At the threshold of Kilinochchi town, it is hard to miss a decidedly symbolic edifice.Venturing past, to the heart of the town it would strike a chord even with those unacquainted with the bygone tremors of the region. A stark reminder of a momentous event, it stands stolidly as it ushers you in, to the unfolding future of Kilinochchi.
Words Prasadini Nanayakkara Photographs Prabath Chathuranga
In the Northern Province of Sri Lanka, situated just south of Jaffna is Kilinochchi encountered along the A9. Approaching the town at Ananthapuram is an unmistakeable monument that begs interpretation. A large cuboid structure is rent apart at its centre with projectile that pierces through. Along the many veins of rupture that run across it, at its topmost springs a bloom faced skyward basking beneath the national flag soaring high above. Unveiled in May of 2010 this war memorial signifies the liberation of Kilinochchi that proved decisive in heralding peace to the entire island. Within a few months of this strategic event that befell on January 2, 2009, arrived the dawn of true freedom for the entire nation.
Those who visit the site can emerge enlightened as not only does it unravel its sequence of metophorical imagery but pays tribute to those who brought about its outcome. From the roadside a short flight of stairs falls across meticulously pruned lawns that reach the monument that stands at 20 feet high and 30 feet long. At its foot are three tablets; one that pays tribute to the armed forces and the state leadership, bringing to light the 57 division and its supporting forces while a second reveals the names of the commanders at the time of its liberation. Till then held in captivity and an impenetrable stronghold for over a decade this monumental accomplishment is duely signified as the “greatest victory achieved”.
This introductory landmark hails visitors in and Kilinochchi town unfolds beyond. And there life spurs on in a steady surge.
The third of the tablets details the symbolism such that the solid cuboid pierced by the missile denotes the gallant operation and the steadfast strength of the armed forces in the eradication of terror from which blossomed the lotus of peace. The flag that rises above conveys the salvaged integrity of a nation’s glory. It is in total a tribute to the fallen, to valour and eternal peace.
This introductory landmark hails visitors in and Kilinochchi town unfolds beyond. And there, life spurs on in a steady surge. Side by side are the shadows of the old and the rising new, standing in stark constrast of what was and what promises to be. A ground filled with school children, roads rising with dust from the daily bustle of life, a kovil bell ringing in the distance… today the life and activity has kicked up a storm, yet not of turmoil but a new and exuberant energy. The road travels far and the journey is long, but the begining is here.