So, I got out of jail in Hambantota and slept at the hotel. Inspector Gunaratne called in the morning to see how I was doing. It was dumb to sneak into the port construction site and the police were very professional in processing me. I couldn’t ask for better treatment and it was actually nice to chat with them in Sinhala about random stuff. In the morning, anyways, I got in the car, said bye to the trishaw drivers at the corner and drove to Colombo. Along the way I saw everything. It’s quite an exciting time to be in Sri Lanka.
I drove from Hambantota to Tangalle, 14 km from Mahinda’s hometown of Weerakatiya. There people were gathered in the town square to watch Mahinda’s speech. There were school children, little Muslim chappies with their hatties, girls, boys, men, women children. Admitedly, the largest cheer was for the holiday tomorrow, but it’s still nice to be together.
And there were flags and people waving flag all the way from there to Colombo. Along the way people handed out food and drink, I had cake near Dikwella, I think, dates from Muslims near Kalutura, biscuits, fruit drink, there was kiribath, this, that, whatever. It was nice.
At the same time, however, there are a lot of babies and kids with malnutrition and pneumonia at Vavuniya Hospital. There’s scabies in Padaviya. So that is a pressing need. There are also wards full of soldiers and I’ve heard from doctors who are doing debilitating amputations and surgeries on these brave men and women. On this I agree with Voice In Colombo that these are two urgent priorities.
It is great to see Sri Lankans out and waving the flag. I agree that some of the crowds may seem hostile. Maybe they even remind of the milling riots of 1983. But those days are gone. These days Tamils do not have full rights and my friend in Wellawatte says there were no celebrations there. Which I understand. But now we finally have a chance to separate Tamil politics from terrorism. And the sole representative and sun god is dead. Pottu Amman is dead, and the leadership of the LTTE is decapitated. I think they’re done.
So, while the pride is good, Sri Lanka has just started. We’ll probably fuck it up, but we might as well take a shot. Help now, either IDPs or soldiers or both. All are deserving, and all are essential for a better future for all of us.