I ask you this, Srilanka. You may have men and women of different religions and different ethnicities but are they all not Srilankans? Is that not what unites them? Is it not powerful enough to be a Srilankan? What I mean to ask is ‘Is the force of being a Srilankan so weak that it is brought down by differences in faith?’ Here’s your answer, Srilanka. My faith is you. You are me and my sister and my brother. And it does not matter if my ancestors were Arab and my brother’s ancestors were Indian or vice versa. What matters is that now we are Srilankans and one day we will be the ancestors of those Srilankans to come.
Now is the time to build on this fact. Look to the future. Many countries have been divided because they have forgotten that their people are the same. Srilanka, you cannot let that happen, not to us. We are all yours and we are proud to be yours.
Your leaders might tell you it is one man, two men or 10 men for the sake of a cause. But what about your cause? What about the life for which you live? Do you not wake up everyday to send your son to school? Do you do so, so he will grow up to turn away his fellow countrymen, and decide he hates another because of difference in belief? Do you work so hard to pay for his education only to watch him abuse his brothers without him even entirely understanding why?
What’s that you say? He understands? What does he understand? Do you really think that when you tell a child to harm his neighbor because he prays to another god, he understands you? Of course he doesn’t. The first thought that comes into his mind will be ‘what if my neighbor’s god is the right god?’ Then he will ask himself, ‘Does my neighbor dislike me too because my god is different?’ And you will answer this sometimes unasked question not with your own words but with the words of some reporter or some politician on the television, people whose names your child will not even have heard.
Your child will listen to you say his neighbors are teasing and taunting others like him and although your child will believe you because he thinks it is coming from you and not the television, you know at the back of your head that those were not your words. So, I present to you the same question. Do you think your child really understands? What’s more important is do you understand?
You listened to the reporter; you read the paper. So what? How can you be certain the reporter is right? Is he not just saying what he has been told to say; what his superiors want him to say? So are his superiors correct? Have you thought that they might be saying what they think will increase their popularity and their funding? Finally, how can you listen to someone who does not even say what he wants to say but what someone else wants him to say?
And now you will ask how you can be certain that you should listen to me. I will give you a fair argument to that clear that doubt. You do not have to listen to me but I hope you do. I hope you do because what I am telling you comes from the soil of Srilanka, the same soil that runs through my veins in the form of blood. I am not speaking for money or for fame. It does not matter if you don’t know who I am. All you need to know is that I’m a Srilankan and so are you and I am here because I love you, Srilanka.
Sri Lanka, if all the questions I have asked have not crossed your mind, I ask you to pause for a second and think of them now before it’s too late; before you have done too much damage, not necessarily physical damage but psychological damage.
Dearest Sri Lanka, what do you think all this amounts to then; all this shame and all this humiliation? Have you not abused each other enough? Do you not think of what you have done Sri Lanka to your people? Does it not keep you awake at night? If it does not, then know that it keeps awake the hungry orphan; and the grieving mother whose son died before her hair turned white; and the soldier who was forced to ignore a suffering man because he was on the other side; and the earth as it tosses and turns in its wet, unnatural soil, as it conceals the bones of those who have died in vain and as it begins to be aware of the stench of shame in itself.