Prospects for LTTE surrendees
The decision by
the Foreign Employment Ministry to expand the skills development
programme for LTTE surrendees in the North East with a view to
equip them for overseas employment is a most welcome move which
would enable these hapless youth open a new leaf in their
hitherto miserable lives.
The move while providing equal opportunity for their
development on par with the rest of their countrymen could also
win praise for Sri Lanka for the treatment of her enemy forces
compassionately, unlike in some countries where captives are
tortured and maltreated although they preach Human rights to
A front page story in our weekend paper the Sunday Observer
stated that over 60 LTTE cadres who have surrendered at the
three rehabilitation Centres set up by the Security forces in
the Jaffna, Batticloa and Trincomalee Districts are currently
being put through their paces in vocations such a carpentry
motor mechanism and plumbing that have a ready demand in the
foreign job market.
Having being forced into a life where death stalked them
every moment this may have been a welcome release to these youth
who may never have known about the opportunities afforded by the
larger world outside their dark prison. Hence the authorities
who mooted this idea should be praised for displaying vision.
This is the first time that these youth are being exposed to
a different life away from the guns, bombs and land mines and
the first time they are being given a taste of civilian
existence following the traumatic experiences of the life they
had left behind.
This is also the first time they are being provided an
opportunity to make use of the their hands which not very long
ago were holding guns and bombs, to be put into productive use
that would fashion a for them a future in a civilised world
where they could live as equal stake holders enjoying the
opportunities and pleasures open to youth of their age.
It would no doubt be a tough task to get these youth with
their brutalised mind set to acquaint themselves with a totally
alien milieu and the necessary counselling and phycological
support is a sine quo non to exorcise them from the evil that
had been dinned into their young minds. It is hoped that
attention would be paid to this aspect as well so that the
project will achieve the desired results.
Now that the programme is proceeding in earnest measures
should also be explored for attracting foreign assistance to
enhance the scope of the programme. This, while taking the
project to a new level would also reinforce the Government's
claim of equal treatment afforded to all it's citizens while
demonstrating it's commitment to free innocent tamils from the
murderous grip of the LTTE.
There is no doubt that the customary industry and zeal of the
Jaffna citizen would have rubbed on these youth to quickly
assimilate into their new environment and take to the new vistas
open to them with gusto.
While the development of skills to acquire a profession is
commendable these youth should also be exposed to the mainstream
life of the South so that they would be able to compare the two
existences and appreciate the virtues of civilised living.
In this regard steps should be taken to create more
programmes of interaction and expose them to the orderly
civilian life that would invariably facilitate their integration
into their new environment.
These were youth who had been cut away from the good thing of
life and lost their innocence of their youth under a murderous
gun culture depriving them of a home and a normal existence.
They were brutalised and raised in a environment where only
life they were accustomed to was of violence, mayhem and a trail
of death and devastation. The proponents of this programme
therefore should be commended for this far seeing approach where
the they had opened the doors for a new life for a segment of
our citizens who languished in oblivion behind the iron curtain
exposed to a beastly existence.