It’s all about the curry.
Sri Lanka Unites does actual reconciliation work, mainly with young people from all over the island. They’ve now expanded to the diaspora, and the Australia chapter is bringing together 64 young Sri Lankan/Australians to play during the innings break at the March 2nd ODI (cricket match).
It’s a great thing, methinks, for the kids, their parents, and for everyone watching to see that Sri Lankan identity can be normal and something to be proud of. To select the kids they had them send in 50 words about what their Sri Lankan background means to them. You can see a gallery of the letters here. I’ve selected a few that I thought were interesting.
Sri Lanka Is Multi
This is perhaps the ideal case, both regarding sport and Sri Lanka. The multirace multilingual part is true I think, though full of kinks. Same thing about sports teams coming together.
Sri Lanka Is Divided
This is also true. As much as we live together, we also live apart. Also, as you can tell from the cricket game on my block, that sport does bring us together. Everyone does cheer for the SL team, generally. I know one guy who cheers for Australia, but he is to be shunned.
Sri Lanka More Than Others
This I thought was telling – “I like Sri Lanka more than others because my grandparents live there.” Nationality is really a vague concept, and ultimately relative. Perhaps this isn’t the place to get into that.
Sri Lanka Is Stories
Living abroad, the experience of Sri Lanka is very much stories and food. It was for me, growing up in America. The danger is rarely that the food is bad, but the stories can be, thus you got a fair amount of radicalized separatist youth as well, more attached to race than the nationality. Hopefully that tide is starting to turn.
Sri Lanka Unites In The Diaspora
SLU’s great work has been going beyond talking to bringing kids together from all over the island. Their conferences, bus tours, etc have meant that kids from the north have friends in the south and vice versa, which ultimately makes all the difference. They’ve been criticized for not indoctrinating the kids in indignation or resistance or whatever, but I think what they’re doing is right. Just let people meet each other, in a relaxed field.
While this is the vital work, it is also important to heal and connect people in the diaspora. These are Sri Lankans, or at least people with a connection to the island, and they are family and friends. It’s good that Sri Lanka Unites now has chapters abroad, and that they’re doing common sense reconciliation work, literally in a relaxed field.
Anyways, on March 2nd, during… uh, just going to quote here:
SLUA in conjunction with Cricket Victoria have successfully recruited 64 lucky Sri Lankan kids to play at the March 2nd Milo Innings Break On Field Entertainment. We received in excess of 100 applications. This albulm is just a glimpse of their committment to want to come together as a united society of young Sri Lankans. We hope you enjoy reading their responses. Please look out for the 64 kids on March 2nd at the Aust V’s SL ODI. Lets support them and encourage them to ‘Be the Change!’
So check out the letters, check out the game and check out Sri Lanka. We are not so bad, at cricket or, like, existing.