Mother Lanka Speaks…

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My dear children,

Since quite some time now, I have been listening to you speak about how Sri Lanka should change. People discuss this topic over dinner tables, at places of work, in public places and even over a cup of tea. ‘Sri Lanka should change’, you say. ‘The system should change’. And then you argue for hours as to what political party can do it.  And I listen.

I listen to your arguments, quote often blinded with partiality to the political party that you or your family has been supporting for generations. I listen when you talk about the importance of democracy, and in the same breath, dispel those representing different religious and political beliefs. And I listen when you then say, ‘this country has no hope. It is unfortunate that we are here’.

And it hurts. It hurts to see you disregard the country of your birth – the very soil that bore you, gave birth to you, fed you and gave you an education.  Above all, it hurts to see you blame your country, for what you did yourself.

For thirty very long years, I had to face the pain of being torn apart with bloodshed and hatred. Nothing pains a mother than seeing her own children go against each other. Three decades of war did not merely create an economic and a political downfall. It stole the very essence of this country. But this is not the biggest tragedy. What pains me most is, even after experiencing what violence, false promises, discrimination and inadequate representation can bring to a country, you my children, still remain hardly changed.

And hence, I watch.

I watch the hypocrisy of those who enter the Parliament, dressed entirely in white but their hearts blackened with greed. For them, the sacred premises of the Parliament- the very heart of the sovereignty of our People- is nothing but a mode of self-gain and corruption.

I watch the double standards in our people, who boast about a culture that respects women, yet fails to understand the importance of female representation in Parliament. For a country that made history by electing the first female Prime Minister of the world, it is quite embarrassing to see women being degraded as not having the capacity to be decision makers.

I watch how those in power induce the younger generation of this country to embrace drugs and alcohol. They thrive on their misfortune, filling their own pockets with loads of cash while the most precious strength of this nation is slowly wasting away under the throes of drug abuse.

I watch with pain as people turn a blind eye to what is happening around them- taking corruption as a common occurrence. And those who do speak up for what they believe in end up being tortured and killed.

I watch with disbelief as how Politicians use racism as a tool for their political advancement. Extremism is once again raising its head, stronger than ever before. I see relationships being torn apart again and people being judged not by character, but by race.

I watch all these, yet I am unable to speak. I remain silent, immobile with grief and hopelessness. And all I can do is to make this appeal.

When you choose the Change you wish to see, choose wisely. The vote you give- that one single vote- has the power to determine not only the 225 people who will be acting as the representatives of the People. The vote you give will decide what the policies that govern this country will be. It will decide whether it is development or destruction that lies ahead for us. It will not only affect you- but people from much underprivileged communities. And most importantly, it will affect the future- your own children. So I beg you to make a decision that you will one day not regret.

Remember, that this land belongs to all. It embraces all of you as equals; loves you as equals. And it expects you to treat the other in the same manner.

And above all, it expects you to love it back.

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