February 4th 1948 should have ideally ushered in a change in social relations, a unique national identity and a new hope. Since then, Sri Lanka has seen so much and many cycles of violence have run their course; the question today is whether those ideals have been realised in the seven decades since we gained independence.
This year, during this celebration of our freedom from colonial rule as a country, it is vital we remember many communities across Sri Lanka that – due to shortcomings in governance, the rule of law, systemic discrimination, long-standing sociocultural prejudices and other issues hardcoded into the fabric of our country – remain marginalised. These issues remain hidden and are most often overlooked in the larger conversations around rights and reform processes post war.
Though each of these issues will require legal battles or a change in social attitudes, it is essential that they are addressed. There is no meaningful progress if many communities feel left behind as a country moves forward and upward for a few. As we mark yet another Independence Day, it is important to remember that there are those in this country who are still far from free.
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