My time in Sri Lanka is at an end. As I slipped into the reflective mood typical of times of departure, I looked over my blog to recap all I have experienced here. I realized that my blog entries focused exclusively on the poverty, misery, and devastation on Sri LankaТs east coast. I never mentioned anything about the most heartening part of my experience Ц the people of HHR. In my ten weeks here, I have become convinced that HHR and other similar Sri Lankan NGOs are the key to Sri LankaТs prosperity.
Sri Lanka is a country of enormous potential, but its half-century-old civil conflict has stunted its development. Like in so many other countries, violence in Sri Lanka has begotten more violence. Hostility from the government has incited greater hostility from the LTTE. When one side shoots, the other side bombs. When one side kills a leader, the other side razes a village. This painful cycle of violence has continued for almost 50 years, and has created entrenched hostilities that seem impossible to overcome.
Here at HHR office, I had the opportunity to work with the people who are fighting back. These are the people who still have the decency and the tenacity to demand a return to civility in their country. From the jovial director, Mr. Xavier, who maintains a fantastic sense of humor despite decades of witnessing the most gruesome violence imaginable, to the tireless field officer Parasuraman, who continues to work with groups that have targeted him, these are the people who hold the key to Sri LankaТs future.
They come to their work not because of political pressures in a faraway land or a desire to witness the exotic. They are not motivated by pity, condescension, or guilt. They do their work because they have witnessed and experienced the inhumanity inherent in war, and they have refused to tolerate it.
My time with them draws to a close, but they will forever have my support and my eternal gratitude for welcoming me to their world. For the sake of the thousands of war-weary and tsunami-stricken Sri Lankans, I wish them the best of luck and I hope they succeed.
Posted By Sarosh Syed (Sri Lanka)
Posted Aug 9th, 2005