Hon. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga,
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka,
Dear President Kumaratunga:
I got all choked up when I heard of your announcement to adopt a
�Tamil� child orphaned by the tsunami. What a wonderful gesture it
is, for the �ethnic� Sinhalese president of the country to adopt an
�ethnic� Tamil child, at a time when the country is torn apart
precisely by this �ethnic� difference. Your secretary�s statement
that it is a �personal decision� and not a �political� one, adds to
the nobility of your decision.
In an era where your neighboring country, India, has experienced
difficulties with adoptions across ethnic and religious lines
(Brahmin v. non-Brahmin, Hindu v. Muslim), your intention is indeed
a courageous one and I commend you for it.
I would like to, however, ask that you to follow Mahatma Gandhi�s
advice in a similar situation.
Gandhi was fasting to protest the Hindu-Muslim riots, where the
Hindus and Muslims were killing each other. A remorseful Hindu, who
had killed an innocent Muslim to avenge the killing of his son by a
Muslim mob, approached Gandhi to beg for clemency. The Mahatma said
to him: �Go adopt a child� Be sure it�s a Muslim child� Only, raise
him as a Muslim��
Please adopt a Tamil child, Ms. Kumaratunga, but be sure to raise
that child as a Tamil.
Be a good mother and talk to that child in Tamil. Teach him/her the
Tamil language (you have to learn it first, of course). Sit with
that child, all day if you can, and teach him/her the wonders of
his/her heritage� the arts, the music, the drama, the literature,
the customs and the magnificent history. Raise that child to be a
proud Tamil � A Tamil child has every reason to be proud of the
Sri Lanka, painfully divided along ethnic lines, needs a magnanimous
gesture like the one you have just announced.
Only, please do it right.
Sincerely and with warmest regards