A heartrending video is circulating in social media of a crying Jaffna high court judge M. Ilancheliyan worshipping and apologizing to the widow of the police sergeant who died protecting him from a shooting. Judges are mostly a segment who distances themselves from society.
Professionally, there is big gap between a high court judge and a police sergeant. Also, the dead sergeant was a Sinhalese and the judge is a Tamil. Taking everything else aside, this poignant incident shows humanity, which is the essence here.
Yesterday was July 23, which was the 34th anniversary since the Black July of 1983, which saw the Sinhalese cutting down, setting fire to thousands of Tamils. That ignited racist fire claimed hundreds of thousands of lives for three full decades. We still live amidst the remnants of that crime.
The judge tendered an apology to a wrong he did not commit intentionally. He apologized as a man with an honest conscience for the policeman who laid down his life to protect him. However, 34 years later, leaving alone apologizing for the crime committed against the Tamils, the Sinhala society’s majority is not prepared at least to admit it as a crime. That is the bitter truth.
The axis that drives our Sri Lankan society is racism. As long as we do not learn to accept people irrespective of their race, every passing day will be darkened by the smoke of that Black July. How many of you are prepared to understand the humanity of judge Ilancheliyan in a Sinhala society that treats anyone who is sensitive to the Tamils’ problems as the enemy? That percentage could be minimal. But, in that we have the only hope for the future.
Video credit to newsalertsrilanka facebook page