Thursday, June 12, 2014

Listen to the Story of Nijanthan from the North

Sri Lanka’s civil war has left a significant mark in my life. I still remember the day I was seized by the LTTE and forced to become a LTTE child soldier. Although in action and attire I soon became one of them I could never reconcile with the idea of being a soldier. The days in the war zone are vivid images set in my mind. I was admitted to the Vavuniya hospital one day for being shot in the leg.The physical mark of war still remains with me. It was while in this hospital that I first heard that the war had come to an end. I had never wanted to fight for an Ezham (Elaam) state and this brought great joy to me. Finally things could go back to normal and finally I would not have to live in fear of having to be part of the LTTE.

The end of the war did not signify the end of all traces of war. It was challenging to return to the normalcy and routine that I had once craved. During this time I received the opportunity to take part in the SLU’s Future Leaders’ Conference. With the joy of being able to travel the country with freedom also came the challenge of language barriers and difficulty in communication. Nevertheless I was able to meet people from across the nation and soon language did not stop us forming bonds and friendships that were meaningful. The road trip in 2012 with twenty other SLU members marked an important period in my life. I who had once been forced to fight as a terrorist, I who had been despised by others for no fault of my own was now privileged enough to take words of wisdom and encouragement about reconciliationto schools across Sri Lanka. This made a great impact on me and encouraged me to pursue further education. I study IT in the SLU Reconciliation Centre in Mullaitivu and I hope to become a teacher one day. 

The residues of war both in this nation and me will take a long time to heal. But I am hopeful that Sri Lanka will see a better time. It is my hope that the people of this nation will never again say ‘yes’ to war. I also dream to see the day where Tamils will take leadership for noble causes across the country and be agents of change. 

Story By - Nijanthan (Sri Lanka Unites - Dream Team Member)
Translated By - Shruthi Waduge

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