July riot posts


There’s a certain how shall we say, guarded hope for reconciliation and moving on this year. It seems more so as the fateful anniversary of Sri Lanka’s traumatic 83 riots approaches. Or has it past? Last year, in the tiny village square called the Sri Lankan blogosphere, there was a lot of  “sharing” of old bad memories. This year it doesn’t seem to be the case – or may be I’ve jumped the gun.

I hope in the years ahead, better memories will be built. Not too much to ask is it?

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8 comments

  1. it was a precedent for a devastating event. It should remembered because it should remind us of how easily a society can disintegrate into mindless violence. ‘never again’ is what we should be saying, not forgetting it even happened.

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  2. hmm, true. buuuut, almost all posts i’ve read are coloured by the writer’s personal opinions. i can’t help but feel it puts people on the defensive. and with the passing of time, it’s going to be secondary data that goes into the posts no? ie, “my grandfather who saw it/my uncle who was there at the time said”. a bit like the second generation tamil and sinhalese diaspora (and dare i say even the locals) getting militant about an issue they know only through what’s been told to them.

    or i could just be mixing two different issues.

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  3. Thank you for the comment! 🙂

    pissu I don’t think you are mixing different issues – its just that the politics of the events and its recollection can easily get intermingles and blurred with time. All I can remember are down to a few specifics of childhood memories. It IS quite easy to for people to use events in history, mixed in with the trauma with the their own experiences. The result can be the festering of old wounds or political propaganda.

    I do understand what TheWhacksteR is saying terms of the event being shrugged aside. But I think a lot has changed since July 83 and that’s more reasons for hope. The war has exhausted us with historical finger pointing that we have inherited from past generations. I think there’s a unspoken sense of just wanting to get along and live and focus on things like jobs school etc than killing over politics. A very unsophisticated political view but I think that’s the common gut feeling.

    So may be the lack of July riot posts is a “good” sign – of quite processing? I’m sure they’ll be back – not as recollections but as look backs on how far we have come.

    Yes I’m being decadently hopeful – but why not be hopeful for a change no?

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  4. imho we are at least 7-10 years before we are mature enough as a nation to mourn such an event..an interim step will be official acknowledgement and an apology and this only comes from governments that are confident enough about the future to deal with the sins of the past..

    for the next few years, this and any other government’s priorities will be hell-bent on building the economy, infrastructure and political basis for stability before feeling confident enough to look in the rear-view mirror. unfortunately the same goes for a south african-style “truth and reconciliation commission”. it is a matter of confidence

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  5. The govt was actively campaigning to keep ’83 off the news last year. There were a lot of posts because it was the 25th anniversary but don’t worry, you can write you own eyewitness accounts when the next one happens.

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  6. maf: I totally agree with your assessment 🙂 sounds about right.

    Anon: I’m not so sure if there will be another one. There were no riots of that type when the LTTE was setting off truck bombs during the 1990s. The second JVP madness during the late 80s were more drawn out. Yet nothing on the scale of 83 has occurred.

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