Sunday, April 19, 2009

There "is" hope for Peace in Sri Lanka - Article on: People to People connectivity in Peace Interaction

I wanted to share an amazing article which is a transcript of a speech on "People to People connectivity and Peace interaction: redefining heritage for conflict resolution" by Sudharshan Seneviratne - an University of Peradeniya Scholar.

It was sent to me a few weeks back and I have now finally gotten around to finishing reading it. The persons ideas are very interesting and positive and I have included a few excerpts to give the gist of the article (otherwise you might be like me and not get around to reading it for ages). It was a speech delivered 2 years ago, but it's message is timeless.

I think it is very worthy to send this message at this point in time because I believe there really is hope for Sri Lanka to address the most important issues that have lead to this ethnic conflict in the first place - namely a lack of appreciation of how we are all connected no matter who we are.

I feel the contents of this article help - because it highlights that the solution is already written in our collective cultures and the history of Sri Lanka.

Here are just a few excepts from attached document (it is better that you read the whole thing rather than just this - i don't want to change the overall tone of the prose by presenting excepts, however hopefully this will catch your eye and wet your appetite to want to read more : -

"While South Asia celebrates a vibrant history of cultural pluralism and diversity, there is a tragic contradiction posed by conflicts triggered off on the basis of imagined racial lines."

" Heritage in the main is viewed as a source of people to people connectivity in conflict resolution. It seeks to understand the Pre Colonial heritage and question exclusiveness against inclusiveness; grassroots level peoples’ connectivity cutting across ethnic, language, religious and political divides juxtaposed to divisions imposed from above by Colonialism and later by local decision-makers. It looks at heritage as an idiom that expresses a common language of humanity where people reach out to each other for understanding, sharing and co-existence."

"Towards an alternative dialogue: heritage and conflict resolution
The cultural landscape of South Asia essentially represents a habitat of multi-cultural and varied biological identities. In contemporary South Asia we possess ethnic, language, religious and religio-cultural diversity providing its regional society with multiple identities."

"While Archaeology and history are subjects that are effectively used by all contending parties in conflicts where the past is subverted in creating imagined identities, conversely archaeology and heritage studies are perhaps the best avenues that could rectify the process of cultural plurality and demythifying all forms of parochialisms in a scientific manner and place alternative histories before the next generation for a better and rational understanding of the past. The mind set must be reoriented beyond the mono country and monoculture and be exposed to cross-regional and cross-cultural horizons."

"In order to further activate a dialogue with the past supporting conflict resolution, the Department of Archaeology, University of Peradeniya took cognizance of this situation and structured its curriculum in training the next generation of archaeologists and heritage managers in the most professional manner in reading the past devoid of any inhibitions and parochialisms.....The aim of this program was to familiarize the young archaeologists on the common heritage south India and Sri Lanka shared and to negate the fallacy of considering south India as the ‘other’ region and Tamil speaking people as enemies due to activities of the LTTE. "

" In spite of recurring upheavals I am positively optimistic about the wisdom of the people in our region to rise above abysmal parochialisms and reach out to each other with sanity and understanding on cultural connectivity and our shared heritage as a point of convergence “beyond the bloody dances of death” (Bhan 2006:99). "

If you found this article as interesting and as inspirational as I did then please pass it on.

A truly Unified Sri Lanka need the work of us all

There is still much hope for a unified and diverse Sri Lanka - however it is not going to fall on the table - We all have to contribute to help CREATE IT and PROMOTE THIS.

I have noticed that there are presently many LTTE Diaspora overseas are waving LTTE flags and seemly don't really understand what who this organisation is who they are supporting, nor do they understand the situation in Sri Lanka. They are also posting inflammatory and ill-informed statements on internet discussion groups.

Sadly i do not think this activity will act to help "heal sri lanka" which is what I believe is needed.

Similarly many Ultra -Nationalist Sinhalese are not helping the situation (who also post inflammatory statements on the internet and egg-ing on further meaningless debate).

Now is the time for the moderate peaceful people to speak out. Now is the time for people who care about Sri Lanka not to just focus on what is going wrong - but to create more of what is going write. I believe this group is just one group that is

Making peace is more difficult than making war. But a start has to be made somewhere. It is hoped that this dialogue will be one of many endevours leading to a road map for all communities in Sri Lanka to co-exit in a non-violent environment."
When i see something that makes sense - I like to promote it.

Again these are just my thoughts, hopes and aspiration for a Unified Peaceful Sri Lanka that i'd like to share with you. I would like to hear your positive view on this suggestion.

Take care and stay in touch.

Please share your thoughts either with me or my blog

It's time to start the process of unity in diversity!

God Bless
Theruwan Saranai
Om Shanti

Love and Peace

Bishan :)

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