Courage: What will it take for us to display more of it?

Watching Malala Yousofzai speaking at the UN on her 16th birthday about a year after she was shot on the head and neck by the Taliban, motivated me to write this blog on Courage.

While her entire speech was inspiring and can be watched in the embedded video, I would like to quote the following part to illuminate this blog;

“Dear brothers and sisters; do remember one thing. Malala day is not my day. Today is the day of every woman, every boy and every girl who have raised their voice for their rights. There are hundreds of human rights activists and social workers who are not only speaking for human rights, but who are struggling to achieve their goals of education, peace and equality. Thousands of people have been killed by the terrorists and millions have been injured. I am just one of them.

So here I stand… one girl among many.
I speak – not for myself, but for all girls and boys.
I raise up my voice – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard.
Those who have fought for their rights:

Their right to live in peace.

Their right to be treated with dignity.

Their right to equality of opportunity.

Their right to be educated.

Dear Friends, on the 9th of October 2012, the Taliban shot me on the left side of my forehead. They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed. And then, out of that silence came, thousands of voices. The terrorists thought that they would change our aims and stop our ambitions but nothing changed in my life except this: Weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born.”

Continue reading “Courage: What will it take for us to display more of it?”

Hatred ceases not by hatred but by love!

Image from: kulmiyenews.com

The run up to the day of the US sponsored UNHCR vote against Sri Lanka, the results of the vote and the aftermath had been an emotional event for many Sri Lankans around the world. As I was pondering on the details, an incident that happened 60 years ago came into my mind. It was the ‘Treaty of Peace with Japan’ between Japan and part of the allied powers officially signed by 48 nations on September 8, 1951, at the war memorial opera house in San Fransisco on April 28, 1952.

According to Wikipidia, a major player in providing support for a post-war free Japan was the delegation from Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka). While many were reluctant to allow a free Japan capable of aggressive action and insisted that the terms of surrender should be rigidly enforced in an attempt to break the spirit of the Japanese nation, the Ceylonese Finance Minister J. R. Jayawardena spoke in defense for a free Japan and informed the conference of Ceylon’s refusal to accept the payment of reparations that would harm Japan’s economy. His reason was “We in Ceylon were fortunate that we were not invaded, but the damage caused by air raids, by the stationing of enormous armies under the South-East Asia Command, and by the slaughter-tapping of one of our main commodities, rubber, when we were the only producer of natural rubber for the Allies, entitles us to ask that the damage so caused should be repaired. We do not intend to do so for we believe in the words of the Great Teacher [Buddha] whose message has ennobled the lives of countless millions in Asia that ‘hatred ceases not by hatred but by love’.” He ended the same speech by saying “This treaty is as magnanimous as it is just to a defeated foe. We extend to Japan the hand of friendship and trust that with the closing of this chapter in the history of man, the last page of which we write today, and with the beginning of the new one, the first page of which we dictate tomorrow, her people and ours may march together to enjoy the full dignity of human life in peace and prosperity”.

Continue reading “Hatred ceases not by hatred but by love!”