Thursday, September 2, 2010

"Synthesis of Personal Reflections: Reconciliation, Sri Lanka Unites and Me"

One of our Sri Lanka Unites leaders in Mannar (Northern Sri Lanka), Elijah Hoole, wrote an excellent article on his perspectives on the post-war peacebuilding, the youth reconciliation process and the approach of Sri Lanka Unites in forging national unity and a new identity. The piece originally appeared on Groundviews, and we reproduce some exerpts of his piece below.

"My personal understanding of reconciliation is, at the core, a fundamental transformation which turns hatred into love. From an 18 year old perspective reconciliation bears little or no relevance to the prevailing political situation, to the existing holes in our constitution or to the level of commitment to implement the 13th and 17th Amendments. Personally for me, if a fellow Sinhalese citizen can accept me as a “Sri Lankan Tamil human being” who is entitled to enjoy every right and privilege he/she enjoys, and most importantly forgives me for the role I’ve played directly or indirectly to the conflict, and asks for forgiveness for his/her role either direct or indirect, that is reconciliation. It is also my understanding that the process of reconciliation begins with me, not anyone else"

"On the third day of “Future Leaders Conference-2010”, Colombo Chargers, the group I was part of, decided to fast as an expression of solidarity with our fellow Muslim team mates who are celebrating the Holy month of Ramadan. It is important to note that it was an entirely student initiative. It proves that there is willingness and potential among the present generation of youth to embrace other cultures and celebrate their uniqueness."

"Here are some questions addressed to different speakers during the Q&A time of the conference , which would support my argument.

“How can Tamils claim to be citizens of Sri Lanka, when the general feeling/mindset is that constitution deprives Tamils from becoming head of state?”

“Durable political solution or economy and infrastructure development, which is the priority?”

I was honestly surprised and also moved by the reality that these types of questions were coming from Sinhalese students, and I consider them to be reflections of the younger generation’s feelings toward Tamils. There were many other equally bold questions that were relevant to the country’s current state of affairs, which also shows that the youth of this country are aware of present political context."

"Sri Lanka Unites has added meaning to my life by inspiring me to work courageously in the present and also hope for the future. The more I got involved, the more I became aware that reconciliation is indeed possible and Sri Lanka does have a future to hope for. The more I became involved the more I was aware of the role I can play with my capabilities in making reconciliation a possibility. The more I got involved the more I was able to discover my potential and also my weaknesses"

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