War, Abductions, killings, human rights violations, and evictions are synonyms widely used to describe the current situation in Sri Lanka especially in the international area. Are we facing the gravest period of Sri Lanka history? One would say the accusations lodged against country are accurate and the situation demands immediate intervention and another would argue that the situation in Sri Lanka is over played by Diplomats, NGO’s and the so called civil society activists who fill their coffers with dollars and euros showcasing a dire situation in the county.
As a Sri Lankan, then a Sinhalese and a Buddhist what ideology should I represent is a question that has been tormenting me for a while. To clarify my stand I referred to the defence secretaries statement made few months ago
Ã¢Â€ÂœDo you know of any one in your village who has been abducted or killed, can you name a person who has been abducted from the UNP, JVP or other main stream parties?Ã¢Â€Â
I’m adamant in saying that the answer to his question is NO, because no one of my immediate family or relatives or associates has undergone any incident that would make me think other wise. I represent the majority so if I’m not affected why should I bother about the situation in the country, this is a thought that has crossed my mind which is shared by many of my peers and ordinary common folk that I meet in my day to day activities. But my consciousness does not allow me to confine to a simple and practical but short term console which would serve my instantaneous existence, and which has been the way of existence for many Sri Lankans today.
Sri Lankans in general are not known to be activated by social injustices or harassments unless it affects their individual communities; this is proven accurate by lack of citizen movements throughout the Sri Lankan history. There has not been successful struggle initiated by civil society without political motivation, hence the struggle to cover come the culture of impunity would not spontaneously immerge from society derived from political motives, but unfortunately I do not see any inclination from any of the main stream parties to sphere head such a campaign.
Yet another blow to democracy was struck yesterday when the government for the first time in history banned an internet site Tamil Net in the dawn of the second year commemoration of its renowned editor Sivaram who was gunned down in 2005. The website was widely referred to by all key actors in Sri Lanka as vital sources of information from the North and East. Many would criticise that the site has supported voices of terrorists and another would say otherwise. This is yet another instance that has no significant barring on the ordinary folks, hence the protest and the outcry would be limited to few people who fight for media freedom in the country. I fear of greater restrictions and a gloomy tomorrow, the famous comment by Pastor Martin Niemoller’s on the Nazi regime in Germany came in to my mind, which made me think of my and our situation and which I have adopted to the local context.
Ã¢Â€ÂœFirst they came for the terrorist and I did not speak out because I was not a terrorist
Then they come for journalists and I did not speak out because I was not a journalists
Then they came for the Tamils and I did not speak out because I was not a Tamil
Then they came for the Muslims and I did not speak out because I was not a Muslim
Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for meÃ¢Â€Â