worst-affected by war.

And we are transforming.  Not at the pace that we may wish to see yet there is transformation. Society is today very concerned about issues of impunity that would have gone unnoticed during the war. A Buddhist monk attacks a mosque in an act of impunity and violence and there is no bloodbath and civilians take a stand against impunity; the mother has formed an organisation for war widows and the father stands still and quiet in the Diasporan silence asking revenge from no one; the child finds a good children’s home thanks to the supportive network as well as the functioning system of public service in Jaffna; the young Diasporans are not willing to be brainwashed and ordered around by ‘middlemen’ and messengers’ and are willing to find friends in all ethnic groups in Sri Lanka; the SLU network is doing good work and networking the young people to prevent future division. Countless people, organisations, clubs such as Rotary and others are helping to transform the post-conflict society in Sri Lanka based at home and ‘abroad’. And they count for something.

NEVER AGAIN

The Never Again series will look at Srilankans both in Sri Lanka and living in the Diaspora who are agents of transformation and who are willing to engage with communities in their own country and in Sri Lanka to prevent a return to conflict. iSrilankan will share their journey  motivated by love for their people and guided by good sense in this post-confict societal transition.

 

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