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Rains in Sri Lanka, once a blessing, now a curse – upiasia.com

[MISC, Friday, 16 October 2009 13:43 No Comment]

The people of Sri Lanka have always looked forward to the rainy season, which generally begins in October and ends in January, as it brings many blessings. It brings much needed water to the paddy fields and assures food for the year to come. It also fills the reservoirs. Many of the blessings for the year ahead also depend on rains from the heavens.

However, for the nearly 300,000 people in camps for internally displaced persons, the expectation of rain this year will not create such feelings of joy. In fact, for them it will bring enormous adversity. Leaking roofs, overflowing gutters and swamp-like conditions are what they will have to expect. Their relatives living outside, the people of good will in the country, as well as the United Nations and various relief agencies have already brought their problems to the attention of the government and the public. However, the government has a greater consideration that outweighs the concerns for the comfort of these persons.

The government spokesmen tell the world in their televised interviews that there still might be potential Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorists hidden in the midst of the internally displaced persons. Therefore, whether there is rain or not, the people will have to remain in the camps until all potential LTTE members are identified, the spokesmen say.

So, the government argues that when compared to the risk to national security, the sufferings that internally displaced persons may have to undergo during the rainy season are matters of secondary importance. The government spokesmen talking this language are not actors in a drama produced by Bertolt Brecht, the German poet, playwright and theatre director, who used such characters only to expose the hypocrisy and inhumanity of the national security doctrines which prevailed in his time.

The government spokesmen are dead serious and want the nation and the international community to believe their argument of the good intentions of the government who is supposed to be sorry for the people living in pathetic and wretched living conditions but is unable to do anything due to the overpowering considerations of national security.

For centuries, even the poorest people in Sri Lanka had learned to put up safe roofs over their heads when the rainy seasons arrived. They had learned to live comfortably with warm cups of tea and homes arranged with their modest means while the rains poured outside. But now, even that minimum way of life has been deprived to a large group of citizens who live in camps for the internally displaced persons.

This tragic drama enacted amidst the wind and rain reflects not just the tragedy of people in those camps, but also the tragedy of all the people living under a political system that dares to lie, as an excuse for whatever it wishes to do, despite the harsh consequences its actions may bring on the nation. As Brecht once pointed, messages made by irresponsible persons and received through antennas by the people can create wretched conditions.

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