Sri Lanka: Can our suspended dreams resume after the war?

Once thought extinct, this rare bird has reportedly been seen again in Sri we await confirmation!
Once thought extinct, this rare bird has reportedly been seen again in Sri Lanka...but we await confirmation!

22 May 2009: I remember Auden: We must love one another or die…
19 May 2009: Us and Them: Sri Lanka’s first landmine on the road to peace

They say the long and bloody Sri Lankan civil war is over, and I’d say not a moment too soon. I really want to believe it. I simply must: the alternative is too depressing to consider.

Sure, there is no independent verification – it has been a war without witnesses for the last few years. But I am willing to take an unusual leap of faith if that’s what it takes to usher in the long-elusive peace. I will go to the ends of the earth, and suspend disbelief if I have to, in return for lasting and meaningful peace.

As we stand on the threshold of change – with the promise of peace – I am overwhelmed with memories of a tragic past. And I hope we can once again start dreaming of a better future – and make it happen.

After a hiatus of three decades – three quarters of my own life – I dare to dream again. I hope other Lankans will soon revive and resume their suspended dreams.

So what kind of a future Sri Lanka can we, must we, should we now dare to dream about? Where do we look for the vision and inspiration?

One of the greatest poet philosophers of the East had articulated many decades ago the very essence of my dream for a post-war Sri Lanka. I once heard the late Lakshman Kadirgamar – another tragic casualty of our war – render these momentous words at a South Asian gathering in his impeccable English which brought out all its nuances.

Across the gulf of space and time, Rabindranath Tagore speaks for many of us:

Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore

Posted on 19 May 2009: Us and Them: Sri Lanka’s first landmine on the road to peace

Op ed published on 19 May 2009: Memories of War, Dreams of Peace

Author: Nalaka Gunawardene

A science writer by training, I've worked as a journalist and communication specialist across Asia for 30+ years. During this time, I have variously been a news reporter, feature writer, radio presenter, TV quizmaster, documentary film producer, foreign correspondent and journalist trainer. I continue to juggle some of these roles, while also blogging and tweeting and column writing.

8 thoughts on “Sri Lanka: Can our suspended dreams resume after the war?”

  1. As lasantha wickramatunga says in his piece, the end of the war might not be the end of bloodshed. It could be the beginning of a Guerrilla war, if the Government does not accommodate the tamils. It all boils down to accepting pluralism.

    Winning a Guerrilla war is near impossible, as the Indian govt knows from experience. The LTTE was an opposition force of the 70s and 80s when conventional armies were in vogue, as Afghanistan has proved Guerrilla armies are better. They are in vogue now.

    This mite be beginning of trouble in the Island. I hope my judgment is wrong.

  2. Excellent thoughts Nalaka. It is not going to be an easy task. The challenge is not a possible guerrilla war, but the new war that the State is now going to continue with much vigor against its own citizens both minorities and the majority who not align with its hegemonic thinking.

  3. I have seen the warmth and love of the people of Sri Lanka. When I toured the country last year I found the military everywhere…at first it is disturbing and after a bit the soldiers with their weapons blend in to the background. I wish Sir Arthur C. Clarke lived to see this day….I am not blind to the fact there will be possible guerrilla warfare…but with the death of Vellupillai Prabhakaran the possibility for this country to turn a corner on a new path is excellent. I hope peace breaks out in eveyr part of Sri lanka and the people fourish in the years to come …they have such great potential.
    David Damario

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