We have to stand for something more than ‘not terrorism’. I personally refuse to let the LTTE define my Sri Lanka. I didn’t come back to Sri Lanka because it wasn’t a terrorist state, I came back because I thought the Cease-Fire was the start of a decent, stable life here. I have no particular interest in Sri Lankan politics beyond that. I just want to be able to drive down Baudhalloka Mawatha. I want to have crab and mussels at Angler’s in Trinco. Holy crap, I have money, who cares. Peace and stability benefits everyone. The peace process delivered concrete benefits to everyone, including the 600,000 who now have no homes in the North and East. We have to stand for something more than temporary security. We have to be willing to sacrifice to live in something better than a police state. I will not support this government if it asks me to trample over our Constitution for temporary military gains. Sri Lanka is far more than a government and people and land. We have a Constitution. We have freedom. We have to stand up for freedom.
The one blog I read every day is Andrew Sullivan. He’s a HIV+, gay, Catholic, Conservative Republican political commentator. He’s blogging via the Atlantic now and used to blog for Time and edit the New Republic before. Fantastic writer, very principled, and very interesting because of his contradictions. He had this to say about the current American situ:
It needs to be stated again and again that the fundamental job of the president is not to protect the people of America, but to protect their constitution. This president has gotten things exactly the wrong way round. In a terror war, we have to acclimatize ourselves to the fact that many Americans may have to die as a consequence of a collective decision not to become a police state or a presidential protectorate. A free country that remains free in the face of terror will necessarily have many casualties. A police state would have fewer casualties. Given a choice between a loss of life and retaining constitutional liberties, what would you pick? And what would the first Americans have picked?
We’ve slid a long way, haven’t we? (The President’s Oath)
And to ask of us, where have we gone? How long have we been under emergency law? How long has the Constitution been trampled by the executive. How long have we been defined by terrorism and reacting rather than acting?
I believe that Sri Lanka is so much more than better than the LTTE. We are a culture with a rich and vibrant diversity. We have fantastic food – itself a mix of different cultures. Chilli and tea from the colonists, rice from our paddy fields, coconut from the trees, fish from the seas. Not to mention idly, dosai, and fantastic sea food from Tamil culture. And Muslim Biriyani, and Lamprais which I always associate with Burghers. We have so many tastes and smells and languages and diversity on this one small island. You can walk around Wellawatte, buy garlands of flowers and take them to Kovil. You can posh it through the mall at Crescat or bustle through the crowds in Fort, grab a bite off a banana leaf in Slave Island. That is why I love Sri Lanka.
It’s freedom. It’s freedom to be yourself – whatever race you are – and be around lots of different people. Now, that freedom requires more than ‘not terrorism’. It requires rule of law and common decency. It requires a government we sorta trust, and can overthrow when we feel like without being called traitors. It requires a Constitution that we follow, not an endless state of emergency. We have got to stop trampling on our Constitution in the name of temporary security. That temporary has gone on for over 20 years. It’s bullshit. It’s time to suck it up and be free.