Suffice to say that these are all incidents, variously attributed to the strength achieved by the SLPP giving their constituency added courage in committing hate crimes, we must all share the blame equally for these events, which are simply NOT acceptable in any civilized society in 2018.
So that is the direction I come from in attacking these incidents, as being ones that could have been avoided if we had a comprehensive plan, from years gone by of creating a concept of ONE NATION.
The fact that we still think in terms of our own social background or race, where we have gone wrong.
Ironically it was over 50 years ago when I was in Trinity College, Kandy, before I went to the UK complete my Secondary and Tertiary Education in 1971. Even then we were all treated as equals, friends in a boarding not segregated by language or religion, which we followed separately in class or went to our own forms of worship if we so chose.
This created a camaraderie of the one nation concept, which has to date, and in a phone call with one of my class mates from that time, we reminisced today, how we have since then and even now look on our friends of different religions and races as our friends to be helped and associated with, without any hangups, on their current wealth or lack of, or race or religion they follow, which in some cases may have changed since we knew them.
The latter point is noteworthy, as we SHOULD NOT feel that anything is stuck for life, we should be flexible in our thoughts, and our calling, and allow each person to follow his own goals and pursuits as his or her wont.
This means that all actions disregard these differences.
So actions of people who are either uneducated, or insecure in their own skin, which they then transfer onto unsuspecting innocents, by inculcating their thought prejudices, either knowingly or unknowingly is what creates this unnecessary division we suffer from today.
The other reason that a small spark seems to light these pent up feelings, is there has been no open discussions of what we really feel, especially if we do have some prejudice. So with people or a set of people following different ideologies, or religions, who we seem to have an issue with, unless we confront and lay BARE our feelings, and they do the same of theirs, you cannot come to a common ground of what is real and what is merely someone else's misconception that you have accepted.
You will soon discover that some of our prejudices were instilled by insecure people, be they parents or teachers or politicians of the time following their personal agendas, but which do not really have any basis for belief in. 90% of the prejudice can be sorted by this means. The balance has to be done by a compromise, such as a change in the law so that it applies to all equally to make it fair by all.
This way conflict and prejudice can be overcome, and leaders of communities have a very heavy burden to ensure that their flock, understand why they need to change their prejudice, with real facts and not the fake ones that they current harbor. This holds for all communities and does not merely hold for one and not the other.
I therefore propose an open discussion with all factions, possibly initially on an open forum for all to see, so that different view points can be aired at the same time on the same platform, for the intelligent to be able to change their minds with better or more correct facts.
This way more people can put aside their grievances, and will be able to engage people of the opposite view point.
Religion is particularly irksome as history is replete with religious strife from the beginning of time. It is a problem that is hard to resolve, but more discussion will lead to a live and let live compromise, so that both parties can move on ahead in life, rather than just being spiteful, where you not only demolish your opponents, way of life, you do that with no care of yours too, as that is being spiteful.
When you explain spite, you can bet that spiteful person claims not to even harbor spite. You then have to do a little bit of explaining that what he is harboring is in fact spite, and envy, and if the roles were different the issue would be different. IT can be done. People are open to new ideas.
Social Media, is a great equalizer and I am unhappy that we have had to suffer a 3 day cut, citing the spread of hate. I would counter this by also saying that we have NOT done our job in spreading accuracy as our leaders do not have a reason to do so, and so have only presented one side, when they could easily have debunked much of the misinformation.
In my opinion banning social media is a precedent that we will live to regret as others for different reasons will use the same excuse to ban and deprive the public of a platform for exchange of information and ideas. We are accusing people of spreading false rumors, only because our education system has completely failed to teach these same people how to find out if the information they have been given is in fact true, or that they are merely serving, and so being a slave to some mischief makers personal agenda.
The moment most of the trouble makers realize they are slaves, and not masters they will look so foolish, they will not know where to hide for their foolishness. Our leaders have not grasped that simple issue, and so take the easy and potentially damaging route of banning social media, and always in Sri Lanka we take decades to understand that what we did was in fact the wrong thing to do.
It may take 30 years for someone to really understand what I am writing today, as being the best advice. However because I don't have an ulterior agenda other than improving the quality of life of the people in Sri Lanka, for the future, and that is the sole guiding principle of my life, I know I am right.
If we have a goal in life and work backwards you will find that it is the best way to lead one's life, as it is clear and with a purpose. Those who are engaged in jealousy and envy, (it is really not a race or religion thing in the end) are only hurting themselves with their thoughts. If we are able to manage how we think, so it is always positive and not negative, we will finally be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and also admit the error of our own ways.
I pray therefore for true Statesmanship in our quest to rid ourselves from being enslaved by negative thoughts about others, as it is simply what prejudice really is.
We can then free ourselves from the chains we have wrapped ourselves in.