Imagine yourself in the middle of the ocean during a storm, helpless, thrown around as the waves crash into you from all directions. Every moment you are struggling to keep your head above the water, all efforts to get away are futile as you realize that nothing can be done to save yourself and your your life is at the mercy of the storm, one that has been raging since you were born and doesn’t seem like ending. Every moment is a constant battle to try escape, try get ashore where it is safe and you can control your life but now feels like you’ve thinking that forever. This does sound like a tale of someone being punished in purgatory but sadly, this is somewhat a reality for so many people affected by that war here in Srilanka now referred to as Internally Displaced Persons or IDP’s.
The hardships that these people face aren’t known to most of us urban dwellers who haven’t been as adversely affected by the war as they have. They had nothing to do with the war but it forced them out of their lands, made them refugees in their own country, destroyed their livelihoods, rendered them helpless and took away their basic human rights, to live life the way they wanted. Almost everyday for the past two decades has been a struggle to survive, their only motivation being the hope that they might be able to return to their lives after the cruel hand that fate had dealt them. And cruel it was for those who were born to these refugees, born into a world of suffering they had done nothing to deserve.
We may think the war is over and so to their suffering, but in reality their problems are far from over. Everyday they struggle to do the things that many of take for granted like get an education, go to college and get a job. But even getting an education is hard let alone getting a job. They aren’t even able to exercise their civic right to vote. Which begs the question as to what is the point of living in a democratic system if you can’t be part of it? Their constant cries for humanity fall on deaf years. In this life of limbo that they live, everyday is a struggle to survive, to continue, to hope as they are constantly bashed by the unceasing waves of injustice, insecurity, uncertainty and desperation.