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Apr-27-2012 15:14printcomments

The Cluster Bombs in Sri Lanka's Paradise

'But the Tigers are terrorists, don't you know...'
Yes, and the people who govern the country are murderers.

Sri Lanka Army soldier
* Image taken from the Guardian.

(LONDON) - Ah! They have found some cluster bombs in Paradise and no one is responsible. No surprises here. Naturally the army will blame the rebel Tigers but hey, the rebel Tigers are dead so they cannot answer for themselves.
The consequences of Sri Lanka's war live on and on untended while its children are maimed and destroyed. Young limbs, young minds, what amounts to the future itself, destroyed in a moment by those with power in their hands. While the world continues to sunbathe on the island's sunlit beaches.

Years ago, as a child living in London, listening to the arguments going on around me, I used to hate the fact that I was Sri Lankan. I understood perfectly, even then, exactly what was happening in that dreadful country. Wasn't it simple? Some Tamils, discriminated against for years, wrongly, resorted to violence in order to get their voices heard.
Thereby playing into the hands of majority rule.

For in those days the majority of Sinhalese hated the Tamils people without quite knowing why.

The words to describe this, as every child of ten knew, were, Prejudice and Discrimination.

From then onwards this Discrimination and Violence stalked the streets as government after government began to push the Tamils back from the capital up towards the north of this beautiful island.

The Dog that came to represent the Tamil people, got itself a bad name with which to hang itself, and Hey Presto! majority rule had the upper hand. Or to put it another way, the right to kill as many Tamils as possible in the name of anti-terrorism. It mattered not that many of these Tamils were innocent civilians. Who cared about the details. All is fair in love and war. Isn't it? So that, as the lorryloads of white paint arrived at the capital to wash down its bloodstained, bullet marked walls, the phrase on the lips of everyone was:

'But the Tigers are terrorists, don't you know...' Yes, and the people who govern the country are murderers.

And murder, as the world knows, will out. Eventually. So that in spite of The Great Whitewashing Programme other images are seeping and oozing out of the cesspit. Images that will not go away.
Of the dead,
The maimed,
The innocent,
The disappeared.
Children whose faces stare out from eternity pleading for recognition.

The truth remains that every single time a tourist visits the world's 'Number One Holiday Destination', every time the uninitiated say that things are fine in Sri Lanka, the abuse, rape, murder and torture in that place is being endorsed.

A child was killed last month. What were they doing? Trying to collect scrap metal to sell. Unaware they were touching an explosive device. Thus has innocence always been destroyed by grown men.

We in the West must remember that the real cost to life cannot be counted immediately after a war ends, but several generations later. Sri Lanka and its people, one hopes, will one day understand this, too.

On June 15th Roma Tearne will be screening her film Letter From Urbino at The National Gallery, London. The trailer is here.

Please visit Roma Tearne's Website


Roma Tearne: Contributing Writer / Author

Roma Tearne is a Sri Lankan born artist and writer. Her first novel, Mosquito, has been shortlisted for the 2007 Costa Book Awards first Novel prize.

Currently a Fellow at Oxford Brookes University, she has had many exhibitions including "Nel Corpo delle cittá" at the prestigious MLAC ( Museo Laboratorio Arte Contemporanea ) in Rome.

She became the artist in residence at the Ashmolean Museum Oxford in 2002 and while there, worked on "Happenings in a Museum" is extremely pleased to work with this esteemed author, and to be able to utilize her approach in communicating stories about war and ethnic strife that cross all boundaries; those things that make the very soul of our earth bleed needlessly.

Order Here

Order here

Order here

Order here

Roma Tearne's Writing Collection

Mosquito (ISBN 0007233655) was published on March 5, 2007 by Harper Collins.
Bone China (ISBN 0007240732), was published in 2008 by the same publisher.
Brixton Beach (ISBN 9780007301560), was published 2009 by HarperPress.
The Swimmer (ISBN 9780007301591), published in 2010, was long-listed for the Orange Prize 2011.

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