My parents and sisters
were living down Ratnakara Place, Dehiwela. My eldest sister is
married to a Sinhalese, who later I found out to be the person
who cared and took charge of our family. If not for his care,
I would have lost faith in all.
I rang my parents
the same morning. However, the phone kept ringing without any
answer. So I kept trying again and again. Later on, I managed
to get hold of my sister and her voice was not that good. I just
asked her why there was no answer. She responded that she and
Upali had to move our parents and sisters to a safer location.
I asked her what had happened and she said that the house was
burnt down and all the property was either looted or burnt by
mobs. They were directed to our house by a thug who lived down
the same road as it had very valuable items that were later looted
and the house burnt to ashes. Interestingly, our house was painted
green because my parents always voted for the United National
Party. However, on this day, it was the government of J.R.Jayewardene
(UNP leader) who let it all happen. J.R.Jayewardene (President
of Sri Lanka during the riots) did not even apologize to the Tamils
for his lack of support. That was the turning point for me.
A BBC series called
“Siva’s People” telecasted Black July and our
house was shown on it. I could not even recognize the house that
I grew up in. I must say that the mobs did a great job- it was
completely burnt down to the ground. My parents hid in our next-door
neighbours toilet. They could not handle seeing their own house
being burnt in front of their own eyes. My parents had to run
out of the house in the clothes that they were wearing and that
was all they had left. Never did I see any bitterness in my parents
, but I knew that my father was not the same again.
I grew up with very good Sinhala friends in the Peradeniya campus.
They called me and apologized for the terrible things that had
taken place in Colombo. In fact, they even took lots of food to
my parents who were hiding in another Sinhala house in Dehiwela.
My parents did not even know this family but they cared for them
for a few days, till Upali took charge of them. I got my parents
and sister to come down to the UK. They could have stayed here
but they only came for a short period just to make me happy. They
returned back to Colombo. However, I just did not feel the same
since this incident. My younger sister got married in 1986 and
I did not even want to go to Sri Lanka- that’s how hurt
The lessons have
not been learnt and the troubles are still going on all fronts.
I will never blame the Sinhala people as they could not help for
the bad behaviour of the mobs. We have to move on and see that
this beautiful country can get back to normal and our people live
with each other in peace.
Since then I have
been to Jaffna twice and my eyes were full of tears to see how
much suffering the people were going through for their daily survival.
May the good Lord take over and help people to understand that
life is more important than power and making money out of this
terrible crisis. We also must not forget that this has now been
going on for almost 25 years.
The sooner we all
do the right things the sooner this beautiful paradise will come
up from this terrible mess.