A place in your heart


“There’s a place in your heart and I know that it is love”, sang Michael Jackson. We love a lot of people and things, don’t we? Family, friends, holidays and… our country? So the war in Sri Lanka ended more than 4 years ago. Does this mean our country has been full of love and peace ever since? Do I hear you saying “Oh! Can we talk about something else?”?…

True, the country has moved ahead in terms of economic development. However, I’m not too sure of the development in our attitudes, especially when I see the recent hike in hate speech and religious discrimination over social media. Every religion is based on the golden rule that you shall treat others the way you’d like to be treated. Is that the reason why racist posts and comments with hurtful rhetoric flourish online? Is that the reason why sharing an anti-racist post can earn you nasty comments?

I faced a similar incident a few months back. To be honest, I was angry: Don’t these people realize that they are paving the path for another war? Another 30 year war which crippled our nation? Be frank; all of us have been affected by the war in one way or another. Think about all the innocent lives that were lost… Maybe some of your loved ones too… Think about the feelings you had when you heard that bloodcurdling music of breaking news on TV… Think about the curfews, check points, bomb threats, the effect on development, the mass exodus of many Sri Lankans… On a personal note, I nearly lost my mother due to the central bank bombing in 1996. Just thinking that there was a possibility she might not have made it makes me tear up inside. Do you want those horrific events again?

Even though all these thoughts were circling in my heart, there was a catch here. If I commented with an equally sarcastic comment, I would just be “hating” hatred. I discussed the possible motives behind this with a great friend of mine who raised some interesting questions. Wasn’t it possible that these persons had undergone traumatic experiences due to the war? Maybe their relatives got killed. Maybe they were brought up with the idea that they should hate other ethnic groups. If my mother had died, I might have become a bitter racist too. As Nelson Mandela says, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite’’

Fortunately, there are Sri Lankans who can say: “I’m not racist. I treat everyone equally.” If you are one of them, be really proud about yourself! As Mahatma Gandhi says,Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong”. But you can’t say “Okay. I’m strong”, and wash your hands of responsibility. If there’s a place for Sri Lanka in your heart, you should put your strength into action.

Whenever you come across hate in your day to day lives, take the time to understand. Forgive him/her and take the first step towards reconciliation. It could also be something as small as sharing an inspirational quote/article on your social media profiles. As Martin Luther King says, “you can either react with bitterness or turn your suffering into a creative force.” I’m sure you’ll make the right choice- because there’s a place in your heart and I know that it is love.

By an anonymous contributor


4 thoughts on “A place in your heart”

  1. This post is honest and direct. There's no beating around the bush. You say, "Look, here's the truth. Now deal with it." We all need to hear that!Also the war affected us all. I remember the terrible traffic jams caused by the check points. I would get home after school at four on certain days. And the number of days we didn't even have school? Right before we left, everyday, we had to watch news.And when a bomb did go off during the very early hours and some of us did go to school. there would be this eerie silence. I rarely considered war to have played a role in my life, but it did.Also a bit off topic, but I was talking to my grandmother about racial differences. I asked her if during her time, people said, "oh! he's a Muslim" or "she's a Buddhist." And she was a Buddhist who went to a Christian school, her mother, a Buddhist, sang hymns to her. No one saw those labels tagged on to people. Labels of religion, race, ethnicity.But there was this mutual understanding that, say in marriage, Buddhist marries Buddhist and so on. And rarely did people cross over those borders. Today, people have that freedom. Yet, ironically, today there's more racism than there ever was

  2. Thank you very much for the comment Shailee! I really appreciate it. It's nice of you to share your side of the story too. Like you did,it's high time that people acknowledge how much the war affected us and work so that it won't be repeated.What you mentioned isn't really off-topic! 🙂 We were born in the middle of the war. The opinions of the older generation who lived in peace before the war is of vital importance too… :)It is really nice to hear that people didn't consider the labels.As for inter-racial and inter-religious marriage, people have lot more freedom than before(but not complete freedom). So even I find it ironic that there's more racism… It's a topic that's worth a post.

  3. Now why do I get the funny feeling that this whole "Serendib Triumvirate" scene sounds an awful lot like us, hmmmmm….? :Dlevity aside, I must say that this post is actually quite a serious one

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