I KNEW NO BAR DURING MY YOUNGER DAYS OF MINORITIES OR RELIGIONS AS THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL I WENT TO HAD NO SEGREGATION WHATSOEVER
Hello dear readers! The month of May is at an end, and believe me, I am relieved that it is. It has been just more than stressful, not only to me, but for all sane, sensible and peace loving people of the nation, no matter what their ethnicity, religious beliefs are, colour, size or social status.
How it affected me personally was I found I had lost my sense of humour even for a brief time, and saw nothing in light hearted vein, as I normally do.
Suddenly, almost overnight, I realised the many factions of my own gene pool, the many corners I belong to, the many cross bred relationships in the family tree, and the delightful mix of cultures that enriched all our lives, and my heart was burdened that somewhere, some atom of me was being eyed with suspicion and that did not seem or feel right.
I knew no bar during my younger days of minorities or religions as the Christian School I went to had no segregation whatsoever. We celebrated other auspicious and religious days just as we did ours, and grew to believe that the occasion was indeed ours. We all contributed towards decorations and food, made by our mothers of course, and we took home some memento to share with our home folk.
When we were young we did not realise that the Government branded us, as it demanded a religion and ethnicity to be stipulated in our birth certificates, which we had no right over. We grew with that, not aware of the implications it would result in later on, for the human race has its evil traits and could emerge at some time.
What if we were only Sri Lankan instead of Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, Malay, Mormon, Bhahai or Chinese? What if our religions were only Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islam Bahai faith or atheist? Would the Registrations of Persons or Census Department have gone berserk?
What if, we saw no divide, because no one and nothing divided us?
What if we intermarried more and shared our vivid and diverse cultures more? What if we did away with caste and “class“?
Would there not be a more beautiful land of harmony and acceptance?
It was stated recently with a tone of vehemence that we live in a Sinhala Buddhist land. Is that by virtue of the percentage of Sinhala Buddhists living in the land? Does that mean that everyone else does not belong?
I could not quite grasp the underlying statement. Did it surmount to the land belonging only to the Sinhala Buddhists? Could it not be a land belonging to everyone else born in it? If not, what does that make the rest of us? In the matter of Education, could not all the languages of the land be mandatory as subjects?
A whole myriad of thoughts ran through my mind in the month that went by as our lives reversed a decade into our past. Memories of violence, mass deaths, flashed before my eyes as day by day new reports of vicious plans to destroy us were unravelled.
The children of today missed out on the thirty-year war and were exposed to terror of a new dimension. Terror schemed and executed by supposedly educated and wealthy youth. Some who had undergone education in foreign universities.
It was ironic that the parents all seem to deny any knowledge of what their children were doing. Wives and siblings meekly went along with the flow so to speak, and did nothing to alert the law enforcement authorities of any unusual behaviour of their family members. That is typical isn’t it? Who would report her own son, brother or husband, even if he was planning on being a jihadist!!
None of them questioned their husbands when they were moved from venue to venue, renting apartments for short periods, purchasing white clothes for women in bulk, or when huge sums of money were entrusted to them for safe keeping!! How idiotic is that!!
That resulted in the entire community being eyed with suspicion and the evil traits raising their heads.
Yes, we are quick to blame everyone, the Government, the authorities, the priests, the races, but if we look at ourselves, we will realize that a tiny part of the blame is ours. We have not been vigilant enough, we have not reported, we have not been careful, we have not foreseen.
It is time, therefore, that we look after our own selves and our own loved ones by being alert at all times.
Please stay safe, be patient with the hope and faith that Sri Lanka will rise!
Till next time then….