War is over; war wounds are festering
| by Pearl Thevanayagam
(January 06, 2013 , London, Sri Lanka Guardian) War is over. War wounds are still raw. Widows, orphans and other war victims are still mourning their dead and walk with anguish and in many cases apathy written all over their faces. Nubile girls raped by the advancing army are holding bastard babies who would be shunned by the near and the dear since they cannot name their fathers. And they would remain eyesores in society with not a hope of getting married and living a normal life.
.................. Summery : Play the video ....................
All the while the valiant soldiers who rescued the Tamils and raped Tamil women in 2008/2009 are home with their loved ones celebrating victory.
The government’s response to wiping out well over 40,000 Tamils in Wanni is to promote tourism touting golden sands and sunny beaches where rivers of blood flowed and corpses still surfacing four years on. Plans to promote Auschwitz as a tourist destination went awry due to public outcry but Sri Lanka is succeeding in its efforts to whitewash war crimes.
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa went on record as telling India that Sri Lanka is willing to train its soldiers in counter-terrorism. Mea culpa is not in the vocabulary of Gotabhaya since he has the ingenuity of turning himself into the good Samaritan even as he orders his commanders to kill surrendering civilians with White Flags as he did in 2009. The brutality of the war is well recorded in the UN, Channel 4’s Killing Field’s documentary and a host of other independent witnesses.
To cap it all, university entrants are inducted into army combat training to prepare them for the future and to hell with university curriculum. Could these graduates turn turtle and topple the government. This is food for thought. The madness of war victory is even infiltrating our higher seats of learning. This can only be expected when the one time Vice Chancellor of the University of Colombo, Prof. G.L.Peiris, is now putty as foreign minister in the hands of the government and is the roving ambassador to the four corners of the world deflecting the government’s horrendous record in war crimes justifying its actions as winning the war on terrorism.
War economy is paying dividends and apart from some squeaks from human rights groups anyone who has an eye on making a fast buck in tourism is hot-footing it to the North and East which were no-go areas for decades for journalists, human rights activists and visiting foreigners.
Sri Lanka is off the radar of dangerous war hotspots for all intents and purposes the ramification of which is those western nations who granted refuge to the displaced are now keen to repatriate them. The future is bleak for those displaced who thought the West would be kind to them. Alas, not by a long shot. Sri Lanka is out-placed by Syria, Sudan, Congo and other countries which are reeling under West induced wars.
And whither the LLRC (Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission)? There was much wind and no shit and it is slowly being buried under the camouflage of promoting tourism and uplifting the island from its precarious economy teetering on empty promises when in reality the rising cost of living makes even Sinhalese to flee the island on student visas or seeking political asylum. Many a student is holding pizza placards and delivering promotional leaflets door-to-door in UK’s cruel winter weather. If the war on terrorism was won and the economy is hunky-dory why did the government fail in feeding its populace that they are willing to starve abroad than stay home?
This is the stark reality of Sri Lanka today. The future does not hold much hope post-war since we have elected and continue to support an oligarchy which truly believes and pats itself on its back that it is the best the country can have for leadership. The audacity of this government is that it believes it is destined to rule for ever be it bending the judiciary, changing the constitution willy-nilly and making a scapegoat of commissions set up under duress from the international community following exposure of war time atrocities.
This government will hang on to power as long as we have politicians who have short term amnesia vis-à-vis what went on in Wanni four years ago and what price the masses paid to sustain a maniacal family run leadership and its sycophants.
Tamil leadership abroad after the LTTE’s demise such as TGTE (Trans-national Government of Tamil Eelam) were mere showcase sympathetic movements which hold neither clout nor authority. By the way what happened to that Ms Sathiasabesan, the young and attractive Canadian MP who flashed across the media for a few months or Mia, the sexy rock star daughter of Prabhakaran’s counterpart, during the early days of Tamil militancy in the seventies?
Isn’t it time the war time videos which twitched Western conscience to a certain extent revived and replayed on international media so that the war victims could get some reprieve?
(The writer has been a journalist for 23 years and worked at Weekend, The Daily News, Sunday Leader and Weekend Express in Sri Lanka as sub-editor, news reporter and news editor. She was Colombo Correspondent for Times of India and has contributed to Wall Street Journal; Washington Bureau, where she was on work experience from The Graduate School of Journalism, UC Berkeley, California. Currently residing in UK she is also co-founder of EJN (Exiled Journalists Network) UK in 2005 the membership of which is 200 from 40 countries. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)