Written by Sandra Francius
On 20th September 2012, the Sri Lankan High Commission invited Grassroot Diplomat to visit a special one-day photo exhibition to highlight the renaissance of Sri Lanka after a long history of terrorism and war.
The photographic exhibition was divided in two parts examining the violence of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE, or more commonly known as the Tamil Tigers) and the reawakening after defeating 30 years of terrorism.
During the reign of the Tamil Tigers, many policy-makers and academics died during the civil war but the main victims of such atrocity were local people who were unable to escape. Methods of terrorism included public transport attacks, suicide bombers and the enrolment of child soldiers – all of such violence were depicted in this illustrative exhibition. The second part of the exhibition led to the hope that arisen from violence. The end of violence and commitment of the government to reconcile the communities are highlighted in particular.
The Sri Lankan Government has initiated several social economic and cultural programmes to uproot communal differences. The other challenge for the government is to wipe out misunderstanding cultivated by the LTTE among the international community and certain sections of the Tamil Diaspora. Nowadays, massive development projects are being carried out in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. These regions are the paths of physical and social development. Moreover, the country as a whole is becoming a single tourist destination with focus on urban and rural development and the reconstruction of infrastructure to facilitate this.
There are still many things to do and the communities are still in need of help to overcome their past. Legal practitioners at the exhibition expressed their concerns to this issue with Mr. Fritz Kodagoda, Barrister Mediator, talking about how local law centres are in urgent need of funding for development. In its goal to bridge the gap, Grassroot Diplomat is interested in focusing its connections in building better relationships between the people and government of Sri Lanka and will continue to pay close attention to developments made in this region.