Sunday May 19, 2013
Ode to a Humble Hero of Sri Lanka: Dr Brian SenewiratneTim King Salem-News.com
We all can learn from men like Dr Brian Senewiratne. It doesn't have to be about the past and what religion or culture a person is part of, it is simply about being enough of a human being to speak out and deliver the truth.
(SALEM) - Last week, we carried an amazing article by Dr Brian Senewiratne of Brisbane, Australia, a Sinhalese Sri Lankan, who may possess one of the most reasonable voices in this community when it comes to Lanka's history of ethnic cleansing. I was honored that this dignified humanitarian dispatched the story to our newsroom. Dr. Senewiratne does not hesitate to assess responsibility for the 2009 Genocide of Tamil people by the government of Majinda Rajapaksa.
His life and position are a portrait of and a lesson in, humility. He feels compelled to speak in bluntly honest terms about the loss that goes well beyond the uncountable number of deaths, and right to the island nation's soul.
A relative of outspoken former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the 4th Executive president of Sri Lanka, he recalls the news of how her children reacted to the Channel 4 documentary Sri Lanka's Killing Fields.
The doctor says he feels a huge load on his back - "coming from one of the dreadful families that has taken Sri Lanka down the slide to the gutter where it currently is. As my cousin’s son told his mother (Chandrika), after watching the Ch 4 video, 'I am ashamed to be called a Sinhalese'."
But the words of Dr Brian Senewiratne are what everyone must hear; his voice may be well known but it isn't unique, in that many Sinhalese agree fully, and do not make excuses, or justify crimes of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), in order to preserve the appearance of their government.
The long and winding road that Rajapaksa chose for this country, one that relies on things like tourism, only seems to become steeper and more slippery as time marches on.
Outright denials gave way to admissions that soldiers were out of line in some cases, then the administration led by Rajapaksa and his brothers became even less determined and
Dr Brian Senewiratne's courage is surpassed by his humanity and simple desire to see Sri Lanka exist as a cohesive country without state terrorism and mass murder of its own citizens. He recalled an event that stands out perpetually in his mind.
"A real ‘Gem’ if ever there one, was Bishop Lakshman Wickremasinghe who said, after the 1983 massacre, “Until we (the Sinhalese, apologise to the Tamil people, there will be no peace in Sri Lanka”
The real toll of the Tamil Genocide in Sri Lanka will never be known. Two of the largest reasons for that are a destruction of records, and the elimination of journalists who were willing to report the truth. They silenced the messengers.
From: Usha Sriskandarajah, Canada, 23 May 2006
An Ode to Dr Brian Senewiratne
Dear Dr Senewiratne
As the voice of reason of the Sinhalese
May your tribe increase
And become the driving force
To bring real unity to the island of Sri Lanka
May your kinsmen heed your call
In your quest for Justice and Fairness
And for your futuristic vision
You’re not a traitor
For you love your people too much
And they must know
It’s the racists and the religious extremists
Who send Sri Lanka
To the age of savagery and destruction
If people see
But rather the advent
Of those who spread hate
And those who cannot lead
For both the Tamil speaking people
Free to pursue their dreams in peace
Free to realize their full potential
Free truly to determine their destiny
And reap the rewards of freedom for all
With dignity and mutual respect
And you Sir shall become
The true emancipator of the people
And be honored as a hero
For your daring and foresight
While he never struck out at Tamils personally, Brian says it is an undeniable fact that members of his family were responsible for something that Rajapaksa merely took to completion. "That said, I am deeply touched by your description of me which I certainly don’t deserve".
As I said, his life is a portrait of humility. We all can learn from men like Dr Brian Senewiratne. It doesn't have to be about the past and what religion or culture a person is part of, it is simply about being enough of a human being to speak out and deliver the truth.
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