Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Is this real the end?

Sri Lanka without war… is that possible? I still can't believe that the war in Sri Lanka agaist the LTTE Terrorists which has been around for as long as I remember is over... I can't imagine Sri Lanka without the fear of bombs. Just before I came to Switzerland there were 2 to 3 bombs going off in the cities in buses and trains and places where the public gather and when i went to work i would not know whether I would come home alive. I guess this too was a major motivator for me to leave the country. It came to a point when another bomb goes off and we just call family and friends to make sure that they are all ok, and get on with life... but at the same time i guess it;s survival instinct too, cos if we were to worry every time a bomb went off we would go crazy.

A few days ago a couple of my Sri Lankan colleagues and I met up for coffee with one of our Indian guys after hearing that the government had gained control over the whole country and defeated the rebels. My Indian colleague was totally against the LTTE Terrorists as they murdered Rajiv Gandhi and according to him, India would be much more ahead in the world, were his life not brought to such an untimely end. I would not call it celebration though, cos it ended up us talking about our war related experiences in SL. One lady who’s brother had been an army officer spoke of how he had died in the war and what their family had gone through, she was also saying that for the first time she felt that her brother did not die in vain…another Doctor working with me at the Global Fund was talking about his experiences as the Army doctor and some really sad stories about soldiers never getting to see their kids and how the 2 years as an army doctor really changed his life, and we were all thinking about the possibility of peace for the first time …we were talking about all those brave men who died saving the country…these are people who love the country more than themselves and i really don;t know what motivates them to die for a country, for people they don;t know, and who don't really care about them most of the time...

I;ve been so away from SL and these experiences for a while I think it’s still sinking in…I see all the people in the IDP camps and I can;t imagine what life must be for them. I was watching news and how these people seemed to be reduced to numbers and statistics... do we ever see them as real people with thoughts and hopes and dreams and feelings? or just numbers? this is also something I wonder about in relation to my work, we talk about how many people on ARV, or on DOTS and so on, but do we ever really try to understand them or relate to them?

Recently I was taken aback when a colleague asked me "so what race are you? from the winning side or the losing side?" That just totally took me aback...but it;s not a war of Sinhala agaist Tamil, it;s a war of Sri Lanka agaist the LTTE terrorists...but that is when I realised that is how many people view the situation. This really got me thinking, the government may have taken control of the rebel held areas but can we say that the war is over really over? If we want ever lasting peace we need to have a change of attitude... this war started long ago due to the discrimination of Tamils and due to the actions of a few extremists... now is the time for all of us to put aside our differences and unite in rebuilding the country. I think we could really develop as a country if we could just learn to live in together in peace and treat each other equally.

Another problem I see in the way of peace between Sinhala and Tamil people is simply that we don;t understnd each other, we don't know each others languages...I'm embarassed to say that I barely know any Tamil, and now, living in Geneva know more French than Tamil. So I thought that I should learn Tamil myself. This was something I started to realise staying in Switzerland, there are 3 different nationalities French, German and Italian all living peacefully and they are all considered equals and most people can atleast speak one other language other than English.

As they say "evil exist when good ppl do nothing" so we can;t afford to turn a blind eye or just say that it;s the fault of our ansesters and there;s nothing we can do, 26 years of hurt and pain does not go overnight... One single person might not be able to change the attitudes of a whole nation, but I believe that each of us can help in bringing about peace, simply by treating each person we meet with respect and equality no matter what the ethinicity is and maybe we'll have touched a few lives and have changed a few attitudes simply by our actions...

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1 Comments:

Blogger Anna said...

I've been paying attention to that situation; I imagine it's somewhat overwhelming to think that conflict has found an end...

here in the US, the repercussions of the Civil War from over 150 years ago are still felt in the southern states; high school students in Mississippi have segregated proms, end of year formal dances seeing students separated by their skin color. not due to racism, but 'tradition' or so says the locals...

prayer and open minds... all we have at our disposal...

3:46 pm, May 31, 2009  

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