Stories are told. Stories are left unheard. The British Royal Family is eagerly awaiting (or is the baby already here?) the arrival of a new prince. He will live life mostly deaf and blind to the atrocities of the world. When he reads history texts he will be told that Britain did a great service to the Asian and African nations that were full of cannibals or under-developed people. We were less human.
Of course the Royal family will never apologize for the soup they created in Sri Lanka. We’ll forget African nations for now. We’ll forget India and Pakistan. We’ll look at Sri Lanka. Are we better off? Sure, we given many things, but the hand that gave also took. And they never hesitated to take as much as they could. The tea plantations? They took over land that once belonged to nature, rainforests most of them were. Railways and roadways? Didn’t Sri Lankans have roadways before? Did we need to make our beautiful island a concrete island to get from one town to another? A very large number of shares of the Sri Lankan tobacco industry is owned by British and American companies! Despite all this, the worst the British left behind is racial disharmony. They aren’t the only ones to blame, but they said to the Sinhalese, “Since you are after all more in number, you deserve to do all the ruling.” To the Tamils they said, “Can you not see that they may seem like your friends, but they won’t let you have a say in the matters of the country?” To the Muslims, “They never even considered you a real Sri Lankan. Mere visitors, you are, over staying your invitation.”
Divide and Conquer. And we were all too stubborn and too gullible that we helped create all these divisions.
George Zimmerman walked scot free having killed Trayvon Martin. A white killed a black in America, and the white was found not guilty of murder. We are not talking about America when blacks were nothing but slaves. They could be bought and were treated worse than animals. The murder took place just last year, in 2012. The Wikepedia page says the following in the profile of George Zimmerman.
Criminal charge Second-degree murder
Criminal status Not guilty
CNN made the most of the Trayvon murder. There was nothing else to talk about. Here we had a country which proudly showed off her first black president. A country that ran to the rescue when countries seemed to need help. Here was a country that denounced terrorism and yet, pointed fingers at our small, sun-bathed island. This same country was letting Zimmerman go. Trayvon will be just another name that history will not take down.
Malala Yousafzai was shot by a member of the Taliban in 2012. She was considered dangerous, blogging and protesting against the cultural or religion constraints. She fought for her right to education. Could she be denied the right to knowledge just because she was a female? Malala was a survivor. People looked at her and said, “Look at the cruelty of those bloody terrorists!” Malala went on to become a star! But is she a hero? Are not the real heroes still in Pakistan, fighting for their right to live? We have many rights, right to choose our own religious beliefs, a right to education, a right to speech. Yet, above them all, the most important of them all is the right to live. There were many others who were killed before they could finish that prayer, before they could say good bye.
Even after three decades of conflict, we have very few of these ‘heroes.’ No Che Guevaras. No Anne Franks. Just the dead and the undead. For you can’t be a hero in war. You can’t say ‘I survived.’ You shouldn’t. You don’t have the right to call yourself a hero because the real heroes? They weren’t eve given a proper burial.
The bottom line is this
History is written by the winners. Not the good guys, but the winners. They call themselves the good guys. They wear that mask to hide the shame they feel for their past crimes.
We live in a world where skin color matters. Where your beliefs define you. There will be Trayvons whose murderers walk away, not guilty. But we can be happy that we live in a country where different ethnic communities at least try to coexist.
War doesn’t create heroes or villains. War only makes us appreciate the extra days we have been given. We don’t have the right to call ourselves heroes, but we must make sure the stories of the real heroes don’t go unheard.