Sri Lankans are not new to fear. Fear, which was put on the country due to the war, was a major part of one’s life for over 30 years.
It was a normal thing to be scared of back then. No one was sure of returning home, due to the bombings in key points in Colombo. Hundreds killed and thousands were wounded in areas that were hundreds of kilometers away from the stage of fighting.
A tensed mind never yields results, and it was true in the case of Sri Lanka, too. We failed to catch up with other countries in the region which had moved far away from us in terms of development.
Sri Lanka saw a different kind of development, a development which was unhealthy for the country and its people in every sense.
What developed was fear, suspicion, mistrust and whatever things that could create division among the people.
Apart from the fear of bombs, people began to fear each other.
This was seven years ago. There is no point in visiting the past which would only create unwanted problems yet again. But, the sad part is that many continue to live in the past and make assumptions of the present and the future.
A person who was born in 2009 would be in primary school, and would be old enough to understand the world. His or her understanding of the war and its implications would be very limited.
True, the person would grow up in a world sans fighting and conflict. But the older society needs to make sure that this new generation does not grow up in a world of conflict in any form.
But sadly, there are instances where the people are once again taken into that era of darkness, not through violence, but through fear factor.
There are those who need the fear factor to be prevalent among the people. There are those who cannot survive without inciting hatred and fear among the people who have been living in harmony despite the war.
There have been incidents which could have ignited the fear factor in the recent past. In fact, the discovery of explosives in Chavakachcheri, Mannar, and then in Kilinochchi last week, triggered a mild tension among the people who suspected that the LTTE could be regrouping.
However, the Government had assured that there was no threat of the LTTE regrouping in the country despite the movement being active in several countries.
While making sure that such unfortunate incidents do not repeat, it is also important to ensure that people are not misled by those who thrive on conflict and chaos. The people are not foolish to go back to problems. But, sometimes, the fear factor could play a crucial role in changing the mindset of a group of balance-minded people.
The future cannot be predicted. But, the actions of the people at the present would determine what the future holds for us and our children. It is easy to spread hatred and animosity, but it would take years to rebuild brotherhood and repair the damages that hatred causes.
It seems like a long time since hostilities ended. A lot of changes have taken place over the years. People too have adapted to live in an environment without tension and fear.
Despite allegations that the war affected continue to languish without adequate help, Sri Lanka has moved quite a distance away from the war.
There are issues that need to be addressed. There are challenges yet to be faced and tackled. Most of them are long-term issues. There is a long way to go if the wounds of war are to be healed.
But what is important to realize that it is easy for the fear factor to dominate once again if the wounds are not healed completely.