May 18 is a special day for Sri Lanka because that was the day that the guns were silenced eight years ago.
Many things have happened over the years, some positive and some negative. Meanwhile, Sri Lanka has also faced international pressure in terms of allegations of war crimes, to which a mechanism is yet to be formed.
But even today, there are those extreme elements which look at the slightest of opportunities to trigger some sort of unrest even if it is on Facebook. Eight years have gone by and the powers that be are still grappling to seek a way out of the problem.
There are many problems to be looked into. The issue of the disappeared is one of them. The families continue their search even after eight years have gone by. They need answers. Some may look at these protests as politically motivated. But still, they are mothers, and they need all the support to bring out their grievances out in the open and grab the attention of the authorities.
Then there is the issue of those detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). The TNA has constantly held discussions with the government on the matter. While some steps have been taken on the matter, the overall progress is indeed slow. While the country has made strides over the years, the reconciliation process continues to move at a moderate or slow pace. This is understandable. It is hard to reconcile communities that were divided by war, ethnicities, regions, and mistrust, overnight.
On the other hand, there are also the extremist elements at work which need to create a bit of drama whenever they could.
The key question here would be how the government would deal with such elements to avoid obstacles.
Some continue to live in the past and try to remind the world of what happened. It is a well-known fact that digging the past would only aggravate the current situation. Sri Lanka should also be mindful of the pro LTTE network that is still very much active in other parts of the world. Even though there is very little or no impact by these groups on Sri Lanka, their influences cannot be ruled out in this day and age of social media. Why live in the past?
The country needs to move forward if people are to leave behind the bitterness the conflict had created. We should not live in the past.
At the same time, we should not forget the lessons we learnt through the mistakes made in the past. Those mistakes cost us 30 years of bloodshed.Do not live in the past, learn from it.
Published in the Nation on May 20, 2017