Negotiating ethnic hatred in Sri Lanka


Can we End this Cycle of Hatred? an article published on Groundviews, a citizen journalism site I edit in Sri Lanka, elicited this comment from someone called Ramanan:

Nice article. I see a lot of parents infesting the young minds in western world. I am a Tamil, living in the US for a long time. I went for a birthday party recently. The birthday was for a kid, whose dad is a friend of mine. I met another kid there, who is of Sinhalese origin, born and raised in the US. The kid asked me whether I am from India and I told him that I am from Sri Lanka. Next question was, “Are you Sinhalse”? When I said, “No. I am Tamil”, he told me that his parents have told him not to talk to tiger supporters. See the hatred here.

Actually, I should be the one who shouldn’t be talking to Sinhalese. My dad was burnt alive by Government backed Sinhalese thugs during 1983 riots. I should have vengance. However, I don’t think these few guys who did that don’t represent the community as whole.

The point is, both sides are putting hatred in their kids minds. If I hate you, you made me hate you. In my case, Sinhalese made me hate them. Still, I don’t.

How does one engage with and respond to such stories? How can we use these stories to help us heal?

Read the original article and leave your thoughts here.

Vikalpa on my Nokia 3110c

Chamath’s comment prompted me to upload a video of browsing Vikalpa on my Nokia 3110c. The video shows me using the 3110c’s built in web browser over a GPRS connection to view content in Sinhala and Tamil UNICODE. Nothing was installed on the phone by way of fonts or software on the phone in order for the text to render as accurately as it does. Vikalpa was made mobile friendly using MoFuse.

I’ll be interested to find what other phones support vernacular UNICODE rendering. When I tried this on other Nokia models (incl. the high end N-series) and other phones, bought from outside of Sri Lanka, the fonts simply did not render properly.

And the answer to Chamath’s question is yes, the 3110c natively supports Sinhala and Tamil SMS messaging, though I’ve never figured out how to type out a message in Sinhala. The entire menu system can also run natively in Sinhala and Tamil (and some Indian languages incl. Hindi). The Sinhala script is very legible and clear, more accurate in rendering in fact than Sinhala on my Mac.