‘Ahanna’- Listen to the voice of ethnic harmony | Sunday Observer

‘Ahanna’- Listen to the voice of ethnic harmony

In a bid to promote peace and reconciliation across the island, ‘Ahanna’ programme was launched on Monday (13) by the Ministry of Finance and Mass Media and the National Reconciliation Bureau.

The programme, handled by the Secretariat to co-ordinate reconciliation mechanisms, kick started from two destinations- Dehiwala and Kadawatha. Two teams deployed in each destination will take the Galle Road and Kandy Road, and subsequently, are expected to merge in Moneragala at the ‘Enterprise Sri Lanka’ exhibition, scheduled to take place at the end of the month.

The teams will make a stop at selected destinations on each route where a public forum will be held as part of its initiative. Participants of the forum are selected by community police officials in each destination in order to ensure that there is a diverse set of people representing all ethnic groups.

Director General, Government Information Department, Sudarshana Gunawardana explained that the programme consists of four key parts.

“First a performance will be held by a team attached to the National Youth Services Council. They will attract the attention of the participants to the subject we are trying to address,” Gunawardana said.

This will be followed by the song ‘Ahanna’, sung by renowned singer Indrachapa Liyanage, which will be displayed on giant screens mounted on a truck. Gunawardana said there is a Tamil version of the song as well.

“The song is 7.30 minutes in duration. We call it the seven minute answer to the 30 year long conflict,” Gunawardena added,

Following the display of the song two civil society activists will address the crowd on the importance of ethnic harmony and reconciliation, and also the need for democratic reforms, as development cannot be achieved without democracy and reconciliation.The fourth phase of the programme is the public discussion where participants are encouraged to share their ideas in relation to the matter. These public responses are recorded and will soon be available in the official website of the Department of Government Information.

“Even though we are now in post war era there is a long way to go to achieve a post conflict environment. To ensure reconciliation among all ethnic groups we need to start listening to one another,” the Director General said adding that ‘Ahanna’ offers a platform for that.

Left-Centre Coordinator and active civil society member, Raja Uswetakeiyawa who addressed the inauguration programme in Dehiwala said, this venture by the government is a successful process to encourage ethnic harmony among all citizens. His speech on Monday ended by asking people to work in harmony to build the country, and overcome challenges. Today ‘Ahanna’ will take place in the Wattegama town and parallel to that at the Police Grounds in Koburupitiya at 3 pm. Tomorrow,(20) the teams will proceed to Digana and Yatiyana.