Last Friday evening many of us were shocked to our very core. A hasty decision, an unexpected sacking and swearing in - no one expected and no one, not even me a ‘mother who tends to be more focused on her children and their upcoming year-end exams’ could get over.
I am a mother who often gets caught up in all my children’s activities and needs and leaves the world (and government) to do their thing. But on Monday I put aside everything normally thought important in my world and went to stand in solidarity for the future and country my children I hope can live in.
Why am I terribly upset over last Friday’s decision, well for starters it teaches that something done the wrong way can be eventually justified as right. I strive to teach my children that wrong is wrong no matter how you try to justify it. A rule is a rule and bending it will only lead to a long road of pain and regret. The billboards, the many posters and TV debates, they all sadly oppose my teaching.
I teach my children that we all make mistakes but we learn, say sorry and move on bettering ourselves. Today I see my children learn that sorry is a sign of weakness and defeat.
I teach my children that doing what is right or saying the truth no matter how hard is always more important than a quick fix or ‘small lie’. The truth eventually comes out. But even as I write this I can hear my child’s voice going “Really?? But how come so much of what you say is shown otherwise?”
I teach my children that money is not everything and the pursuit of that is not happiness. My children are seeing that money talks and that honestly scares me.
I teach my children to be kind, compassionate and to treat others the way they like to be treated. They watch today’s TV and see people running each other down, calling each other names with a complete disregard of loyalty and respect.
I look at what my children and the children of this nation are seeing and I wonder can my voice outcry their example? Can they learn simple life principles that I believe are vital for their success?
Oh, Sri Lanka, I moan so much for you. I love you so much and no matter how much well-meaning parents advise me to move to ‘greener pastures‘ I will not because you are my country. The country of my birth. I love you. I am so proud you topped the list on Lonely Planet because I know the awe of standing on top of Sigiriya and imagining the majesty of yesteryear, I have seen the beauty of your waterfalls, tea plantations and the stag standing aloof in Horton Plains. I love the beaches and my road of solace, my Marine Drive. I love that whilst other countries may have better roads and cheaper food, there is no place like my Sri Lanka.
I love you so much that I moan for the little boy who believes aggression is the way forward, that shouting and demanding is the way to win the battle. I moan for the little girl who backs down in confusion because right seems wrong and wrong is right. I moan for her because I know the day will come when she feels she has to let go of her gentle, quiet ways and instead demand, shout and push her way through if she wants to achieve her goals. I moan for the boy who thinks quick fixes and a little bit of cheating is better than plain hard work and determination. I moan for the loss of not learning from the wrong of yesterday but believing wrongs can be made right or else forgotten. I moan for the child who places his trust in power and money, disregarding the value of humanity and fair play.
Oh, my beautiful and precious country I pray for a day when we will birth a different citizen. A citizen who will place their own interests aside and work for the common good of others. A citizen who will walk in love irrespective of ethnicity and religion, compassionate, slow to anger, kind and not malicious, serving their peers with the quiet confidence of the knowledge of their own strengths and not feel threatened or insecure.
Sri Lanka, oh, Sri Lanka I pray for a nation who will truly walk as one nation with one mother proud and confident to be all we can be!