Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Some thoughts..Winning the war is only the first step to win peace

With the LTTE terrorists (Tamil tigers) being defeated militarily, Sri Lankan government still needs to take considerable actions to restore the faith in Tamil and Tamil-speaking civilians. Terrorism in any form is not acceptable. LTTE is one of the most dangerous terrorist organizations in the world [FBI 0,1,2]. They carried out many atrocities and most of the time innocent civilians have to suffer [3]. There is no question they should be defeated and wiped out of the Sri Lankan soil. The SL government has rightly done so.

Military solution alone will not solve the problem we are currently facing; a political solution should be implemented to correct the issues including the root cause of this whole issue. IMHO, the language is the root cause. 1956 Sinhala only act was a key contributor for Tamils and Tamil-speaking civilians to feel discriminated. This was corrected later; after 1987, India-Sri Lanka accord, Tamil language was accorded the same official status as Sinhala language. Even after 20 years making both Sinhala and Tamil as official languages, we don't seem to have got it right. It is natural to feel that you are not one of them if you don't speak their language or if they don't speak your language; or you feel neglected; language divide people. I have a lot of personal experience to back up this fact. Perhaps, the issue is more visible to me as I speak both languages. So, what should be the way forward? The government has to genuinely commit itself to bridge this language gap and we, as citizens, have the responsibility to do our parts. (There have been already some measures to make both Tamil and Sinhala languages compulsory for public service positions and to add to the school curriculum; but that is not sufficient.)

It is time we, citizens, take every possible action to heal the wounds that have been around for decades. Sometimes, I feel offended by the arguments made by both parties [1]; "Sri Lanka is the homeland of Sinhalese", "(Some parts of) Sri Lanka is the homeland of Tamils". Unless we get ourselves rid of such mentality, we will continue to have divisions. Sri Lanka is the homeland of all ethnicities. One ethnicity is not superior or inferior to another. We will have the real peace in our country on the day we start to treat everyone equally and with dignity. I sincerely hope that this day is not far away.

We, as educated people, can use our ability to bridge the language gap and improve the trust between differnet ethnicities. I don't think it is too much to ask from my fellow Sinhala-speaking friends/readers to learn the basics of Tamil and my fellow Tamil-speaking friends/readers to learn the basics of Sinhalese. There's a lot in common between these two languages.

I studied in Sinhala medium, speak in Tamil at home and stared learning to write in Tamil on my own with some help from my mother a few years ago. I am glad I did that. Now, I have more reasons to polish up my writing skills. Believe me, it is not that hard and you will enjoy the feeling of getting to know/being able to understand another language - a language that is spoken by fellow Sri Lankans!

3 comments:

Malinda Kaushalye Kapuruge said...

Good blog Nabeel.

Galle said...

Nicely written article, should go to Dailynews.
Irshad

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