Re-building the nation

25 May 2019 12:12 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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The Business places damaged during the recent ethnic tension in Minuwangoda     

 

Our TV stations and national newspapers reminded us that it was one month since the Easter massacre. To again see so many people in their grief at the loss of parents, children, whole families wiped out, was indeed painful and kept many of us wondering as to what could we do? The communities, churches, a number of religious groups have all come forward to aid those affected and restore some normalcy to the lives of the hundreds affected. Many of us are wondering about the future of this nation.  


We all saw the breaking down of many traditional barriers, how people, even clergy of different religions came forward to help in whatever way possible , those affected. The leadership given by the Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith largely contributed to the maintenance of peace immediately after these attacks. The involvement of many Buddhist clergy and Buddhist leaders in relief work was heartwarming. In spite of some fear of retaliation the Muslim community and clergy also came forward. The Hindus also played a significant role.  

 

Equally and perhaps more importantly there must be a major overhaul in  our education system. No schools must be allowed for particular  religious or racial groups. Every school and every classroom must be  multicultural

 

Prominent Muslim leaders called for soul searching to understand how such terrorists came from their community and called for a Sri Lankan identity. I believe all these are good signs and if we do the right things, we can rise up as a strong united nation.  


Of course there will be political opportunists as we saw in the NWP (Minuwangoda), who want to further their political goals by capitalizing on these situations, and the authorities must deal very strongly with them and with elections around the corner we should also give them the right answer.  

 

Let us also accept the fact that within all our religious communities, there are extremists

 

We can see signs of unity among our religious communities and this is a reason for hope. Let us also accept the fact that within all our religious communities, there are extremists.

Among the Christians we have highly evangelical groups whose one aim is to make Sri Lanka a Christian country. Some years ago there was a group proselytizing among the Hindu estate workers and they made these people dash the statues of their Gods on the ground. They may not kill but is there any difference between them and those who broke up Buddhist statues in Mawanella? Many long established churches have been attacked by extremist Buddhist groups. Just before the Easter violence a Methodist church in Anuradhapura was stoned. All religious groups in this country must do some soul searching, not only the Muslims, as we have all contributed to this situation. The religious groups can and must give leadership to foster unity  

 

 We all saw the breaking down of many traditional barriers, how people,  even clergy of different religions came forward to help in whatever way  possible , those affected. The leadership given by the Archbishop of  Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith largely contributed to the maintenance  of peace immediately after these attacks

 

Religious leaders must come down hard on such extremist groups within their group . As they have shown us after the Easter violence, religious leaders can do much to bring about unity among our people. Equally and perhaps more importantly there must be a  major overhaul in our education system. No schools must be allowed for particular religious or racial groups. Every school and every classroom must be multicultural. There will be difficulties, but they must be overcome. All schools must be under the control of the Ministry of Education , and no school must operate under a particular Ministry of Religious Affairs . There must be one Ministry of Religious Affairs, and common policies must be in place for the different religious groups.  


Let us work to rise up from this situation as a strong united nation.   

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