Last week’s catastrophe taught us many things. But it also brought a lot of people together to help those in need.
In the lead up to the floods, most of the people and media organizations were pre-occupied with issues such as Muslim religious places being burnt and the re-emergence of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organization.
It created a sense of tension mistrust between the people. Sri Lanka is not new to tension, except for those born after 2009.
The floods and landslides brought together all the people to help those trapped amidst chaos. Thousands from around the country collected relief items to be sent to the people affected by floods and landslides.
Remember, there were Sinhalese, Muslims, and Tamils who faced the same trauma due to this natural disaster.
No one cared where the money went. No one cared whether his or her food went to a Muslim, Tamil or Sinhalese.
The Airman who lifted the injured woman before losing his life, wouldn’t have cared what ethnicity she belonged, or what language she spoke.
The disaster is bad news, but the humanity which it brings from within the people is always good.
The problem is that people are mostly surrounded by negative stuff. Even the news they are exposed to are mostly of controversies, protests, killings, and several similar stuff.
But, disasters such as this bring out stories that inspire people to be better citizens. Unfortunately, the inspiration gets lost when political news takes over.
The majority of the people of this country have been affected in some way or another due to the ethnic conflict that divided the nation for decades.
The LTTE and the security forces never saw eye to eye during most part of the conflict, even when fighting was halted for various peace negotiations.
But the tsunami showed us a different side, at least for a brief period. We saw armed men of both sides working to save lives. These are examples that even nature wants humanity to prevail over man-made hatred and war.
Does a country have to go through catastrophe to bring out their goodness? Do we really have to go through this for a human being to show his or her love to a fellow human being?
Is this nature’s way of telling us how we are supposed to be?
Sri Lanka is beautiful. The beaches, the hills and plains make you want more of the country.
The people are beautiful too. We are multi cultured. We have different communities who follow their own lifestyles and rituals.
But what is there to boast about if all people lived the same way and spoke the same language?
These differences do not divide us, but make the country a more colourful and exciting place to live in.