18 September 2012

How Nuwan Silva helped win the war on terrorism

What you reap, you sow.  You give, you take.  What goes around, comes around.  Demand and supply.  Crime and punishment.  There are words that go together.  And there are words that go with deeds.  Like ‘thank you’.  There is a ‘give’ and ‘get’ associated with ‘thank you’.  And there is ‘give’ that does not expect ‘get’ and often goes unrecognized.  And there is ‘give’ that does not expect ‘get’ but gets nevertheless and in strange ways.

There are two gifts, two ‘thank-yous’ that I cherish.

Just after terrorism was crushed, Mr. Gamini Edirisinghe, visiting my mother at her place in Pamankade, made a speech of sorts. 

‘These days everyone is getting upahaara (honors).  Those who deserve and those who really don’t deserve.  All kinds of jokers are getting upahaara.  No one will honor you. So I will.  You get a free eye-examination and a free pair of glasses and a nice one too – vaede vennath oney, kolla lassana vennath oney (the job must be done and the boy should also look good).   He made me laugh.  My mother, who passed away a few months later, also laughed.  As did our common friend Muditha Hettigama, who shares a birthday with Gamini.  I didn’t make use of that offer until two year later.  Albert Edirisinghe and Sons ‘recognized’ me for what they believed was my contribution in the long struggle to rid the country of terrorism.  I lost the pair of glasses a few months later and I still haven’t got them replaced.  It was a touching gesture.

A few days ago, a young boy, now domiciled in New Zealand came to see me.  I had been communicating with him for several years.  He is a cook and an ardent and patriotic Sri Lankan fighting LTTE propaganda in that part of the world.  He comments often on what I write.  Encourages by saying that what I write strengthens him. 

Nuwan Silva was on a short visit.  He found the time to find me.  He brought a ‘All Blacks’ mug for me.  And he brought me an expensive bottle of champagne.  He explained.

“This is an award I received.  I work in the Depot Restaurant as a ‘Demi Chef’.  We won the Metro Award for the Best Restaurant in Auckland.  We were adjudged ‘Supreme Winner’ in the ‘Most Innovative Restaurant’ category.  I was wondering who I should give this to, and I thought you were the most deserving.” 

He wrote to me yesterday (and I will not transliterate):  aiye ,you are a hero kenek, we love u a lot.every one wants to see the justice for those who do wrongs things ,they ruin this nation, head of state must punish them,you write brilliant things ,my friends in nz always talk about  your ability to write powerful ture things, mage ammbe  aiye ,that;s why i came to see you , i was previllaged to see you’

He brought with him another gift, for someone more recognized and more deserving.  It was an award of appreciation from SPUR-NZ.  He had got it made.  A simple but elegant plaque.  The recipient was a serviceman. 

This is his story.

Years ago when Nuwan had been working at Abans two Special Task Force officers had come to purchase a mobile phone.  Nuwan had recognized one of them as a schoolmate from Rahula Collaeg, Matara, a few years senior to him.  He had mentioned the fact.  The officer had taken both his hands and said that he had not recognized him and asked him not to think that he was being proud.  He referred to Nuwan as ‘Malli’ (younger brother). 

A year later, in 2001, when Nuwan was going for CIM (Chartered Institute of Marketing) classes, he had seen the man again.  Nuwan had been on a break and had seen him riding a motorcycle.  He had shouted ‘Ayye!’ (Brother!).  He had stopped and said he was not at the Headquarters.  Nuwan noticed a hand injury.  Two fingers had to be operated.  The man was attached to the STF Bomb Disposal Squad.  Apparently he had been in the battle in Batticaloa.  Nuwan had gone to the Headquarters later, but had not found him there.  

Nuwan went to New Zealand in 2006.  He had seen footage of the Welisara bomb explosion and had noticed his friend investigating the site. 

Early this year he had been at a BBQ while on a trip in New Plymouth.  There had been some Sri Lankans.  There had been one person who knew that officer, Dimuth Samaranayake.  He even had Dimuth’s number.  He had called but there hadn’t been an answer.  Nuwan had called the number a few days later.  This is what Dimuth had said: ‘malli umbala wage aya apiwa matak karala agaya karanawata bohoma istuti’.  He thanked him for remembering and appreciating.

Nuwan told me about several bombs that Dimuth had diffused and other explosions he had investigated. 

‘he is oue heroes still doimg a grerat job so humble man.’

I could say ‘thank you for remembering and appreciating, Nuwan’ for it means a lot.  People forget and forget quickly, after all.  Thanks go both ways.  And that’s what turns individuals into communities, populations into nations. 

Sri Lanka did not defeat terrorism because of Dimuth Samaranayake, Nuwan Silva, Gamini Seneviratne or Malinda Seneviratne, but we all played a small part, we did things and we were often vilified for believing that terrorism could be defeated and had to be defeated militarily.  Today, those who vilified are enjoying the peace.  They are not saying ‘thank you’.  it was not for ‘thank-yous’ that people did what they did.   Feels nice though. 


Channa said...

Gratitude makes us sweet.
Gratitude makes us human.
Lest us not forget.
Writers of all calibre has a duty that we don't.
Well done.

h. said...

This is such a beautiful piece. The service you've done and still do for this country is ALWAYS appreciated. Those who know, know. Those who read, see. There are of course retards here and there who'd try to label you a government-supporter or some other supporter. That only goes to show either they don't read or they have agendas. Not to mention very small brains.

You are a hero.

Thank you Nuwan Silva. We are all touched.

sri lankan lion said...

Thank! I love my motherland and war heroes. We must look after them,remember them everyday. We all need to rebuild the nation, empower our Tamil people and kids.

nuwan silva

Channa said...

Nuwan... thank you. You are one in a million.If we had a million of you we would be great.

Channa said...

Thanks Nuwan... it is chaps like you that make our nation great.

sri lankan lion said...

Thanks channa we all belong to our beloved mother srilanka.i often whisper the great patriotic song Lanka Lanka pembara lanka dinawamu aba lanka to my heart ,the lyrics of the song make you to love her immensely with your undying affection forever.

sri lankan lion said...

Thanks a lot channa
I whisper lanka lanka pembara lanka songs that makes me to love her affectionately ,the lyrics of the song is what we need to get immersed in to run an extra mile for our motherland. every minute I love her so much.

Rumal Jayamuni said...

Salute to all those contributed in their own way!
Thank you!