It’s tedious being Srilankan these days…

If you say what you feel about politics you could be labelled a traitor so I don’t write about politics. Leave that to M A Sumanthiran whom I still have a great deal of respect for, DBS Jeyaraj, Colombo Telegraph (when they don’t post tabloid-style stuff), Malinda Seneviratne (When he is not being facetious)  and  professional news agencies whose business it is to publish political stuff.

If you say what great beaches Sri Lanka has and how an ice cold beer at the Colombo Cafes  is just the thing, you are callous and ignoring the War-crimes. So say no more about the great beaches and new Colombo Cafe attractions ? Leave it to YAMU whose articles are drop-dead delicious and informative to the average Colombo-goer on a number of entertaining themes.

dog on beach rapti1

If you actually go into war-crimes you are raking up a lot of stuff that is best forgotten and you are a shit-stirrer and your friends hate you for spoiling their day on FB. So you avoid the bloodshed and torture that are floating around as digital images? Leave it to your friends who have a legitimate grievance and Frances Harrison whose written a book Counting the Dead and Charlie Havilland and the professional types. They can handle it better than my stomach lining even though I can engage with the issue underlying it.

If you actually engage with the Diaspora of all ethnicities and ask rational questions people who should know where you come from and read you carefully ask you to come out and explain yourself from the point of their victimhood or as a supporter of the victims. So you do not engage with them anymore and unfriend em on FB? Leave those public debates and groups to people who are able to drag others back to square one, to argue about what the insinuations and innuendoes are and even wax abrasive  as is the style on the social media network.

If you post a lovely stupa or temple picture of an ancient philosophy called Buddhism which has enlightened many peeps in many countries you are dangerously siding with the Islamophobic extremists namely the BBS in Sri Lanka. So you forget how amazing the normal temple chants and the smell of incense and the majestic stupas are ? No you don’t.

If you write about the Halal issue you are just giving publication to another conspiracy theory against Sri Lanka and playing into the hands of the Diaspora ? So you just avoid writing about it ? No you don’t.

If you write about the little girl who died in a landmine explosion you are just adding to the misery. So you don’t write about a little girl’s death? Yes you do.

What about the rising cost of living and the Z-score fiasco? Are those no-fire zones? I don’t know.

So, following the golden rule on the internet – do what you do best and leave the rest. So yes, while writing and doing what I can as an ordinary Srilankan to improve the life of those worst-affected in the beloved country, I leave the rest to the Professionals.

We know what kind of society we would like to live in in Sri Lanka; we don’t need to write about it on the internet. Let’s not lose our friends either on FB or off. That is not exactly helping cos we the ordinary people are not out to prove anything to anybody. We should not have to present our credentials.  We need not parade our intentions on the social media in order to be recognised for our humanity by the social media readers.

We need to be accepted as rational-minded people and treated with respect. We owe nothing to anyone. All we owe to ourselves and to those who are outraged which includes a lot of diverse people outraged by a lot of diverse issues, is to be aware of what is going on, not lose our sense of rational judgement and not lose our friends. And that is not hard to do. Not if you have come this far on the long road through the war where people respected each other’s space to some extent -before Facebook and Youtube.  When friendship and solidarity and civil conversations counted for something.

dog on beach rapti 2

Image credits : © Rapti Siriwardane

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