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The I.D.P. Experience: Do I know what it means?

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Hello Friends,

The troubles and travails faced by the displaced civilian population of the Northern mainland, Wanni is indeed a tragedy of our times.

I have in the past written extensively about the Wanni civilians who lived in tiger-controlled territory and described them as the wretched of the Wanni earth.

These people are now uprooted from their homes and compelled to live as “Internally Displaced Persons” in various camps described as welfare centers.

The conditions in these camps have been described as abysmal. The only silver lining is that by all accounts these conditions are improving though not perhaps at a pace desirable to the IDP’s.

A redeeming feature in all this has been the silent, selfless service rendered at these camps by volunteers from all communities in Sri Lanka.

Many of those who visited these camps are moved and shaken by what they witness.

In media reports the IDP’s are mere statistics or figures but in reality each of these IDP’s is an individual with a pathetic tale to relate.

All people fortunate enough not to experience the agony of displacement would realize that but for an accident of birth they too could have been in the same position.

One such person was Sumathy R who in her own words “did some relief work for a few days at the Menik farm”.

The experience touched or inspired her to dabble in poetry.

In an e-mail she said “I am writing to you to share with you something. “Based on what I saw and heard, wrote a poem, which is my first attempt in poetry.”

It was titled “Do I know what it means”?

I liked the poem which obviously was a murmur from the heart.

I do think and hope that it could strike a responsive chord in many hearts.

So here it is ~ DBSJ ~ I can be reached at dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

Do I know what it means…….

By Sumathy.R.

Do I know what it means…
To stand in the queue as a mere 13 year old,
Collecting charity for my younger brother
and widowed and aching mother,
a wound in my stomach which hurts and oozes.
With no one to care for the pain
To live on, not knowing why or the reason or meaning of hope.

Do I know what it means..
To be orphaned-a helpless little child playing with others like myself,
Without a family-but accas and annas who took care of me,
And to be separated-as I hear they will be with me no longer
plagued with the memory-of making it over rounds (gun fires) and shells and fallen bodies.

Do I know what it means…
To know neither the results of the exam I sat,
Nor my index number to look them up later .
What kind of world is it ?
…that refuses me schooling,
…demands that I bury my fears,
And uses my strength and will to care for other younger children and elderly people?

Do I know what it means…
To have my son taken away for questioning-
Miss my husband or my brother-and wonder if I will ever see them again?
To fearfully hide away the son I treasure in a bunker,
To save him from LTTE recruitment and raining shells
To ‘lose’ him now in custody of the army,
being rehabilitated I am told-for uncommitted sins.

Do I know what it means…
To be an old man or woman in trying conditions alone,
Not able to tell my children where I am or what I went through,
My aches and pains and wounds from the war adding decades to my age,
Talking about yester years, in this tent where I am, till I know not when.

Do I know what it means…
To throw myself into the work of mass cooking with rations received,
Organizing the wounded in body and heart to donate their labour for others,
Solving the problems of water, cooking pans and grumblings from fellow block-mates,
While stifling the pain of losing my own two daughters.

Do I know what it means…
To stand in long queues just for a plate or a bucket,
Standing in the scorching sun, despite my wounds, fever and limps,
Or else receive my meals in a shopping bag
And run the risk of spilling out my family’s precious meal

And do I know to what it means..
To marry the man I love,
running for our lives through what feels like fire and hell,
Just so we may stay as man and wife before either or both of us fall…
And now, thankful to be together
at Menik farm.

Picture: satellite image of Menik Farm-by Amnesty’s Science for Human Rights project [TC]

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61 Comments

  1. DBS
    Why dont you post more poems of this kind?

    Is the writer the Sumathy who won the Gratiean Prize?

    DBSJ RESPONDS:

    Yes, posting more poems is a good idea.

    No, that was Sumathy Sivamohan the Peradeniya don. This is Sumathy R .This is her first poem

  2. It is true that there are many refugees in the camps in Sri Lanka but they are in their own country. Since Jan. 2009, many of our brothers and sisters had fled Sri Lanka hoping to reach the world from where the dollars went to put them outside of their homeland. These people are stranded in almost all the international airport detention centres and UNHCR run camps including Accra – Ghana, Malaysia, Beijing, Caracas, Argentina and what not.

    They wish to return to Menik farm but there is no way for them. This is what they would feel I guess!

    Do I know what it means?
    To be a stranger in a strange country
    To hear a new language which I never heard
    To see new human race which I have never seen
    To realise that east or west, home is the best
    To come to terms that Menik Farm is the best camp
    And to carry this UNHCR card forever for the rest of my life!

  3. look nice poem and all. but what do we really need here?

    for them to return home and when innocent child play cricket or farmer plough his field lose a limb to a land mine?

    how about small village feuds settled with 120mm mortar and RPG?

    you say send 10 year old and elderly away somewhere else? who looks after them better than their own family?

    i know there is a need to rebel but hard to find a cause. but try to be creative is what i say. there are many more where tamils are not necessarily victims of ‘sinhala govt’.

  4. Obviously the focus of everybody should be the suffering of IDPs. Do what you think will help alleviate this suffering by an iota. If you think vilifying the SL govt will help, do that. If you think taking them to international courts will help, do that. If you think blocking international aid to Sri Lanka will help, do that. For heaven’s sake do whatever you think will address the suffering of these innocent people who had been on marching orders of LTTE for years and ended up in these refugee camps after loosing every thing they had including their kith and kin and limbs. (call them Nazi like concentration camps if that helps them)

    Please try to understand the reality. Please try to understand the magnitude of the predicament they are PRESENTLY in. Please try to understand, whether you like it or not they are in the custody of the SL govt. Send them food, clothes and medicine. Don’t complain that SL govt is not coorporating to deliver them – hand them over to ICRC or any such org.

    Please try to understand their position at this moment and act accordingly. “Accountability” is not the priority.

    Tamil diaspora have been woefully blind to reality throughout.

  5. these IDP’s have been the most unlucky people in our country for the past few decades. before May 18, 2009 gov said that they were innocent civillians whom LTTE is keeping as human shields against their wish. but tamil diaspora said that these people are staying with LTTE on their own wish and helping the LTTE and most of them are mahaveerar families. after May 18th it is the other way around. gov is hunting for LTTE supporters among these people and diaspora says these are innocent civillians LTTE kept by force, therefore not to suspect them and release them immediately.
    is there anyone with a conscience? how sad these people are victims of war strategies all these years? all those people who speak about human rights after may 18th, has anyone of you raised a voice against the plight of these civillians when they were following LTTE like gypsies? were you concerned whether they had enough toilet facilities or whether chidren went to school of their choice? there was a voice against shelling, aerial bombing etc only. not only the gov and LTTE, all of us are responsible for the suffering of these people.

  6. Do I know what it means,

    “sitting on a barbed wire fence” waiting for the “ God on our side”
    When I draw too much from “lonesome death of Hattie Carrol” and “hard rain a gonna fall”

    to be gracious enough not to include a plea to “dear landlord”,so ”tangled up in blue”

    having got caught in a “simple twist of fate”

    to end up with “don’t think twice. Its alright”

    When I hide the truth of “I shall be released” to be “only a pawn in their game”,

    Too much of Bobby here, but excellent, hats off to Mr Sumathy.R

  7. My eyes are wet reading that innocent piece of a girls heart.
    I wonder if the First Lady in Sri Lanka ever reads or is told
    of these by Mr. Weretunga?
    It is a pity that MR Bros have to prolong the suffering of
    Tamils – despite his hypocritical Tamil speeches!

  8. Some good news,

    They are releasing elderly people from the camps to their relatives. They have released 5,000 in the last few days. Another 3,000 will be released today and tomorrow. I don’t know why this didn’t get the media’s attention.

  9. Panhinda , Rohana,
    Ture we cannot expect things to be back to normal with in 40days after the war. The GOSL had better strategy to corner LTTE and purge them from earth. One would expect the same effort to have a strategy to look after the people librated from LTTE. ONE MONTH…. yes one month after war still nothing is happening. Mannar was librated more then one year back, Killinochchi was librated 5 months back so the other areas. Tell us how many landmines are unpluged? how many houses are build? I understand new regional HQ for army, navy and airforce are allready build in Wanni (in fact new airbase was build from LTTE runaway) not to mention victory celebration etc…

    Frustrating…

    If our government is not willing to do the rightful duty just tell them they are not citizen of Sri Lanka.

  10. Dear Sumathy,

    You have expressed very well your feelings and the sitution you have gone through and going trough in your poem. Please continue to do so we would be very proud to have a poet salvaged out of a tragedy. One thing is certain Sumathy, we will prevail. Manhind has gone through similar tragedies and prevailed for centuries and it will continue to do so.

    God bless you.

  11. Dear Ardneham 8,

    My eyes are wet too reading that poem, but should we go back to square one again and start the blame game ?.
    That is not going to serve any purpose at all. Already, as DBSJ mentioned, Srilankans of all communities are
    helping the IDPs. As one writer suggested how can the IDPs go back to their villages when they are littered with land mines, and whose handy work is that ?.
    GOSL is doing its best to expedite settling them in their own homes and let us hope and pray that everything works out all right for the IDPs. I am certainly praying.

    Peace for all.

  12. When you read Sumathy’s poem and think about 900 tons of food and medicine which was sent for these IDPs go a begging, you wonder when people like Rohana (Comment 5) exist in this world, there won’t be any relief for the IDPs.

    What’s there to understand, let them go to their own homes and villages. That is what they want and this is the reality.

  13. Whatever happened to the Tamil Diaspora which funded a US$ 300 million a year terrorist group to kill thousands of innocent people and take our country back many decades. Where is their money now when it is really needed to help their own kith and kin ?

    The shameless tamil diaspora is doing their utmost to stop the IMF loan to our country but blame the government for everything at the drop of a hat !!! It is not the government that should be blamed for the current IDP problem and their issues. They got into that situation thanks to the murderous LTTE terrorists who were funded by their own tamil relatives living cushy lives in foreign countries.

    The government is doing their utmost to help these people with their limited resources so please cut them some slack. DBSJ, you seem to be trying your utmost to fuel another fire. Stop the blame game and mobilise your resources to help the government to help those people lead normal lives.

    “fuel another fire”?Idiotic People like you are the problem with Sri Lanka……….DBSJ

  14. Reply to 15-Helaka

    “Whatever happened to the Tamil Diaspora which funded a US$ 300 million a year terrorist group to kill thousands of innocent people and take our country back many decades. Where is their money now when it is really needed to help their own kith and kin ?”

    The Tamil Diaspora sent a ship with foods and medicines to SL only to have that ship turned back by the SL Gov because they didn’t complete the “proper paperwork”. So “completeing paperwork” is more important for the SL Gov. than feeding the IDPs? If the SL Gov really cared for the IDPs, they would grab food/medicine from anywhere regardless of paperwork and formalities. Can you imagine what went through the IDPs’ minds when they heard that a ship with foods and medicines sent by the tamils abroad was turned back by the SL Gov because of formalities? Can you imagine what a starving IDP was thinking when he heard the news? I’ll tell you what was happening: The seeds for further discontenment and hate are being sowed. The tamil diaspora is willing to spend the money for the IDPs, but they don’t trust the SL Government to handle the money, and with the way the SL Gov handled the ship, their distrust is justified. They don’t want the money to be used to take care of the new 100,000 army recruits. This is why they want international aid agencies to have access to the camps so that they can funnel the funds through these agencies. But the SL Gov. is not letting that happen. It’s been one month since the war is over, why is the SL Gov still restricting international aid agencies to the camps? What are they trying to hide? What happened to the millions in aid given by the Western Countries and all the charities in Tamil Nadu like the actor’s association that raised millions? Where’s all that money? Used up to build all the new billboards for Rajapakse? There is absolutely no excuse for the IDPs to be living like they are right now one month after the war was over.

  15. All Sympathise with the IDPs. All sympathised with the Tamils who were forced out of Jaffna towards Vanni by the LTTE in the 90s.
    Now let us now face the fact.
    Those 300.000 Tamil people were uprooted from their homes and forcoed to live wiwthin 60 meters of land by one man -Prabaharan. Now they have become IDPs, One cannot expect luxury life in displaced persons camps of that large number. No government can cope up with that number and the LTTE cadres amongst them.. The Tamils have to face whatever consequences that arise because of their folly then and now. Basically Prabaharan and the LTTE are not to be blamed. But primarily our Tamil politicans of the Congress and the Tulf are to be blamed. The racial divide were stirred up by these politicans.

  16. In reply to 3- Kumar

    ” These people are stranded in almost all the international airport detention centres and UNHCR run camps including Accra – Ghana, Malaysia, Beijing, Caracas, Argentina and what not.

    They wish to return to Menik farm but there is no way for them. This is what they would feel I guess!”

    Indeed. This is probably how the Jews who fled Germany felt when they were stranded in detention centers around the world durng WW11. They wished to return to Aushwitz camp but there is no way for them. This what they would feel _you_ guess!

    “….To come to terms that Menik Farm is the best camp”

    I’ll tell you what. How about letting international agencies and journalists into this “best camp” to detail the lives of the people there and broadcast it to the rest of the world and to also compare the camp to the detention centers around the world. If what you say is true, then Sri-Lanka’s image will receive a great raise, and they might even receive an award for this “best camp”. What do you say? Why do we have to keep this “best camp” a secret from the world and have all these diaspora and HR agencies writing falsehoods about it and thereby tarnish SL’s image? Why not bring out the light of this “best camp” for the world to bask in?

  17. Reply to Rajah,
    Not to get into an arguement with you, but isn’t it rather strange that ‘conerned’ people on that ‘relief’ ship had time get utmost international publicity, write bolgs and post them on the interent etc. but no time to do the proper paper work needed to enter the waters of a sovereign nation? Wonder whose kidding whom!

  18. Most westerners including the Canadians are not aware of the true picture of what is happening in SriLanka. Sumathy’s poem expresses eloquently the feelings and emotions of the people incarcerated in the camps in Vanni. I wonder whether it is possible to publish the poem (with Sumathy’s permission) in the main stream media in the country so that Canadians have a better feel of the attrocities unfolding daily in SriLanka.

    I found it rather amusing to read Heleka accusing DBS of fuelling another fire by publishing the poem in his blog. It appears Heleka is either not familiar with DBS’s articles and his journalistic inclinations or doesn’t have the intelligence to understand what he is trying to convey. When DBS wrote articles criticizing the LTTE, the ardent LTTE supporters accused him of being in the pay roll of the SriLankan government and when he wrote about the attrocities committed by the SriLankan government agianst Tamil civilians, the government accused him of being in the payroll of LTTE. Poor DBS, I wish he has accepted money from both sides to do his job as a journalist. He could have been a pretty rich guy by now.

    People like Heleka are the type putting fuel into the already existing fire not giving a chance for the fire to be extinguished.

    Siva

  19. Reply to 19-Tharu22

    “Reply to Rajah,
    Not to get into an arguement with you, but isn’t it rather strange that ‘conerned’ people on that ‘relief’ ship had time get utmost international publicity, write bolgs and post them on the interent etc. but no time to do the proper paper work needed to enter the waters of a sovereign nation?”

    It does not matter if it is strange or not, nor does it matter if there was time or not. The fact that you even consider such rubbish as excuses while the IDPs starve for food shows the level of respect you have for the IDPs. Lets assume for a moment that the Diaspora **purposely** did not do the paperwork for whatever half-baked reason you choose. At the end of the day, food/medicines were sent back because of a formality. Because to you, formalities take precedence over the IDPs’ lives. Ask yourself this: If you had family members starving in your house, and someone barged into your house uninvited with food and medicines for them, would you turn them away because they barged into your house uninvited without formalities such as knocking the door? Hardly. You would grab the food for your family members first, and at best let the intruder know, that next time, he should knock, but thank him for the food regardless. The only person who would turn the food away is someone who does not consider the people starving in his house as family members, and could care less what their predicament would be as long as the formalities to his house are properly adhered to. The SL Gov’s treatment of the IDPs makes the world wonder if they are really considered citizens by the current regime.

    “Wonder whose kidding whom!”

    Look in the mirror. Its blatantly obvious who is kidding whom. Stop kidding yourself.

  20. IDP camps are a necessity and even a luxury after LTTE teritory, a blessing in disguise. No one is going to hold them for one minute more than necessary. In life there is a price to pay for everything. Micheal Jackson with his billions was he a contented man. That is human nature. Tamil diaspora is spending their billions on a virtual govt fattening the purses of ” foreign experts on lying”, while IDP’s created by them are looked after by the sri Lankans living in Sri Lanka. Soon IDPs will have their homes, but Tamil diaspora will never get a eelam in Sri Lanka.

  21. This is indeed pathetic. Will this be enough deterent to prevent a repetition of what happened. Armed insurrections should never occur and people should never support them. These benefit only the leaders of such movements.

  22. Reply to Rajah
    I heard that the GOSL has allowed the relief supplies from that ship. It will be sent via Chennai pretty soon.
    I guess now the supplies from ‘concerned’ diaspora will start pouring in (ofcourse with proper paper work!)
    Let’s wait & see whether diaspora really care about their unfortunate brothers and sisters.

  23. The naming of the ship as ‘Vanagaman’ is itself a false start if that really meant to reach Menik camp. In my view the ship carried a full load of ego of the expatriates and not food for the refugees. What is the meaning of Vanagaman? This would have been a good name for the ships that carried ammunitions to the LTTE but not to a ship that carried food to the displaced.

    Asking the international agencies to visit camp is also weak at this stage. Correctly or wrongly the SL govt has some evidence in hand which accuses that these agencies had helped the LTTE in the past or the LTTE had used them. So the SLA had to be careful in allowing any foreigners to Vavuniya.

    If the expats really concerned about the displaced Tamils all they have to do is not to antaganize the SL govt at this stage. OR as usual we can go on with our summer outings [demonstrations].

  24. That was truly touching Sumathi! Let us be thankful for those countries and organisations that have honestly come 4ward 2give a helping hand in whatever ways possible.More help could be certainly given by the tamil diaspora to help IDPS but its so silly that they are blaming GOSL without working 2gether 2help. Previously,they even found ways 2get their funds across to the LTTE despite international restrictions. How come it has become so difficult 2help the IDPS now when Menik farm is fighting for survival.

  25. I am one of those lucky to bring my family to a foreign country so that they don’t have to face the agony of being an IDP.Shame on me that I did not have the guts to face it. Those in the IDP are not IDPs because they wanted to be.It is lack of money and the know w to get the proper links to get out.
    It is the resposiblity of those countries that called them to move to the no fire zone, the diaspora, the govt. of Sri Lanka to help them to move out and help them settle in the places.

  26. Rajah 21#, “Ask yourself this: If you had family members starving in your house, and someone barged into your house uninvited with food and medicines for them, would you turn them away because they barged into your house uninvited without formalities such as knocking the door?”

    Answer is in your question itself.. yes, you will grap food IF IT IS YOUR FAMILY but What will you do if they are your ENAMY or the people you won from war?

  27. Dear Kumar, (Some good news)

    It is not a good news. According to UN report (OCHA relaesed on 25 June 2009) only 3068 people have been released, who are elders and other vulnerable groups. This is about one percent of IDP. At this rate GOSL requires several years to relaese all IDPs. Is it a good news?

  28. The GOSL had a very good plan to flush out LTTE, as they anticipated LTTE had two choices, 1. jump in to the ocean or die. GOSL had answers for any counter attach by force or by international efforts, I would say it is the best plan ever put in to action by any GOSL. However GOSL is know very well when LTTE is wiped out then they had to face the refugee issue (why suger coated IDP word for refugee?) They should have draft a plan to look after or resettle the refugee while war is on. Mannar was librated an year ago so the Killinochchi was 5 months ago.

    Only reason could be the GOSL not recon Tamils as their citizen but CAPTURED LIVESTOCK FROM WAR

  29. It is a shame to see Tamils and Sinhalese justifying their (biased) views in the name of everything but true towards the betterment of Sri Lanka.

    Take a good look at yourselves and what you guys are advocating of!!

    The IDP’s are caught in between a rock and a hard place – which is the fact.

    Sri Lankan Government and LTTE never expected that they will be facing these reality.

    Which is why either side has no proper agenda or action plan.

    If this continues, Sri Lanka will be doomed.

    You can take this to the bank

  30. if anyone of your family members were under LTTE rule before 18th May, would you allow anybody to brand them as those supporting LTTE, staying with them on their own will?
    btw, there was a picture of the logo of this aid ship in a sunday newspaper. guess what? it was the Eelam map with 1/3 of SL. don’t call it the arrogance of the gov only. both sides are at fault.

  31. Lovely Poem Sumanthi. State your full name my dear, fear not!. What can they do to you?.
    My impression was that the war was fought to “liberate” the civilians trapped by the LTTE. Or so the Defence secretary and the “brilliant “General stated; the tarmac kissing King also mentioned this at several arenas.
    The plan by the regime is to destroy as many youth as they can.
    SL has little hope under this regime.

  32. The poem is touching.

    The suffering is inevitable. Perhaps these people would ,have been suffering very much more, loosing their children, being dragged away from place to place, not having anything to eat and so on and so on.

    This is a massive influx of innocent and helpless people, and treating them to their full satisfaction will be humanly impossible. Above all the mental suffering that these people undergo will never be easy to heal.

    However, what we all have to do is to look at this problem humanely (irrespective of your caste,creed,ethnicity or nationality) and contribute in some way to reduce their suffering, without blaming others.

    I am happy that I have done it – though it may not be sufficient – but I will continue to do whatever I can to reduce the suffering. After all we are all humans first, and they have been at the wrong place at the wrong time.

    Ravi

  33. THANKS FOR THE LETTER OF IDP AND WE ARE REALLY SORRY FOR ANY HUMAN SUFFERING, WHAT TO DO ITS OUR FAITH OUR PEOPLE SUFFERING IN OPEN CAMPS WHO IS TO BLAME NOT THE GOVERNMENT ITS TAMIL WHO SUPPORTED LTTE TO BE BLAMED,IN 1989 LTTE ON POTTU AMMANS ORDER CHASED SO MANY THOUSANDS OF MUSLIMS FROM NORTH THEY ARE NOT BEEN SETTLED AS YET BY UNP, OR SLFP, SO ITS TOO PITY NO ONE WROTE POEMS ON THEM. ANY HUMAN SUFFERING IS NOT ACCEPTABLE. NOW TAMILS HAVE TO THINK OF SUPPORTING THERE PEOPLE LEAVING ANY PARTY DIFFERENCES WITH UNITY. LTTE HAVE MADE THOUSANDS OF SINHALA,TAMIL,MUSLIMS WITHOUT FATHERS,SONS,MOTHERS,DAUGHTERS OR GURDIANCES BY EXPLODING BOMBS IN CITIES IN SOUTH THEY ARE TOO LIKE IN CAMPS OR MORE WORST, THERE IS NO ANYONE FOR SOME FAMILIES, BUT FOR IDP CAMPS GOVERNMENT IS COMMITED TO GIVE ALL NEEDED ITEMS FOOD EVERYTHING. SO YOU CANT ASK BALOONS,CHEWING GUMS FOR CHILDRENS IN CAMPS.

  34. “Ask yourself this: If you had family members starving in your house, and someone barged into your house uninvited with food and medicines for them, would you turn them away because they barged into your house uninvited without formalities such as knocking the door? Hardly. You would grab the food for your family members first, and at best let the intruder know, that next time, he should knock, but thank him for the food regardless. The only person who would turn the food away is someone who does not consider the people starving in his house as family members, and could care less what their predicament would be as long as the formalities to his house are properly adhered to.”
    #21, Rajah: The above analogy is flawed. In this case the persons barging into the house are not strangers but members of the same family who chose to go out of the house to live elsewhere for various reasons. In such a situation, it’s quite natural for the person running the house to treat the offer of assistance from the other members that live outside as some kind of an insult if they don’t show the necessary etiquette. Show me a person without ego in this world. The variation between different individuals is only in degree. Anyway, there is some more information on this. They collected about 2,000 tons of materials and lakhs of pounds in cash. But what was dispatched was a mere 800 tons. What happened to the cash collected?

  35. #29,Arul,

    You are talking about the report of 25th June. I am taking of the situation on 1st July. Please update yourself.

  36. Anyway the shipment of aid was sent to eelam and not Sri Lanka, in the same manner they provided arms to LTTE. Unfortunately eelam was not there to accept it. It was dropped in the neighbours letterbox and was fittingly returned to the sender.

    If it had come through proper channels SLGoV would never have returned it. It is another ploy to disgrace Sri Lanka either way, which is their favourit pass time these days. Remeber as long as the IDPs are in Sri Lanka they are not diapora and will be cared by the SLGov. We know how much you cared for the human shield VP created using very same people. You cared for the eelam at the expese of the Vanni tamil people. It is no secret.
    Surely tamil diaspora know how to send things to other countries. May be not they are so used to smugglig goods, they have forgotten. Any way high time to remember that Sri Lanka is a soverign country not your poor sick neighbour to dump things with arrogance.
    V

  37. Tony candappa….
    the sarcasm is oozing……

    This is not the need of the hour.
    GOSL has much evidence in storeto substantiate their actions.
    They are doing what they could within their capability.

    Intl diaspora and related organisation can not use undue propaganda to force GOSL on the settlement of IDPs.
    We all want them settled soon but the GOSL is faces with constraints.
    I believe, to speed up the work money is a criterion and it is in short supply and can not be wholly used on IDPs only…. What about the rest of the country.

    We all are aware of the detriment to the country as a result of the war….. With the outcome some tamils are happy and some are not………….

    In reality, the answers are out there with us more than with the GOSL. Both hands are required to unwind the worldwide mess.
    Hence let sanity & sincerity preval.
    In the circumstances, small mercies are better than none.

  38. I agree with Rohana’s plea (note5) to do anything and everything that would help the IDPs. He is right. We all must do everything we can on an individual basis as well as on a collective basis.

    I would add one more plea to his list. That is:

    Absolutely DO NOT DO anything that will hinder or delay the release of the IDPs, including making brave statements of ‘One day we will rise again etc’.
    Such words give justification to those who want to keep them locked up for years and years to come.
    If you care for them don’t do it.
    JMP

  39. I was a beleiver in God, but no more, if there is God, he should & will punish the Rajapakse family as a whole, i dont like to elaborate what type of punishment they should be given, God should know the degree of punishment they deserve.
    Like me many of my friends dont beleive there is anything called GOD any more.

  40. To Rajah #18 & to Arul 29,

    I meant a better camp and not the best. I am not a poet.

    Better than wherever they are now and wherever they were before the departure from Sri Lanka and that is Mullivaikal beach.

    In any event where are the hues and cries to the Muslims who were evicted from Jaffna on Oct. 1990 and still languishing in camps. It is almost 18 years. If that is reasonable, why cannot our people wait for 18 months. A Vanagaman could have been sent to the Muslims also. This bipartisan approach shows the basic selfishness and politics of the expatriates and not the generosity of the Tamils.

  41. The reality is shown in a poetic form. I too am a poet. I have visited the hospitals and the camps several times. I have hundreds of stories of these people. Shall we start a column of poems based on the experience of these people? I am really serious about this idea. The world should know what it is to live as displaced person, knowing not where their own family members are. Please reply

  42. On the subject regarding the Sri Lankan issues, I can see there are only 2 web sites who have given the readers neutral articles, healthy discussions and comments.

    They are DBS Jeyaraj.com, and the other is Thesamnet.co.uk. These are the kind of feedback that we need after many years of misinformation and wrong leading. At least now, all can walk in the same path and towards the same goal.

  43. Comment # 44 Mallakai

    Why don’t you start publishing your poems in your blog (if you dont have one already, create one)? I would be happy to read and comment.

    It is better to write while your experiences are fresh in your mind. I am not a poet, but what I feel is that when deeply touched, if one has the creative touch, the beautiful expressions like this of Sumathy’s will gush forth from the heart. You may even get surprised such beautiful expressive gems were hiding in your heart.

    I see a surge in creative output by young Tamils due to this monumental tragedy of the savage slaughter of the innocent Tamil civilians and the resultant IDP camps.

    All the creative blog entries (poems etc.) from different writers can be automatically aggregated easily and presented through a single channel (website).

    So, my suggestion to you is, please don’t wait. Start writing immediately while your emotions are raw. They can be polished later when you have the time.

  44. Kumar Sriskanda 43#,
    I fully agree your point, yes Jaffna was librated 13 years back. WHY those muslims living in Puttalam, Kandy etc are not resettled in Jaffna? cos nobody thought of it from GOSL not even today. It is not just re send them back to their own places but it should have with proper plan and execution. Unless otherwise landmines still in Navalar Road.

  45. Dear Roshan, 42
    Take it easy Roshan. Don’t get your knickers in a knot.
    There is a God and that is why he punished the persons who started this whole mess.

    I rest my case.

    May God bless you all.

  46. Sumathy,
    thank you for your poem. Though much about those IDPs are untold in your poem, within what you shared about them, reading through comments, I find sizable number of commentators who seem to have read it through their noses only.
    Do we know how live with cough in midst of dusty plains? Do we know how to cope living with swarms of flies? Do we know how to be exposed to contagious diseases? Do we know how to live with miry dirty muddy smell, day by day, night and day? Do we know how to live for days with once dressed up wound? Do we know to be marginalized because of minority ethnicity? Do we know how to sleep on mats on wet grounds? Do we know how to breathe sweaty body smells inside a tent of strangers? Do we know being pregnant not knowing by whom? Do we know what it means to watch our children cry for milk when we are weak? …. Endless.. suffering… AND ALL THESE ARE NOT BY CHOICE! INFLICTED. THOSE OF YOU / US WHO READ IT THROUGH YOUR NOSES, WOULD YOU BE QUIET AS THOSE IDPS ARE, IF NOT ALL, BUT A QUARTER OF THESE HAPPEN TO YOU?
    Sumathy, let us humanity will triumph over human-animity!

  47. Reply to 15 Helaka:-
    “Whatever happened to the Tamil Diaspora which funded a US$ 300 million a year terrorist group to kill thousands of innocent people and take OUR COUNTRY back many decades. Where is their money now when it is really needed to help their own kith and kin ?”

    Dear Helaka,
    This mind set of the majority of our Sinhala people is the Root Cause for the Creation of the worst Guerrilla group in this world “THE LTTE” & the human disaster faced by all Srilankans.
    You seem to be an educated man & surely you would have heard /learnt the Newtons third Law “every ACTION has an opposite & Equal REACTION”.
    Now, do you realise the magnitude of the Oppression (ACTION ) Tamils would have faced by the past Sinhala Politicians, which lead to the creation of the deadly LTTE that destroyed Srilanka over the past 30 years
    ( OPPOSITE & EQUAL REACTION) ?
    No doubt the war is over but our country has been ruined.
    Who is the cause?

    Thanks Sumathy for your poem. It’s very sad to learn that some Sinhalese are collecting old & used clothes to be given to IDPs thinking that the people behind the barbed wire fences are BEGGARS. This has been a good opportunity for their Summer Cleaning.
    All should realise that those IDPs were people of means who lead a decent & honourable life.
    The innocent & friendly Sinhala majority who were brain washed by these Politicians.
    Atleast from now on start believing that you are a SINHALA SPEAKING SRILANKAN.
    And the Tamils should believe that they are TAMIL SPEAKING SRILANKANS.
    If you really want our beautiful land to prosper again , may be in another 20 or 30 years, please forget the phrase from your vocabulary” Our Country” or “Apei Ratei”.
    Thanks.

  48. Reply to 15 Helaka:-
    “Whatever happened to the Tamil Diaspora which funded a US$ 300 million a year terrorist group to kill thousands of innocent people and take OUR COUNTRY back many decades. Where is their money now when it is really needed to help their own kith and kin ?”

    Dear Helaka,
    This mind set of the majority of our Sinhala people is the Root Cause for the Creation of the worst Guerrilla group in this world “THE LTTE” & the human disaster faced by all Srilankans.
    You seem to be an educated man & surely you would have heard /learnt the Newtons third Law “every ACTION has an opposite & Equal REACTION”.
    Now, do you realise the magnitude of the Oppression (ACTION ) Tamils would have faced by the past Sinhala Politicians, which lead to the creation of the deadly LTTE that destroyed Srilanka over the past 30 years
    ( OPPOSITE & EQUAL REACTION) ?
    No doubt the war is over but our country has been ruined.
    Who is the cause?
    The innocent & friendly Sinhala majority who were brain washed by these Politicians.
    Atleast from now on start believing that you are a SINHALA SPEAKING SRILANKAN.
    And the Tamils should believe that they are TAMIL SPEAKING SRILANKANS.
    If you really want our beautiful land to prosper again , may be in another 20 or 30 years, please forget the phrase from your vocabulary” Our Country” or “Apei Ratei”.

    Thanks Sumathy for your poem. It’s very sad to learn that some Sinhalese are collecting old & used clothes to be given to IDPs thinking that the people behind the barbed wire fences are BEGGARS. This has been a good opportunity for their Summer Cleaning.
    All should realise that those IDPs were people of means who lead a decent & honourable life.

    Thanks.

  49. “I have in the past written extensively about the Wanni civilians who lived in tiger-controlled territory and described them as the wretched of the Wanni earth.

    These people are now uprooted from their homes and compelled to live as “Internally Displaced Persons” in various camps described as welfare centers.”

    These unfortunate people were IDPs for last 30 years under a madman Prabakaran!

  50. Brings painful memories to my visit to Auschwitz Concentration Camp (Oswiecim in Polish) in the early 90s.
    A poem in one of the walls that went something like
    “Don’t look for your …Mama here. She is spread out
    in the fields around” troubled me then and does haunt
    me even now. This moving poetic plea is a more potent
    instrument than all the military hardware GoSL can gather
    to those with hearts, eyes and ears. I can only pray
    for relief, solace and the happiness to come of all the
    innocents entrapped in this controversial camp.

    This poem needs to receive the attention of the entire Lankan nation – more via the Sinhala & Tamil media – as well of all friends of Sri Lanka.

    ISS

  51. I have been reading DBSJ’s posts for a long time, but I never posted any comments. But as Lasantha (slain Sunday leader editor) said (I think he quoted someone else) its worst when friends dont speak out…. so here goes.

    It is indeed a terrible situation the IDP’s are facing now and they were in a worse situation when the war was going on.

    it is all good and well to argue, make allegations and counter allegations in this forum. But at the end of the day you got to sit down and think to yourself “what have I really done to alleviate the suffering of these people and have I done enough?”

    honestly if you really want to help the IDP’s you could easily find the way. there are enough organizations and people in Sri Lanka who have access to these camps. Be creative.

    But if you only want to get some cheap publicity at the expense of the IDP’s, ofcourse send another mercy mission ship and antagonize the GOSL. And provide the GOSL some excuse to turn the ship back.

    See the point is if you want to send aid through the government channels, you need to follow the protocols for that, and you need to cooperate with the govt. Be pragmatic if you really care for the IDP’s.

    But if you dont want to use the government, then dont. There are ample opportunities for you to channel your supplies through other NGO’s and INGOs. its just a question of whether you have the willingness to take the trouble to find out what those channels are.

    Also please dont use these innocent people as political tools to further your political agendas anymore. I think they have suffered enough. while you live in relative luxury in your adopted countries, these people have been suffering immensely in Sri Lanka.

    May be I’m idealistic or may be its the relative youthfulness. But I believe that those people who didnt raise their voices when the Muslims were evicted and became IDP’s (for alsmost 20 years) and when the sinhalese were evicted from Jaffna and other villages to become IDP’s and when they didnt demand LTTE to let the people go, those people have no real moral right on the issue.

    I dont know what DBSJ said about the muslims and the sinhalese who were evicted as I was a kid back then, but at least he did ask the LTTE to “let my people go” so he is off the hook :).

    I do realize the importance of keeping up the pressure on the government to make sure they let the people go sooner than later. And to make sure they are doing the best they can do for the IDP’s. (after all SL is one of the poorest countries in the world and even a rich nation like US had trouble in helping Katrina victims due to logistical issues and communication lapses)

    But at the same time do something tangible for the IDP’s. I know of Sinhalese who have lost their jobs and who have been unemployed for more than six months who still found the means to help their bretheren in the IDP camps. I also know of pensioneers who get a meagre pension from the government who have been helping. Similarly i know that lot of my tamil and muslim friends have helped out too. But when you consider the millions of dollars that were raised by the LTTE to carry out the war…. I dont think some of the diaspora tamils are doing enough to help the IDP’s. So SHAME on YOU!!!

  52. #6. senadhi,

    There is misleading info…

    It wsa true that at the ‘last days’ of fighting, many of people who trapped were closer families to tigers and people who had injuries (who cannot move) and their relatives.

    Is it true those relatives are not innocent?

    Also most of them at the last hours of fighting masscared or shot to death… as whole world knows and many of them want to use it to gain their control over SL. But not to get the justice out…

    Even though those ‘maaveerar family members’ and close to ltte don’t have a voice on tigers. They were not gypsies, they did not have an alternatives to follow. No body wants to win their mind, but many wanted to defeat them… even after the war. It is kind of JVP mentality. Means – JVP who wanted to kill families of Army personal in 1987 does not have a different.

    History of SL shows the lack of vision. It is true that LTTE’s idology was wrong. Not the individuals or relatives. Same way if you see MR & Bros, their ideology – one Sinhala Buddhist Country – is wrong. It should be defeated without mercy, if SL should prosper at the first place as tigers got defeated.

    Mangala Samaraweera’s intervire to DM is an eye opener.

  53. Overwhelming sympathy for IDPs is understandable, and is shared by all right spirited human beings.

    However it is disturbing to see so much absurd complaints on not having them returned to their villages and ill treatment of them by SL government be made.

    Should not the the villages be cleared of any hazards like land mines before letting them there?

    Should not the infrastructure be restored?

    Should not the brain washed LTTE cadre still hiding among the IDPs be filtered out?

    As a third world country Sri Lanka is doing its best to provide for these unfortunate individuals who suffered for decades under LTTE jackboot, to restore their everything – life, property, livelyhood, education and health. The most people who are crying here please ask your selves what have I done to help them?

    I hope that everyone will get together to help the government to help these unfortunate brothers and sisters of ours to get out of this mess.

  54. dear kavi,
    i saw there is a video of mangala samaraweera in DM earlier but didn’t care to watch it until u mentioned about it. i’m answering u after watching it.
    have u ever seen karuna giving interviews in media regarding LTTE and prabakaran and how and why he failed? consider this in the same light. i was living in sri lanka until mangala left the gov and here he gives the interview just like a moderate sinhalese giving comments in this blog.
    first of all, some of his comments regarding gov not holding elections in fear of not winning again and MR being a prisoner of JHU and Weerawansa are not valid considering the various media reports coming from colombo. secondly, mangala was one of the most corrupt, foul-mouthed gov minister in SL. see how he praises ranil here, but i have seen him disgracing ranil calling him various names when he was a minister. mind u, mangala is the 1st politician to set up an elevator in his official residence when he was a minister, using gov money. the very person who laments about state terrorism was a part of it about 1 1/2 years ago.
    he’s trying to be a true patriot to attain his goal, the executive PM in ten years. these are typical SL politicians. don’t take them too seriously. they never keep their word once they come into power. they have excellent proposals until they are in opposition.

  55. “Do I know what it means…
    To throw myself into the work of mass cooking with rations received,
    Organizing the wounded in body and heart to donate their labour for others,
    Solving the problems of water, cooking pans and grumblings from fellow block-mates,
    While stifling the pain of losing my own two daughters.”

    I do not know which verse to pick as an example. I just picked the one above as it says about having to stifle the pain of losing her (assume woman) own two daughters have to be the greatest pain suffered.

    Excellent poetry – certainly for a first-timer! The narrative too is also very powerful, as it adumbrates the plight of one of the most dispossessed group of human beings in the world. There is also the touch of the old ‘iambic pentameter.’ Well done! Keep writing.

    These people are illegally interned in those Concentration Camps only because of this government’s viciously vindictive nature. There tens of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) for whom this government doesn’t care for. Recently, IDPs, whose land and homes were wantonly confiscated, were driven out once again from the refuge they sought in Jaffna Railway Station.

    Tamils are not allowed to help their own in anyway. Individuals have been socially active and generally helpful in the neighbourhood have been literally killed, in many parts of Jaffna alone. Many charities that have been helping relieve the hardships felt by the Tamils in general have been driven out and some have been killed. Now only Sinhalese can help Tamils in destitution, because the Sinhala Fascists in government want to take credit for helping the Tamils. Sinhala generosity in general is not in doubt. Many Tamils have personally vouch how Sinhala courage, valour, compassion, warmth, friendship, caring and affection spontaneously erupted into an unstoppable river to protect the Tamils who were the targets of Sinhala mobs unleashed by the Sinhala government. But, what happens now is the complete opposite. The raw and pristine Sinhala generosity is adulterated by the corrupt handling by the Fascists with ULTERIOR MOTIVE to continue to subjugate Tamils. Absolutely marvellous people these Fascists are! There is nothing in the world that these Fascist can not and would not corrupt!!

  56. children who were kidnapped by tigers in their last days, who spent one month with them are languishing in the so called rehabilitation camps,and other middle aged people in the camps are branded as tiger mentality by Palitha kohana, same time big tiger nd thos who licked the boots of Piraba are hanging on the tail of Mahinda. So where is the justice? Most of the people in the camps have places to go,no need tto waite for the mine clearance.Already the govt has said that Mullaithivu is going tobe ahigh security zone against the imaginary enemies I suppose . Also un occupied lands and houses in Jaffna willbe taken by army.Our Mugabe is going make Srilanka another Zimbawe while we discuse about diaspora vanangamann etc. I am extreamly sad about whatis happening now in Srilanka?

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