Remembering, Nine Years On

May 18, 2009 is a day that showcases division. To some, it is a day of mourning. To others, cause for celebration.

Families in the North and East who commemorate their family members killed during the final stages of the war on May 18 call this day “Remembrance Day”. Conversely, May 19 is known as “Ranaviru Day” and is meant to remember soldiers whose lives were lost during the war.

This year’s Ranaviru Day will be held at Parliament Grounds, and attended by Government representatives.

In contrast, the Remembrance Day events have been repeatedly blocked in the past – including as recently as last year, with the police citing national security concerns.

One year after the end of the war, Groundviews ran a critically acclaimed acclaimed special edition reflecting on whether the absence of war alone meant the advent of peace. It was revealing that in a subsequent edition five years after, in 2009, we were having the more or less the same conversations, asking the same questions.

killingIn 2018, many of the areas where families gather in remembrance have changed.

Mullivaikkal, where the last stages of the war were fought, is symbolically, the site of the main Remembrance Day ceremony this year (Families in Batticaloa also staged organised their own ceremonies).

The following is a comparison of Mullivaikkal in 2009, and again in 2016 (the most recent historical imagery available on Google Earth).

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