The Sunday Leader

“Whatever We Lost We Will Regain” – The North Revives After Conflict

by Chuls Bits & Pics (

Kamsika with 8 month old Vijay Kumar, Jeyapuram. Photograph©Chulie de Silva

They came carrying babies in arms, toddlers in bicycle baskets, the disabled in wheel chairs, the old and the young, to gather under a tree to plan and build back their village and the community.

The meeting at Jeyapuram South in the North of Sri Lanka is held under the Cash for Work Program (CfW) a component of the World Bank’s Emergency Northern Recovery Project  (ENREP). The meeting of resettled villagers commences with songs of inspiration, with everyone joining in. The voices are strong, they sing in unison, and hands are raised, the spirits revived.

On the road to the resettled villages we could see a flattened and scarred land with only the outside toilets that still stand as sentry posts in a devastated landscape.

However, heralding the promise of things to come it was cheering to see the bright patches of fresh green replanted paddy. “Revival of agriculture is vital for communities like ours which were primarily agriculture based farming communities,” says Sinnappah Sellayah, in Jeyapuram South.
Sellayah belongs to a group of seven in a welfare committee in Jeyapuram. He says there are 31 such groups and the primary need is water for cultivation. After 30 years of not being in use he says the Devankattu water tank needs to be rehabilitated.

Many women have sustained debilitating injuries and have heartbreaking stories of multiple displacements,  loss of husbands and children. But they are out in force,  actively participating in the CfW  program. Thirubakaran Selvi is the Secretary of the Jeyapuram South village rehabilitation committee. “There are 45 single women households in Jeyapuram says Navi Sellamah, a thin wiry 67 year old who was looking after Kandiah Thevendram in a wheelchair. Asked if she was a relation of Thevendram,  Sellamah pauses her betel chewing gives a wry grin and says “We got displaced together, survived together, so now everyone is a relation.”

Lunch in the shade. Photograph©Chulie de Silva The mid-day meal is cooked by the not so strong. At their invitation we joined the workers when they put down their tools for a  meal cooked in an open hearth under the shade of a canopy of trees in Amaithipuram. The meal of chick peas served on freshly picked green leaves for plates washed down with warm sweet tea was delicious. It was not only touching that the little they had they shared with us so warmly. Serving us as very gracious hosts were  35 year old Anna Mary a mother of five,  who lost her husband in the conflict and Sinnappa Anthony Amma another widower.

Both had very sad tales to tell and at first when I wanted to photograph them said “how can we smile when we have lost so much.” But after a chat, they did find smiles for the camera and with it a request to us to return.

The strong sense of unity and community spirit prevails everywhere. The old and the disabled like Thevendram participate in the CfW program looking after babies while mothers work in the field. ”Whatever we lost we will regain,” says Sellayah emphatically in Jeyapuram.

15 Comments for ““Whatever We Lost We Will Regain” – The North Revives After Conflict”

  1. Dilshan

    A new party in Tamil Nadu, inspired by Tigers

    On May 18, the first anniversary of the death of LTTE leaders including Velupillai Prabhakaran, Tamil Nadu will have a new political party — this time to be launched by a film director.

    The latest entrant from the Tamil cinema is an ardent LTTE supporter Sebastian Seeman, who on Saturday unveiled the Naam Tamilar (We the Tamils) party’s flag, which closely resembled the rebels’ Tiger insignia — barring the twin rifles in the background.

    Naam Tamilar, now functioning as a social outfit, aims to toe the hardline abandoned by other Dravidian parties over the years on issues ranging from the situation in Sri Lanka to Mullaiperiyar and seek a better deal for Tamils and Tamil Nadu.

    • Peter R de Fries

      Dear Dilshan, I read this article already on the internet

      Naam Tamilar is a world wide political Tamil organization that have an estimated 10.000.000 tamil supporters from all over the world and is based in tamil Nadu. Their goal is to awaken and unite tamils from all over the world in their demand for Eelam.
      PS The Tiger in the flag is an ancient Tamil symbol, just like the sinhalese have their lion!

  2. Aaj

    Hope they find a better culture than their sucide bombing tamil hindu culture.

    • anthony jones

      The LTTE has left fond memories that the racist Sinhalese can and will never get over.

      Atleast thanks to the LTTE, the sufferings of the Tamil people was exposed to the world.

      How the war was won is another issue hopefully there will be an enquiry soon. a j.

      • Japane

        Tamils shoudl pack their bags and go back to Tamil Nadu instead of stinking up Sri Lanka with their racism.

    • Peter R de Fries

      they should not be underestimated and almost everyone in the world has a better reputation that the warcriminals in Colombo who massacred 40.000 civilians in mullaitheevu last year despite international warnings!!!

    • Peter R de Fries

      Oh, I see! you mean Karuna Amman!!! the LTTE terrorist, child recruiter and a minister under rajapaksa!

  3. Peter R de Fries

    Tamil People are suffering hardships because they are being denied by the whole world in their struggle for freedom, rights and dignity but they will overcome and strengthen themselves to take up their struggle for an independent Tamil Eelam with the help from all who supports Human Rights!!!

    • Dilshan

      Sarath Fonseka’s People, the Low Caste Bergers in Singheelam will fight like LTTE with arms for their Freedom and Dignity.

  4. kevin

    who cares. lol.

  5. Dilshan

    Thamizhina Padukolaigal – Paper Back

    This book painstakingly records massacres that occurred between 1956 – 2008 from first hand information. Although the book is by no means complete the compilers have done a commendable job recording part of contemporary history without leaving it to future historians. Our gratitude is due to all individuals and institutions who laboured hard under trying conditions to compile this book.

    These massacres were carried out by the Sinhala armed forces ably aided and abetted by racist Sinhala politicians. The genocidal war against the Thamil people has killed more than 100,000 Thamils since 1956. In the last phase of the Eelam War IV (May, 2009) 25,000 civilians died and twice that number were seriously injured. Sadly some among them are some of those who worked on this project.

    Rev. Fr. M.X.Karunaratnam who functioned as the Chairman of the NorthEast Secretariat on Human Rights (NESOHR) was killed in a Claymore attack carried out by the Long Range Reconnaissance Petrol (LRRP) of the Sri Lanka Army on April 20, 2008 in Vanni.

    The very first massacre deals with what took place in Inginiyakala on June 05, 1956 in the aftermath of the Sinhala Only bill passed in the parliament. This was the commencement of Sinhala mob terrorism against unarmed Thamils. The police was ineffective and remained mute spectators.

    The book goes to record in detail a further 156 massacres giving detail account of names of victims, occupation and age.

    The preface has been written by the well known Thamil activist Dr. Ellyn Shander MD. The book has been published by Manitham Publishers the well known human rights organization based in Chennai. Thamil Nadu.

    Applicable Octroi charges should be paid by the consignee

  6. It sounds like you’re generating difficulties yourself by wanting to solve this concern instead of searching at why their is usually a dilemma from the earliest spot.

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