By Ameer Ali –
State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’s emotional outburst in welcoming the return of LTTE has obviously and legitimately provoked condemnation both inside and outside the parliament. This writer is equally disturbed by her thoughtless reference to a group of megalomaniacs who knew how to take up the gun but did not know when to put it down. Yet, Vijayakala’s verbal bomb blast must be contextualised.
The nation is nearing a decade since LTTE was defeated and civil war came to an end. Jaffna has been rebuilt partly due to infrastructure development undertaken by the MR regime and partly due to massive inflow of funds from expatriate Tamils. Jaffna has changed its skyline so rapidly that it is difficult for an outsider to detect any visual evidence of a twenty-five year civil war fought in that territory. No wonder that MR is fondly remembered in some parts of the peninsula. So far so good.
However, the real picture is sadly a different one. Gang related violence, drug trade and drug addiction, rape of women and girls as young as six year old, day light robbery, alcoholism, murder, harassment by security forces and such other social and administrative evils are widespread and remain unresolved. Perhaps, this is an island wide phenomenon not confined only to the Tamil north. Even so, to clean up the social mess in a war ravaged territory the government must have given some priority to this sector so that its people could enjoy some semblance of the so called peace dividend. Instead, at present, there is a general fear and uncertainty about the future ruling the minds of young men and women. My interview with a number of ordinary Tamils and Tamil professionals in different parts of the north conveyed a feeling of widespread unhappiness and frustration. The psychological effect of this state of affairs should not be underrated.
The current yahapalana regime has failed and failed miserably to address these issues. It is in this disappointing context that the state minister, widowed by violence, and a mother of three children, showed her frustration at the state of play by bringing back the memory of LTTE, which to its credit tackled those evils with ruthless force. If a sober minded Buddhist monk can get frustrated at the political, economic, and social malaise of this country and is prepared to call even a Hitler to emerge and reverse the trend what is wrong in a Tamil mother bursting out emotionally to release her frustration at the way things are in Jaffna? I am sure she will regret for what she said at that moment like the monk regretting for recalling Hitler. On our part let the condemnation of both be measured.