Sunday, June 8, 2014

Hashan Tharanga Tells His Story From the South

The war was a time of great confusion and stress for both me and my family. My father was in the National Army at a time when violence and uncertainty was at its peak. Naturally we feared for his life and every waking moment concern for him would be at the back of my mind. I remember clearly when my father was shot for the first time. The memories of hearing the news is still etched in my mind. I didn’t know what to make of all this. He was injured once again sometime later. It was a struggle knowing that my father’s life was on the line every day for the sake of our country. When it was announced that the war had finally ended after 30 brutal years, I sighed in relief. It was as if a lamp had been lit within me, a lamp of hope. With the end of war came the opportunity to visit parts of the country that had been closed off. It was like finding treasure as we ventured in to villages and towns and met people in the North. Finally we were able to help them, to meet their needs. These people who we once considered enemies were so much like me. Yes there were significant differences but also important similarities. I was also glad that the war had ended for another reason. There were leaders and even normal citizens who had unsympathetically used the war for their own advantages. Now their unjust actions and motives could end. It was exhilarating to know that they could no longer use the weakness of others. But most of all I was relieved that my father was now safe. 

One of the distinct memories of the post-war years has been those where I was able to meet my Tamil brothers and sisters through Sri Lanka Unites. The Future Leaders’ Conference has been an important stepping stone in my life. I cannot deny that before the Conference I had certain prejudices against the Tamil community. I felt justified to think this way because of the things my father had to go through. It was very difficult to be understanding when my own father’s life was at risk. But at the Conference I realized that they too were like me. They had the same hopes and dreams and found joy in the simplest things like I did. That they too had suffered at the hand of this cruel war. It was difficult at first, awkward even. Slowly but surely the transformation did take place, for me and for them. What a joy it was to meet them and to now call them my friends. 

It has always been my dream to be a Politician. Although for many this may have a negative connotation, I truly want make a difference in Sri Lanka through the Political Arena. I believe I could be a politician who could serve this country well. I want to strive for equality and make certain that Sri Lanka does not fall in to the same traps again. It’s my hope that this nation would one day rise to be an example to the rest of the world, and I truly believe that it could be achieved.

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