Healing Sri Lanka's trauma of civil war, July 4-6, 2014Aug 14

Batticaloa Interfaith Healing of Memories Workshop

While in Sri Lanka, we ran a series of workshops from the North through Central to the Southern parts of the country. The workshop above took place at Batticoloa with ex-combatants most of whom were living with physical disability. Sri Lanka is a nation which has gone through a prolonged ethnic conflict with roots as far back as the pre-independent colonial era followed by a horrific war of 30 long years. Even by July 2014, violence and injustice were rampant in many spheres of the lives of Sri Lankans whether in the public realm or the personal realm. No acknowledgement of injustice, no restoration, no credible processes of accountability had emerged in Sri Lanka as yet. In an attempt to heal Sri Lanka from the past trauma of war, the Institute for Healing of Memories offered workshops in different regions of Sri Lanka. Using storytelling in form of group therapy, we facilitated workshops in Jaffna, Batticaloa and Galle.

Participants benefited from the workshop as seen in the change of position from seeking revenge and retributive justice to seeking restorative justice. One participant said: “Justice will come in its time – meanwhile we will heal ourselves”. This assertion came as the Sri Lankans waited for justice for the war atrocities they suffered in the 30 years of civil war.

For details on the work of the Institute for Healing of Memories, please visit their webste:

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