Youth and the conflict

Writing for the ST Mirror, Tahnee Hopman and Myanthi Peiris surveys the views of several young people on how they feel about the conflict in Sri Lanka :

There is a strange thing about war; being so much a part of our lives, the impact of 20 years of conflict has left most Sri Lankans strangely immune to the violence now almost synonymous with our culture. The war has left a far more lasting and negative impact though – particularly on the Sri Lankan youth.
“For people in our age group who have not known a country free from war, it can be very depressing to look around at Sri Lanka now. It restricts our freedom, but that is not the biggest problem,” says 20-year-old Safra. “For me, the most significant problem is the anger in the minds of the people which will inhibit them from moving on towards a better future even if the army defeats the LTTE and the war is “won” that way. As long as people refuse to forget the past or put it behind them, nothing will change. I’m sometimes curious to see what the country would have been, had it not been torn apart by war from 20 years. I’m sure we could have been so much more than what we are now.”

Most young Sri Lankans like Safra, feel deprived at not knowing the country their parents and grandparents knew. The most difficult thing to face right now is the helplessness that war brings – that feeling of not being able to see a solution. Is the military strategy the only option left now, or would negotiations still be possible? While they agree that the army appears to be successful, living in constant fear and watching innocent civilians fall prey to attacks by the terrorists makes them feel that our country is not really progressing towards achieving peace.

Read the whole thing at the Sunday Times.


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