Plans for Menik Farm
Sri Lanka can’t afford to keep people in camps. I’ve seen direct requests for 1,000 latrines and 15,000 garbage bins. A latrine is about 15,000, so 15 million ($150,000). A garbage bin is like 1000 (I think) so another 15 mil. That’s like $300,000 for a lot of ‘infrastructure’ in the middle of nowhere. No one will be living in Menik Farm in 5 years, but I’ve heard requests for 50,000 bags of cement. It’ll be this weird parking lot in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps they could make it a civil war themepark. Eelam War IV, the ride.
This phase is weird. We should really be building infrastructure in Mullativu, Kilinochchi, Jaffna pennisula, where people live. However, if we don’t build more permanent structures in Menik Farm then the rains will cause a lot of disease and downright misery. If there’s one thing I can’t stand it’s wet feet. Plus the latrines are overflowing already, and the garbage isn’t being picked up, and if that gets in the ground water everybody will get sick. Now don’t go freaking out about like Sri Lanka is a horror story and forwarding stuff to all your friends. If you’re actually concerned please contact Rotary Colombo Regency and buy a latrine. Then talk all you want.
Honestly, it’s a Catch 22. Do you build permanent infrastructure when people should really be resettled? You’re damned if you do and you’re damned if you don’t. Personally I think we need to supply the concrete and bins and stuff because it’s pointless letting the IDPs suffer.
I don’t know if you’ve ever been stuck in a government office for any extended period of time, or jail. I’ve never felt physically threatened in Sri Lanka, but they just waste so much time. I used to think it was utterly pointless, but now I kinda get it. The state is some kind of lumbering behemoth and it just takes a while to process you. It has to sniff you, pass your information around, fill out forms, pass them around, wonder about it, put stuff in giant books, check your story again, forget about you for tea, forget about you for lunch, forget about you overnight, get your report again, ask for photocopies, ask for signatures, have tea, etc.
I have never felt scared in a cop shed, but I have felt insufferably uncomfortable and bored. Menik Farm is kinda like that, except it’s hot, and the water is bad, and there’s like 5,000 people in line in front of you. Everyone has a cough, and there’s flies everywhere and weak people are, like, dying. While it sucks on a human level, it’s simply going to take the state a while to process these people. I mean, they many come with nothing but the clothes on their back, no paperwork at all. Plus they were physically with the LTTE and a few of them actually are LTTE.
I don’t know. I mean, I get the broader issues of justice and human rights, but it’s politically limp. This shit is happening. All we can do for the next three months is improve conditions in the camps. It’s wasteful laying concrete in Menik Farm, but the alternative is that people suffer. So I say just do it. Right now there’s a global pissing contest when we really need latrines. Personally, I think we should we might as well get digging and sort the shit out later.