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The need for spas and chocolate

January 27, 2012

Writing about Sri Lanka is bloody terrifying after a lifetime of looking at the subject sideways. If I look at it full on, it’s too awful to bear. If I read a newspaper article, I have to stare into space for 20 minutes. If I read a book on the subject, I need an entire weekend away, in a hotel with fluffy white robes and a swimming pool. I’m writing this blog on a sea of red wine and chocolate _ anything to distract me from my reality.

It’s headspinningly hard to know what will work. Eelam in an insane dream. Total separation for a tiny slice of land on an already tiny island _ two countries jostling for room, having to share a long land border.

But South Sudan is an equally improbable country – the horse drawn plough was an innovation here ten years ago. As is Kosovo – a city that has convinced the world to recognise it as a state even though it barely has enough resources to feed its people. But I don’t think the fact that these countries exist is enough. They are still struggling to become real, accepted states.

But if not Eelam. then what? A first past the post electoral system cannot work in a country with a belligerent majority and persecuted minority. There has to be something else. A federal state? Devolution? Or some sort of multi cultural, multi ethnic state?

Sri-Lanka is amazing. Really, really amazing. It has stories and legends and history and mythology that entwine its people to the island’s topography, drawing in religion, language, music and dance. There must be a way, musn’t there, for this unique, entrancing, tiny country to survive?


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One Comment
  1. magerata permalink

    I was there with my Mom, for two weeks. Even though looks much better than a year ago, it is still worse. I am not interested or have the capacity to understand what grown ups do but those children. Vacant but bright gleaming eyes makes you lie, say “everything be alright”. I lie and give them chocolate melting in northern heat. Don’t they love chocolate! Eyes brighten even more and pearly whites begin to show. just like I do when my Mom gives me a piece of Chocolate. In reality, it really hurts to realize my incapacity to help those kids. I am going for a foot massage, I rode my bike more than 30 Km today.
    Yes there is a way for the tiny country to survive, by teaching those kids that they no less than anyone. I am very much certain they are ready to learn.

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