Friday, April 30, 2010

Importance of seeing through the wall - Dreaming for Jaffna from the eyes of South[Sanjeewa Senarathne]

Importance of seeing through the wall - Dreaming for Jaffna from the eyes of South

Dream about a Jaffna similar to Colombo; or even a developed Jaffna than that. Dream about a Batticaloa competing with Matara or a Vavunia competing with Galle.. Dream about a beautiful country created through those competitions.  To dream about such a country, we have to explore it… learn about it  and know about it..

Sri Lanka as a ground for dilemmas

Sri Lanka was a collapsed country even before the arrival of the Western nations. Later on, the Island was ruled by them for many centuries. After ages, in 1948, it was given the freedom under worst conditions with a bunch of dilemmas so then, there was a devastated country left behind. In this destroyed land, there are abandoned subject zones and areas that have been wounded and entirely lost. If we need to study Sri Lanka deeply, we have to explore the most painful and deepest wounds of it. This conflict which is called as ethnic disharmony or by different names, is a pathetic situation created by the politicians for their own good and for the deadly destruction of the general public. If Colombo is a peak point of this, Jaffna is also a crest at the other end of the country. Hence, studying Jaffna should be considered as a great priority.

What the old generation tells about the country is a myth. Or it’s a trick of them to hide their lack of knowledge. We have to dig for the truth instead of depending on these lies. It is not an easy task, but a huge study consisted with many rounds, collection of several subjects, an intellectual exercise of hundreds of people, a long process that needs to be maintained by researchers. If we can create a sound basis for this work…….?

Do they need anything?

We have to rationally think in this regard. Do they really need anything? Is that a support they need? Or working in partnership? A rebuilding? An exchange of ideas? Or no intervening at all? We should scientifically observe this. This should be an effort starting from an individual level and should be bloomed as a team effort.

Recognize the Gap; and learn …learn and learn…
War is a creation of both North and South but has no way to be seen to find a solution. Yet,  this is an area where we have to necessarily put our efforts with the intention to see a silver line in the long lasted dark cloud. Though we look at the things from our own points of views, we should accept and identify the gap between them and us.
North has its own identity that should not be damaged by any effort inspired by either good or bad will. On the other hand, there are common things to both North and South which we can use as means to create interrelationships and it is necessary to be capable enough to grasp these common things.
It is essential to pay our attention on the nature of relationship that the people in North want to build up between them and South.
It is also required to learn about children, their education, cultural behavior, youth, sports, universities, organizations and associations, agriculture, vocational training etc. Although it is a difficult task for a small group like us, it would be useful to keep these points in mind

What can we do?
(Things to concern if anyone wants to proceed ..)

A pre –preparedness and/or a standard discussion If we can work on literary part of this, such as referring books and other reading materials? Or else, if we can focus on the future rather than the past? If we can create such a deep dream, that would be a great landmark of our effort. We, as the people of South, may need to be well equipped with an assumption and a dream that focuses on our responsibilities and a means to accomplish them.

The old application and a way forward…
We have to have a clear picture about how the right and left political movements, organizations and individuals in South have dealt with the North. We have to carefully check whether we will be able to amend what we are planning to amend. On that basis, each of us needs to have a great dream of a large scale work for Jaffna and North.

Our Strength for Jaffna
If we put any effort to make South a better place, it is essential to release our strengths in many times on the dead grounds of North. That should be with no expectations. As there is a high possibility of being blamed in return, only those who can bear that discredit should be involved in this process.

Without getting trapped by the existing political system
There are many issues which the existing political system fails to answer and that is a situation they have created by themselves. We have to immunize ourselves not to be damaged by that system.

The Global Market trend

Jaffna and the North are rapidly influenced by the global market under precise conditions. We have to be conscious to this aspect as well. It would be helpful for us to realize our role in that context. 

Coordinating with people
After a war existed for three decades, many people from South are eagerly visiting the North; do different things with different attitudes. Hence, basically, we have to explore what we can do for them, depending on our ability and capacity.  Also, South may have to build up relationships with more groups in the North and parallel to that they should find a way to strengthen them. 

We may have to give up showoffs and unrealistic thinking patterns. By now, the dreams that have covered South, (South is not really even a dream, but a set of digital waves that can only be seen and heard.) are rapidly approaching North. We have to be careful not to be the agents of those unrealistic dreams. Basically, what we have to do is, building a deep relationship with those humans. It is essential to keep in the minds that we are not going to cover any arrears. The world is not at its end. We have to meet and recognize the people. That is the most important component of this process.

Finally, it is important to mark that,
Jaffna, too is a city like any other towns in Sri Lanka. It is a zone where humans live; humans like us who can think and feel. It is definitely not a zoo but a society which has made rather advanced steps towards development. Jaffna is not a heritage of South. That “ownership” mentality is something just has created among the Southern citizens in the post-war context. Also, Jaffna is not like South, they have an inherited culture, religious set up and a social life. They are not under-developed and it is not a must to inject our entertaining trends in to that culture or trying to prove that our things are better than what they have. Jaffna is not even like West. It is not a separate or alienated country but a disconnected territory in a small island. Last but not least, there are things they are protecting. Those are their culture and the life style. These two things may be totally different from what we have been practicing. Yet, it is essential to respect those values for they are live and precious for a nation tensed for ages.

By: Sanjeewa Senarathne
[Translated/edited by: Kalpana Ambrose]