By Elijah Hoole –
I was in Trincomalee for a few days after a long time. The trip was fantastic. But, fun aside, the trip was also a harrowing experience as a Tamil. The speed at which the history and heritage of the town has been reversed by the hegemonic state is remarkable.
For example, a huge statue of Buddha (annexed) has been erected right below the famous Koneswaram temple.
While I have little clue as to how the hot water springs of Kanniya came about, I know for a fact that the official version has now been reversed. The yellow signboard from 2010 (annexed) has been removed and in its place there is a signboard in Sinhala and English claiming that the wells were part of a Buddhist monastery. While it would take some serious research to actually validate this claim, one has every right to question the motive behind not using Tamil. If the historical claim is indeed true, what purpose does the government hopes to serve by hiding it from Tamils? In addition to the new Buddhist temple that has been built, there are signs of another being constructed. One wonders why. The entire tourism industry is controlled by the military. It was hard to find Tamil vendors around any of the famous tourist attractions that I visited. I wonder what the city will be like in 5 years’ time.
When the collective existence of a group is under threat and their place in history is consistently undermined by the state, what hope is there for peace? What hope is there for equality? What hope is there for justice? What hope is there for reconciliation?