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I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have been hearing one group of people saying “Maithri won because of North and East votes (Tamil and Muslim votes)” and another group of people trying to prove that Maithri received many Sinhalese votes and did not win because of the Tamil speaking people’s vote. I heard some said that “Gampaha district was won by Maithri because of the Catholic/Christian votes”. Are we still living in a society which is divided by race and religion? Is it logical to argue on the racial or religious lines? Are not Tamils, Muslims and Christians citizens of this country? Does this mean we have to strip off the voting rights of Tamils, Muslims and Christians?

The fact that race and religion played a big part in the election campaigns and how some politicians misled the people with false allegations will always lead to these kinds of statements by the supporters of the candidates. I am troubled by the fact that we are still continuing to talk on race or religious line and try to justify which group elected the new President.

I believe that Sri Lankans elected the new president, not Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims or Buddhists or Christians. Every single vote mattered. If Sinhalese in the south did not vote, or the Tamils and Muslims in the north and east did not vote, the common candidate would not have won. Each vote was important and everyone played a part in the victory.

It is time for us to move to an era where we will not be divided by the race or religion we belong to, but will be united by the fact that we all belong to the great nation of Sri Lanka and are equal Citizens of our beloved motherland. We must learn to live together as brothers and sisters and love each other unconditionally. We should stop spreading racial and religious divisions and hatred.

I believe that we all are facing the right direction now and all we have to do is to keep walking on this new path under the Leadership of our new President. This is just a start and we have a long way to go. It will not be an easy task for our new President (with different parties with different agendas in his coalition). But the beauty of this so called “unholy coalition” (as accused by the losing candidate and his supporters) is that there will be checks and balances and one party cannot do whatever they want! This is the beauty of our democracy and it is critical for good governance. If JHU, TNA and SLMC can come under one umbrella for a common cause to protect the country, we can say for sure that all of them love our motherland and are proud to call themselves Sri Lankans.

This is an unexpected new opportunity given to all of us to change our society and bring back good governance. Few months back, who would have thought that the Rajapakses could be defeated? But here we are today, with a great opportunity to rebuild the country. We as the Citizens of this motherland should hold our new President accountable for the promises he made. We have a long way to go to change this divided and broken society. But we can do it. We all need to play our part in this change process.

Let us remember what Martin Luther King Jr once said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that”. Let us not live in the past. Let us create a society which loves one another and respect each other.