In some circles, it’s almost uncool to say you’re Sri Lankan. Or so it seems. At Groundviews what’s trending is ‘I Am Not A Sri Lankan‘. Via Twitter they’re working overtime to point out that A) that I grew up in America B) poking fun at the idea that elephants have land rights C) telling me to sing kumbaya. They’re missing the point. And the boat.
This ship is going to sail. Sri Lanka is coming together. And really, what alternative is there? Separation was one idea but it didn’t go well. It just wasted a generation. We’re not wasting this one.
Our kids deserve a better future than this, and if we just give them a safe place to grow up they can make it. That’s why Sri Lanka Unites is such a beautiful thing to see. They’re not demanding anything from the current government. They’re supporting the next one. I’ve been listening to their live feed in the mornings and following the conference with great happiness. Here’s a report from the first day:
Like a tree that needs roots to grow, peace and healing need to place their foundations in the cultural perceptions of the people. Prashan proceeded to introduce the conference and welcome the students to the largest ever annual gathering put on by Sri Lanka Unites. Once again, the youth had defied expectations and agreed to invest in the future of their country without relying on the failed stereotypes of the past.
As a sign of respect to the nation and the cause of reconciliation, all the students joined in a rendition of the national anthem. Representatives from all parts of the island and abroad walked to the front to participate in a traditional candle lighting ceremony. No Sri Lankan should feel that they are irrelevant within their country, and all citizens should be proud of their national heritage. Once everyone had taken their seats, the Trinity College principal addressed the audience. The civil war had taken its toll, and principal made it clear that he had seen firsthand the devastation that war could bring. The time is ripe for a new generation of Sri Lankans to engage the well-being of their nation. The country cannot afford to wait for others to take the initiative. The future of the nation belongs to the youth, and they must rise up to meet the opportunity that has been given to them. As SLU staff member and announcer Selyna stated, “It is diversity and not division that we have in Sri Lanka.” (Sri Lanka Unites blog)