My Sinha-le is the same blood that runs in all Sri Lankans who love their country for what it is: a land filled with people of Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher and several other ethnicities, who all have equal rights for as long as they are Sri Lankan. We also share this land with a few who feel the need to create a conflict between its different communities, just so they can stop feeling insecure. It has happened many times before.
Us Sinhalese don’t have the best track record of treating our Tamil and Muslim neighbours well. In the 80’s some of our people tracked down the houses of Tamils and set fire to them. They beat them, killed them in broad day light as the public watched. On the streets of Colombo they filled cars with Tamils and set fire to them, to watch them burn, watch them suffer and die, just because they were minorities. And then we all dressed up in our conservative national costumes and sang “mey Sinhala apage ratai” like that was true. How weak we were. How uncivilized we were.
Although sometimes I have flashes of shame in my mind about my people, they go away almost instantly as I am reminded that it wasn’t the true Sinhalese who created this conflict. It was a few weak individuals who were easily swayed by political propaganda. Most racists in Sri Lanka, both then and today, are products of a bad education and political brainwashing. They are not Sinhalese or Sri Lankan. And they sure do not have Sinha-le.
Before we wiped out almost half of their population from the country and forced most of the Tamil community to flee and find other countries to live in, Tamils and Sinhalese thrived together in Sri Lanka. Tamils, just like the Sinhalese, had equal access to all positions of power; some of the best and the brightest in our workforce were Tamils, their reputations remain untarnished even to this day. Our Sinhalese extremists have very conveniently forgotten that Sri Lanka’s first Army Commander was also a Tamil. Yes, there was a time in our country’s history when democracy was stronger than racism.
Today many years of racism, injustice and bloodshed later some people have decided maybe now is a good time to rekindle our racism. With graffiti on walls and bumper stickers on cars, their cheap “revolution” has begun. Their revolution can be bought for 35 rupees per bumper sticker and 350 rupees per t-shirt ( no taxes included of course, because these people have never and will never pay taxes.) All funds raised will be contributed to the welfare of a community of frustrated individuals who have nothing in their lives to be proud of, that they consider being born to the majority race as an achievement. Sinha-le means lion blood and they claim to have it. You see, lion blood is for people who understand what it means to be Sri Lankan. You can’t claim to have Sinha-le by printing out a sticker and pasting it on your motorbike.Sinha-le cannot be bought for 35 rupees a piece. It doesn’t work that way.
Sinha-le is the blood of those who stand up for all citizens that live under the lion flag, regardless of their race,religion or class.
My Sinha-le is the same blood that runs in those who cried when Tamils were set fire to in their cars by some people who claimed to be Sinhala nationalists. My Sinha-le is the same blood of us Sinhalese who hid our Tamil friends in our own homes when the extremists came hunting for them, those of us who held their hands when they got the news that their life-time’s earnings and hard work were all burnt down with their homes. There wasn’t much we could do, than be ashamed. We were helpless too. My Sinha-le is the same blood that runs in the sensitive Sri Lankans who were uncomfortable celebrating in May 2009, because we all know there are no victories in war, only losses. My sinha-le is the same blood that runs in the intelligent Sri Lankans who refused to blindly worship our leaders who used our money and our people to fight a war they named their war. Gota’s war, Mahinda’s war; none of these tax-payer-money-seeking cardboard figures ever took a bullet, ever felt the pain a mother felt when they lost a child to a conflict some Sinhala people created in the 1950’s because they were insecure; because they felt like a majority being treated like a minority. How childish were the Sinhala extremists who decided we had to kill the Tamils to earn our place in our own country?
Those insecure, inhuman children do not have Sinha-le. Because lion blood is for lions, and lions are never insecure, lions don’t kill their own kind just to feel bigger. Racists are all fearful children, who are yet to learn how to live in a civilized world. They don’t yet have the strength or intellect it takes to learn the concept of equality, perhaps they are all damaged products of our very flawed education system. No religion can change them. No temple can save them. Only they can help themselves. And until they do, until they learn to stop being so scared of someone other than Sinhalese living in Sri Lanka, until they stop being so insecure, they won’t be lions, and they won’t have Sinha-le. My sinha-le is the same blood that runs in all Sri Lankans including Tamils, Muslims and Burgers. The same blood that runs in cricket stadiums full of roaring Sri Lankans. My Sinha-le cannot be bought by politicians. My Sinha-le needs no bumper sticker or logo, it’s written all over our faces, shown in our actions and felt in our hearts.