from hereI watched the President's speech on the internet, as no doubt many Sri Lankans were doing all over the world. And I was bored. I zoned out so many times that I had to youtube it all over again. I was waiting for some sign of hope, some future plan. Instead I got inane rhetoric, some chest beating and veiled threats.
Far be it from me to fail to give credit where credit is due. Mr. President, you ended the war, and inspite of my doubt and negativity, I applaud you. But you didn't address the important things, the most pressing concerns. What of the people, good sir? They're still out there. What are we going to do; what are you going to do? You spoke of kings, the diaspora, the soldiers, and of course, yourself, but you didn't tell us how, where or when we're going to start rehabilitating, renewing, healing. You said there are no minority groups anymore, it's just those who love our country and the few who do not. Is that how we're gonna play it then? We don't have an ethnic issue, it's an issue of patriotism?
It would be wise not to forget what brought us here; the reason our people fought and died. We have an ethnic issue, and a big one at that, and it's disrespectful to those who died to brush it under the rug. Land gained, though indeed an important symbolic move, is not the same as hearts gained, as trust gained.
I watched the celebrations on the street via videos, images posted on the net. Effigies being burnt and people dancing around them. There is something savage about a fire. The Duckling said it best: "what men, who does this?! this is like the 83 riot images.. only at that time they were dancing around burning people".
How fucking true.
Little boys chanting 'demalayan maranawa'. Can they even comprehend the enormity of what they're saying? I've lost count of how many emails I've opened and deleted with a shudder, pictures of VP, eyes wide open, a bullet wound in his forehead, closeups, right angle, left. War, victory; it brings out the sadist in us.
I watched them interview people after the President's speech. There were men stuttering, hardly able to get a coherent sentence out, such was their joy; women were crying, wailing even, tears through smiles. The words dutugemunu, rajek, weerayek were thrown in every few seconds. I shook my head in disbelief at this display of faith, this complete and utter devotion to a man. And it reminded me of how I look at Obama; in my eyes he can do no wrong. And it reminded me of how I read about his decision to withold the pictures of torture and convinced myself that he knows best, until I read this piece by John Cusack and realized that we must hold the powers that be accountable, to carry through on their promises, be it a promise of transparency or a Mahinda Chinthanaya, we must question them at every turn, we must demand full disclosure, a free media and a right to express our opinion without fear. The love for our country demands all those things. To love Sri Lanka and to love our elected officials is not the same thing. We don't have to love you, we elected you. And questioning your actions doesn't diminish our patriotism.
I wish the celebrations would quieten down but that's just me being negative. The Forces deserve a welcome home. They deserve our respect, pride and joy. What do I know of the horrors they've seen? The people deserve a moment to celebrate the lifting of the cloud of fear. What do I know of their fear? But as the alcohol flows and the flags flutter, I'll borrow a line from , if that's ok with her:
a nation at its loudest
isn't always a nation at its wisest
isn't always a nation at its wisest