Tuesday, 6 January 2009

New Year resolution of the Guardian Website, and bigoted and blinkered views on Communal Unity.

On the first of January, the Chief Editor of the Sri Lanka Guardian Website , declared its goals and ideals as the voice of the people, promising to make it their forum. But not the voices of all people, because, he does not want prejudices, bigoted blinkered view on race, religion and other matters.

He objects to bringing in historical material to establish that Sri Lanka is the land of the Sinhala people. He does not want writers who bring in negative and harmful views on the challenges the country is facing, and having a view contrary to the view that Sri Lanka is a nation of diverse communities which is a historical reality.

The Guardian Website was shocked with the highly offensive declaration the Army Commander had made to a Canadian journalist.

He goes on to say that just as it reacted to the statement of the Army Commander, he will not tolerate any such claims, because such claim if true every one will have to return to the cradle of their origin in Africa.

The last paragraph is interesting, if not significant asking those who claim Sri Lanka belongs to Sinhala to return to Africa. But the original men after leaving Africa may have settled down in other places, such as in Tamil Nadu to become Tamils , and some in the Middle East to become Muslims. In thinking on these lines, the Tamils of Sri Lanka may return to Tamil Nadu, and the Muslims to the Middle East, but where may the Sinhala go to. The Sinhala have to stay where they are as they have no other place to go to, except to jump into the deep blue sea !

The deep blue sea not being an acceptable alternative the Sinhala people will have to remain where they belong to –Sri Lanka. That may be why the Army Commander said that Sri Lanka belongs to the Sinhala.

Of course that will not be an argument to satisfy the Chief Editor of the Sri Lanka Guardian Website. Nevertheless, he should give thought to it. But his website is the table for verbal ping-pong, for the Sri Lanka Tamil diaspora, writing from, London, Canada, Frankfort, Wales, Australia most of them “bashing” the President, the government, the army and the Sinhala. They are apparently most welcome even if they read the Mahavamsa holding it upside down, like Narapalasingham, and others from the Tamil Sangam.

That said the new year resolutions are most of the time forgotten with the passing of time, therefore the Chief Editor of the Guardian website, may later on accept contributions from those writers with prejudiced, bigoted, blinkered views on race, religion and other matters, as the world is after all made up of all these people, the good and the bad, the positive and the negative.

What is essential after the removal of the cancer of terrorism from the body of the nation, is to find ways and means to re- build Sri Lanka as a United Nation of diverse communities. It is often times a sad event, or a death that re enforces the bonds of unity. Let it be with Sri Lanka. Let us not do the mistakes we had done before, let us begin with a new leaf. It is not by asserting our identities that we could unite, but accepting reality as it is, and building the foundation of unity according to the ground, on which the Mansion of Communal Unity is to stand.

In building this Mansion of Communal Unity, what are the realities we should accept, and the irrealities we should throw over board ? The realities whether one likes it or not, are the facts as they are at present. 73.8 percent of the total population of Sri Lanka are the Sinhala, 18.5 per cent the Tamils, and 7.2 per cent Muslims.

We cannot change this situation unless by decimating the Sinhala, like the Incas or the American Indians. Even Narapalasingham’s new history book cannot change the “ground” situation. Nor will the situation change as the Chief Editor of Guardian Website would like to have it, by taking a magic wand and saying that, “…. Sri Lank is a nation of diverse communities which is a historical reality.”

If we stand back from that, “ historical reality”, and take an intelligent stock of things , we may have different perception. This is an invitation to the Chief Editor of the SLG Website , the Tamil Diaspora, and all those pro terrorists, anti Sinhala writers, journalists and historians. The past is better left where it is, and the future is unknown to jump into, therefore we should accept the “present moment” as it is.

Beginning from there we should see what separates us the three major Communities-the Sinhala, the Tamil and the Muslim from each other. They are our different religions, the language, and the culture which is influenced by our religions and our beginnings.

What brings us together despite our differences ? First it is undoubtedly the fact that we have been brought up together in the same land. Therefore the land , that is the Country is the most important uniting factor. It will also be the factor that would divide us if we speak of the historical homelands, or setting up separate Communal areas. Therefore, it is important to keep the Country as a whole to make it the “pole” of unity.

Then what are the other factors that bring us together ? We have a shared culture. The Sinhala, and Tamil have a common cultural back ground based on the religions. Hinduism and Buddhism being two ancient religions that had a beginning in India, bind the Tamils and the Sinhala in a common culture. The Muslims though they have different religious belief, yet they unite in areas of spiritual respect. The Adams Peak or the Sri Pada for instance is sacred for the Sinhala Buddhists, and holy for the Muslims.

The Muslim Community specially in the Villages mixing with the Sinhala and Tamil villagers have absorbed little of each other’s culture in subtle ways that has created bonds of “acceptance”. So it is in the urban areas, where mixing together in schools, celebrations, and festivities, we “ rub off “ to one another our cultural and social interests that draw us close to each other.

It is on these similarities that we will have to build Communal Unity, not on already a prejudiced view, that “ no one race lives by the good grace of another”. This is already dragging in a divisive thought. There is no disagreement that Sri Lanka is the land of the Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays, Burghers and others to whom this country is home.

That is a fact, it is also a fact that we respect the rights and privileges, cultures and religions of each Community, without putting into prominence the communal differences, be it being the minority or being the majority. If that agreement is satisfactory, what if a Sinhala were to say Sri Lanka belongs to me , or a Tamil or a Muslim were to say Sri Lanka belongs to me ?

No body would raise a voice against any one of them, because basically we belong to this country and it belongs to each one of us.

How about that, Mr. Chief Editor of the Sri Lanka Guardian Website , as a call for Unity ? Do you still call it , “prejudices and bigoted and blinkered views on race, religion and other matters” ?

( please see blogs: http://www.charlesperera.blogspot.com/ and http://www.pereracharles.blogspot.com/ )

No comments: