Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Every where I went in Sri Lanka I was amazed by the number of stray dogs lining the streets- particularly in Colombo.  Often they lay in the streets as the hustle and bustle of city life passed them by.  As tempting as it is to reach out and pet them, it is not advisable as most of the dogs have rabies.  The phrase “let sleeping dogs lie” has a special meaning in Sri Lanka.

This philosophy can also be used to describe the attitude of many Sri Lankans in respect to the current political situation.  Glad that the violence of the war is over many want to just move forward without changing any of the policies that have caused chaos over the past thirty years.  I can understand that and it is reasonable- a citizenry tired of constant bombings, upheaval and bloodshed just wants to enjoy the peace and worry about stability – tomorrow.

Tomorrow may come sooner than many Sri Lankans want to believe if the dogs are not awakened.  By not seizing on the opportunity to devolve power and perhaps creating a system where minorities have a say in the life of the nation, Sri Lanka will not achieve a lasting peace.  With no legal means by which to address social, political and economic inequalities marginalized communities will be left with no other options but to push for a separate state which would not be good for the island.  A gradual process by which the process of devolution of power would be steadily adopted might convince many of the majority that true democracy is an idea that can work in Sri Lanka.

A step towards this must be taken by the government to prove to the Tamils and other marginalized communities that reconciliation is possible.  But it is more than the government- it will take a majority of the Sinhalese to demand that their neighbors and countrymen be included in the new Sri Lanka.  There is a billboard in Columbo that reads- Let’s Rebuild Sri Lanka Together.  I took that to mean that it will take all Sri Lankans- Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, Burgher, etc.- to create  one nation out of many.

In a presentation I gave I placed the motto- “E Pluribus Unum” and described the belief that one can come out of many.  I hope that the sleeping dogs will rise peacefully from their slumber and unite their voices so that the new Sri Lanka will be a stronger and more vibrant community with a larger number of its citizens participating in its democracy.  It is my prayer for Sri Lanka that she will be able to create a diverse nation in which all of its citizens feel enfranchised and able to determine their future fates.

I hope that the slogan, “Let Sleeping Dogs Lie” will not become the motto of Sri Lanka.


Let Sleeping Dogs Lie!!

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie!!


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