Religious leaders must come together for reconciliation
Daily Mirror Editorial
Jan 28, 2011

Since the release in December of the wide ranging report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), reconciliation has emerged as a top priority issue not only for Sri Lanka but also for neighbouring India and the International community.almost every day, either a spokesperson representing a foreign country or one of the leaders of the socialist parties in the Government and outside and some leading figures of the regime have been focusing on this vital issue on the basis that while the war victory eliminated the LTTE and the terror, the longstanding ethnic conflict has yet not been addressed in a just and fair manner.

However, one has to look at the sudden cry for reconciliation, in the context of Sri Lankan realities and brokenness. There is a school of thought, which questions the validity of the viewpoints or claims made by socialist parties in the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Being committed to socialism and social justice, why is it that ministers like Tissa Vitharna, D.E.W. Gunasekera and Vasudeva Nanayakkara did not see the urgent need for reconciliation, all these years. One can understand foreign governments focusing on this subject because it is apparent that it was the possibility or fear of foreign intervention in some form that pushed the government to appoint the LLRC.

Despite this reality, we must be thankful that there are several voices, some from the wilderness, focusing on reconciliation. So what do we do and where do we begin?

Reconciliation to be genuine and true must essentially follow the pattern of South Africa after the end of the curse of Apartheid. If we adopt the South African model for reconciliation, the government must be prepared to accept the principles of truth and justice. It was to the credit of South Africa that it was prepared to look at the truth of realities in the Country because of Apartheid. Where Sri Lanka is concerned it is not enough for the Government to seek reconciliation by asking the people and opposition parties to support the regime. What is necessary is to revisit and examine the root causes of the war in Sri Lanka. If it is done honestly and in a spirit of forgiveness, repentance and accommodation half the problem will be solved. The process of reconciliation has been delayed so far largely due to the failure of the Government to look at the reasons for the war in Sri Lanka and living on the euphoria of May 2009.

It is not too late for government leaders to shift from the concept of majoritarianism and take on board all the minorities to set up the machinery to participate in reconciliation. This has to begin in our homes, our places of education and certainly places of worship. In this context just like Archbishop Desmond Tutu played a major role it would be necessary for an Interfaith Forum here to play an important role in reconciliation. This forum needs to include the Mahanayake Theras, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and other leaders of the Catholic and Christian Churches and Islamic and Hindu religious leaders. When the core truths of all major religions are brought together in a spirit of unity in diversity then we might behold a new Sri Lanka.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka