Uploaded by admin culture, feature, Interview, NationalAntheminSri Lanka, Stewart Sloan 2:12:00 PM
by Stewart Sloan
(January 04, London, Sri Lanka Guardian) In the United Kingdom, back in the 1960s, when it was still a 'United Kingdom,' a group of comedian/musicians produced a long playing record entitled "Fool Britannia". It was nothing less than political satire that poked fun at the government and the Royal family. In parts it was not really that well done but it still managed to incur that wrath of those in power. It was eventually banned from public broadcast but not before it became very popular and embarrassed a lot of people including government ministers. The name of the LP was of course based on the song Rule Britannia which was, and still is proudly sung. It originated from the poem, "Rule Britannia" by James Thomson which was musically arranged in 1740 by Thomas Arne. Traditionally it is associated with the Royal Navy but was also taken up by the army. It must be remembered that in the 1700s Britain ruled a great deal of the world and the navy, in those days, had every right to be proud.
"How then will the Tamil population of Sri Lanka proudly stand up and sing the national anthem of the country whose president has promised reconciliation and unity when there is only one version of the anthem, the one in Sinhala?"
Britain's decline is well documented and need not be expanded upon here. No doubt many ardent Sinhalese nationalists and other former colonies will applaud Her decline, perhaps justly so, but the point is that Rule Britannia is still sung with pride and gusto by all Britons.
How then will the Tamil population of Sri Lanka proudly stand up and sing the national anthem of the country whose president has promised reconciliation and unity when there is only one version of the anthem, the one in Sinhala?
Mahinda Rajapakse has made several public statements about reconciliation, the fact that police officers are expected to speak Tamil so as to be able to deal with Tamils; he has wooed Muslim and Tamil politicians into his government, all in the guise of creating reconciliation. But all these actions are betrayed by the decision of making it necessary to sign the national anthem of Sri Lanka in Sinhala only. Consider the message that this decision is sending to the Muslims and Tamils: This is our country; you can stay here, live and work here as long as you want, but remember, it is our country!