Monday, May 04, 2009

How Tired Must They Be?

I'm so tired. Mentally exhausted. Everywhere I turn there is talk of biased opinions, unbiased opinions, intolerance of dissent, attacks, shellings, no-heavy equipment, heavy artillery fire, deaths, camps, loss of loved ones, disappearances, displaced displaced displaced. 

We have the Tamil Diaspora holding placards and waving the LTTE flag and screaming for their adopted governments to save their 'motherland' from its impending death, we have the Sinhalese extremists/not so extremists high on the fumes of victory yelling the importance of sovereignity, we have the international community making random appeals with no significant actions being taken to show they mean business, we have the LTTE on the brink of being crushed hollering about their need for negotiations, we have Jayalalitha in India attempting to be the next Big P, we have India using the Sri Lankan cause to get ahead in the elections, we have the ruling Big Rs drunk on the victory in the war and elections and knowing they face no opposition in crushing dissent and we have the opposition, probably knitting at home, since they are doing f*** in the public arena!

IT IS EXHAUSTING. When all I can see are the dastardly unfortunate civilians (approx 200,000 persons) ripped out of their homes, being trapped with the sounds and sights of war all around them, without a bite to eat, water to drink, injured, loved ones dead, wading through neck deep water, in camps with only a bundle of clothes to call their own and to remind them that they once used to have lives that were not used to further the cause of some egotistic maniac in the North or the South. 

We are doing a LOT in Colombo. We're making donations, we're collecting goods, we're obtaining permissions to transport them up to the camps. Even then, these goods may not get to those people! There are stories emerging now that the goods we send to the North are being used to create a blackmarket within the camps. With a kilo of sugar selling for 800 rs! A low income worker in the South will not be able to afford a kilo of sugar for 800 rs how are these people who are at the mercy of one fraction or another expected to fork out these exorbitant sums for what is rightly theirs??? 

There is something so innately wrong in the Sri Lankan psyche. Be you Tamil or Sinhalese, a local or a part of the diaspora. It can only be the consequence of 26 years of war and at least 62 years of insecurities amongst ethnicities. 

Else how does a Tamil Diaspora that left this country on average 25 years to go, with children who have never visited this country, now be proclaiming genocide when a terrorist organisation is being crushed militarily. Why do they not question the hostage situation in the North with their own people living the lives of the wretched? Why are they not doing more to get the international communities to provide donations so that food and shelter can be provided for the floods of people coming out of the LTTE held area to the SLA protection? Why are they not calling for the govt to provide equal rights to these people now that they have shown that they trust the govt more than the LTTE? Why cannot the Diaspora realise that it is not them who are living comparatively luxurious existences in the countries they dispersed to all those years ago who really have a say in what happens to the LTTE, but it is the people of the North who spend every day living (and dying) under the conditions of the LTTE that must have the last say?

How does a Sinhalese community have this much insecurity bred into their psyche? Its not difficult for us in the South to realise that minorities are not a threat to us. In fact, we must engage and force the govt to provide equal rights to these people so that they can live their lives with as much dignity as we have been able to live over these past few decades. Furthermore, it is pivotal that we realise the importance of the presence of an unbiased party in the camps to ensure that the IDP's are allowed access to the donations that come to them. This cannot be another 'tsunami relief effort'. The govt should allow for dissent, freedom of speech, freedom of press. They have won the war. They have in effect showed the doubters that it could be done (albeit with a level of force that was otherwise unimagineable). Now they can take this time to turn the doubters into supporters. By being more democratic. There is nothing wrong with democracy. Why fear democracy? Why fear freedom of speech? Great leaders are bred not through dictatorships but of mutual trust and respect. The Sinhalese as a people, must ensure that they are open to dissent. Opinions will be aired especially in times like these. If we are unable to tolerate dissent ourselves, we are feeding the govt the power it needs to crush dissent.

International community? Get your act together. Provide support. Understand the issues. Yes, the international community is necessary. Without it, the government is accountable to no-one. With it also it seems the govt is accountable to noone. Soveriegnity will not be encroached upon just because someone tells you something you are doing is wrong. The figures the UN projected for the trapped civilians is more or less correct as is now proved. The satellite images show that there has been shellings. Without these things, we will never know what is going on up north. However, they must speak with reason. Yes the trapped civilians must be released. The international community must exercise pressure on the LTTE to release these civilians. It is not the army that build the earth bunds. The govt cannot shut itself out from the international community. Not when our economy is shattering in front of our eyes. Thus diplomacy must still be the key. 

Jayalalitha should stop making mentally imbalanced comments in public in an effort to win an election. Politicians as a whole should stop using the plight of the people and their poverty to further thier selfish causes. Our opposition needs to wake up from its slumber. When the whole world is awake with cries regardign the North, the UNP sleeps. Or bickers amongst themselves. NOW is not the time for pettiness. Now is not the time for yourselves. Now is the time to be the Opposition. Point out the issues, petition the govt, lobby the masses, show the country what is happening, build networks in the grassroots, start helping the people to recognise their own insecurities and alleviate those issues in attempt to build for a better Sri Lanka.

The Rajapakse government has completed the first phase of their mandate. To win the war. The second step, what happens to the North now, relies on the next step each one of these parties make. I can only hope that they remember the people. The people we have lost. The people that are lost. The people that have lost. And not themselves when it comes to making that next step.  

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