The Sri Lanka Guardian Editorial: The Minorities have suffered enough.
By Charles S.Perera
" The world is fast changing, but Sri Lanka is rapidly decaying. The changing world is accepting and accommodating the minorities as part of their nation's society and embracing them as people in an accommodative way. Sri Lanka which is a tiny drop in the world map is still talking about prejudicial politics to alienate and marginalize the minorities"
This is how the Sri Lanka Guardian begins it editorial of the 6 March,2008. It is a strange editorial because it speaks of a different Sri Lanka seen through the eye of the writer. In reality Sri Lanka is different from what he tries to portray. In a fast changing world Sri Lanka which had been stagnating for 60 years after independence is trying to find its place. If one looks though coloured glasses one sees every thing in the same colour... The reality is hence hidden behind the shade of the colour through which one sees the world.
It is true that in most of the countries in the world the minorities have been absorbed in to the larger majority. But to be accepted and accommodated as a part of their nation ' s society and embracing them as people in an accommodative way, the minorities have also contributed by making an effort to change their minority back ground , by learning the language of the majority, accepting the culture of the majority and by taking an oath of being respectful and loyal to the country of adoption.
In Sri Lanka this has not happened. The minority instead of accepting and respecting the majority and being respectful and loyal to the country of their birth , is doing everything prejudicial and destructive to the majority. The minorities want to be a group apart from the majority, and that is the cause of the problem of Sri Lanka, and the disfunction of it as an inclusive society.
What has gone wrong with Sri Lanka is unflinching hatred of the minorities towards the majority. For the minorities in Sri Lanka the problem is with the majority, forgetting that they also have a role to play for not being alienated by the majority. How easy it is to praise other countries and criticise our own country for a problem created by prejudiced minorities.
The writer of these scathing remarks, has forgotten it is more respectful to leave the religion out of political discussions. Many minority Tamil writers do not stay with their criticism of the majority for their political rivalry, but goes on to criticise and belittle every cultural and historical aspect of the majority, when they write of the plight of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka is not decaying in a fast changing world. The President Mahinda Rajapakse since his taking over the high office has done a lot to raise the image of Sri Lanka from what it had been for a few decades. The International Community has suddenly become aware of a small nation a tiny drop in the world map is making a mighty effort to overcome the debilitating situation it had been put into by a handful of ruthless terrorists , and making its mark in the fast developing world.
An army which was a decade or two ago, a mere decoration of a developing country humiliated and indiscriminately attacked by a terrorist group, whose armed forces were developed through purchase of modern equipment from the contribution of a minority diaspora full of hate towards the majority, is today not second to any army in the world. This modernised army of Sri Lanka Government, has made the mythical well equipped terrorist forces a dilapidated tin army running away hiding their tails between their legs to hide in their holes, from which they will soon be hunted out.
That is what the modernised army of Sri Lanka- the little drop in the world map, has done. No body, neither the minority diaspora, nor the minority sympathisers of the Terrorists believed that it could happen, and now that it is really happening the minority pro terrorists are raising their voices about a Sri Lanka majority that is alienating and marginalising the minorities. How can the Sri Lanka majority under these circumstances, " accept and accommodate the minorities as part of their nation's society and embrace them as people in an accommodative way." In what ways have the minorities helped the majority to cleanse the country of the terrorists, to make it a place for every one- the majority as well as the minorities, to live peacefully despite the minorities hatred towards the majority.
The writer of the editorial, sees Somawanse's and Weerawanse's as religious bigots surviving on defunct words. What has religious bigotry got to do with the alienation of the minority from the majority. Who is really running away from transforming the different societies, to an inclusive society in Sri Lanka?
After sixty years of independence, despite a 30 years of a terrorist " war " , Sri Lanka is at last seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and progressing in many ways possible despite the high stakes against terrorist war that no body ( except perhaps a few of the minorities) wants.
It is not correct to make general remarks such as that " Sri Lanka has become the hotbed to produce degenerated lots of politicians who lacks the political will or charisma to transform the country into an inclusive society. These politicians thrive on the progressive decay and contribute further to compound it to bring the country to an anarchic state." The Ministers seem to be doing a good job of work despite the immense difficulties they obviously encounter.
Sri Lanka is neither progressively deteriorating, nor is there any signs of the country being taken towards anarchy. Our country is far too small, "a tiny drop in the world map", to experiment with new political methods. If the minorities give up their notion of being side tracked by the majority, and stop their racial hatred towards the majority both the majority and the minorities could live in harmony.
This excerpt from the Guardian Editorial, " Tamil terrorism is the manifestation of the unwilling majority Sinhalese rule to accommodate the minorities with open heart and dignity. Unfortunately, the Sinhala mindset is yet to change significantly to accommodate the minorities magnanimously with due respect and provision of power sharing to manage themselves within the island nation of Sri Lanka."- is just a fiction of the writer ' s imagination.
The majority in Sri Lanka have been magnanimous, that is one of the reasons, that there is no racial tension in the South. The minorities live very happily among the majority. There is no country in the world where the majority and the minorities live together in a mixed environment without racial clashes, as it is in the south of Sri Lanka.
This idea of an ethnic problem is new. The only areas that one could point out as an ethnic problem areas, are the language and the University admission at a percentage rate according to the population. But those are matters that could easily be settled.
Unlike in other countries like France or England the minorities in Sri Lanka are quite free to do what they want. The minorities in Sri Lank have their own schools, or they can go to any school they want to. There is no restriction about even what they wear.
In France Muslims girls were not allowed to enter schools with the chadors. There are no separate schools for French people of Arab , Chinese, Vietnamese, or African origin. In Sri Lanka the minorities could correspond with the government departments or institutions in their mother tongue. In France there is one official language, but they are assisted by providing forms in different languages to correspond with the Government departments.
In France as well as in other Western Countries, there are no political parties called the Chinese, Arab, or African United Liberal Front. They become members of the existing political parties of the country. That is how , today, Barack Obama is seeking Nomination from the Democratic Party for the Presidential election.
This could happen in Sri Lanka if the Minorities give up their communal parties and join the two or three main Political Parties such as the UNP , the SLFP or the JVP. These parties have no communal label. If that were to happen it would not be a surprise if Sri Lanka would one day have a President from one of the minority communities.
JHU and JVP are not extremists, they are not against the minorities. The extremists in Sri Lanka are unfortunately in the minority communities. The day the minorities put their thumbs down not to be recognised communally but as Sri Lankans, and give thumbs down to political parties carrying communal labels, and join the main political parties, it "… . will be the day Sri Lanka will emerge as a nation that could survive in the fast progressing global village."
The Guardian Editorial is well written, and it would be a great boon, if the editor would write editorials without racial hatred , to bring the communities together to build a harmonious Sri Lankan Nation of all our people, rather than to keep them divided, and apart from one another.
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