Thursday, July 21, 2011

Countdown to the Conference: 20 days - A Sacrificial Generation

            If Sri Lanka Unites’ vision is to have any merit, its members must understand the concept of sacrifice.  Sacrifice has been one of SLU’s themes from its inception, and no lasting change can occur without it.

            Sacrifice is uncomfortable by definition.  It requires foregoing the familiar in exchange for the hope of a greater reward.  In a post-war Sri Lanka, this means an initially uncomfortable shift in mentality.  It means rethinking opinions about others with whom one shares the island.  It also means interacting with and helping those who have previously been considered enemies.  Such actions are certainly not comfortable, but those same choices have a powerful payoff.  When former enemies come together, both can work to mutually benefit each other and their nation. No more energy needs to be expended on breaking one another down, but rather, all attention can be focused on building a prosperous future. 

            At its core, the motivation to sacrifice stems from a belief in something greater than oneself.  For Sri Lankan youth, it is the dream of a better country and of a future without suspicion.  The false sense of purpose that was gained from a conflict based on senseless hatred dissolves, and the illusion is replaced by a greater purpose that brings healing and hope to all those involved.  While every person acts in accordance with the extent of their sense of purpose, not all purposes are healthy.  Regardless of the location, too many people are focused only on themselves.  Ironically, this is counterproductive for building a better nation.

            Costly sacrifices are often too difficult to bear alone, and Sri Lanka Unites has implemented a nationwide support system in the form of its follow-up programs to attend to this reality.  The knowledge that other students from different backgrounds are working to achieve the same aim is crucial in gaining the impetus necessary to continue the work of SLU on the grassroots level.

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