Over two years have passed since the fighting stopped in Sri Lanka and yet division continues to rage in the interpretation of events during the latter stages of the war. In the recent channel 4 documentary “Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields”, government forces were accused of committing atrocious acts on Tamil civilians, while recent articles such as this; have jumped to the defence of the military and point out the late crimes of the terrorist organisation, the LTTE.
Neither view should be ignored. I believe that both sides committed terrible acts during the war, and I agree those responsible should be made accountable. Similarly, people cannot be expected to simply forget the tragedies of the past.
However, I find it difficult to see how people can concentrate on reconciliation when there is a continuous back and forth of rebuttals from pro- and anti- government supporters. This bickering will only amount to people becoming further entrenched in increasing extreme interpretations of events. Attack breeds defence, and in this manner no progress will be made.
In no way do I dispute the claims made by either side, rather I am frustrated at the way the discussion has been handled by the press. Journalists almost seem to be engaged in a competition of “who suffered most”, which inevitably encourages inflammatory remarks from the opposition.
In order for us all to move on from this dark episode, I strongly believe all parties need to acknowledge their own failings and fully empathise with their counterparts. With this in mind, when reading such articles, please consider the other side of the story. Let’s hope that future pieces truly tread the middle ground, and that they place the emphasis, not on blame, but on forgiveness.