TAMIL REFUGEES…..A DOG’S LIFE?

A colleague has just returned to work after spending nearly two full days at his loved pet cat’s deathbed. Having lavished his beloved pet with all the love and attention humanly possible, he knew the depths of agony as all of us who are human in the real quintessential sense of the word, experience in life.

That word – quintessence – comes from the fifth, and the most vital, of the five elements which make up the universe: earth, water, air and fire are the other four.

The fifth, quintessence, comes from the Latin quintus, meaning ‘fifth,’ and essentia, meaning “being.” In simple words, resonating with another’s need for human love.
PTI said in a report yesterday that:

Jaffna’s Security Forces Commander Major General Mahesh Senanayake said there are 3,388 people from 971 families living in 71 displaced camps in Jaffna. All of them will be resettled in their places of origin by June next year.
He said a new housing settlement is being built in Keeramalai in Jaffna.

He said 88 per cent of the heavily booby-trapped lands in Jaffna have been cleared of anti-personnel mines. The de- mining work in the areas will take a lot more time. This is no easy job to clear all areas of mines. Some 300,000 people were displaced during the last phase of the war with the LTTE in 2009. They were housed in relief camps in the northern town of Vavuniya. Following a concerted international effort to grant relief to them, the government’s resettlement campaign became a success.
Officials said the remaining people to be resettled are those who are mostly from areas heavily booby-trapped during the war by both the LTTE and the Army.

After the war ended, the Sri Lankan Government had come under increasing international pressure to resettle the displaced and release the lands held for military purposes. There has been phased out release of civilian lands which was stepped up since January last year. UN Secretary General Ban, during his visit to Sri Lanka, highlighted the importance of addressing the question of the war displaced and other outstanding issues in the former battle zones plagued by a separatist war which lasted over three decades.

This comes just a week after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited the North and pressed the government to get cracking with the long delayed resettlement of hapless Tamil refugees, in this Land of Ahimsa !
But on 2 April 2014 then Army Spokesman Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasuriya was perhaps told to lie when he announced at a media briefing that “all habitable areas in the North and the East have been cleared of land mines and the demining of all jungle areas had also reached its final stage”.

Ban Ki-moon’s visit has caught the government with its pants down with a performance in all areas of reconciliation apparently being nothing very much more than a political tool to be exploited to its benefits – the same as the previous regime did – and to hell with the sufferings of nearly 400 Tamils who have been silently suffering hell in an amazing total of 71 more refugee camps all these long years.

For Shame!
Either Brigadier Wanigasuriya was told to lie or Major General Mahesh Senanayake was given the hard facts about this disgraceful state of affairs, even at this late stage.

We oppose the federalist/separatist aspirations of the Tamil leaders but we must doff our hats to them for not more strenuously demanding more pressure on Sri Lanka to get cracking with the task of ending this massive scale of misery.
These 4,000 people have been languishing in these camps seven long years. That’s over 2,500 days. But they are now told that they must wait yet another year until June next, to be resettled!

Wystan Auden had it that “all that carries weight…lay in the hands of others; they (the refugees)were ‘small’ (of no human importance) and could not hope for help and no help came: What their foes liked to do was done, their shame was the worst that could be imagined. He then sadly adds that: “They lost their pride and died as men before their bodies died.”
It’s hardly a wonder that the Tamil leadership … and others before them, have all been forced to either promote, succour, justify or otherwise condone violence and even terrorism and hail the terrorists as ‘national heroes’ at special commemoration ceremonies every year.

Though in a different setting but in the same realm of human rejection, Jane Eyre put it succinctly through her character in Charlotte Bronte who shouted “Will you hear reason…because if you won’t, I’ll try violence.”
Our ministers and MPs would not condemn their pets to seven years of misery.