Just remember: the lives lost and the devastation of a 30-year-war
A ‘Remembrance Day‘ commemoration has been organized by Ape Aluth Parapura’ (New Generation) to remember those who lost their lives in the nearly three-decade long war. The commemorative events will take place at the Vihara Maha Devi Park, Colombo from 4 pm onwards on May 19.
A student of history could deduce that Sri Lanka’s South has a reason to celebrate the achievements in the thirty- year war. One could also say that some of the youth in the North in a bid to achieve their cause, brought about untold misery and mayhem to the South. Just to name a few, the Aranthalawa incident, the Sri Maha Bodhi, the sacred temple of the tooth and the Central Bank. Terrorists used bombs, suicide bombers and other means of their war machine to cause the destruction. The LTTE vanquished the Tamil democratic leadership as well, beginning with A. Amirthalingam and even young parliamentarians. It was all a pogrom of the LTTE rather than attempts to achieve a Tamil cause.
There is no doubt that irrespective of the South or the North, everyone suffered due to the brutality of war. It is hard to find a single person not affected by the war. How many innocent, unarmed people lost their lives in the past few decades?
As a matter of fact, this writer lost her mother and brother in an LTTE bombing incident. It doesn’t matter whether it is a citizen from the South or the North, at the end of the day, we are all human and one life cannot be superior to another.
In this context can we celebrate May 19 as a national victory day? Isn’t it more a day of remembrance for all those who were victimized either by death or otherwise and those who lost their lives and limbs in the North and in the East is a day of remembrance
It is good to remember what we have lost
May 19 is considered as the day that the thirty years of war was symbolically over. May 19 was declared by Gazette notification as being the Victory Day by the previous government and also named ‘National War Heroes day’.
It was a civil war, which dragged on for nearly thirty years and almost everyone suffered irrespective of nationality, race.
It is crucial to ask whether we can truly celebrate this day as a victory day. As we conceptualize, it should be a day to remember civilians irrespective of race or nationality, who died because of the brutal war as they are citizens of this country.
So far this day was celebrated as a victory of one side and it automatically became a day of defeat to the other. The tragedy was covered up by the ‘Victory’ word . It is of paramount importance that these extreme practices that we have carried out, without bothering about the sensitivity of the incident, should be forsaken.
As responsible citizens and in humanity, we must take this step forward.
To implement this ‘Ape Aluth Parapura’ (NewGeneration) has organized a ‘Remembrance Day’ on this day at Vihara Maha Devi Park.Colombo, from 4pm onwards
“This is to remember all the people we lost due to the brutality of war, despite differences and for the sake of humanity. We would mark this day of remembrance setting off on a brief peaceful march at 4.00 pm and a solemn ceremony of fellowship and remembrance from five pm onwards at the same premises.
If you wish to be a part of this significant occasion, we warmly invite you to join us and bring a candle to light in the name of unity.
It is always good to remember the dark days of history, as it then places greater value on the brighter days. Remembrance Day is a day to recall what we have lost and what we can do to eliminate a similar occurrence in the future and learn from history.
This is a day to remember each and everyone who lost their lives due to war, irrespective of cast, class, creed, race or politics. We invite all citizens to join hands with us on May 19 at Vihara Maha Devi Park to bring to mind the dark history of the country and forgive ourselves for the negligence, impatience and ruthlessness that we carried out for ages instead of empathizing with each other.
War is a defeat of humanity
War can never be anyone’s victory rather it is a defeat for humanity.
For the past few decades we as a nation suffered immensely and the loss in terms of human lives and property was unaccountable. There’s no reason to celebrate it as a victory day, although that was the practice for the past few years. For a country to move forward with progressive values,history plays a huge role. We should learn from history. We shouldn’t repeat the same false practices.
May 19 should be a remembrance day of every citizen of the country who values humanity.
No need to celebrate
I think there’s no need to celebrate this day at all, because there’s no gain in celebrating these brutal days. By celebrating this day it may cause hurt to another nationality.
As we have celebrated this day as National War Heroes Day for many years and then as Victory Day, I don’t think we should celebrate it anymore.
Because it will only keep reminding us of the dark days of the country and it will harm unity among the various nationalities.
I think it’s important on this day to remember the colossal commitment made by the war heroes. Because of them, today we are safe in this country. It doesn’t matter how we celebrate it, but it’s important to remember this historic day and celebrate it. Because we can learn about a better future only by recapping history.
A day to remember lives lost
May 19 was titled Victory Day after Prabakaran was killed. Everybody living in this country for the past thirty years is aware of the fear and anxiety we went through during this terrible time , thinking whether our loved ones will return home safely. We were jubilant when we heard the most- awaited news of the death of the villain, Prabakaran.
But what we should not forget is that innocent lives were taken to defeat him.
According to my religion we humans were made according to the image of God. No one has the right to destroy it. At the same time no one has the right to hold anyone hostage, either way killing is a sin. My opinion is that we should definitely celebrate May 19, not just as the day that the traitor was killed or to be jubilant over a single death but also to remember the innocent lives of all those dauntless soldiers their families and also innocent civilians who helped us to live .
When we celebrate May 19 as Victory Day, it proves the brutality of a nation. However, for the past few years that’s what happened. It is high time to change this inhumanity and rebuild unity among nationalities in the country. It is time to seek all that we lost together as a nation during the past few decades. It is the time to soar to the skies in unity and brotherhood once again.
Samanalee Fonseka – Actress
No winners or losers
The conclusion of the war was, and still is, an opportunity for peace. Peace is about equity, freedom, wellbeing and inclusivity. It has no sides; thus, there can’t be winners or losers. It is counterproductive and ridiculously shortsighted to celebrate a win for one side, especially when you consider the grave loss of human lives.
I once met a mother from north who lost six children and her husband to the war. Few children died on a paddy field, she didn’t know whose fire that killed them! I spoke to a brother who ran from the battle carrying her gravely wounded sister and ran miles hoping to save her – to no avail!
Remembrance for the sake of remembrance wouldn’t do much either. We need to get on with building peace, equity and well-being. We need to stand up to inebriated forces driven by ulterior motives be it power, money, blind nationalism, religious extremism or anything else.
Stop this exhibitionism
Victory celebration in the past were just political tamashas of the previous regime. Although they boast about war heroes, they have not really paid attention to soldiers those who suffered at the battle field or the families of the soldiers who lost their lives during the war. I think it is high time to stop this exhibitionism.
For the past few decades we all have been suffered due to the misunderstanding of two nationalities of the country.
We all paid huge penalty for this misunderstanding and I don’t think anyone could actually win.
May 19 should be a remembrance day of every citizen who lost their lives due to the cruelty of war, irrespective of the North and the South.
Remembrance of humanity
It is our duty to remember each and every citizen who lost their lives due to the war.
That would be the only way to reconcile broken hearts.
I think this day should be a Remembrance Day of humanity as a whole.
Padmini Ranawaka – Kirindiwela
Lead by example
Whoever died in the battle field whether it be a Sinhalese or Tamil, they all have their loved ones and there should be freedom to commemorate their lives, irrespective of nationality.
It is sad that upto now, we only commemorate the loss of Sinhala soldiers and that was just a political agenda.
It is important to remember each and every person who lost lives due to the war.
It is high time to strive towards sanity and action now, for a better tomorrow for us and forthe future.This takes a lot of searching and daring to see things differently.
If we are to make things happen, we must lead by example.