Posted by: mollyscafeistanbul | May 4, 2010

the connection between molly’s cafe and sri lanka?

sounds kind of strange, eh?  however, i have been learning a lot about sri lanka these days from the young man who cleans the cafe every week. it is disturbing that there is so little knowledge about what is going on there.  of course now when i do see something on the news, like the last election, i pay more attention.  the government there is very corrupt and there is little international pressure to clean up the mess between the tamils and the singhalese.  the singhalese are the ones in power and they are very busy at oppressing the tamils.

my cleaner is a tamil, so what i learn about sri lanka comes from him.  his friend, also tamil, showed me the bullet scars on his arms one day.  they both have brothers in prison or brothers who have been killed.  they want their freedom and in both cases, and in the cases of the other sri lankan refugees here, their families have pulled together the money to get them out of the country.  these are people who have had to deal with human traffickers, a dirty business, but one that literally saves some lives.  the one with the bullet scars recently walked to greece in order to get into the european union.  the one who is still here is unwilling to do that,  as he is a little scared of it.  the ones who are here are in limbo because they have some u.n. status as refugees, but they don’t have the right to a residence permit or to work, so the work they get is  under the table.

my cleaner told me that about 3 months ago 25,000 people were killed in sri lanka.  i never saw anything about that in the news.  i asked why the big countries were not showing interest in the situation there, but they said that china and india did not want that.  i did see on the news that the u.n. had issued a rebuke to the current leader, who has imprisoned his opponent on spurious charges, but the leader refused to be chastised.

when i owned a flat and rented it out, an indian tamil lived there for a while.  he taught some of the tamil children living here because as refugees and non turks, they were not allowed to go to school here and of course their families could not afford to pay for a private school.

one of my customers told me he had gone to sri lanka recently for its beaches and i was shocked that he would have gone to a country that oppressed half of its population.

knowing these refugees has brought this situation closer to me.  i find it upsetting to hear these guys calmly state that a brother or sister is dead or in prison.  they often have relatives living in other countries, but it is hard to them to get there.  i wish people in this world would just get along…

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