20 October, 2017

A Question Of Hope: Holding On To The Final Straw Or Letting Go?

By D. Da Silva

‘We were on the run because of shelling while we were walking towards Puthukuddiruppu, one moment my husband was still next to me, the next moment I couldn’t see him because of all the smoke. I was not sure if he was injured by shelling but I knew that if I with my children would stop running that we would be the next victims.  I just prayed that he would be fine and once this all would be over, we would meet again’ until now her husband has not returned home, he is one of the 5,671[1] that is still missing.

Family members of disappeared Tamil people holding pictures of their relatives protest during the visit of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, in Jaffna, Sri Lanka, Tuesday, Aug. 27, 2013. Pillay is in Sri Lanka for seven days during which she will meet government officials, human rights activists and travel the country’s former war zone where thousands of civilians were allegedly killed. Photo: AP

In the same week of the visit of Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, the Sri Lankan government was summoned by the Sri Lankan court to investigate the cases of 2,550 missing persons.  In response the additional magistrate Nirosha Fernando ordered the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) to launch a broad investigation into the disappearances of missing persons in North and East[2].

Over the past years there have been numerous of protests organized by families of missing persons to get attention from the international community to address this issue on higher levels. Since the government of Sri Lanka didn’t take any action to investigate these cases. Recently the actions taken against the protesters by either the CID or police are becoming more concerning. It remains fresh in the memories of many people that travelled all the way from Jaffna or Mullaitivu Town on the 6th of March, to participate in the protest in Colombo but were detained in Vavuniya by the police and were forced to stay overnight in Vavuniya on order of the military. Which later claimed that it had made the decision in the best interest of the protesters, it had not been safe for them to travel late night to Colombo since there was a risk of Sinhala retaliation against the protesters[3].

And again the army strikes, yesterday while Navi Pillay traveled from Jaffna to Mullaitivu through the A9 protesters, around 30 families[4], had gathered near the Paranthan (Kilinochchi) bus station to get her attention and address their individual cases of their missing family members. But before Navi Pillay arrived the families were chased out by the SLA army and ordered not to come back. Upon the arrival of Navi Pillay the junction was back under control of the SLA and there were no incidents.

In the meanwhile the Registration of Deaths, act no. 9 of 2010[5], which gave the families of missing persons the opportunity to obtain a death certificate and be eligible for compensation, will expire on the 10th of December 2013. Therefore government authorities are raising this issue among their districts to ensure that families file the case, they planned to put up banners in the areas to inform the people.  Which might lead to more families that are willing to file for death certificates because they are being pressured by the expire date of the ACT.

But there remains hope that their loved ones are being found either alive or death. On the 15th of August 17 bodies were found in a well in a recently released area in Vademarachchi East, Jaffna. Upon return families reported to a local newspaper, that they found death bodies in their well. The incident was reported to the police and army and the army had strongly requested the owners not to share this information in order to keep the incident silent. At least 17 families will now know that their loved one passed away and this will give them the opportunity to grieve and have peace with it.

When a loved one goes missing and there is no evidence of their death, there is still hope left that this person will return home one day. If your husband went missing in 1997 when he went for a quick visit to the barbershop and his name one day suddenly appears on the list of people being in custody. And even though you travelled all the way to BuZa Colombo to find out that he is not registered there, you still have hope because his name was on one of the lists of people that are still a life but kept in custody. By registering the death of their family member might indicate that you gave up on maybe your husband or daughter and ones you filled for registration there is no way back, there is no hope anymore that they are being kept in a rehabilitation camp or at BuZa. Therefore still thousands of families are not ready to register the deaths of their loved ones because they don’t want to give up hope on that small chance that their loved ones will return back home, one day.

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    One of the sadder aspects of South Asian nations in recent decades is that their leaders are often contemptuous of their citizens and are therefore quite insensitive to their suffering.

    In contrast, western countries like Australia for example, will act at the highest levels of government even if one of their citizens are arrested overseas, or are implicated in some crime etc when abroad.

    Although politicians in general do not possess good empathetic motivations and are largely self-serving and expeditious in their own self-interest, those Western countries do have some good examples that Eastern countries can draw from, in relation to attitudes towards civilian suffering in their own countries.

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      That is because in the West politicians are elected and expected to serve, in most Eastern countries they are elected to rule and expect to rule.

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    People of Deraniyagala, Rathupaswala,Hikkaduwa, Thissamaharama, Mathale and several other places across the island will join these sorrowful events soon. Not forgetting the journalists went missing through whitevanning and other hidden tactics of Rajapakshe brothers.

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      My message to Anti-Matter( Mervin)- Sinhalaya is this:

      I sympathise with your concern for the People of Deraniyagala, Rathupaswala,Hikkaduwa, Thissamaharama.

      But sadly the sufferings of the Tamils is compounded by the racial element which is endemic in Sinhala Lanka.

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      the common factor is that the Church is behind many of these incidences.

      I am wondering whether the Beating of the Bangladeshi – buddhist Monk in colombo has something to do with the Church ?

      IT is interesting to know the roots ?

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        Jim S – you are truly pathetic – as your comments clearly exemplify!

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          Peter:
          This creature of indeterminate parentage is more than pathetic and should be subjected to the treatment usually meted out to rabid creatures.

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    In Sinhala Lanka the sad fact in the case of the disappeared is that they have all gone to another planet. But if you ask the elected representative( by popular mandate from a Sinhalese Constituency) none other than the CRIMINAL GOTHA his answer would be that they have all left and claimed asylum in another country under an assumed name.
    But for the day of reckoning is around the corner and Gotha will soon be looking for a country to claim asylum and he recently visited one such African country and as I understand has chosen a location a disused bunker.

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    A few months/weeks after the war ended in 2009, Jehan Perera, who is described by SL politcal comentators as a “moderate Sinhalese”, made statements such as, “The Tamils of SL have a jaundiced” view of the outcome of the war, and of the future. They should change and adopt positive views.”

    From the Tamil perspective, many of the so called moderate Singalese like Jehan Perera, have done extremely little to investigate the cases of thousands of Tamils who surrendered to the SLA in the final weeks of the war, and who have not “disappeared” – which means dead.

    Sunila Abeysekera is an exception and a very decent Singalese and human being. I believe that Sunila had to flee SL to escape the Rajapaksa’s wrath! Nimalka Fernando an attorney-at-law and women’s rights activist is another example.

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      A very fine article with feeling for the oppressed by Da Silva.

      But I am sorry that it is being used as a vehicle by Susan to make an untruthful statement about Jehan Perera. I was shocked to read what Susan claims he had said. Knowing Jehan Perera fairly well I took the trouble to consult the original. What he said is defensible in context.

      Susan has added the words “They should change and adopt” etc which make him sound anti-Tamil. After going so far to slander Jehan Perera, I am surprised as to why she gave us the actual reference in her next comment which makes the doctoring of his words obvious.

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    This is the 2009 article in which Jehan Perera, makes the statement: “…….the Tamils too have a very jaundiced perception of the Sinhalese.”

    Excerpt: “Even though his close questioning of many Sinhala people showed that they saw the military victory as a “victory against the LTTE and not against the Sri Lankan Tamils, the Tamils too have a very jaundiced perception of the Sinhalese.”

    Search the article by keyword “jaundiced”

    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/todays-paper/tp-opinion/sri-lanka-needs-political-solution/article1039040.ece

    Correction in my previous posting. I have written, “and who have not “disappeared” “, in the second para. The word “not” should be deleted.

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      Jehan Perera is beyond description. That’s about all that can be said about this invertebrate.

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    Moderator,

    What happened to the two comments I posted. Have you decided to have an early night after partying.
    If you had a hang over please take some soya milk and once you sober up please post it as it was a civilised but hard hitting comment.

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    Where are those cowards who claimed the srilankan govt had freed civilian from the clutches of terrorist? Where are those cowards who said srilankan tamils live in freedom now?

    Your conscience hurts you?

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    See how those women are crying with any tears in their eyes ?

    Which caste is this ?

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      Jim Pissa:
      Why don’t you just sit in a corner and eat the kavun and kiribath that your lords and masters provide you with? That way, you’ll not occupy space on this blog and waste our time.

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    Jim softly – these desperate women are crying for their families,murdered. You stink,talking of caste system at this time when we should feel the sorrow they are going through.

    What caste do you belong to.
    1.Kandyan singhalese
    2.Low country singhalese

    Within this frame work a Parawa or ?

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