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The Catch is in : Seeman, Seamen and 150 Fishermen

The Catch is in : Seeman, Seamen and 150 Fishermen



Above Photo : Fishermen at Casaurina Beach by Indi.ca



Do you remember the parable of feeding the 5,000 with five loaves and two fishes taught to Christian children in Sunday school?

Today I heard a parable of Seeman, seamen from the Navy and fishy fisherman.  Now fishermen from the North have been reported in national newspapers in politically-stigmatising terms.  The Island, Colombo Telegraph and other reports have featured this controversial news that still remains an accusation of one government and a denial by another.

What do I know of politics? Very little and have no desire to engage with pure politics. Yet when politics affect the lives of people and whole communities we cannot disengage.

When Anthony a fishermen from Wattala was killed by the armed forces earlier on this year, during a public protest against an increase in fuel prices, people were enraged and indignant at this injustice.  I felt somehow that this outcry and the media reach it received was not so bad given the criticism Srilankans receive for non-agitation for rights and liberty.

During the tsunamis, families of fishermen were killed and their homes destroyed along large swathes of coastal beach from all ethnicities. Today it’s Tamil fishermen in the North.

All I ask as a reasonable Srilankan is

– Where is evidence of this rumour that 150 terrorists have been trained in India and landed in the guise of fishermen ? When were they trained by whom and for what objective?

–  How will such news affect the lives of fishermen and fishing rights of the Sri Lankan fishermen in the North and the lives of the people in the North-East as a whole ?

Sri Lanka lies in the Indian Ocean and on its coastline are people who used to live off its shores traditionally.  I am from the Karaawe caste as my father is from Moratuwa and so are many other people including the infamous V.P. It is not a high caste nor do people think long and hard on fishermen.

This is Easter week and instead of loaves and fishes it is the last supper, the evening in Gethsamane and the Crucification of Christ. For European kids it is also chocolate egg-hiding and rabbits everywhere.  Well, its loaves and fishes on my mind today ‘cos ‘I don’t want the 5,000 to be fed no fish’ this Easter.


Photos: The above images are my own of the Jaffna lagoon taken with an ordinary digital camera.

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