Colombo Telegraph

How Much Of Our Humanity, Do We Have To Sacrifice To “Save” The Country?

By Kasun Kamaladasa

Kasun Kamaladasa

From last year I’ve been thinking how to write a compelling argument on why we should try to change our culture that conveniently places blame on people without a voice, for all our shortcomings. So instead of giving readers thousands of statistics, explanations and theories I thought, I’d try something else.

It was quite unfortunate that a year ago, we had to witness a president of a country standing on a stage and mocking sexual orientation of people, while attempting to humiliate his rivals and justify his disregard for democracy, applauded by a former president and a whole bunch of people who call themselves future leaders.

Few months later came a well-orchestrated terrorist drama, just like in every country that was forced to pick an authoritarian, as the leader. This time instead of humiliation, the same leaders chose creating fear against a voiceless minority that left them to suffer and to adapt as they could to the backlash.

Then came “Viyathmaga” a group claiming to be the top brains of the country because they have university professors who have not managed to at least eradicate university ragging in their own back yard. Ragging that has forced thousands to suffer/die/leave in silence.

Now closer to the election, I am perplexed by how willingly one chooses to be ignorant about female hygiene just so they may ridicule their opponent amongst the uneducated. It seems irrelevant or maybe beyond their understanding that this comes at the expense of silencing those who need help and protection, the most.

Amongst these political spectacles the incident that saddened me the most was the bullying and belittling of a young female debate member. who asked something along the line of “Why am I 18 years old in a country with so many ethnicities and I only have friends from one? Why have all past governments separated us?”. For me younger peers have always offered great hope and inspiration. This question is actually one such instance, in which tremendous maturity and understanding of segregation, were shown. But our future leaders promptly asked her to either shut up or search random names in Facebook and make a friend, and yes, these are the same leaders who are planning to bring cutting edge digital communication technologies.

Maybe why we have become so ignorant of our own society is because the people who are supposed to raise new ideas have instead started to nurture politicians that serve their greed. Universities where ideas should be debated and argued, have become passive lecture halls and dull examination centers. Politicians, with the use of religion, have effectively narrated a two dimensional story that everyone seems to be stuck in. Probably the worst situation is that our artists seem to be choosing political parties instead of ideas.

I have come to learn that Art is the soul of any society and artists are able to explain complexities of life that cannot be explained the same way in any other form.

So instead of writing I thought of sharing a list of songs that I myself have fallen in love with so readers may listen and come to their own understanding of what I am trying to compile (I have tried to include songs for all taste and ones with historical significance so feel free to read literature reviews and history to gain more context)

Where have all the flowers gone – The Kingston Trio (A simple song with so much meaning)
Five Finger Death Punch – Wrong Side Of Heaven

Imagine – John Lennon (I don’t know how we still don’t have better dreams after 50 years)
The Black Eyed Peas – Where Is The Love? (after 9/11 asking the right question instead of spreading fear)

Gender Identity
HollySiz – The Light
Lady Gaga – Born This Way (An iconic song that brought Gender Identity a new Level)

Accepting beyond traditional love
Hozier – Take Me To Church
Mary Lambert – She Keeps Me Warm

Aaradhna – Brown Girl(When your skin/assumed culture, stereotypes/confines you)
“Weird” Al Yankovic – Amish Paradise(Simplicity might not be what we consider it out to be)

MILCK – Quiet

Death and Regret
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Mad World – Gary Jules
Eminem – Stan

There are plenty more amazing artists and songs and not just in English, but in various different languages, hope someone might even share their favorite song that changed their world view.

I’d like to share one last song and dedicate it to the courageous girl who opened many closed eyes by asking the most important question that we face in Sri Lanka today “why am I 18 and still without a friend from a different ethnicity?”

Louis Armstrong – What a wonderful world

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow

They’ll learn much more

Then I’ll ever know

And I think to myself

What a wonderful world

Yes, I think to myself

What a wonderful world

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