The War Must Come to Colombo
Forgive my blatant disregard towards being politically correct. I intend to make my point as clear as possible, thus the usual diplomatic wrappings that form a masquerade around my true opinion will be set aside on this occasion.
The recent massacre at Virginia Tech University was indeed an event that we all condemn and regret. We as members of a global community have realized the necessity to empathize with our fellow brethren across continents whenever fate deals them a cruel blow.
However, it occurred to me that we in Colombo have a nasty tendency to empathize with the West at the expense of neglecting the issues within our present civil war. A classic example of this was the reaction of individuals in Colombo which even included facebook groups for the purpose of displaying solidarity against the massacre. It would have been equally polite to have a couple of groups dedicated to the children in the North and East that are lost to war each day.
To avoid misunderstanding, let me make it clear that I too empathize with the families of the victims of this massacre. However, I find it puzzling that events such as this along with Oklahoma, 9/11 and Katrina seem to affect our conscience in far greater proportions than events within our own country. The international media, which is for obvious reasons West-centric, will continue to inundate us with news items that relate mainly to the West. And we seem to simply fall in line like well-trained monkeys.
It is obvious that we Colombo dwellers are more Western than in fact Sri Lankan. We remember our nation mostly when the cricket is on. Feel free to despise me for hazardously generalizing. The ethnic conflict (and yes, there is a conflict out there which is deeply imbedded in the psyche of the people) will never cease unless the conflict comes to our own doorstep.
No, I am certainly not asking you to wear sackcloth, weep and gnash your teeth in despair. However, I invite you to ponder upon the dynamics of our conflict and how we in Colombo, as we grow tired of the politics, choose to ignore its realities. I feel it is unlikely that a viable solution will be found until we, as the supposed crème-de-la-crème, are physically affected by the conflict. What I mean by “physically affected” is open to interpretation. I however do not possess the morbid wish for violence to take place within our city merely for us to learn our lesson. Personally, I believe mandatory military service may do the trick. But that’s a different debate altogether.
The truth is, we have grown comfortable in our own depression and look elsewhere to offer our condolences. Charity must begin at home.
Thank you for reading.