This is for everyone who feels as if they have failed, who feel as if they have failed the country, the society we live in, I understand you, because I feel the same.
I hear my mother talking over the phone about this presidential election candidate who is said to have sought medical help after his defeat. My mother said, “how can we trust such a spineless person who needed professional help after his defeat?” Her rationale was that one should be ‘strong enough’ to withstand any obstacle that comes in their way without needing help. Mental health and mental health issues do not exist in her world. So, my mother, ecstatic at the victory of her Sinhala Buddhist nationalist party, tells the world that this candidate is weak for seeking help for a mental health issue while her daughter is on two pills per day for depression and anxiety.
Needless to say, I felt like a failure.
I realize that her hatred towards this candidate does not come from a personal grudge but because she so-blindly follows this extremist party. Blind faith could lead to many forms of atrocities; I felt so powerless and unmotivated. I am going to get back up after writing this note but imagine the homophobia, islamophobia and the hatred towards a woman’s reproductive health that the advocates of the extremist nationalist party disseminated all over generations during the last few months.
This is where I feel like a failure and that I have failed the country. The very knowledge that a loved one of mine contributed to reinfecting Sri Lanka with all sorts of extremism is what hurts the most. Military interventions at every facet of life is going to be normal in the near future. The students who laughed at me when I explained to them what LGBTQIA+ is are going to continue laughing and we are going to be living in anger, dissatisfaction and frustration. And the saddest part, a part of the country that we live in, a part of the country that we are weeping for, inflicted this upon ourselves. My mother is one of them.
As many of the status updates on Facebook today said, the people have spoken and one needs to realize that this is what the people want. I wish I could end this on a motivational note, and some clever anecdote or something of that sort, but I am at a loss for words. I have had palpitations since this morning. I have been googling for opportunities to migrate. As a collective, we have failed our country. My heart weeps and I do not see anything else to do.
*Isurinie Mallawaarachchi M.A. [@isurinie on Instagram] is a university lecturer, researcher and intersectional feminist activist, specialising in the area of gender-based violence faced by Sri Lankan women in public transport. She is an alumna of the University of Kelaniya and the University of Malaya.