An outline for inter-communal unity, on-going dialogue to respect each other’s religion, political tolerance, and inter-racial marriages.

Charles Perera

When our chests are full of feelings, and feel so helpless, unable even to make people who matter hear what little we may have to say, we put down in writing, in whatever way we can some of those feelings. When things seem to go wrong in the land that mothered us, we always look for some one to blame- a scapegoat. The easiest we can catch to went our feelings is of course the Government in place. When you come to think about it, a government in place has its responsibilities, it has to act according to the law of the land. It has to be fair by everyone. Those who elected them want the government to fulfill their election pledges. Those who opposed them are critical of the reforms the government is carrying on, and blames them for delay. The world bodies, the foreign countries , the Ambassadors all keep watch and the government has to please them in one way or another.

Some of us knows that a socialist form of government is the only way out for developing countries. Others may not agree. But under these circumstances, it is not being critical of the Government in place , that is going to help. It is far better to understand that a government has been formed by the representative of the party or parties elected by a majority of the people. If this government fails to please the majority that elected them, then there may be another government that comes in its place formed by another political party or parties elected by another majority of people.

Knowing that, why cannot we let the government in place carry on governing, without our having to whip up the people against the government, from the time it has been formed. UNP was in power, and they failed to settle the problems, in a way acceptable by the people. They were voted out and there is now a new government, which is trying to put things back into place and make the necessary reforms . The UNP who were voted out by the people, should respect the right of the people. At the end of the elected period of the parties responsible for the present government, people will again decide whether this very same people should come to power or it should be some one else.

This system will go on whether we like it or not, and each time our chests are full we will write against one , and in favor of another. But this country belongs to every one of us the Sinhala, Tamils, Muslims, Malays, and Burghers, and to the Buddhists, Hindus, Islamists, Christians and atheists, to UNP, SLFP, JVP, LSSP,CP, TULF,Tamil Congress, Muslim Parties, but not to terrorists (unless they are ready to put their guns down) from where ever they come. In consideration of this situation or flow of thoughts, I thought a way-out for us to settle our differences and develop our country is to find a means of getting together, with our differences, to really make this country a place for each one of us to be proud of.

How can we do this ? The language is no great problem as we can learn each others language, but the main cultural difference between each one of the groups is the religion. This cannot be solved as we solve the language problem. Therefore, there should be a dialogue, an on going dialogue, where each religious group learns to respect the religion of the other groups. There should be co-ordination , and no segregation. Each community should understand that the religion is some thing in one’s heart, and any outward expression of faith, ceremonies, processions should be carried out without any disrespect to religious sentiments of other groups.

There should not be communal segregation. Every body should be able to move about and settle down wherever they want. It may be very idealistic, but it is easier to get together, than separate, if one has the will. Our Island Home is too small to be divided to accommodate each group in a given area. Even mixed marriages should be encouraged, with partners free to follow ones own religious belief. No forced conversion should be allowed, but one should be given the right of individual choice of worship.

In such a community with an ongoing inter communal dialogue, each will be helping the other. Any dissension could be settled in friendly dialogue

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