Posted in Australian Politics, Daily post, Sri Lankan Politics, True Story, Inspirational

My Island Paradise

Sri-Lanka (3)

The pearl of the Indian Ocean, once the envy of the east, now torn and battered, gasping, clutching at the last straws to survive another day.  Is it the end of the civil war or just cease fire for another eruption, for another day for another cause?

A lot has happened since the start of the civil war, loss of my friend and then my departure to Australia.  Before I go any further I like to dedicate this story/writing/rant to my late friend Lalith Gunesinghe.  This is not all about Lalith.  But Lalith’s passing was the main reason for me to analyse what happened, what went wrong in my place of paradise.

I have no illusions of changing the mindset of the Sri Lankan’s, but I do hope that I make at least an iota of difference in someone’s thinking, especially of those from Australia, or at least amongst the young generation to make them think, make them aware of what actually happens in a war.  More importantly when you hear it on the news, it is just data and that of distorted data, words such as “casualties” are thrown around, just a mere number, their names are not important, I understand that there are too many of them, but there lies a real person, he is a dad, a son, a brother or even a friend. This person is going to be missed by all, and not just for that moment, but for years and years to come.

My name is Uma Sivapalan. To a Sri Lankan this name would explain that I am a female of Tamil origin and most likely a Hindu. My friend Lalith Gunesinghe was a Sinhalese male.It is, if the name was Mc Donald it is very likely the person is of Scottish decent, likes the bottle with the walking man and has a good command of the“f” word. Lalith’s name doesn’t really stipulate that he was Buddhist, but most likely.  Some of those who converted to Christianity during the English  colonisation  did not change their surnames.  But Lalith was a Budhist from the Kandy region.  Upper Class.  My forefathers came from the North of the country Jaffna.  Again from the right class and stock.

History is usually written by the victor.  But what saddens me most is not that History could be biased.  But, we use history for the wrong reasons.  We should learn from our mistakes, but preserve the good.  We constantly do it in reverse.

Sri Lanka is a very small Island with a big population. Most of us are not even Christians, but we believed in “go forth and multiply”.  It is made up of Sinhalese (majority), Tamils, Muslims and Burghers. Languages spoken are Sinhala, Tamil and English.  Not sure why we did not adapt Portuguese and Dutch. We took their surnames and cooking but not their languages. Thank god we didn’t look to the English for cooking tips.  We stopped at sipping the tea.  We copied a bit of the singing and dancing from the Portuguese as well.   Budhism and Hinduism came from India.  With the invasions of the west, some of us converted to Christianity.  Islam came from the Arab traders.

I think what baffles most of the westerners who have visited the island is that, if you take the individual Sri Lankan, he is a very peaceful and lovable person. They are renowned for their generosity and friendship, how can such a lot then be involved in a terrible war, where they killed their own. Yes, we killed our own. Yes, you can separate them as per their language/dialect they speak.  But, we are really the same.  Some Tamils, who are now residing in different countries, have taken a stance to say that theyare not Sri Lankan’s.  I understand their reasons, but finding it hard to condone it fully.

We look the same, brown skin, black hair, dark eyes etc. Act the same way when someone asks you “are you from India?”. I am still to witness a Sri Lankan, who takes more than two seconds to say, “NO I AM FROM SRI LANKA ”.  We respond as if we’ve been called  a pariah. In this we become SriLankans.  It may be a tiny isle, but it has its own identity, New Zealand is not Australia.

As a Tamil, I understand why some of the Tamils have disowned their birth place.  I sometimes wonder if I am a Sri Lankan or an Australian.  Am I being unfaithful to Australia, when I secretly wish Sri lanka doesn’t lose badly in the cricket?  Am I being unfaithful to Sri Lanka when I support Australia over my birth place? For some Aussies they can’t understand why I don’t support Sri Lanka, for some others it definitely has to be Australia, I have adopted this country that means I should support everything Australia.  If not I am being unfaithful.  It’s not that easy or simple.  It’s like when you get married, now you have another set of family and an extended family.  Just because you love your husband doesn’t mean you hate your parents or siblings.  The love and affection you have for you’re in laws will depend on each ones experience.  And hence the reason why migration either works or doesn’t work.  The answer is not one size fits all.  It depends on both parties as well.  And if you love or hate your birth place will depend on your individual circumstance.  I will revisit this area again later, why for me I cannot join the collective hate nor love for Sri Lanka.

It is now over 25 years in Australia, most of it spent in Sydney and the last ten years or so in Adelaide.  Altogether I have lived more of my living years in Australia than in Sri Lanka.  Does it make me an Australian or Sri Lankan? Legally yes I am Australian, but within me who do I want to be? More importantly what does the rest of Australia accept me as?

I feel like an adopted child who is extremely happy with her adopted parents.  Have the same anguish and disappointment of my birth parent Sri Lanka.  I did nothing wrong, but she still let me down.  I don’t really care, I am in a good place, in fact I am in a better place, the best place, but it still hurts.

Cont…

The above is a story I am currently in the process of writing.  I was not going to publish this until I completely finish it and analyse it, as I have a feeling I am going to annoy a lot Tamils as well as Sinhalese with I say and reveal.

The reason for me to publish some of it today is because My New Island Paradise Australia is showing signs of falling pray to racism.  I am really upset and annoyed.  Every time a foreign celebrity, accuses Australia of being racist, I keep defending and say “Nah” they are just open about what they say, absolutely amazing people.  Just a small minority is spoiling it for everyone.

I am posting my story because I want you numb nuts to know that there is nothing amazing about going to war.  Not within your own country.  You may not know it, but this is just a paradise.  Please don’t spoil it because your kids wants Kung Pao Chicken for dinner and not your pot roast.

A vote for Pauline Hanson is a vote for racism.  Come on guys we can do better than that.  I am not saying we don’t have issues with refugees and migration. But we need to address them in a democratic way.

Imagine if your child is born being hated.  Where do you think he will end up.  That’s exactly where you are sending the Muslim kids to.  Straight to ISIL.  In my view anyone who engages in hate speech/rally is also a Terrorist.  Well, if you see a bunch of Muslims gathered and say bad things about Christians what would you call them?

I am skeptical about churches and priests after, what I’ve heard of the horrors that happened behind certain doors.  Yes, I am angry with all the churches and priests.  As in my mind even if you didn’t commit the crime, you allowed it to go on, so you are guilty too.  You don’t want to know what I think of Cardinal Pell.  But do I then go on to hate my neighbor who is a Catholic too?

The question of whether Islam is a religion of Peace or not is another ludicrous argument.  All religions are meant to be peaceful, But every religion or it’s followers manage to make it as vile as possible.  Every religion, at one time or another has been the cause of some misery.  Because religion is in the hands of the man, he will twist it and turn it to suit him. Let’s stop blaming religions and blame the actual culprits.  Let’s stop generalizing  a whole group of people and address the individuals who commit the crime.

I think I have vented enough.  World Peace seems far away.  But, ever the optimist, will sign of demanding for one.

Daily post word prompt: Island

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/island/

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Author:

I am a beginner to all this blogging. Recently found a passion for writing. Not sure if I am a good enough writer to publish a REAL book. I am probably using this as a testing platform to see if I attract enough interest. I was born in Sri Lanka, now for the last 26 years living in Australia. So am I a Sri Lankan or Australian, it changes time to time. Lets say I am not ashamed to say I am a Sri Lankan but I think my affections lie with Australia. I am a cancer survivor, marriage survivor, war (civil war) survivor and what ever else the world/destiny has thrown at me. So my blog I guess would be about all those things. Humour is Huge for me, fairness is huge for me, I question everything religion, cultural beliefs, Political decisions. So watch out for some some fireworks laced with humour.

13 thoughts on “My Island Paradise

  1. Despite 7/11 and the horrendous deaths of Christians in Syria, and many other such incidents like this, Australians rally around their Muslim friends and let them know they think this is just only certain Muslims and not all that do these terrible things. I agree that there are good and bad in the many religions all around the world. And it is always best to speak peace and be kind to people whatever their religion or beliefs.

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  2. As you probably realise I slipped and typed 7/11 instead of 9/11 – my mistake. I liked the part you said about New Zealand not being Australia 🙂 Sorry you lost your friend. It is hard when we lose those that are special to us, but they live in our hearts and our memories. It helps a little to know that 🙂

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    1. my friend was from so called other side. And that is my point, as my story progresses I am elaborating how there was only a handful of tamil militants/terrorists at the time, but in 1983 there was a massive riots all around the country and most of the tamils were killed, raped in a horrendous manner. And all because 13 Army soldiers were killed by the terror group. Sinhalese mobs went around with an electoral sheet to find Tamil houses, burnt people in cars, with the cars, piled tires on top of people and burnt them alive. All this was condoned by the govt almost openly. So in this instance, The govt behaved similar to the terrorists. all the young boys, who lost their family or got beaten joined the Terrorists. Before that you could count the number of militants. And they didnt have much support from the Tamils. It is not just the Muslims who have committed heinous crimes. I am a hindu but I will say, that Hindus in India did more stuff to the Muslims of Pakistan and Sikhs, and still keep doing, but not much publicity. sorry to say it Christians aren’t any saints either. My friend joined the air force, simply because he wanted to fly. He got killed on Duty. which means he was fighting against my people. I was even asked not to attend his funeral because, emotions would be high and mum and I could be in danger. Luckily my hubby put his foot down and took us to the funeral. You have no idea how messed up things get when you are in war. My friend is a hero and up on a wall. But I think i would rather have him alive. So would his mother. War is pointless. Sometimes you can’t help it and we need to protect ourselves. But we have to be smart enough not to recruit for the enemy. And another point i will make is that not all sinhalese are bad, during this riots it was the sinhalese neighbors who saved a lot of Tamils. Some tamils have forgotten that. Most humans given the chance are amazing. there was only one Hitler, but he caused so much misery. Trust me my fellow australian, this is an amazing country, let’s keep it that way.

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      1. Exactly most humans are amazing and our ability to forgive is also ingrained from within. Racism is always a bad thing and should never be condoned. Australia is a great country and it is made up of people from many cultures and ethnic backgrounds. And I think many Australians will agree that it makes the country what it is today.

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      2. Yes, and what makes this an amazing country is it’s people. We just to make sure that there is more of us, and less of the other kind, the kind that wants to divide and concur. By the way thank you for stopping at my pit stop.

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  3. wow-this was a super post-so thought provoking with very valid points-I hear your ideas and get it as I have adopted from Colombia, Mexico too and want my boys to value and celebrate their heritage-my own roots are Irish. For me I fell some loyalty to all of these nations without guilt. I feel loyal to the whole planet- so I think you can love both of your homes-it tokk both of them to give you that precious heart.

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  4. Seems to be a common thread. As people come to compete for resources (or just feel that they are competing), there emerges a latent fear of “others.” We see it everywhere in times of stress… much of the world seems to be feeling it now. It’s a fear that gives rise to nationalism and racism, tribalism, intolerance, hate… The American writer and social philosopher, Eric Hoffer, wrote in 1951 that mass-movements, like those led by the nationalists who rise to power in such times, require the unifying belief in a “devil,” a convenient place in which to focus a collective’s hatred, and an outlet for followers’ self-loathing. According to Hoffer, “…the ideal devil is a foreigner,” and, “To qualify as a devil, a domestic enemy must be given a foreign ancestry.”

    In this regard, religion seems a convenient target toward which to direct attentions, both for recruiting the fearfully intolerant to a cause, and as a focal-point for those seeking that “devil.” Then when that first stone is thrown, the people lose their identities to the names of the groups, and the fight is no longer about individuals. Always somewhere, it seems… Burma is the poster-child at present.

    It’s a sorry road to travel that can only be traveled alone. But I fear that many from places that have never known the depths to which such fearful hatred can take us don’t understand what they risk in their rhetoric… even here in the US. You tell an important story.

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    1. thank you and yes, i completely agree with all the points you have mentioned about Never heard of Eric Hoffer, Going to google for more info, looks like I am already agreeing with you,

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    1. Thank you so much. Yes, that is my inrention. As a person who understands multitude of cultures because of my childhood, travels and now the change of destination of my adulthood, i see things in a slightly different or a broader lens. I guess i get a panoramic view of things. Even though the news everyday is all full of war and misery, i still see a lot of love and humanity everywhere too. I think with migration we need to work on integration, but its hard to integrate if you dont understand the different cultures. I hope my blog will show the differences as well as the commonality of cultures

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