In the seven years that followed after the war, Sri Lanka has gotten used to the peaceful environment where the guns have been silenced.
The pos-war period has indeed given the people of this country to reflect on the past and make sure that the mistakes made decades ago are not repeated.
The country had lost 30 years of its post-independence era due to the war. For a country which was on the same level as Singapore during the 1950s the war was a curse.
Even though the war lasted for 30 years, the reasons for the war last much longer. Even though the war has ended, the reasons for the war to break out continue to haunt the nation.
There was hatred, misunderstanding, misjudgment, suspicion, and all the negative vibes that separated the communities in the country.
Neighbours distrusted each other, families were broken, and lives were lost. But when the guns fell silent, there was the sound of peace.
One of the immediate needs of the government soon after the war was to ensure that there was no room for small groups to form. The presence of military in the North was justified by the suspicion that its absence could give rise to fresh threats.
The war was indeed over. But there were elements that wanted tension.
Several measures were taken to ensure that violence did not spread in the North. The youngsters were provided with job opportunities and vocational training. Facilities in several schools in the Wanni were upgraded to provide education for the children.
These measures were a must to ensure that children and teenagers were not lured and misled by extremist elements.
The other aspect which was looked into was the infrastructure development in the region.
The war had destroyed everything and compelled the people to start their lives from scratch. Therefore, the government needed to ensure that they had access to basic facilities in order to rebuild themselves. Apart from providing them with machinery, equipment and raw materials for their livelihood, the government also focused on expanding the road networks and linking the region with other parts of the country.
This provided the much needed exposure for the people to have a tab on the happenings around them and to divert their minds from the troubles that had been haunting them.
However, improving the road networks has not helped the people to build the much needed understanding.
People do travel along these roads, but do not stop to talk to fellow citizens and get to know the ground reality. Visiting sites and taking photographs would not help reconciliation in anyway. But talking to a farmer on the side of the road would.
Focus on extremism
Today there are armed groups in Jaffna which are creating problems for the people in the area. They might be small in numbers, but their actions have resulted in widespread concerns over the security situation in the North.
On the other hand, the South too has not been spared. There were incidents of hate speech reported in several parts of the country over the past few days, which has once again raised concerns.
As said earlier, the war is over, but the reasons for the war continue to loom at large. These reasons must be addressed. Hate speech is also a form of violence.
The issue would not be addressed if the authorities focus on the North. Yes, there was extremism in the North. But extremism is not limited to the North alone.
If the government is serious on reconciliation, then it should focus on the North and South equally.
Wounds should be healed
The wounds of the war have not healed yet. The healing process takes years. The wounds may look healed on the outside, but it is far from the truth.
Therefore, it is important that the reasons for the war are discussed and addressed. Going on the path of hate would result in the same mess that the country was in for 30 years.