Wednesday, February 21, 2018 06:10:52 PM

THE CHALLENGE OF MAY 19 IS TO COMMEMORATE AND TO MOURN–Jehan Perera

By Samantha - Mon May 16, 1:37 am

The war ended on the battlefields of the north seven years ago on May 19. The commemoration of this day is a divisive one. During the period of the previous government, which claimed ownership of the war victory, the commemoration took the form of a victory celebration, with military parades and narrow ethnic nationalistic speechmaking that catered to ethnic majority sentiment but injured the sentiments of the ethnic minorities. At the same time the government also took action to ensure that there would be no commemoration of the LTTE or even of civilian loss of life. This led to the prohibition of any form of public coming together in the north of the country where the last battles were fought, even within places of religious worship, for the purpose of remembering the dead.

However, a shift could be discerned last year, after the new government had come to power. Although once again the commemoration took the form of a military parade with associated speechmaking, it was conducted on a smaller scale and with less nationalism. The decision of the new government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena to redefine May 19 as a Day of Remembrance marked a significant break with the past. However, it was still not a complete break. It was accompanied by a military parade, as in the past, attended by the President….

Leave a Reply

Comments are closed on this post.