It’s often trite to say the youth is our future, but it’s also true. This is an exchange I had on the Sri Lankans Without Borders Facebook group, recently smeared by the Sunday Observer as LTTE, when they’re not. At all.
Regarding that point, I think there are people on there who supported the LTTE, but the vast majority are moderate. The group is called Sri Lankans, not Eelamists or Tamils or whatever. That seems simple, but it’s actually a huge step in and of itself. Anyways, it’s a diverse group. Here’s one thread:
Siva Sanmuga: I don’t need to repeat history here but just key points:
As per BBC:
a) 1948 Ceylon gains full independence
b) 1949 Indian Tamil plantation workers disenfranchised
c) 1956 Sinhala made sole official language
d) 1958 Anti – Tamil riots leave hundreds dead and thousands homeless
e) 1959 Bandaranaike assassinated by a Buddhist monk
f) 1976 Country name is changed from Ceylon to Sri Lanka
g) 1977 and 1983 Tamils were killed in Riots
Do any of these seem to you as a way to address imbalance between minorities and majorities or discrimination based on extreme racism. Sinhala extremist have control the government since independence and now basically have taken over. International investigation is important for Tamils to show the international community the true genocide nature of this group. Innocent civilians being killed in war by accident happen. However, most Tamils believe and know from first hand witness that the killing of innocent civilians at the last phase of war is intentional similar to 1958,1977 and 1983 riots.
and in response,
Me: Siva, I am sorry for all those dates except for Independence and renaming in 72. One more date to remember. I was born in 1982. The change generation was born this century.
This past is our burden, but it does not define us. God (for lack of a better word) has blessed us with death precisely so that old ways and old ideas die a natural death. Each generation has the chance to remake the world anew.
You talk about taking control of Sri Lanka, but who will take control? It has to be the people of Sri Lanka, so empower those people, engage with those people, and let them take the reins when they are strong.
If I may digress, the story of Sinha Bahu is actually a beautiful one, political baggage aside. A child borne of an abusive father eventually frees his family and defeats the father – something no outside force could do. Then he marries his sister and things get a bit out of control, but anyways.
That’s the way of the world. If you’ve got issues with the lion, give the kid with lion arms a chance.
I’ve excerpted Siva’s comment so please read the whole thread for context. I mention this because Viranjith Tilakaratne just posted a link to this World Bank blog post about youth leaders that are actually making a change, right now. Here’s a quote from Prashan de Visser of Sri Lanka Unites:
We have a dream and that is to see Sri Lanka in the years to come will be seen as a model for authentic post war reconciliation, a true meritocracy and the ideal for post conflict transformation. We work to this end – the creation of inclusive Sri Lankan identity…
The youth of Sri Lanka – from every village, city and district – must be inspired, equipped and empowered to take on the barriers and challenges that stand in our way. I firmly believe that the key to transforming our nation lies with the youth of this nation. With the right investment, molding a broader worldview, and combined with selfless sacrifice we can achieve what currently to many seems an unlikely goal – a reconciled, prosperous and great nation.
This reconciliation thing is happening, and it doesn’t have to come from the GoSL, and it cannot come from the west. After independence, first the Sinhala youth and then Tamil youth took up armed struggle and were decimated. That was a generation lost. This is a generation that has a chance to actually do things right, and I think they will. In fact, they already are.