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Real Victims of War

Updated on November 7, 2016

"I am a widow, and 6,000 of us from the village were widowed on the same day"

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Mary was from one of the ethnic minority in the country. They never enjoyed the equal rights or got any privileges in the country. She was a waitress in the hotel we stayed. She did not talk much but we asked her so many questions. Finally she said ..

"I am a widow, and 6,000 of us from the village were widowed on the same day"

All jokes and laughter stopped, all of us just looked at Mary, the middle aged women who shared her short story and walked away. We know the part of this country was at war and it just ended 6 years ago. We did see many broken buildings and ruins. Although many new structures were there, some old buildings with bullet holes were still there. Many tourist does not travel to this part of the country for fear.


Victims of War

Everyone in this part of country were somehow victims of the war, and all of them do not talk about the war. 'Walls have ears', that is the unspoken message they were sharing with us. Even years after war, army checkpoints were seen everywhere in this part the country.

All we know of Mary was, she was from the fisherman family, her husband and many went out to the sea and returned in body bags. They were shot dead. She has 5 grandchildren today and yet , people from this ethnic group are always in watch list , they were not allowed in the arm forces or government jobs as they are considered to be treat to the country.

Essentially this was a war over ethnic rights and the victor was the power of the national government. As you travel along you can feel as though this part was placed under military rule as you can see many road blocks and checks.

Victims of landmine can be seen almost at every corner. According to my tour guide who does not know much about this area, most landmines has been cleared over the years. There was not much plantation only vast land colonized by 'first stage' hardy plants

Next thing we noticed at this part of the country was the people and their physics. People from the other part of the country can be defined as 'wealthy part' had some extra body fat while people here were very skinny and looked thin but muscular.


When The Children Cry, White Lion

Denial of Civil War

Many photos and videos were released in social networks during the war but the country 'denied' there was was. This is one of the reasons I am not quoting the country but somehow you can guess where?. Issues of the war was discussed in United Nations and UN leader even said that they failed in protecting thousands of civilians caught in the war.

Quoting UN leader Ban Ki-moon in a news "UN staff were afraid to publicize widespread killings, top UN leaders did not intervene and the 15-member Security Council did not give "clear" orders to protect civilians". He added, UN estimates some 100,000 people perished during the conflict which ended with the wiping out of the ethnic military.

In a review after the war it was said that senior UN staff in the country were afraid to highlight deaths because they feared it would put at risk humanitarian access to the hundreds of thousands of civilians in the region.

The following is quoted from a report in BBC, "Until the final months of the war, the death toll of conflict was estimated to be about 70,000. Estimates range from 20,000-75,000 killed in the final assault, but a government estimate put the figure at about 9,000."

The Refugees

UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) granted refugee status for this minority group dating back to 1987, Many left the country with nothing.

"The global statistics report also shows that there are 132,782 Sri Lankan refugees and 14,008 Sri Lankan asylum-seekers in various countries in the world, mainly in India" said Mr Michael Zwack the UNHCR representative in 2013.

Many of this asylum seekers also went to countries like Australia and Canada.

According to The Conversation and Australian portal on why the refugee still came to Australia even after the war ended the following was stated

"the problems that generated the civil war - which go back to the complex legacy of colonialism and the community conviction that their culture and political rights are not protected - remain unresolved"

The article also stated that more then 6,500 refugees came to Australia in year 2012 that is almost 3 years after the war has ended.


The New World ~ Alienating the minority

Future of this minority group is still uncertain. They do not have the economic support to educate the next generation. Almost everyone are living in fear as there is no assurance. The main ethnic group are not obliged to help this people. Something in me says, the law and justice system of the country will be loop sided and support only the selected group.

Quoting BBC report again, "The government appointed a Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, which cleared the military of allegations that it had deliberately attacked civilians. Rights groups dismissed the inquiry as "flawed"."


We left Mary with heavy heart, that short acquaintance with Mary will never fade from our memory

How we got here, what life would be if you could unravel its truths?

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