A space to remember


Far away from Sri Lanka I gaze at the swallows with underbellies golden-glazed in the evening sun dip and swirl in abandon. I watch a white giant magnolia unfold.

Screen shot 2013-06-04 at 11.23.58 PMAnd then I think of all that is grief, all that is not now anymore but has gone before and wonder how in a hundred years someone will say what were they doing, thinking saying, all of them around the world who supposedly had lost something to war but had no human courage, largehearted unity and creativity to imagine, create and embrace a memorial space.

A mother of an MIA (now officially pronounced dead )Army Officer grieves in Kandy.

A man-father rides on a bus in Zürich around and around to forget the double tragedy in his life,

A student can only stare at his books in a London University while from its pages spring the 16 classmates who are now long gone.

A mother of a journalist called Richard watched her son walked through his own door for the last time.

A little boy studies by the light of a lamp I got him somewhere in Alaveddy and refuses to discuss his father and brothers killed before his eyes.

A young woman, a mere husk will never get over her airforce husband’s death and has changed her name, that of her sons and lives in Perth.

Three daughters in Colombo will never see their father who died in the bomb blast at the Central Bank.

A great personality once part of the young female tiger unit will be more involved now with her sons’ tennis lessons in the USA.

In Killinochchi there is no news of her son as yet and she can only see him coming home every day as night falls.

While in Toronto a mother refuses to know her young daughter an ex-LTTE cadre crazy with grief to see and speak to her mother just once, another Toronto mother cannot imagine that she could not hold her daughter tight enough ‘fore the Tsunamis tore her away.

These are worth a memorial for future reflection by a future generation possibly stronger than we.

 A young bride places a white rose next to the photograph of her father killed by the JVP in cold blood and wipes away her tears.

In England a little child fingers the photo of an old  Colombo home of her parents burnt to the ground in 1983 racial riots.

Could all this have happened to a few generations on an island on which palm trees blow?

Somewhere in Batti lives that little boy who asked the question from his mother in 2007 at the age of 7, “Amma, as you go to the ICRC and ask them for information on the missing sons of these women you help, so will you ask them for information about me when I am 16?”  Now he is 13 and when I last spoke to his mother they had no such worries anymore and the boy is just a teenager spending too much time on cricket and less on his books. But then he is great with computers already and they are admittedly proud about this.

There will be a time to try and make sense of it all. But for now is it not a time to remember?

Can anyone forget them? Can we ignore those who grieve for the lost children of our island in Sri Lanka and around the world ?


Who are we ?



magnolia photo linked to image and above photo taken by Gaya from the ocean off Nilaveli shores, Trincomalee.

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