This is a poor photo, but it’s basically it. You’ve got the construction, the money, the people on bicycles, the promise of a better future. And the military in the shadows. Nothing’s in focus and this was taken out of a moving car, but I think this basically gets it. This is Kilinochchi 2012, post-war, pre-something.
Kilinochchi, if you didn’t know, is between Vavuniya and Jaffna, that is, between the north-central and the north. For a while it was the defacto capital of the LTTE, a separatist terrorist group. When the Army started closing in the LTTE herded the people out of Kili and everywhere, keeping them in front of them as a massive human shield. Kili was a ghost-town, empty. It used to be where the LTTE showed off their governing abilities to NGOs and visitors, but when push came to shove they chose a gunpoint exodus over defending the place.
When I last passed through there in 2010 it was a ruins. Every building was bullet marked, there was a downed water tower and not a cup of tea besides from an Army canteen. The downed water tower is still there, with a souvenir shop besides, but everything else has changed. But I’ll get into that in another post, this is just one post. You can already see the Commercial Bank, which is actually the second one within, like, 200 yards. I’m not saying Kilinochchi is booming, but we (Sarvodaya, for a Deshodaya meeting) stayed in a functional hotel and there’s shops and signboards and people on the street. Still military, but a lot less. Crazy construction, the roads are a mess.
Anyways, it’s all in the photo.