Urban Development Authority (UDA) has seen fit to place a used army tank there for everyone to see.

Every evening, as the park fills up, people clamour to get an up close look at the vehicle. While such objects naturally attract the attention of most people, it is surprising that the authorities have chosen to place this in a “child friendly” environment.

In fact, the image of the people crowding a tank in a public place is not too dissimilar to those images seen of people in the West Bank in Palestine crowding around abandoned Israeli tanks (see attached photos).

The only difference between the situations is Palestine is a war zone, the Urban Wetlands Park is exactly what the name suggests, a park. Officials have claimed that the tank was one that was used during the war and they wanted to give the public an opportunity to see it up close. As to why they chose to put it on display at a park rather than a military museum is not explained.

While such a park is a welcome addition to the city, the UDA will need to seriously reconsider the deployment of an out of use tank as an attraction.

Israeli Tank In Palestine-2

Wetlands Park Tank-2

  • The park was probably constructed by the same SL Army Engineer regiment that renovated the Race Course, so they must have thought it was a nice touch. Back in the ’70s, the SL Army held an annual tattoo at the Sugadadasa Stadium, and the SLAF had an exhibition each year in which they displayed fighter aircraft. Both were a great hit with kids. I remember sitting in a MiG as a child, and watching the Sri Lanka Light Infantry drilling. There would even be an enactment of a commando raid on an enemy stronghold. Sathutu Uyana, the childrens’ playground that’s part of Victoria Park had a SLAF Jet Provost on display for a decade or two, and no one thought it was odd. All of this was before the war, so it’s nothing really new.

  • Ranga Kalugampitiya

    Those in power seem to be under the impression that the ongoing romanticization of war would always work in their favour. By the time they realize that the process could take unexpected twists and turns, they will be too late.

  • Mary

    Militarising the minds of the families in a Buddhist Republic park!

  • Renu

    This is something which gives the idea that the country is ruled by a Dictator. When in countries like Russia, China displays the might of the fleet of War Equipment it is to instill fear into the masses . This is exactly what the authorities want here too. You can ask any Child Specialist regarding weapons seen by them in their childhood, instill a sense of war in them

    • Those kids playing on the tank don’t seem very fearful, no? And as a kid I was never scared of the fighter planes and marching troops.

  • “I had always found it jarring to see a battle tank in a manicured recreation park. Why, amidst the green leaves and purple and yellow flowers, is there a broken down instrument of war begging for people to come and admire it?”

    Via ‘Weliweriya Haunts Me: I Remember Mahinda’s Smile, Is He Smiling Now?’ by Namini Wijedasa – http://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/weliweriya-haunts-me-i-remember-mahindas-smile-is-he-smiling-now/