In time of emergency, Sri Lankan cricketers make their voices heardhttps://indianexpress.com/article/sports/cricket/in-time-of-emergency-sri-lankan-cricketers-make-their-voices-heard-5090042/

In time of emergency, Sri Lankan cricketers make their voices heard

A slew of former Sri Lankan captains have come together on social media to condemn the ethnic violence between Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims that has sent the country into a state of emergency for the first time since the Civil War.

Sri Lanka cricket, Sri Lanka Civil War, Sinhalese Buddhists, minority Muslims, Kumar Sangkkara, Mahela Jayawardene, Sanath Jayasuriya, sports news, cricket, Indian Express
Kumar Sangakkara posted a very strong video message to his “fellow on Sri Lankans” on Facebook. (Source: File)

A SLEW of former Sri Lankan captains have come together on social media to condemn the ethnic violence between Sinhalese Buddhists and minority Muslims that has sent the country into a state of emergency for the first time since the Civil War. The brutal clashes in the hill city of Kandy over the last 10 days have seen a number of businesses being destroyed and even a couple of deaths.

Kumar Sangakkara, who hails from Kandy, led the way insisting that there was “no place for racism and violence” in the country in a powerful tweet.

“No one in Sri Lanka can be marginalised or threatened or harmed due to their ethnicity or religion. We are one country and one people. Love, trust and acceptance should be our common mantra. No place for racism and violence. Stand together and stand strong,” Sri Lanka’s most successful batsman tweeted.

His long-time batting partner Mahela Jayawardene, a former captain himself, too was highly critical of the anti-Muslim riots that have pushed the country into a state of high security risk. Jayawardene was even prompted to bring up the diabolical Civil War between the Sinhalese and Tamil rebels, which lasted for 25 years and witnessed the loss of countless lives, as an ominous warning.

“I strongly condemn the recent acts of violence & everyone involved must be brought to justice regardless of race/religion or ethnicity. I grew up in a civil war, which lasted 25 years and don’t want the next generation to go through that,” Jaywardene tweeted.

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Sangakkara’s video message
Sangakkara also posted a very strong video message to his “fellow on Sri Lankans” on Facebook where he expressed his disappointment at how these “mindless actions” were endangering the country’s “common future”.

“To my fellow Sri Lankans, have we learnt nothing from our recent past. Have we lost sight of basic human decency and love. Are we so morally corrupt that we cannot see how our mindless actions are endangering our common future? We are responsible for the safety and well-being of our neighbours. We are our sisters’ keepers and our brothers’ keepers. We have to make sure that in Sri Lanka, anyone and everyone feels safe, loved and accepted regardless of ethnicity or religion,” he says in the 58-second video.

The batting legend, who’s presently in the UAE representing the Multan Sultans in the Pakistan Super League (PSL), then goes on to remind his countrymen of their reponsibilities and to stay away from “hatred”.

“When we look into the eyes of our fellow Sri Lankan brothers and sisters, we shouldn’t see a Sinhalese, a Muslim or a Tamil or a Burgher. We must see ourselves in each other. We must see the same hopes and dreams in their eyes. We must see the same deep love for our country and for one another. Let’s not allow their eyes, our eyes, our vision to be blinded by ignorance, by hatred and by fear. Together let’s say no to racism,” he says.

Sanath Jayasuriya joined the call for peace referring to the rioting as “disgusting and sickening”. “Disgusting and sickening to see the acts of violence in Sri Lanka. I condemn strongly and to bring the involved culprits to justice. I request people of Sri Lanka to be wise and stay together in these tough times,” he tweeted.