Community art on peace, from the Colombo Biennale
A few people are saying I lost a debate with Guru. I wasn’t debating. From the beginning I was trying to reframe the debate – to go from debating racial grievances to working on common solutions. And I think we’re getting there. We all deserve equality – Tamil, Sinhala, Muslim, Burgher, whatever. What I was trying to say that this is not about Sinhalese vs. Tamil, it’s about our rights as Sri Lankans. And I think that’s stuck.
I don’t think the Tamil people are asking for anything special. They’re asking for basic human rights. That’s something all Sri Lankans deserve, especially the working poor. We may have our issues as individuals or groups, but the solution lies in something important to all of us – equality. The right to government service in our own language. The right to equal opportunity for our children. The right to an economic future, a fair shot at education, a decent livelihood.
These issues affect all of us. Some more and some less, but who’s counting? Let’s just get together and get out.
This debate is happening on Facebook, it’s happening on Al Jazeera, it’s happening on Groundviews, and it’s happening here. For the first time, I feel like it’s productive. We’re talking about equality, we’re talking about moving forward, and we’re talking about it together.