23 November, 2020

Shock And Awww!

Fret, frown, forget. A formula for untruth and reconciliation.

Illustration by Sorit
Shock And Awww!

How do you efface memories of the fact that at least 40,000 civilians (Tamils) were killed in the final phase of a genocidal war in Sri Lanka, the majority of them by the Sri Lankan army’s shelling of hospitals and “safe zones”? How do you move on when 3,00,000 Sri Lankan Tamils were internally displaced—and continue to be treated as suspects by a chauvinist Sinhala regime? You encourage tourism, pilgrimages, music and dance performances, literary festivals, football friendlies and, of course, cricket tournaments. Once these vital signs of normality are in place, you look the other way as Sri Lankan Air Force personnel train at the Indian Air Force station in Tambaram, near Chennai, or are shifted out of the state when Tamil Nadu’s politicians file their obligatory grumbling.

What’s unfolded in TN in the past week is a vulgar charade of competitive righteousness on the part of all players, including the media. So when the Sri Lankan government sends handpicked, vetted tourists—mostly Sinhalese Christians, but a handful of Tamils...



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