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A letter to my homeland

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By Sabene Gomes

Sri Lanka, I was a mere baby when I left you. Being so young back then has meant that I have no memories of the time where you were a permanent feature of my life. 

I moved to another nation only two years into my existence but leaving you has never meant that I have forgotten you. Your place in my heart is very hard to describe. As is the role you have taken in shaping my identity. Even though I have lived away from you for 28+ years, I still dream of you nightly; your presence never ends and is all encompassing.

I have been lucky enough to return to your shores every year since I left you. Each and every time this happens I am overwhelmed by a wave of emotion that engulfs me. The sense of return, of pride, of love is immense and it always has been. 

See, you are a land like no other. You have been scarred by decades of devastating turmoil, tainted by blood spilled in the name of hatred and intolerance. But yet you have endured. You have proven your strength, retained your beauty and solidified what you mean to so many of the people who have left you. 

Over the years I have watched from afar as you have stalled in your growth and development. My heart has bled every time your existence was placed in jeopardy by those who should have been protecting you. 

As although you have had a rocky path in your journey since you formed after independence; you have always remained true to the democratic principles in which you were established. As I watch on today, in utter dismay I can see how you are being irreparably damaged by individuals who are more power hungry than adept and patriotic.

See I know your potential. It is evident for all to see. However those who should have been assisting you, working for you on your journey to success have instead looked to line their own pockets. They have compromised your identity, your standing to those around you and pushed you to a precipice which could signal your demise.

But I am here today, along with many others who belong to your shores, to reaffirm our commitment to you. We are fighting to protect the values, principles and standards in which you were formed on. We will not allow for a dictator claiming to be your saviour to be your ruin. 

We are fighting for you and for the future generations who will belong to you. We are trying our very best to hold those in power accountable to protecting the sanctity in which you exist on; that of democracy, of equality and justice, of constitutional fairness.

Our blood is tinged with your soil. We are products of your lands. Do not let others convince you that our fight is not on your behalf. Do not listen to those who whisper lines to you about how their selfish actions are for the best of your future. 

To my beautiful, resilient homeland, we act for the love and betterment of you, our nation. We fight for justice so that you may prosper. We speak and lobby and write so that our cry of protecting the democratic processes that guide your existence are not tainted by those who are drunk on power and greed. For they have lost their way, their vision is tainted. But we see you, we seek to protect you. We will not turn our backs on you.

My motherland, my heartland, Sri Lanka, we will fight for you.

(The writer can be contacted via sabenelucia@gmail.com.)

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