By Danu Innasithamby
For me the word “peace” begins in one’s heart. Peace is when you forget who you are, what you are made of, what you believe in, what society wants you to belong to, and start thinking of yourself as a Sri Lankan. Peace starts when you become the person who forgets your beginnings and makes every day a beginning to share, live, enjoy and conquer. “There is no way to peace, peace is the way.” And I believe in this for many reasons.
I came in to this world with a lot of luck and love, not knowing how it was to struggle to have a meal, not knowing how it was to work to earn one’s money. Everything, to me, was served on a gold plate with the frills of wealth, class and status adorning it. Our house stood on the grounds of Shillalai in Jaffna for many hundred years. A huge family, a grand history and a lot of pride to show to the world. But on one single day, everything changed. On the beautiful day of August 21st 1992, when I was six years old, our garden filled up with “leaflets” from the sky! They read, “You have a matter of hours to leave everything you have and run to save your lives.”
The shock was too hard on my dad; he left us in more pain and took shelter with God above on the 1st of March 1993. Life now was a puzzle, and this puzzle had only three pieces, my mother, my sister and me! We had still not put it all together – having to leave behind wealth enough to feed a nation and come to Colombo with one bag in our hands – this taught us the hard side to life.
So as a Tamil, to whom/or to what should I direct my anger? Who should I fight with? Who can give me my dad back, or who can reverse the tears that my mum shed? The answer is no one. No one is to blame. It is fate that our country had to experience such a blood-sucking war for the past 30 years, and you and I are victims of it in some way or other.
Today I swim in the sea of media, where smiles are not genuine, a compliment might not be true, and where time is so unpredictable. I fell in to this soup by accident, and I am enjoying how it’s feeding me. I forget who I am, but I remember who got me here, they are all Sri Lankans, and it’s a pleasure to know that I, too, am seen as one.
Everyone has a very sad story in their lives that makes them strong. Mine gave me the strength to change, to change and make a change, at least start the change so that many will follow.
So forget who you are, see yourself as a member of a great family called ‘Sri Lankans’. I am not exactly the well- read individual with many degrees backing my name; but my degree is on life and it qualified me to get through hard times, and today everyone is a friend to me, and I look out for the humanness in each of them. Life is beautiful, people make it beautiful. So don’t let the tears of the past obstruct what you can do to make a better tomorrow.
“If you wish to experience peace, provide peace for another.”