Saturday, November 15, 2008

Met a dude who was saved by fellow villagers in 1958

I was at a local restaurant today, had a business meeting, eat some food. After the meeting I hung out, made some notes, was enjoying my coffee & thinking about stuff. Started talking with another person - a stranger - at the restaurant. We started talking because it appeared that we were from the same part of the world. Turns out this dude grew up in Sri Lanka, and ultimately moved to India & then came to the US. After talking about many interesting things - religion, missionary work, agnosticism, war in Sri Lanka, etc. - as I was getting ready to leave, this dude told me an interesting story.

When he was a kid, in 1958, him & his family lived in a village that was mostly Sinhala, and his family is Tamil (for those unaware of Sri Lankan politics & conflicts, people in that island believe that they belong to two races - Sinhala and Tamil - and have been killing each other for centuries). Anyway, when a Sinhala mob came to kill him & his family in 1958 his fellow villagers - other Sinhala people - formed a line and stood between the family & the mob. The villagers told the mob that if they wanted to harm the Tamil family they would have to harm them (the Sinhala villagers) first. The mob apparently backed down & went away after a while.

Even though not enough of that kind of looking-out-for-the-neighbor went on in Sri Lanka in the following decades (resulting in the current 20 plus year old war in SL, resulting in thousands of deaths & an incalculable amount of grief), both I and the dude who told me about the event in 1958 agreed that there is always hope for a better future.

- Sujewa

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