I don’t belong to the majority Buddhist population of our country, nor am I a minority Tamil. I don’t have political agendas, nor do I idolize the likes of the international community. All I am is a more fortunate Sri Lankan youth, lucky enough to be brought up in the urban sector who is indeed privileged than a lot of people in this country. Within the little bit of democracy that’s left in the land I love, I still get to express my views publicly in a less publicized forum like this, and I am afraid the day is near where such simple luxuries in life could be a thing of the past.
I grew up in the midst of Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict. I tried to avoid using busses, just for the fear of being blown into bits. I despised the LTTE. They are as effed up as it gets. Just as you, I was hoping for the day this country will see the end of the war. But to date I will not forget the stories told to me by my elders as to why such a situation arose in the first place. And the disturbances towards racial harmony throughout this year were just another constant reminder of the stories from the past.
Sri Lanka taking the international stage
In the last few days, our country has managed to successfully take a share of space in many international news entities such as BBC, C4, Reuters, CNN, TheGuardian, Sky News, Aljazeera so on and so forth for all the wrong reasons.
So here are the top ten things that are being reported
- War Crimes in the last stages of the war with 40,000 (as per the UN report) civilians being killed mostly by government forces
- Stories of post war torture and rape, from as recent as this year.
- Grabbing of land in the north
- Not looking into missing people – post war
- Slow growth of development / reconciliation in the north and east
- Racial Extremism (which evidence suggests that this has partially to do with the government)
- Freedom of speech
- Violence against journalists
- A broken legal system
- Amendment to the constitution that advocates higher gain in government power
Are we criticizing the right entities?
The educated and non educated patriots of this country have taken a prideful stance of criticizing those who agree with international entities who present our country’s government in bad light, under the argument that these entities have their own agendas. Some, including our glorious honorable Excellency claim that this is an international conspiracy due to our ability to defeat terrorism and show signs of rapid economic development.
You know, I couldn’t agree more with the fact that every entity involved in this mess have their own personal agendas which includes personal gain. But does this mean they are not right to a certain extent?
Have you stopped to think for a second that the ONLY people who claim that our country has ‘no faults’ are people who
- have some connection or the other with the government (political agendas of course)
- and the ones who are in their own shell and have no clue what’s going on
I mean come on, any war has its civilian casualties. Can our government really make a claim that there were “NO” civilian casualties which the army was responsible for? That sounds like a heap of bollocks.
Agreeing with your government does not make you patriotic. Agreeing with a third party does not make you unpatriotic either.
So what does it really mean to be patriotic?
Lately I’ve been called a suddha and was also accused of running our country’s name down for simply expressing my views on social media.
The definition of patriotism is “love for or devotion to one’s country”. Not its government. One can argue that it’s the people who elected the government. But understand that governments have a history of changing their values once elected. Very soon your vote as a Sri Lankan citizen will not count due to the increasing gain in power by the government. We are moving from pretence democracy into established dictatorship.
I love my people, my kottu’s and the cultures I’m exposed to, but I will not pretend that everything is okay if I am questioned outside my country. As a patriotic citizen, I will endorse the right and condemn the wrong as I want to see my country flourish for the right reasons.
The Past, Present and Future
S*** happened in the past. Civilians died. Some of our patriots acknowledge this fact. Yet, they including Muttiah Muralitharan say that we must forgive and forget. Not tamper with the wounds, just let them heal.
It is not a case of tampering with the wounds. It is a case of not doing enough to let those wounds heal. And of course, not inflicting more wounds.
Yes there is infrastructure development in the north. But one of the primary methods of healing is justice being served. The government cannot do anything about it because they are partially responsible for it.
If you are happy that our country was able to host CHOGM, though it backfired in style, you are guilty of being selfish. Imagine, if all the millions of dollars we spent could have been pumped into the reconciliation and development of economic growth in the north & east, we would have been in a shallower s*** hole.
Today, you applaud Dr. Chris Nonis for doing the job he is supposed to do. As someone very rightly posted on Facebook, he was “Eloquent, yes. Truthful, no” I agree with gayan’s tweet below. Its sad.
We live in strange times where we idolize diplomats for doing what they are supposed to. Shows how innefective others are doing their job.
— Gayan Wijewickrama (@GayanMW) November 17, 2013
But is this the kind of arrogance that our government can afford? We are financially tiny and weak in our alliances. If sanctions come into play, and if we become internationally isolated, you and I, though in the urban population will suffer massive consequences, that is if we decide on not skipping the country, being the patriots we are. We need our stakeholders. Our arrogance towards the international community will be our downfall. And it’s sad that we think we are being patriotic.
It is you who have “fight racism” as your profile pictures that advocate false patriotism. Do not forget, the tamils in the north don’t share your luxuries. They have been reduced from a house with beds and appliances to a shack. They are our countrymen and women too, who have suffered way more than you and I have. Keep your pride aside and question your morals.
Eye for an Eye
The LTTE killed many civilians. They have a right to do so as they have been DECLARED a terrorist organization. If our debate is that “eye for an eye- if they could do it, why couldn’t we” then note that we might as well call ourselves terrorists.
Today we say that the British have no right to question our morals because they too are guilty of war crimes. Eye for an eye approach? Really? What happened to us moving on?
All I am trying to express is that, I am sad that our country has come to this, but happy that SOMEBODY is taking it up whatever their agendas may be. Our government put our country in a mess with their arrogance and lack of cooperativeness, which we should stop advocating.
I hope and pray that our government, at least now, would take this into positive light and go easy on our democracy.
Are you not concerned that we don’t have a proper legal system? Are you not concerned that our less privileged local countrymen and women don’t have access to unbiased media? Are you not afraid that your next vote would not count? Are you not in the least worried that your mosques would be continuously harassed and your church priests occasionally beaten up? Are you not appalled that your freedom to express yourself is continuing to deteriorate? Are you not in fear that one day someone with enough influence can walk up to you and confiscate your home, because nobody would dare to stand up for you?
Appreciate the good things that have been done in the past. But don’t stop being critical about the future.
Think about it.Tweets by @wasaamismail