Sunday, December 30, 2007

Peace Vigil, Colombo - 31s Dec 2007 - (email)

Hi there!

I wanted to send out a New Years wish with a difference this year. I want it to be a greeting and wish for the New Year, as well as an appeal for your support, at least conceptually, in a venture for a peaceful 2008.

I have decided to see in the New Year by attending a Vigil for Peace in Colombo, Sri Lanka, starting at Fort Railway Station at 8pm on Dec 31st (see the forwarded at the bottom of this email). This has been organised by a group of community members interested in peace, who belong to no particularly group, and are trying to be as multi-ethnic, multi-religious as possible (this appeal has gone out – and is going out to as many different people from different backgrounds as possible, and please send it out to others who may be interested, sorry for the delay in sending this out, the Peace Vigil is a recent development and it has taken me a while to write this email).

If you are in Colombo I invite you to join me. If you are not able to then I appeal to you to share in the sentiment of Peace in Sri Lanka –that is, to believe this dream is possible, I believe there is true benefit in positive thought and positive energy.

That is why I am asking as many people as possible and everybody in my circle of friends to spare such positive thoughts for 2008. (I’m a big believer in the “secret” of the universe, if that means anything to you, and I am putting this wish for peace out to the universe and asking for your help in doing so).

Perhaps participating in a peace vigil many not change anything in practical terms – sadly, the world seems to be a place where violence and killing is widespread, and in trying to change this but not succeeding, people have consequently become cynical. But to me, perhaps a credit to either my naivety or just simple optimism, I always feel the world is a place of hope, where things can change if “enough” people want it to.

I am therefore sending this email to my friends who I have contact with by email, and also as a reply to the group who originally sent out the invitation to participate in the Peace Vigil – thanks for your courage in organising this event.

(I have purposely put all the email addresses in the “blind carbon copy” so as not to release my friends’ email addresses. If you have any comments you can either reply to me directly, or post your response on my peace blog - to share with all people who receive this email –the contents of this email is also posted on the blog)

The persistence of suffering because of conflict is one of the many factors that led me to return to Sri Lanka to live, as I always wanted to try and increase my understanding of issues in Sri Lanka enabling me to try and do something to help the situation - and I am determined to follow a path of Peace.

Appeal to my friends and family

The next paragraph is written from the heart because my life is too short to project falsehoods, bear with me ☺

To my family, and my friends, I would like your mental support this new years eve. I know “you” know my intentions are pure, and you are my greatest support in life. Peace is my life, and I want to live it. Please take the time to watch the video by the Vietnamese monk that I have attached at the end of this – I have found it recently and it is interesting.

I believe that peace talks need not only happen at the hands of political leaders, they can occur in the home of every family, after all, family is the core of society.

I believe the conflict in Sri Lanka affects everyone who cares about this country and its people. Whilst I have not been the victim of direct personal suffering, I have spoken to many who have been affected to varying degrees. My heart goes out to all who have suffered and are currently suffering. The hurt runs deep for many people.

I believe a non-partisan approach (ie not taking sides) is necessary for understanding and peace – we are all unified in humanity after all, Seeing the situation from another persons view point is difficult, especially when emotions are strong. However, I believe it's important and it is possible to do this.

My New years message is simple:

I've had enough of divisions and lack of understanding.

I want peace and unity in diversity in Sri Lanka - I believe it can happen, and it must come from the people first.

I don't believe this will be a painless process as there is already a lot of pain, anger and hatred in the air.

I believe that love can, and will, conquer all - if we only use this sometimes unfamiliar friend.

In 2008 why don't we use the message of all religions for the spirit that they were intended? Love, kindness and peace.

So join with me, at least in spirit in supporting peace in Sri Lanka.
In my mind, you are part of my core group that I can appeal to on this issue. I wish to appeal to a much larger personal group in the future.

Remember, this is only a step in a long process that needs to happen so think twice before condemning a good intention.

This is my New Years Dreams and wish for all of us....

To realise the dream of peace, understanding and unity in diversity

and hopefully a united Sri Lanka

Best wishes for the New Year
Bishan :)

Finally anyone interested in Peace should read the following, which I find very inspirational (Thich Nhat Hanh - Peace is every Step), and also check out the links to the two YouTube video. Also if you have any comments on the message in this email please post them on my peace blog:-

Here’s to a brighter future for all of us in 2008.

“Nonviolence is a weapon of the strong”
“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”
“Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected”
(quotes by Mahatma Gandhi)

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that"
(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

On 28/12/2007, at 6:49 PM, Angelica Chandrasekeran wrote:
Hi all,

We hope you have enjoyed Christmas and looking forward to the New Year.

Some of us met on December 21 to reflect on Christmas in Jaffna, and again on Christmas Day, for solidarity fast for peace. It was then that we thought of organizing some activity for peace on the night of December 31st.

We have pleasure in inviting you to join us in a Vigil for Peace, on the night of the 31st December 2007, from pm8 to midnight.

The venue, which will be a public place in Colombo, will be finalized and communicated to you in the coming days. (now finalized – Fort Railway station, Colombo)

We will organize an inter-religious prayer at midnight to usher in the New Year and to strengthen our commitment to a just peace in Sri Lanka in 2008. A Fellowship meal will follow.

We hope you will join us. Remember to bring along some friends, as well as some food and drink to share!

If there is any poem, reading or reflection you would like to share, please bring it along.

Please share this mail with as many people as you can so they could join us if they like.

Ainslie, Angelica, Cristobel, Nimalka, Ruki, Sunila and Fr. Tissa Balasuriya

For more details, please contact:

(these are also some interesting blogs that I’ve come across recently)

Peace, Understanding and Unity in Diversity

This blog has been an idea that I have had for a long time. Today is it's inception day because I cannot wait for the perfect blog to be designed. I would like to have a site for positive and inspirational ideas from my friends, family and contacts to archived for all the world to see.

I hope for this site to be a multi media site with images, sound and video - pulling on idealolgical, religions, ethinic and artistic diversity that I believe can help us to realise the love that exist around us.

I am planning to start the new year (2008) by attending a Vigil for Peace in Colombo, Sri Lanka. My first post on this blog will be a group email I have sent out to all my contacts. I would like to hear your comments online. Posting on line will allow everying to see and learn about your ideas. If you do not feel comfortable, you can always email me personally.

May all being be well and happy on Earth

Dec 30th 2007