But what is happiness except the simple harmony between a man and the life he leads? ― Albert Camus
Here is the disastrous and forlorn situation that many are facing in the post-conflict situation in Sri Lanka. Seven years have been passed but the wounds of the bloody conflict keep putrefying society due to absence of healing. In his recent talk, one of the medical doctors attached to the Kilinochchi district hospital has disclosed few more heartbreaking facts out of countless numbers, on the socio-economic situation in the area.
Not a single family which has been unaffected by the brutal conflict which produced more and more desperation, doubt, misery and mistrust in public life.
In most affected families women turned themselves into the single parents, while the rate of child abuses has escalated to alarming levels – largely due to lack of paternal protection in women-headed families. Most of the females have been affected to the roots due to trauma and depression, leading to increased level of suicides. 120 suicide cases were reported in first six months of this year and in the most horrendous of these cases, the victims used insecticides to kill themselves. Child marriages – the “tragic trick” most of the parents in the area used to prevent their children being abducted by the Tamil Tigers, the vicious terror outfit which used Child Soldiers in large scale, is still continuing. Three hundred thousand population affected by custody has decreased to hundred thousand. Thirty thousands of soldiers were re-deployed in the area. What else does one need to understand the tribalism and the backward travel of our society, and the situation that our brothers and sisters are facing?
Take out all masks you are wearing, forget political afflation you are in, keep aside the historical illusions which control your conscience; take a deep breath and think rationally to heal these hearts, and think why we were unable to consolidate our political power to solve this catastrophic and anguishing problem. This is not an exception to the particular region or the district, but this is indeed applicable throughout the country. Nothing different when it comes to the races or clan you belong to but this scenario is common to all. From war to national disaster, this is the hapless reality most of the victims are going through.
It is indeed somewhat, comforting to hear the words of the President – Mr. Maithripala Sirisena when he expressed his commitment to bringing us out of this quagmire by introducing “national reconciliation” as a subject in the public education system. This is subsequent to Prime Minister Mr. Ranil Wickramasinghe expressing his keenness to introduce the anti-corruption and criminal justice system as subjects to the National Education System. Actions are yet to be taken.
There is no doubt we need such subject-matters to be included in the Public Education System, which unfortunately continues to be riddled with dead theoretical hierarchy. The country’s education system is producing living machines in place of the substantive and healthy living humans confirming humanity through their soul-connections – made through the regulated pathway of Education. The government and their officials in Administration are required to take immediate actions to restore the missing links in the education system, so as to ensure that at least the next generation in this nation will widen its sharing and broaden its mind. That is indeed a long term plan which the state should be continuously acting upon whichever political side comes into power.
But unfortunately, in Sri Lanka, there are no bipartisan state policies but political party based agendas and desires which are controlling almost every section of the state. Devolution of Power – based on policies and strengths is the need of the hour, and the most important political fact is that majority people in this country have empowered the Government with the mandate to enact such plan. The core purpose of “Common National Government” or “Hybrid Government” is based on this basic value desperately needed by Sri Lanka.
In the meanwhile, our country needs a reliable mechanism to identify, analyze and apply effective procedures to generate the atmosphere where the victims of a three-decade nightmare, can nurture their hopes and expectations – however weak and small the post-war residue is, so they would live and contribute to humanity rather than go screaming for immediate death.
The pitiful situation that the University of Jaffna allowed itself into, which later some of the extreme political gangs, were attempting to use for other means, portrayed the eldritch atmosphere in our society. Most of us are not ready to accept with faith and work on the basis of true principles of unity and harmony. This is applicable to each community whatever its name. Time has already passed, to think and work beyond the locum of political ambitions. If we as the countrymen need peace we have to work on peace; yes … the whole peace and nothing but the peace.
However, peace without truth is nothing but an illusion – a deceptive misguidance which generates opportunities and problems to chew the sweet and bitter tastes of evil respectively. Let’s strengthen unity before it leave us again!
Nilantha Ilangamuwa edits the Sri Lanka Guardian, an online daily newspaper, and he also an editor of the Torture: Asian and Global Perspectives, bi-monthly print magazine. He is the author of the just released non-fictions, “Nagna Balaya” (The Naked Power), in Sinhalese and “The Conflation”, in English. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org