Category Archives: power

Ode to the Sky IX

A series which began as a tribute to the sky that unites us all, has now ended. Yes, what started as a one-time thing has become a long-running series that defines our work. We may never know what shades and hues the sky will take next. Thus it is beautiful in all its great mysteries. In our final Ode, we explore the skies in their long journey, with pics from the depths of time to the farthest reaches of space.
Yes, outer space indeed.
So let’s call this one an “Ode to the Stars” as a special. Of course we do have one from the Earth’s own history as well, so we haven’t exactly been highly um….consistent with this short, fast ode.
The message of peace is universal, and transcends the very continuum of time and space. Nobody craves war, or misunderstanding.

All artworks here are courtesy of myself- and will not be used without my prior permission.

They are all digital pics done with Photoshop, a very old-as-crap version, but I’m a poor man after all  :).

Poem by: Rochelle Silva

The Star
Burning bright, ever so bright,
It loomed ahead in the darkest night.
Ruling the skies; a feast to the eyes,
A frenzy of thoughts did arise.
A radiant star, beckoning from afar,
Guided kings and shepherds alike.
A star did nestle, close to a crescent,
Being a symbol to the faithful worldwide.
Sacred it is, if with six points apiece,
Meaning “Shakthi” and “Shiva” in peace.
And yet to another, fate does it usher,
Deciding whether one enjoys or suffers.
Burning bright, ever so bright,
Oh little star, if only you knew,
How precious thou art, no matter our caste,
A beacon of hope to our troubled hearts!

Poem by: Shailee Wick

He hides from the world

In his rank smelling tower
High up in the mountains
As close to the skies as he can get
He looks through the glass
Beyond clouds and skies
At the great abyss of darkness
Brightened by stars galore
And he smiles as his eyes
Follow one blinking star after another
And he whispers slowly
“The end is here”
In the yellow journal, notes of his life
Hide one prediction, worthy of being written in gold
“I look at the stars and I know it is here
An end to this hatred, wars and fear.
Soon like the faraway clouds of dust
The world will once more know how to love”

Quote by: Vindya Jayasinghe

“Whenever I look up the sky, I feel I’m free and open, I may never reach it, but I will always look up and see the beauty, believe in it and try to follow where it leads…”

Poem by: Vijini Mallawaarachchi
Stellar Thought

Gazing above the airspace
In the hours of darkness
Expecting a shooting star
To make a wish for good

As midnight rises
Imagination comes to life
Wondering what would be there
Which is not known to us

Stars that twinkle above
Painting the darkness in vivid colours
Making up figures of myths
That we name as constellations

Some are newborn white dwarfs
Some are dying neutron stars
Just like us, they have a life
Which will end in a supernova

Through the dust and gas
Among interstellar spaces
Floating across nebulae
Destiny can be glimpsed

The mind can travel
Imagining the undiscovered
With the wish for a star-gate
To dial across the universe

Poem by: Priyangwada Perera
The sky is like life….
 Spreading long and wide… 
With a glimmer here and there,
 Glistening at sunrise. 
Beyond the horizon, to a limitless land
 Across the sands of time.
 Star secrets, clouds of dreams;
 In a flashing comet
 Comes a heavenly gleam…
We have explored the heavens, and now it;s time to take the clock back a few tens of millions of years, and put ourselves back on Terra Firma.

Poem by: Vasika Udurawane

 Beneath the angel’s wind-swift wings,
The thunder of a restless earth;
Beneath a host of heavenly saviors,
A world ever-shifting.
Imperfect to its core, to be purged at final salvation,
To be kissed by breaths from miles above
To be saved from damnation.
Fires blaze below, roaring sinners burn;
But no such sinners see I in your sky.
In the storm of tossing clouds is flame,
The blaze from heaven that lights up all mortal eyes.
Flight of angels, so far above me,
If only you could feel us,
Our breath, our cries, our tortures,
Our birth-cries, and death-mourns;
The screams of the shifting ground,
A cruel, forsaken goddess.
Angel, perfect light in glowing sky,
Guide us through an endless night.

Thus ends our work for the time being. Maybe catch us later on during the rest of the festive season. Wish you all a merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!


“The Journey on the Road to Reconciliation”-Part 13

It’s an honour to present the thirteenth installment in the series of articles written by our friend, Solomon Rajaram Hariharan, a member of the “Dream team 2012” of “Sri Lanka Unites”( A youth movement for hope and reconciliation). 

The power to reconcile resides in each one of us. It is essential that we use the suitable sources of power to put it into action. (N.B. This article is a continuation of the twelfth installment)

We will now discuss the sources of power.

Positional power: It is based upon the role or position an individual occupies in a society. It is passed from one individual to another as he or she moves in and out of the role.

Relational power: This does not reside in a particular individual but is a property of social relationships. For example, when you listen to a friend and respect his or her opinion, you give that person power. When that person listens to you and respects your opinions, you are given the power. In relationships, power is fluid and hard to measure. It can be expanded or limited as you interact. It depends on both individuals involved.

Power of force: It refers to physical strength and coercive mechanisms. Individuals may use their own strength, as well as weapons, armaments, armies, police and prisons to impose their will upon others. For example, we see bullies in the school using their physical strength to make others obey them.

Power of resources and status: This comes from wealth or social standing within the society. Individuals can use their money or their family and social ties to maintain a situation that is to their advantage or to get what they want. For example kings and queens are given royal power because of their family ties. In Sri Lanka we can see such power in play.

Power of knowledge and expertise: This refers to the additional credit and influence given to those in a society with special knowledge and expertise, such as doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers etc. Power comes from what they know. When we enter the rural communities, they respect the doctors, engineers and teachers as Gods. The society gives these professions power.

Power of a group: It comes from people acting together for a cause. The phrase “people power” is often quoted relevant to this. It refers to the power of individuals when they are part of a group. Labour unions and mass protest movements have power due to their large numbers. The leaders of such mass movements have the choices of either non violent protest or violent protest. We see many such movements being manipulated by the leaders towards violent protest. This would only increase the gap between the two groups. One should attempt to bridge the gap between the segregated parties by non violent approach as Gandhi did.

We should also study the personal powers we posses. As leaders it is vital that we know our strengths and weaknesses. We can identify personal powers of people around us and attempt to achieve that talent. Another option is trying to get that person on board the cause we stand for and use their talents. Some positive qualities that can be seen in leaders around us are energy, sense of direction, charisma, balance, sensitivity, perceptiveness, enthusiasm, sense of justice, ability to manage emotions rather than suppressing them, etc.

We should also make sure that we know the actions that would diminish the personal power we already possess. Unwillingly complying with others, not acknowledging our skills and talents, not being assertive, being afraid to take risks, feeling that we are trapped by the past difficulties and using disempowering language are a few to be named and we should be cautioned to not fall into those traps. When I said acknowledging the talents, it doesn’t mean boasting about it; rather it means being aware of the talents we possess in a non arrogant way. Thus we can realize that real power is shared, not imposed. It is the ability to define human needs and fulfill both our needs and the needs of the people we care about.

As citizens of this nation, we should know our rights and responsibilities in the country. Thomas Humphrey Marshall, a British Sociologist defines citizenship as follows. ‘Citizenship is status given to all those who are full members of the society. All citizens have equal rights and duties.’ In Sri Lanka we often speak about equal rights not being enforced. How many of the citizens actually fulfill the duties properly? How then can we only address the issue on non equal rights? What I believe is that the duties towards the country should be fulfilled and then the rights be debated. Just as rights are important, duties are important too. We shouldn’t be biased and argue only on the topic of rights, because rights and duties go hand in hand.

“The Journey on the Road to Reconciliation”-Part 12

The twelfth installment in the series of articles written by our friend, Solomon Rajaram Hariharan, a member of the “Dream team 2012” of “Sri Lanka Unites”( A youth movement for hope and reconciliation).  

Understanding both rights and responsibilities contributes to social harmony. Responsible use of power is a component of this understanding. Power is often given a meaning of one’s advantage over another in a violent, forceful, persuasive manner. However this is not always the case. Some types of power are easy to see and comprehend while other types are much more difficult. We will discuss the types of power later. Power is not an inert thing that some possess. Power exists in relationships. It can be defined as the ability to have an impact on the world. Responsible use of power is central to the development of a peaceful, pluralistic and democratic society.
What comes to my mind when I hear the word power; is the ability to have control over a community by means of working together or dictatorship. Thus power has a positive as well as negative side. For example our parents, school administration, office administration and the national administration have power over us. We feel powerless at moments when we face these groups of people. On the other hand if we are leaders in schools, the students under us would feel powerless when they interact with us.  A good leader would strive hard to control the society by means of working with the people instead of attempting to suppress the people. We often get confused with the terms power and strength. Simply we can define strength as the talents within a person and power as the work the society gives to an individual after identifying the talents. While strength is not something someone can give you, power is transferable. Strength is not internal. It shows people who you are. Power is the ability to do something you possibly cannot do alone. It is also the ability to control and influence others.  
A leader in power has a big responsibility of using the power to benefit others and build peace and social harmony. The wise way of using this power is treating people below in the same way as one would want to be treated by the people above. Decentralizing power is advantageous as the leader will not have to carry the whole burden of responsibilities. Instead, the responsibilities can be shared, thus working towards social harmony. We can see this in a prefects’ board. It is the way the prefects work and act that makes the Head Prefect a good leader. Thus we can see that decentralization is important in dividing responsibilities.
We will now see the types of power.
Power-over: It is the ability to force others to submit to your will regardless of their wishes and is often associated with violence or the threat of violence. This is the most common type in our society.

Power-with: It comes from our ability to listen to, empathize and understand others, and to identify shared beliefs and interests. It comes when we cooperate with others to achieve shared goals. Co-existence and collaborative efforts should be undertaken to deal issues in the society, as combined power always exceeds everything else.

Power-within: It comes from the inner strength associated with courage, conviction and self discipline. For some people, power-within has its source in spirituality.
Conflict resolution should be approached with power-with and within instead of power-over, as the latter usually created negative effects. We should look beyond coercive power and recognize personal and collaborative power. This will point out methods that will produce non-violent constructive solutions for conflicts.
Power can be used for destructive and constructive purposes. When power is understood broadly as ways to influence other people’s behavior we can see new places where individuals and groups are having power, which can help us to use these sources of power to correct imbalances and injustices.

Editor’s note: The above mentioned sources of power would be discussed in the next article.