These blog postings do not necessarily represent the views of all members of the Advisory Council.
"The Sri Lankan military is advertising a newly constructed hotel in the heart of the killing fields in the north of the island, where tens of thousands of minority Tamils were killed in 2009. The holiday resort, called Lagoon's Edge, caters for Sinhala war tourists who want to see the last bastion of the defeated Tamil Tiger rebels."Frances Harrison takes up the story in the Huffington Post. For more on Ethical Tourism in Sri Lanka, and which military run attractions to avoid, check out our "Think Again" campaign.
“When they [Authorities] enforced the coastal buffer zone just after the tsunami, we lost our small hut at the beach. Now we have lost the place where we kept our fishing equipments. But in the same place the tourist hotels are being built and no any law enforcements are made against them. Those regulations are applicable only for small fisher people like us.”says Piyasena Mathangaweera of Uhapitagoda, Hambantota.
“The laws and regulations enacted by the government are violated by them. We lost our house due to 100 meter coastal buffer zone regulations. But the same land has been sold to the foreigners and we have lost our land now.”This is not a NGO, nor a conspiracy. This is Mr. Manoj Ambesuriya, a genuine fisherman’s voice from the Southern fishing village of Kalamatiya at Hambantota, where the President Mahinda Rajapakse comes from. What is the response from the ministers? Can they deny these facts? Are those not the real life stories of the coastal communities?
“Can you see the prosperity of fishermen in Negombo? Also fisher communities at Unawatuna and Hikkaduwa? All those people who were fishermen those days are millionaires now. Don’t you want to become millionaires as those people are? You have been misled by some NGOs. Tourism will bring prosperity to the fisher communities.”So, it is clear that fishers are seen by the government to be of no importance. As are farmers. As are all small food producers who provide rice and fish to the people of Sri Lanka, who feed the nation with their sweat and tears.
“My parents were living on this island, Uchchimune. And today, I am living there. We are collecting water from a spoon and we are safe living under a coconut tree after our daily fishing activities and other daily routines. So, we have very simple life. We do not have big dreams. But, we need not to be disturbed with our lives. My mother and I want to die in this land. My bones should be mixed with this soil and fertilise the land for future generations. I urge not to disturb our simple way of life through tourism.”Dinesh echoes the concerns of most fishermen in the country, whether inhabiting coastal or inland water bodies. How do we make sure their voices are heard by those policy makers and bureaucrats who dream only of the financial prospects of Asia’s wonders? This is a real challenge for the citizens of this country. It is not a conspiracy. It is not the act of traitors. There is real patriotism and dreams for Asia in Sri Lankan society today, but no media to expose common views and no effective civil society or dominant political party to support action on such sensitive issues.
“Let us save the pro-people Divineguma Act that builds the lives of fifteen lakhs of low income families from the Paikiasothy gang that aids and abets the separation of the country.”The reference to the Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Aternatives (CPA) (a think tank in Colombo), Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu, is to be understood in the context of the CPA’s challenge to the constitutionality of the bill on a number of substantive and procedural grounds. The very same day the CPA were also subject to an unusual visit from the military, who had apparently been informed that the CPA’s address was related to the Election Department, which they were investigating. The CPA were themselves unable to understand why the military would be involved in such an enquiry.