The Dailymirror reported today that 4 men were arrested while ‘showing and viewing a video film containing scenes of the past LTTE victories in the war front, and its training programmes(sic)’. I think the incident and the way it’s being reported and digested by the public in general, many just miss the point.
I and most Sri Lankans consider the LTTE to be a terrorist outfit. I’m sure there were others who didn’t think so. Does that mean the people who consider Prabakaran to be a saviour are insane? no. That’s how their world view was formed and they should not be rejected from the mainstream society for having such an opinion. I disagree with their opinion but I would rather live in society where people holding such views are open about it rather than in a society where bitterness grows beneath the surface. Our governments, for so many decades have let different strands of thoughts to grow in our society beneath the surface. This has been the cause for many conflicts and war. When we create an environment where people are free to express, we bring their, currently hidden, opinions to the open and now we can start scrutinizing their opinions rationally. Suppressing freedom of thought is impossible and suppressing freedom of expression is dangerous.
Whatever your views are on matters, you must be able to express it, while backing it up with a rational argument, without having to fear for your life. A rational argument to back your claim is important because any one can say anything but the validity of the claim is dependent on the arguments that backs the claim. So ideally what should the Sri Lankan government do with the arrested. It should give them a chance to explain their actions without fear. If they do have an argument for their actions it should be scrutinised and debated openly in the media.Then we can identify if there is any problem and if any, can work towards solving it.
Humans beings have two special characteristics, we could use to solve our conflicts, speech and rationality. I think, with no military presence of the LTTE in the country and hence no violence (in theory) (or at least not as much as during the war) , the government should encourage open debates to discuss views and opinions that many in our society don’t dare to discuss. We need to avoid any future frictions in our country in order to develop the country. And sustainable development could only be achieved in a country where the society is harmonious.
*My previous blogpost on the Norwegian model can be read here.