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A way forward for ethnic harmony

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After a 30-year passage of bloodletting and devastation, the latest step proposed to foster ethnic harmony among all the communities living in the country, the singing of the National Anthem in both Sinhala and Tamil languages, ran into rough and turbulent seas and then into thin air.

We feel that it should be commenced with more simple endeavors that will give weight to the desired purpose and propose the following simple suggestion for consideration.

Since independence, at all state functions, where the military personnel are summoned to provide musical accompaniment to their parades and et al, the tunes we hear being played are of those hit songs, praising the patriotism of the majority community and those of which directly or indirectly render the message that “…. this beautiful country belongs to the majority community….”.

These too may have created feelings of discard and suspicion in the minds of the minority communities, being some of the basic contributory factors that may have pushed them to group themselves into political factions based on their ethnic/religious sentiments and also to draft separate agendas for themselves.

Definitely there should be patriotic songs sung in Tamil too, (with suitable beats for military parades) praising our motherland and hailing the patriotism rendered towards her by the Tamil, Muslim, Malay and other brethren whenever She was in trouble.
Therefore, I strongly suggest that the military should select and play tunes of such Tamil songs also at state functions – especially at the main Independence Day celebrations.

This year’s main Independence Day celebrations will be a good starter with a new President and a new government brought into office with the outpouring blessings of the minority communities as well.

If this simple suggestion is made to see the light of day, it will definitely help, both, to win the confidence of the minority communities and also to boost their self-respect, and thereby, make them believe that Sri Lanka has really taken a bold and an effective step to create an accommodative society that will harbor unity in diversity.
D. Samaranayake

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