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Reflection on my trip to Jaffna - Opinion
[Updated :: 2011-08-07 17:53:03 Hours]

Security forces are doing a tremendous job and one of the most wonderful things to see is the relationship that the security forces have built with the people. They are working side by side to restore the North. I witnessed and experienced the commitment from the forces to help the people rebuild their lives, writes Sri Lankan expatriate Mr. Mano Sekaram following a holiday spent in Jaffna.

Full text of the letter written by Mr. Mano Sekaran follows.

Dear Friends,

Having spent many holiday's of my childhood in Jaffna the trip last week was a particularly nostalgic trip down memory lane for me. After 30 years we drove down the A9, passing the towns Omanthai, Mankulam, Murukandi, Paranthan, Pallai. Kodikamam and Meesalai ...these names echo in my memory never forgotten. Then almost like an old friend rising to greet you, we approached Jaffna, it is astonishing how most things are still the same.

You can see small lanes with fences, Palmyra trees nestling in the red soil, and the sweltering heat. Looking around it is almost as though time has stood still as you see young girls on bicycles, men with vetti attending to their business, temples and schools every hundred meters and old charming houses.

We were lucky enough to be able to travel the length and breadth of the Jaffna peninsula. But words feel inadequate to describe it thoroughly. It is definitely something that you need to visit and see for yourself. It's safe, secure and peace is real

The war has taken a toll in certain parts of Jaffna ....but Jaffna still retains the quaint charm that it had over 30 years ago - there is absolutely no denying that infrastructure is been developed at a rapid pace. Government institutions have been strengthened and people have started to rebuild their damaged properties, business is catching up making Jaffna a buzzing hive.

Security forces are doing a tremendous job and one of the most wonderful things to see is the relationship that the security forces have built with the people. They are working side by side to restore the North. I witnessed and experienced the commitment from the forces to help the people rebuild their lives.

Indeed the relationship is such that in my opinion General Hathurusinghe (Jaffna Commander) would have got more votes if he had contested the last LG election in Jaffna.

Of the many encounters I had during my trip, the most touching one was a conversation my wife and I had with a 15-year-old boy, (who has never travelled out of Jaffna) about cricket. As we spoke, he was surprised to hear that we, along with the rest of the country watched the World Cup Cricket Finals against India with our family and friends that we stayed up all night together as a nation. He told us that he watched the match alone at his house, while the rest of the brood was asleep. And when the dreaded result came to pass he went to bed crying all night. This young boy cried that night for a different reason.... he cried for his country.

We need to forget and forgive and focus on the future Our challenge is to integrate people in the north into the Sri Lankan society and make the Northern Economy a vibrant contributor like the old days..... but more over its to help the people of Jaffna embrace the Sri Lankan identity they have been denied for so long. It is our duty as Sri Lankan's to help our people and let them know that they are just as Sri Lankans as we are and move forward as one people and one nation.

Mano Sekaram

4th August 2011

(Courtesy: Defence.lk)

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