Party

It’s past midnight and I’m still searching
Searching for a party to join
Walking past the neon lights
Past the posh cars whizzing by
With rich and powerful chasing
Their dreams through the city night
Empty streets, foul gutters
Clicking stilettos in flight
Past the doors marked Members Only
Lurid music on the prowl

It’s past midnight and I’m still searching
Searching for a party to join

It’s past midlife and I’m still searching
Searching for a party to join
Walking past the thugs in white
Past the lying, pilfering, ranting, ballot-box stealing
Past the censoring, mud-slinging, match-fixing,
Past devote Sinhala Buddhist kings coming back to life
Past journalists performing disappearing acts
Past the guns and saffron robes flaring
Past the cheated, tired, disappointed crowd
Past the bhodhi pooja women and unemployed men
Traffic jams and lost ideals and something seething in between

It’s past midlife and I’m still searching
Searching for a party to join

The Year of the Patriot

The Chinese missed this animal – the patriot in their zodiac. And the lion. But they got the monkey and the rabbit and the horse.They got the tiger,too. But let’s not talk about that! Slightly disturbing though, because we are so fond of the Chinese.

If the Chinese had the patriot in their zodiac it would be an animal with many avatars. It would be more potent than the dragon, with human and beastly manifestations.

The avatar we see most these days is an animal with claws and fangs. In its human form it could be armed with swords or bionettes. It may or may not have a tail or stripes, but it has a heart wont to provocation and irrational fear, suspicion and jealousy. This patriot suffers from inferiority and superiority complexes simultaneously.

I confess, I too have been under the shadow of the patriot. In my younger days, I have given in to the wonton joy of patriotic jingoism. The odd thing is that I have never felt it for Sri Lanka. Don’t kill me now. The truth is I am glad I never felt that sort of patriotism for Sri Lanka.

Hey, hold on, you are saying now. If it wasn’t for Sri Lanka, then where? To cut a long story short, I’d say India. I can clearly recall the exact moment when I felt that raw cheap feeling. I was at Wagha, the border between India and Pakistan. At six o’clock every morning and evening, there’s a parade. A performance.

It’s worth checking out.

So I have been part of that mass euphoria. I have screamed Hindustan Zindabad! I am guilty of patriotism for a place that is not even my country of birth.

But I am glad to say that it was the only moment. I lived through the Gujarat massacre, albeit at a safe distance. It was an unnerving experience. And when I saw the mobs, I immediately recalled the mobs at the Wagha border. I knew I had felt it myself.

So I know how it feels like. It’s a sort of reckless blindness. A feeling so powerful due to the mass of people around you who are feeling equally blind and reckless and destructive. anything is possible in these moments. You can mock, hate, humiliate, de-robe the other. You can rape and kill.

So I am not here to talk like a saint who never sinned. Patriotism is an overwhelming feeling. I know it. But fortunately, I grew up. I travelled and I saw. When I read about how women were raped in Gujarat, I was so shocked I wanted to leave India. I couldn’t believe that I had loved India more than my own country at times. It was depressing.

Gihan got it right when he drew this cartoon on our independence day. Flags. Aren’t they all just fake? Didn’t Roy once say that governments use flags to shrink-wrap people’s brains?

There was a period in my life when I belonged to Sweden. Heart and Soul. Most Swedish homes display their national flag in their garden and it’s there throughout the year, unlike ours that come out on independence day, after a war or cricket victory. The flags are there throughout. But I have never seen a Swede given into cheap patriotic jingoism. At least not among my friends. As I travelled around I saw a more or less equal society. I saw men and women on an equal footing. I saw respect for the state. I saw intolerance to the slightest injustice. I saw city squares with rock bands singing for the rights of the migrants.

The Swedes love their country. They love their state. We used to joke in our South Asia study class that a Swedish woman trusts her state than her husband. And that is the truth. No Swedish woman has to tolerate an abusive husband. No Swedish kid has to take a beating from parents. the state is the safety net for all citizens to fall back on. No wonder the Swedes love their country. If it wasn’t for that harsh winter I would have never left the place.

So this is the other avatar of patriotism. And I believe it is present not only in the cold Scandinavia but in also in our warm tropical quarters. I have seen it in India too. When I sing the Indian national anthem, I feel my heart filling up with many vibrant colours. When it calls out for the Punjabi, Sindhi, Gujarati, Marati, Dravidian, Oriya and Bengali people, I feel I am also somehow included. The island i come from could be just another one the Indian states. When India gained independence, they decided to scrap the national anthem under the British Raj “Vandai Mataram” and adopted Tagore’s ‘Jana Ghana Mana’. The reason was that Tagore’s lyrics, originally written in highly Sanskritized Bengali, was far more inclusive than Vandai Mataram.   (Weerawansa lied when he said the Indian national anthem is in Hindi! Click here to read more!)

The Indian national anthem can include even a foreigner like me. I know the words by heart. When the fiasco about our own national anthem came up, I wished someone would highlight how India, despite all its failures, managed to build national identity that transcended its narrow ethnic barriers.

The truth is that a country just doesn’t belong to a government. The government belongs to the people. And people can come from and belong to many lands.

Is that possible, you ask me. Is it possible to belong to more than one country? Can someone write national anthems for two countries? Is it possible to love more than one person within a lifetime?  Is it possible for our national flag to be made in China? I can give you  clear-cut truthful answers to all.

Yes, it is all possible!

Tagore wrote national anthems for India and Bangladesh. He proposed internationalism in place of nationalism. There’s a chapter in Amartya Sen’s book The Argumentative Indian  called Tagore and his India that I propose you read. It’s about how India went about creating a national identity that included all. Not that this Tagorian tradition is unrivalled in India, but it is still strong.

For instance, look at our performance in ICC Opening Ceremony yesterday. What are we projecting to the world as a nation? And when are we going to get over this obsession on ‘Sinha Seyyawa’. When are we going to find the human form of love for our country?

Just check out the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games and see how India depicts itself in “The Indian Train sequence”

Yes, it is as Bollywoodish and funky as Bhathiya Santhush dreams to be, but it also depicts India as it is. It is the show of the common man. It depicts the coolies, the bicycle man, the politicians seeking votes, the women balancing water pots…the colour and beauty of the common Indian.

Here’s creativity for our artists!

We should be proud of our land, not because of the harbours and auditoriums the chinese build for us. Or because of the fabricated history we claim as ours taught in our schools. We should be proud of who we are, a people who come from everywhere, and belong too, to many places.

So please, let’s get over this lion and silly patriotism. Stop repeating history in this warped fashion. Check your sources, and you’ll find that it is not history but myth.

Let’s find a new way to articulate who we are as we are. Let’s find a way to love our country in a human way.

And its not only upto the politicians. It is up to singers and cartoonists and writers and simple folks like you and me.

Typical Tropical Woman in Berlin

So it’s Berlin 2010. It’s the fall. The maples are caught in the Autumn fire. The sun mellowed down and sentimental. My  German colleagues tell me I’ve brought the sun with me, since it’s out again after weeks of rain and meek weather.

And this time, as I was walking through the clean streets, with polite traffic, across city squares with guitarists and lovers and children engrossed with their ice-creams, I felt truly peaceful inside. Unlike last summer, I wasn’t haunted by a heartbreak or an unresovled past in Europe. No guilty feelings. Just me and the summer. I admit, every moment did include a parallel moment, in which I was sharing that moment with G. It was magical. But still, I was not homesick or lovesick, and I was truly present in the moment, fully awake and conscious and absorbing what Berlin had to offer. What a GREAT feeling!

So, the first thing I step into, right after the airport, is a taxi, with a driver who fled Baghdad 30 years ago, for political reasons which he doesn’t want to share with me. But ofcourse, he’s mad about Hindi films. He’s seen Arzoo and Ai Milan Ki Bela. He loves Sholay. And Vaijayanthi Mala is his favourite.

Tumse mohobethain…he crooned as he drove, overenthusiastic to find an audience who knew the same songs. And knew what they meant, as well.

Thanks to globalisation, I was thoroughly entertained all the way to Movenpick Hotel.

And I recollect the same feeling I had, coming to Europe the first time in my life. Just getting out of the train in to the city square, and strangely feeling at home. Surprise! Surprise!

Sunday afternoon; Alexander Platz with Kristin. I take the subway, and momentarily held by this subway singer…

And another one in Alexaner Platz…

Ask me what I appreciate most about the European cities…yes, there are many things a typical tropical woman could appreciate, but what strikes me most is this ‘Love is in the air’ mood. You know the lovers, walking hand in hand, kissing in public, cuddling in the sun and all. (ya, it’s a couple kissing in the background!) It’s this freedom to love, and to express love in public. And I can’t help remembering how wonderful it was to be in love in summer europe, and how dismal it is now, by comparison, to be in love in my tropical isle sometimes…

To generalise, if I may take the liberty to, our men are a bit paralysed in this department. I mean, they are fantastic in bed. They can compete there, at an international level, in terms of technical perfection of the art. But in the art of affection…oh dear…I wish I had never experienced love in Europe now that I have to live with this permanent Rebecca syndrome. I don’t wish to look down on the men in my country. I’m a tropical woman. I want to love one of my own kind. But I couldn’t escape globalisation. So I had to go through all these experiences. And I can’t help these philosophical observations! It’s not criticism, so if you are a tropical man reading this, don’t take it personal.

OK, you’ll say it’s not our culture to display affection in public. But then, do our men display affection in private? Or do they just do it because they are expected to. Some times I feel they do, simply because it’s what our sentimental women kind want. Something just to get over with. Like an obligation.

Life is an obligation. To be faithful to your wife, to love your mother, to fight for your country!

Ha! Ha! Ha! That’s my only reaction!

Of course, I am not saying all our men are like this. I have indeed met a few wonderfully affectionate men in Sri Lanka. But overall, when I listen to my friends and observe the world around me, I feel that our society has crippled our men, hip upwards, I mean. They are denied the right to express themselves. They are denied the right to feel, to be emotional. And I often find them uneasy, when a bit of affection is expressed in public.

I don’t know why people only talk about liberating the woman in this part of the world, because the men, oh them poor souls, they so need to be liberated themselves. Being a man and being human must be difficult, come to think of it.

In Sri Lanka when a bit of affection is displayed in public, the public scoffs right back at it. It’s considered ugly, uncultured and vulgar. What’s ugly, uncultured and vulgar about a man loving a woman, and expressing that in public? I don’t get it. I think it’s at the core of the sexual frustration and violence of this society – the big secret everybody knows but nobody talks about. Without allowing the men to be human, to be affectionate, we will never liberate our women. (That’s my ‘loud and clear’ to the feminists!) It’s not just enough to talk about sexual harassment in public transport, you see – something I have never experienced in Europe and experience daily in Sri Lanka.

I mean, it’s simple right?

High degree of sexual freedom, acceptance of affection, flexible gender roles – low levels of sexual frustration, harassment and violence (summer Berlin or Sweden, to quote an example I know better)

Low degree of sexual freedom, acceptance of affection, strict Victorian mores and gender roles – high level of sexual frustration, harassment and violence (our tropical paradise)

And I don’t know how to change this society around me; or to liberate a man, (or myself for that matter), but I know I can love. Not in a possessive way – not to hunt a man down and put him in chains of lifetime bondage (aka marriage) but in a way that redeems. In a way that supports both individuals to grow, to explore, to be more affectionate beings, not just unto themselves, but to others as well. One could also do all these things within a marriage, or without it. The choice is personal.

I feel this is the key to the politeness, the gentleness, the ‘culturedness’ that I sense in the European public life. Now don’t call me a post-colonial Eurocentric rootless bastard of globalisation. I’m just expressing my opinion. I’m entitled to one.

So to get back to Berlin – Tacheles. I want to talk about Tacheles. It’s this run down building which belonged to East Berlin before. Now, the area is transformed. The Big Bad Banks have come in. So have Gucci and Prada. And the government wants to pull down Tacheles because it’s an eyesore in the middle of a chic commercial district.

And the artists resist!!!!!!!!! The very next day there was a peaceful public demonstration, not devoid of music and dance.

So the call to rally goes:

To enforce art piece Tacheles

We save the creative centre of Berlin – We build a city

The pillage of Berlin by banks, investors and neo-liberal pseudo-politicians must stop!!!

Performance-Demonstration

Monday 20th September 2010

And they’ve been successful in resisting the demolishing of the building since the 1990s.

For more on Tacheles go to the Wikipedia entry  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kunsthaus_Tacheles

and then walking through the graffiti covered walls, exuding an anti-capitalist verve, I come across this great poster shop. The work is bold and gripping. (Btw, that’s Kristin in the photo thanks to whom I visited Tacheles)

So why do I feel like this is another important element missing in Colombo. Just the space to have ‘honest straightforward talk, purpose’ (that’s the meaning of the yiddish word ‘tacheles’). Now where’s that space in Colombo, or anywhere in Sri Lanka? Ours is a society of stifled emotion, come to think of it. There is no space to come together and to have a dialogue. No public space for people to meet and talk (leave alone kissing!). In Colombo, the Galle Face Greene is the only ‘public space’ and in the evenings no wonder it is overcrowded. And still, it is NOT a public place. Because, people don’t come there to meet new people and to have a chat, they just come there with their families to fly kites! It’s just an escape from the four walls of an urban home. Nothing more.

So, our civil society  – sorry, but there is no ‘society’ in that sense. It’s only a collective of individuals, families and organisations, struggling in their own small worlds. And that lonely struggle embitter them. No wonder, when there is no space, like or unlike Tachales, to bring people together to share things that are common. And our pseudo coffee houses like Commons (which has nothing in common with the common of our country), or Barefoot which has nobody who ever had to go barefoot, offer no ‘public space’. In fact, they form status hierarchies that the middle class has to struggle to access, in order to be ‘cultured’. (Btw, this also makes me a pseudo-intellectual, because I also grace these places despite my criticism.)

So in that sense,  we need to pay attention to these words like ‘civil society’ and ‘public space’, because I am not sure that we have these in the true sense of the word.

So, no wonder we are crippled, not only in terms of showing affection in public but also resisting power in public. There’s no culture of peaceful public protest. And our protests, forgive me for being brutal here, but they are soooo boring. And sometimes even sponsored by organisations (like the one I work for, so I am not innocent here, you see!) I mean I do have a soft corner for some genuine individuals who repeatedly take to the streets and I do respect them sincerely. But the truth is it is not in our ‘culture’ to protest peacefully.

We deny the issues till they brim over the top and every 10 year cycle we have a violent revolution or a guerilla war of some sort that can only be countered by terror and suppression only.

And the only way I see out is to work systematically to build these ‘public space’ to be affectionate, to create, to express and to protest!

Ok, this is getting too long. And beginning to sound like a sermon, so I’ll have to skip the rest of the travelogue, in which I visit Fusion Street, a creative organisation working with marginalised and immigrant kids in Berlin, the visit to the New National Gallery of Modern Art, the Pergamon Mueseum…maybe some other day…

At Colombo duty-free I bought a Bailys, a Semmilon Chardonnay, a Chivas Rose and a French Brandy. They are all locked up in my grand ma’s closet right now, which is full of duty-free spirits! You see, my family culture is not one that encourages drinking. Like my mom asks ‘who on earth are you going to go drinking with?’

So you see, if I want to  promote dialogue, I can start at home!

Nevertheless, let me raise my glass!

To Love, Art and Politics!

August

The month of August
has brought sudden rain – the heat would have been
unbearable, otherwise – the familiar
tea coloured puddles, like mirrors
of sky water reflecting earth

the school yard is strewn with hopes
this school, that is now our home.

we came here in a flock
wading across a hollowed lagoon
against a shower of a lethal kind
death falling from the sky
like the anger of gods

that was May.

in this classroom
the lessons are muted from life’s unfolding
the blackboard
empty like our immediate futures

the row of plastic toilets
is a part of our lives
like those guava trees
in our garden, or the well
the gutters are overflowing
with donated goods
and the kindness of other people

we wear bands
around our necks, sometimes hips
with keys to those homes
abandoned

like in those power-cut evenings
back in the village
we sit together cracking jokes
as the evenings grow longer
as the jokes run out or begin to repeat
as time refuses to tick

Beauty as a Basic Need

Yesterday, the discussion that meandered through censorship, cultural policies, art and society left my mind racing through out the night. My mind was working through the ideas expressed in the forum, sifting through, scrutinizing, recalling statements, evaluating…maybe like my family feels, I am just plain mad. Or I am just one of ‘them’. So who are ‘they’?

I would like to call ‘them’ as people whose basic needs are slightly different, or more than the others. I really have no idea, if the people whom I meet day in day out, people who seem to have everything, and people who don’t seem to have anything, have anything in common with me. Do they really want the things I want. Have they got them? Are they happy?

Do people feel beauty is a basic need? When I say beauty, i don’t mean the way some men are hung up on some fantasy woman with 32-28-32 figure Naomi Campbell types, or women dreaming of some male equivalent,(whatever their measurements are…) I mean do people want beauty as expressed in nature, in art, in the diversity of our smiles? Do we search for it, the way we search for truth, freedom, justice, identity?

Some of my colleagues expressed that in our community, spaces for social communion and sharing have been erased. Our families are emotionally sterile grounds, a simple site where a struggle is for survival alone. I wonder if it is merely the economics of it, why someone wouldn’t really consider watching a movie every now and then, a need? Or going to a play? At least some of these movies, plays, books, poems,paintings and music fulfill in me a sort of a hunger; they ease my pain a bit; make me reflect; give my mad meandering mind a meaning to hold on to. Why do people around me not want these, the way they want food, clothes, jobs, sex or religion? Or is this only normal, and it is again myself, slightly eccentric in my needs, slightly complicated, doomed for a bit of mad meandering?

Great thinkers have already said that basic needs goes beyond the requisites of basic survival. Maxneef says its well being, freedom, identity, love etc. But why is it only Maxneef and the like, a minority, and not the whole lot of us? Is there no common human element in us six billion?

Sunil says it’s a very Sinhalese-Buddhist disease, this negation of complex needs, as you find in Sri Lanka. I can call it Capitalist-Nationalist disease. I mean, Cancer or Aids; whichever, right?

After the forum, on my way home, I chat up the cab driver. He’s a shaken chap. Locked up in his small car, pushing into middle age. He’s no Maxneef. But his mind has started questioning. He says he hasn’t seen a movie or held the hand of a girl in a long time. he says he feels like living dead. Hacked. Tired. Hopeless. Lost. Lonely.

And I meet so many people like that day in day out. Tired, hopeless, lost, lonely people. It’s like we carry a tiny glass capsule around ourselves, and trapped inside we all feel the same.

And I really don’t know…when I get this feeling, which is not even loneliness, I go watch a film or read a book and it temporarily gives me the beauty I lack in myself, in my life. So, I recommend the same pill to the cabby, ‘there’s Akasa Kusum, go watch it…and about a girl, i don’t know really the way around that one, but i wish you luck!’

Ha ha ha! (Just a way of finishing the whole thing, in wanting better words…)

Politics is Just a Joke

I am rather silent these days. I keep my opinions to myself. In my previous blog I had declared ‘in the past few years, in which I have grown from a school girl to a woman, I learned to reserve my political opinions; instead I write poetry.’

In this blog I have meandered off and on. And some of the opinions have been put forth, quite directly. In a way, it is a useless process I am involved in; adding my opinions to an opinionated world, which couldn’t care less. On the other hand, people around me seem to have no opinion of their own at all. My family, for instance, is slowly realising the parochial media gimmicks, and are bewildered on what to believe. In the kind of life they lead, they do not read Garcia Marques or Galtung. They do not watch movies like The Edge of Heaven. They do not hang out with the think-different crowd. My family belongs to the common, urban, middle class. They do not want to search; they need truths to be given to them on a platter to believe in. Even when they realise that the ‘truth’ is the fabrication of someone in power wishing to  hold on to power, they would rather believe what makes life easier for them that moment.

I try to give simple answers when I am asked for my opinion on the current politics these days. I am worried that I will become another cynic or a useless idealist that the world around me doesn’t need anymore. Thank god, my grandfather, simply because he’s lived so long, probably has started seeing through the dark mere. But with the rest, it is difficult to talk without getting into arguments. So, I wish I could revert to my old stance:  Only small individual creative acts can make sense to me, personally, in this madness.

So, despite my mentor’s comment ‘we really don’t have the option of remaining silent now’ which I think  is absolutely right, I find myself attracted to silence.

The other day, I found myself, yet again in a delicate situation. Taking a bus ride with a new admirer, trying not to break his heart, holding his hand gently and explaining why I feel like the way I do, among a crowd of paranoid passengers, we are told again that a bomb has gone off in Mt Lavinia. Here we are: Kilinochchi’s won. Elephant Pass taken. And a handsome, new star monk tells us how important it is to be grateful to our heroes; to take care of them. And the News First tell us the next moment how they were attacked and that a bomb just went off in the route that we are taking. There I was, holding someone’s hand in a crowded bus, telling him we shouldn’t, because I don’t want to hurt again and hurt him too in the process.

He closes his eyes for a moment and says, “this is madness, isn’t it…this life, this country, with all these things happening around us? And here we are trying to find love…trying to find happiness…and it is absolute madness.”

That moment I wish that all the social barriers between us disappear; and my painful memories of recent loves and losses disappear and I am free again, and brave again, to accept this little bit of love that is offered to me.

So, when he asks me ‘what if a bomb goes off in this bus?’ I tell him, just so to return the kindness, ‘I would be the happiest dead-girl in the world’. He does not want to die young. But agrees that life is suffering.

Sometimes, it is more painful to be loved and not be able to return that love.

So after everything is said, all our political opinions are discussed, the recent movies and books exchanged, we sit in silence in the noisy traffic. And everything seem so meaningless and sad. Suddenly I realise, things have been this way as long as I can remember; but our inability to love, brings it across sharper.

We got to love each other, says Don Mclean, cos politics is just a joke.

And listening to this song he wants me to hear, I wish so too. And I couldn’t have put it any better than Don Mclean, in this video, AND I LOVE YOU SO.

How young we are, and how bitter…just like this island so beautiful and so sad.

Love, Politically

I am not sure this new year will bring us the happiness and prosperity that we so wish each other in our frenetic-poetic text messages. Not in Sri Lanka. Maybe not anywhere. But then, I confine myself to this island; and this island is what I give a damn about; and I give a damn because I want to be happy in this little island this year.

image1So here’s something that makes me write on the first day of the year. I don’t care for citizen journalism, but in a situation where all of us sit around and crib about our decedent politics, it was refreshing to see someone walk out there alone; paint some canvas and put it out in front of the Fort Railway Station. Ok, it’s not the mass rally that will topple the government. And this young man, Sanjaya is still shy with his words, but he gave me enough freedom within his paintings and his slogan “Fight for Love; Love Peace” (Direct Translation from Sinhala). I will caption it, MAKE LOVE, NOT WAR!

image2

I am glad I went there. Apart from discussing about how poorly recieved art is among the masses with these fresh graduates from Haywood, we managed to have a decent conversation about why we should or should not leave out the words “war/peace” from our captions. After all, ‘peace’ is no more the winning horse. It certainly is not, as long as you think that Peace is a round of  talks in Switzerland or a ceasefire.  

image15

We were not disappointed: a lady walked to us and wanted to know what we mean by ‘all this’? “Are you trying to say that the war we are fighting now is bad?” She just managed to introduce herself as an army doctor, and it was a shame she did not wait for an answer. (Like all supporters of war, they bombard you with questions and fly away…and that question is suppose to haunt you in your dreams: “Traitor!!!!!”)

But what actually haunts me is this: “how do you have a conversation with a person like this good lady army doctor, who thinks that we are an ungrateful bunch of spoilt madmen, who don’t give a frothing penny about what our poor soldiers go through up there!”

Do they really think we hate our boys so much to side with foreign conspirators for whatever the gold we get to utter the Poisonous word Peace! The other day, driving past Ratmalana Airport, the road gets blocked and eight ambulance vehicles whizz past me, surely with body bags, followed by a Rosa bus full of bandaged young men in sanatorium clothes. Eyes plastered, arms in dressing…I know it is not a movie! and I bang at my steering wheel in frustration! CANT WE SEE! CANT WE SEE!! CANT WE SEE!!!

AND YET WE SAY NOTHING!

image8Sorry I have to change topics. I need to cool down…..

So, like Sanjaya, I too choose to talk about love in this situation. And my impression is that Sanjaya too, chose so for similar reasons. It makes little sense to talk of how battles are fought and won between governments and guerrilla groups. Of course you can talk about it for hours, but what is it that we as individuals who are far away from that line of action, who are caught up so much with our mundane battles, begin to realise that there really is a thin red line that connects our personal battles to those big games. How are own personal battles, within us, between those who  are close to us, are also arenas of conflict and violence of varying degrees. How cruel are we in these little battles we fight? between lovers, brothers and sisters, families, colleagues? How unforgiving? How mad do we get once we are out on the streets? How abusive?

No wonder the world is full of thieves, and people who are just about to become thieves.

The real battle is perhaps not the one up there in the north, in that sense…the real battle would be within us…within this society we face every day…to remain kind, loving, uncorrupted, good at heart, and have a conscience. The real battle is to believe in these virtues, in a time that they seem so out of vogue.

Perhaps I am as much a reductionist as Marx when he said that the fundamentals of everything is in economics: but I keep coming back to , no not economics, but love: love is the answer to many of the social deseases of the modern day. Love is a perspective; a practice; it is a process of healing and transofrmation.

Love has the power to transform us in to more honest individuals; kinder and more contemplative; more compassionate. In this mass anesthetized oblivion of our lives, only love can strike a sensitive chord.

And without that sensitivity there would be no Art. Nor Peace.

This is the moral choice we make. And I pray, I do not want blood in our collective conscience.

Inspired by Sanjaya Senevirathne

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