White van in Jaffna. Seriously, there’s a lot of them.
Personally, I hate the white van metaphor. I mean, most vans are white, and there’s a lot of vans. If you want to see white vans, just go stand outside a school. Or my house, where they’re running an unzoned ‘international’ school next door. White van central.
This, however, does piss me off. It’s a report from the BBC, bias aside (you heard me Charlie), which highlights a number of ongoing abductions in Sri Lanka, especially Colombo. I remember during the war that Tamil friends would go home by seven out of fear. It’s not that anymore, but it’s not good.
Ramasamy Prabagaran, for example, is the dude who owns Panama Traders, an electronics shop in Majestic City. I’ve been there. A bit expensive but all right. He’s been abducted, rather conspicuously after previously (and legally) complaining about torture in police custody.
So anyways, he was abducted in front of his family by armed men.
In other instances, community organizers Lalith Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan disappeared in the north. I remember hearing about someone abducted from police at the courts.
The thing about the white van trope is that it conjures up images of death squads, which is not happening. There haven’t been abductions on a scale since the war ended, and the time of proper death squads was really under Premadasa during the Sinhala insurrection.
Regardless, even this scale of abductions is way too much. I don’t think the government is complicit, but they are implicit in that this is basic law and order. The streets are free of terrorism, so good job. Now they need to be free of fear in general.