Sunday, March 27, 2016

Positive things

The day brought positive things along with maybe some reason or even reasons for hope. Or maybe it's all an illusion. Well hoped-for dreams and nice thoughts that don't have much of a connection with reality. Or a reality that doesn't have anything to do with niceness. But why not dream? And why not have an evening where we sink into bed thinking about hope and niceness and nice hopes? 

First, reading in today's "Mirror" about the project "Write to Reconcile." Led by the world famous author Shyam Selvadurai. The project aims to bring voices of Sri Lankans and Sri Lankans of the diaspora to the fore, in the form of fiction, memoir, and poetry. It's set up as a forum for communicating the experiences of conflict and especially post-conflict here. It opens the stage for non-professional writers to open their hearts through writing to bring to the light of day experiences of this stricken country. Idealistic. Stark. And I'm proud to say sponsored in part by the United StatesEmbassy and the American Center in Sri Lanka. 

Then, today at Eastern University we heard a keynote talk by an Australian lawyer who's staying at our guesthouse. She spoke of the great possibilities of the stage for exploring, airing, and discussing issues of war and reconciliation. She focused, admirably I think, especially for a lawyer, on the space that exists for ambiguity, non-resolution, and "gray areas." Yet her message was that theater can go places that the Court or Truth Commissions can never hope to tread. 

These two issues, Write to Reconcile and the theater as a unique space for reconciliation, got me to thinking. Will  Tamil voices, which were undeniably the most tortured during the Sri Lankan civil war and the decades leading up to it, be the voices that lead this country in peace and reconciliation? Is the Sri Lankan world ready for this? Will the world forgive them for their intervention? "Blessed is the peacemaker" Not. 

The last nice thing that happened today was far more personal and perhaps trivial. But it meant something in its own way. I strolled over to the pool this afternoon to see what was going on. Two of our servers were in there during their off time. "Please sir! Come! Come with us!" So I ran to the room to get on my bathing suit and jumped into the hot afternoon pool with them. Krishan was swimming like a fish. But Niloshin, who had been the more vocal asking me to come in, told me he couldn't swim. He was super nervous to be in the water so we just practiced some kicking and some breathing exercises. Then I set him up with a board and he made great progress. Krishan helped him practice and I think it was a little more relaxed than just having me coax him along. 

It was one of those moments where again, we broke through barriers of class, nationality, and language and just enjoyed some moments of good fun and relaxation. Nice that we can pick up on these egalitarian moments and enjoy our experiences together. Thanks to our guesthouse owners who allow staff to use the pool on off time and also built the pool in the first place. What a great opportunity for socializing not just for us, but the whole community. 

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