For as long as I remember, 2014 would be the year in which it rained , no poured on Christmas Day. It rained so hard on Christmas Eve, we could not go to church so we had to go on Christmas Day ; which really was a good thing because my soon -to-be eight year old daughter Anargha too could come.
It rained even harder on Christmas night but rain could not damper the wonder of Our Lord’s Birthday.
It was also the year in which many of us thought twice about boarding a plane.
With over three major air crashes that shook the world to its core, 2014 will go down in history as one that was bad for air travel. Right up to the end, just last week, yet another jet went down, breaking the hearts of all who saw the weeping relatives.
But what stands apart about 2014 has been its heralding in of a new chapter for my country Sri Lanka.
Under a yoke of suppression, Sri Lanka was in pain. As a nation, we have acquired a reputation for being resilient but when the bastions of society are threatened as never before, and the very basis of social fabric is torn apart violating all norms of justice and fair play, it was time for the citizen in each of us to do something about it.
As Arab Spring unfolded in Cairo and Tunis, we watched in silence. As the innocent fisherman in Chilaw faced a bullet, we waited. As the garment worker Roshan lost his life to a bullet in the struggle for what was rightfully his and other garment workers, we kept watching. I thought we waited enough when the citizens pleading for drinkable water in Rathupaswela were moved down with bullets ; the picture of a mother crying hot tears over her only son, still in his white uniform drenched with blood, I cried too. And I did what I could – pray for my nation to be set free from its heavy yoke.
I have always known that God hears the prayers of His people. And answers them.
As I sit at my computer on this balmy evening of December 31st, 2014, the rains have stopped. The crackers have already started to pop by enthusiastic youngsters who can’t wait until midnight. Shops and streets are thick with people shopping and the air is heavy with the seasonal spirit.
It beckons a new tomorrow.
Quietly but surely, the last few months have seen Sri Lankans who sat and watched people rallying against injustice and dictatorship all over the world, come together as a nation. Each of us have chosen what is best and what is right – over monetary value, over position and favour. A goal of setting our nation free from suppression has become no longer a vision far away, but one that we ourselves could herald in.
The best part about this Presidential election for me, is not just the active social media platforms that have been a citizens’ front, but also the way in which the people of Sri Lanka have chosen to stand up in the name of justice, fair play and good governance. Perhaps for the first time in Sri Lanka, professionals, artistes, intellectuals and the citizens who believe in the power of one, have come together to play a key and a strategic role in the election. An election that will favor none but the people.
For the first time perhaps, we are basking in the glory of citizen journalism.
In today’s smartphone enabled world, technology has brought a strong voice to the citizens – amplified on social media and the internet. No wrong can be righted and no injustice can be easily brushed under the carpet- the iReporters are watching and their cameras are their phones. Their note pads are their text messages and their Facebook updates. It’s a different world to the one in which we elected a President back in the day. It’s a world in which the young are able to connect and compare notes over Instagram and let the world know what they think. Where the young are leading the way for change and are holding hands with the old towards a newer, better country.
And so, as we face the game changing Presidential election some eight days from now on, we await change with a fervent heart. We can’t wait to sing under a new moon, dance in the sun under a government that will not be governed by a singular personal agenda but one that includes the wishes and the dreams of all Sri Lankans.
May God bless my country I love, one that will truly be a paradise for my children to live in and thrive in.
Happy and a blessed new year to all.