It is nice to note that we now fly the flag on Independence Day, something that in my years in the US I noticed was an important symbol of patriotism, and remembrance. Don’t forget that the US also celebrates it as freedom from English colonization, much the way we do too. However we should as they have, take it more as a symbol of our own maturity and pride in nationhood, (remember the US also had a civil war after independence) and what better time when we are free from the scourge of an internal uprising against the state.
It is sad that at this juncture, the opposition boycotted the main celebrations as a protest against the unconstitutional blatant abuse of power by the government, but the government should also be mindful of the reasons, and not act as if they really don’t care. It is also pathetic that at this stage, there has been no magnanimity in victory by the current government which continues to act in a vindictive manner.
In light of all this background, where the recent election, proved the divisive nature of the electorate, one can hardly be claiming unanimity of purpose, especially when the leader’s calls for reconciliation are just hollow words, not followed by deeds. One cannot kid oneself that building schools and roads in the North and East are acts of reconciliation. That is merely what is due to people who have suffered untold misery, just getting back to some semblance of normalcy. It is the hearts and minds of a fractured constituency free of domination from any patronizing group, as they have had enough of LTTE domination, not wanting to be replaced by self serving politicians representing just a change in the leadership, but domination nevertheless.
Independence is when the people have some say in how they are treated, led and assisted at a local level, and not by Central Government. It is how day to day activities of local government, law and order, basic needs, education and health services are handled and dealt with, not having to resort to bribery, or allegiance to particular party or group to get what is their right.
What I object to is the complete disconnect between what is said at podiums by politicians and the reality of the people about whom and to whom they are directed. A decentralized feeling of belonging will then result in Independence Day parades in every high street in the land with the local school band marching in line with people waving national flags enjoying the festivities, eating food from local booths and listening to music by local bands and enjoying the holiday as it should.
I hope and pray, I live to see the day we all feel the same, one nation one people.
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