WHAT DOES PEACE AND UNITY IN SRI LANKA (CEYLON) MEAN TO ME?RESEARCH ANALYST’S OPEN LETTER SENT TO THE FORUM BOARD OF DIRECTORS:
Posted on April 11th, 2012

Gaya N Siva CSW  Community Services Worker

In 2011 I was invited by several leading professors in conflict studies to be part of a forum as an analyst for several research projects and was later nominated and selected as a moderator for the Open Strategic forum focused on “UN hindering Sri Lanka’s peace, stability, reconciliation and Related Current African Experience” which I accepted with much appreciation as I would get an insight into understanding the current and past situation from various view points. This was organized by the Canadian South Asians for Peace and unity Forum which is made up of South Asian and African Academics, Alumni’s and Students. This forum focused on the UN resolution against Sri Lanka and a way forward.  Putting a resolution at this stage against the country was seen as an insult to the peace and reconciliation efforts in a post conflict era. This would lead to more segregation from certain sections of Global Thamil Diaspora who would demand for a sovereign Thamil state in Sri Lanka, and go on to pressure the government of Tamil Nadu in India by requesting the U.N to create yet another conflict disturbing the peace and prosperity of Sri Lanka. 

Yes, I do admit it was a bloody post colonial conflict and thousands of people from all sides of the Sri Lankan population lost their lives and their livelihood. It is up to us the young generation of the Face Book era, that consists of the Sri Lankan community living in and outside of the country, of all ethnic groups of the island the; Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslims, Malays and Burghers to come together in “peace, unity and one love” and take a strategic, genuine and an open-minded stand for what happened during the long thirty years and bring a common middle ground for all sides to co-exist without being stuck in a war path mentality.   If this is done, peace can be restored for the families of the victims and healing may take place but some scars will still remain.

Working together in solidarity and getting help from other communities such as the African, South Asian communities, and other Diasporas from the west is progressive and vital however, it should not be limited to or just stop there as we must work hard to make in roads in to the Thamil community in order to get open just solutions for a progressive Sri Lanka.  This way the peace efforts in Sri Lanka would come together slowly in time while the SL Government work on recommendations made and requested in the LLRC Report (Submitted by Lessons Learnt Reconciliation Commission).

My experience being one of the moderator’s at this forum was a positive eye-brow raising one, why? because for the first time I saw structured open dialogue without control or restrictions, even non-invitees were given a chance to speak their mind in Thamil language of their choice, adding to efforts made by the participants and the audience members, stating solutions and suggestions to heal the country and bringing it to a better standing.

There were productive examples shown by a federal party candidate who was one of the many guest speakers at the event and she spoke about her recent visit to Sri Lanka in 2011 highlighting SL government’s progressive efforts for reconciliation and Sri Lankan Diaspora’s effort to rebuild the nation. Now time has come and this is our time to rise and shine to put the solidarity movement together and rebuild our motherland as the beautiful pearl of the Indian Ocean and give it the due respect it always commended since the time of our islands ancient civilization.  I must make one thing clear, the forum consisted of many organizations; young and old, left and right, idealist and realists, professionals and loosely associated but they all worked independently from one another in the Canadian Sri Lankan community without any influence from pro external forces ending myths and separating fact from fiction that is a necessity in the information age for transparency.

What really amazed me is as to how the community banded together during a problematic time for post colonial Sri Lanka.  The forum allowed the due space for all of them to come together with positive, neutral and even very negative attitudes to create a greater understanding for sense of community and to rebuild the nation and a strategic way forward for everyone.  We as a Thamil Diaspora too must get-together and work alongside all other Sri Lankan ethnic groups and think outside of the box for a conflict free peaceful nation for the future generations and justify our concerns the correct way.  We must not take shortcuts and be revengeful and betray our sisters and brothers by enforcing external agendas to a country that has gone through a Tsunami and several bitter conflicts all in a tiny land once known as “Ceylon” true shining example of a tiny jewel model colony of the than Mighty British empire.

I want to say loud and clear that, “way too much blood of generations has been spilled on this tiny island due to a post colonial conflict that was enforced on us that could have been avoided if the generation of the yesteryear had the right modest mindset and the moderate attitude without the pride and imported British planter class identity and egos”.  We should really acknowledge this as humans and get rid of the term “other” and be identified as “one”.  This open letter is my last resort and only way I can express my ideas and it is the very freedom of expression the civil rights movement fought for in the 1960″²s.  All I ask in return is that people respect that and not insult the very foundation of how that  freedom was found because it is time that everyone wake up and realize that the new generation do not want war or conflicts but only peace, unity and love.

 

So therefore what I want to say in closing  with natural tears and deep sorrow to the Forum Board and friends is that, “I should not be accused or get labelled with titles for speaking my mind, because it is something which I intend on doing for the future.  I rather lead by example than be a follower inside a prison that is heavily controlled by jail guards and its time that after all these years I set my self free and breakout as an independent soul as I mean no harm to my dear family that gave me life and close friends who always stood by me at all cost, to all of them I am grateful and I dedicate this letter and hope that they really understand the true passionate context of my freedom of expression”.   I end with this thought, “we need better solutions and we need it now before it’s too late for everyone because everyone from this paradise island is the same, one ethnic group is no different from the other because only a minor language barriers, religious beliefs and partisan ties holds us back and the time has come for all of us to be identified as one with a true patriotic national identity.  So let’s work together and listen to all the voices in the Diaspora and I request the board to take my open letter seriously at the next event before the forum focus is changed to a different State in conflict ridden South Asia”.  To my Thamil people I want to say, “please learn from the past and don’t let it happen to you twice, we shall overcome only than will peace and unity will mean anything to me“.

Gaya  N  Siva  Community Social Service Worker (Toronto, Canada)

2 Responses to “WHAT DOES PEACE AND UNITY IN SRI LANKA (CEYLON) MEAN TO ME?RESEARCH ANALYST’S OPEN LETTER SENT TO THE FORUM BOARD OF DIRECTORS:”

  1. weeralanka Says:

    Thanks Gaya for your genuine efforts. For the benefit or to educate all the Sri Lankans living in and out of Sri Lanka, can you list all the issues/grievances that only the ethnic tamils have in Sri Lanka. To my knowledge there is none.
    Tamil Diaspora should know that they have a bigger Elam, and that is the whole of Srilanka, where they can live any where in the island without any restrictions. In a way they have more rights than the Sinhala majority. Only thing they (some of the Tamils who asking for a separate state) don’t know is, how to live in harmony with others.

  2. Gaya02 Says:

    Hi Weeralanka

    Thank you for your feedback and comment,it is time for everyone to come together and work towards a country, that is peaceful and united.

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