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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2673

Solidarity for Unity in Diversity

By Oscar E V Fernando

Solidarity in a country is at its height when cultural values of diverse communities in society are shared and reciprocated. Stemming from politics it may be construed as a dictatorship from the top to bind a group of people together-comparable to containing a heap of sand with separable grains intact.

It can also arise from a societal psyche to act altruistically for the common good in recognition of each others’ human dignity-comparable to water contained in an invisible bond.

Solidarity is best exemplified in the attitude of members of a society to the plight of refugees who have fled the country of origin to new frontiers or are housed in camps in their own country, due to internal clashes.

Although International recognition for displaced persons commenced with sufferings of specifically persecuted escapees, now the concerns are intensified due to multitudes of them escaping.

Escapees are mainly from developing countries; this is attributed to poverty-imbalance in subsistence distribution-heavy indebtedness causing inflation-natural disasters-ethnic /religious discord and other rivalries.

In Sri Lanka the main causes for displaced persons are ethnic discord and natural disasters such as the tsunami victims still languishing in camps due to lack of solidarity for curious reasons; other discords too that may go the same way are being fermented in the country!

As long as rival political and other extremist forces together with politicized bureaucracies squash attempts to reach mutual acceptance of the aspirations of diverse communities with a sense of solidarity peace will never prevail.

The remedy for this in Sri Lanka will have to be constitutional reforms!

The phenomenon of political rivalry that brings about communal clashes and its consequent impact on solidarity are evident in countries where rival political forces and ideologies are struggling to capture power left by colonialists in the wake of independence!

Spiting and criticizing so-called colonialists without accepting the helping hand that they extend cannot bring easy peace to such countries; it will only contribute to further damage to solidarity.

Neither will victory in war solve conflicts as it will sow seeds of hatred that one day will have to be reaped by both sides; war can only bring ceaseless waves of ever escalating hatred which too will never cease!!

The cause for escapee flights is mainly the denial of human rights in its spirit in spite of laws pertaining to human rights etched on cold tablets of stone; this requires a change of heart in the body politic!

Hospitable solidarity is expected from host countries when escapees appear at their frontiers; it should not be merely a question of their national security and sovereignty-the latter being only a later development in human history.

Shouldn’t solidarity with refugees go with recognition of rights and duties that are inherent to the dignity and self respect of human beings-although frauds must be sifted out for punitive treatment?

Shouldn’t solidarity be extended in the long run from mere survival to education of children, medical assistance, cultivation of their cultures to express their own faith, in a manner acceptable to them?

All these being considerations that were perhaps denied to escapees in their country of origin; such solidarity with refugees is more in keeping with the image of a global village in a multicultural society as opposed to majority hegemony ethnic and religious wise?

It is obviously sans majority hegemony and upholding solidarity that most countries which commenced a journey together with Sri Lanka after gaining independence, have gone far ahead of Sri Lanka economically and politically!

There is always a burst of sympathy for refugees at the beginning but this often wanes off and the escapees are soon found languishing in camps (take the tsunami victims) that are for them like prisons with cold governmental regulations; Solidarity by the media and those concerned are needed at this very stage.

Solidarity is what persons in charitable institutions both local and international are all about-although they are dubbed ‘do-gooders with ulterior motives’ by those blissfully unaware of altruistic motives!

There is the clash of economic and political ideologies universally and it is the agents of one that are quick to criticize initiatives by the others for various reforms and charities; this is done to the very detriment of their ‘proletariat’ and this does not in any way serve the cause of solidarity!

Criticism by these agents extend to all activities of democratic forces and they would rather prop up a government with a mixed economy without supporting a government with a fully privatized economy on the presumption that the former would fail faster than the latter, for their ideology to prevail; this is a matter of serious concern for a developing country on a fast track towards a failing states with a fractured solidarity.

It is indeed a sad spectacle to see the genius of these agents being frittered away for a lost cause at the expense of solidarity of the country to which they too are undoubtedly patriotic!

Paradoxically today there are the people with feelings of unity, solidarity and mutual dependence and also people who bitterly oppose each other-the latter is the cause for refugee flights, for which international agencies are committed to assist; ironically these are the only institutions that come out boldly offering generous aid, even at the cost to their precious lives!

The way of solidarity demands that humans be less selfish, overcome the fear of others and be amenable to education on these grounds.

This is the education that those in authority in countries driven by narrow parochial conflicts due to petty mindedness-eventually climaxing to majority hegemonies, must provide.

Such educational expenditure to bring about solidarity as opposed to provision of expenditure that disintegrates it will certainly benefit the country!

- Asian Tribune -

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