In this issue of the Refugee Watch Online, we decided not to focus on the experience of any particular country. Instead, the accent in this issue is on mixed experiences of forced migration and several causative and resultant factors. We have two articles under the Perspective section. One concerns the environment and politics of displacement; the other displaced women’s adjustments to situations post return.
Dilip Gogoi in his article talks about the way construction of dams has been presented as the national development agendas despite the fact that such an agenda systematically excluded others who did not subscribe to the Nehruvian model. The he takes a glance at how big dams will have serious implication on the cultural bonds that the Arunachali tribes maintain. But, the challenge towards contesting such vehement resource use lies in understanding how marginal landscapes are integrated into a nationalist dream of integrating frontier space. The logic of resource exploration to propel the national economy is linked to the very process of the production of capital. Beyond the ecological consequences of mega projects, question of displacement of local communities, the cultural diversity of the local region presents unique challenge to the production of capital. Thus the latter would have a ruinous effect on the very societal bases of the region.
The second article, by Pakkeer Mohideen Mohamed Feroz, a human rights worker in Sri Lanka, talks about the post return challenges faced by women in the erstwhile conflict zones. The women who were living in camps or return areas, their position in Sri Lankan society is extremely vulnerable because they are dependent on the state and humanitarian agencies, with little ability to determine the course of their own lives. He lists all the different reasons due to which adjustment becomes difficult and shows that the root often lies in the reason of displacement itself. Each new causative factor shapes its victims in a way much different from other factors.
The News section has entries on HIV/AIDS, and armed non state actors in Burma and their roles in society. For the Reports section we have excerpts from reportage by Bhavani Fonseka and Mirak Rahim on settlement of the land question in the eastern province of Sri Lanka.
On our part, we hope the issue is worthwhile. We heartily welcome comments and suggestions.