A space for the voiceless | Sunday Observer

A space for the voiceless

The voice of the voiceless innocent, poor people with less education cannot be heard through the mass media, the social media or in any other way because almost all media have their own agendas. They support political parties or politically motivated elements. Therefore, the only way of hearing the voiceless is meeting them face to face and talking to them.

This space will be for them....the people who cannot read and write....the people who do not use social media or the Internet, the people who do not speak English.....the people who use push bicycles...three wheelers.....the people who struggle to earn a few rupees to feed their families and feed the country by cultivating something.....the people who clean toilets...gutters...the domestic workers who work for the rich....people who are sick and aged....who go out only to cast their votes!

They have no idea whatsoever about the depreciation of the rupee, the Share Market, democracy, freedom of expression, law and order, the latest car brands, expensive dogs, the latest mobile phones, the taste of food served at five star hotels, the latest fashions, how the inside of an airplane looks like, how foreign lands look like, etc.

They are the majority of Sri Lanka, our motherland. They are the real owners of this land. But they vote for persons who know all these things well and enjoy all these luxuries in their daily lives. The people do not know a thing about their representatives!

An interesting interview had been given to the BBC Sinhala Service recently by one of the world’s most popular, talented and prominent retired Sri Lankan cricketers. Later, a part of the interview was telecast over a popular Sri Lankan television channel.

At the interview he said, “Although he belonged to a minority community in Sri Lanka, the entire country loved and supported him, as one nation.

There was no difference whatsoever. All are human beings! ‘But I belong to the minority community because over 80 percent of this land’s population are Sinhala Buddhists. We live in their land. We have to accept this truth’ he said in clear Sinhala words”.

The most important statement made by him during the interview is what he said about the current burning issues faced by Sri Lankans, especially our Tamil community. He said what the people need is three meals a day, while democracy and all else come after that.

A poor, innocent schoolgirl from the North committed suicide because she did not have money to pay the dressmaker to get her school uniform stitched. This was a shocking incident exposed by him during the interview.

I went to the fair and bought 100 grams of dried sprats and asked the man in the boutique, ‘How are you doing?’ `There are no words to say, Nona... Today, I came by bus and brought the dried fish in a big bag. I had sold my old three wheeler last month because my old house needs urgent repairs.

I have already taken all possible loans from all banks in order to buy the land with an old, small house.’

“Water leaks through the roof and walls. The door cannot be locked. My elder daughter cannot study for her O/L Exams scheduled for next month. I cannot let a drug addict or a criminal to come and rape her at night. My younger son will sit the Year Five Scholarship examination next year. He is very good in his studies. That is the only avenue for him to enter a Colombo school.

My wife died from cancer at a very young age. Still I have a little hope......at least now we will be able to live with less money because things are affordable now.....I will be able to buy a three wheeler soon”......he smiled.

I checked my pocket to find whether any money was left to pay for a three wheeler. Unlike in the past, I had money in my pocket, to pay for a ride. I came back with a heavy heart but without aching legs!