This semester, I am on sabbatical. Seven years after my last trip to NZ, I am here again. Last time, it was the South Island. I fell in love with that place. In my mind, it is the god’s country. This time it is the North Island, which is also God’s country or his brother’s country. The beauty of this land created by volcanic eruptions is incomparable. People are friendly, the quality of life is high, and the pollution is not visible to the trained eyes of this New Yorker. And the Kiwis are more liberal than most. I wish Jacinda was still around to rule. We respected her in America. But she has lost her popularity here in NZ
Prior to this visit to NZ, I was in Sri Lanka, another pretty island where I was born. That is a different kind of a beauty. Sri Lanka is generally considered to be free of volcanoes for thousands of years. Its major geological activity involving separating lowlands and the hill country is believed to have occurred about 600 to 800 million years ago. Two billion years ago, the piece of land that now makes up north central Sri Lanka had several active volcanoes. Though most of these ancient features have been worn away, their remnants persist in the form of towering pillars of rock that soar above the surrounding plain.
My native land, a tiny little island with lush green vistas, is a paradise. But a paradise stolen. The volcanoes there are the racist people who erupt at the command of corrupt leaders and rogue priests. Sri Lanka is pretty but rotten. Most people there are selfish, shortsighted, and borderline stupid when it comes to politics. They have been picking the wrong leaders since independence in 1948 from the Brits. The country is broke. They had to go to the IMF 17 times. People suffer while the rulers and the corrupt priests are bathing in luxury. Even the newborns owe thousands of dollars they did not borrow. Educated and the talented are leaving the country. The global powers are eyeing the island because it is strategically placed in a major naval route.
On Sep 5th, 2023, Britain’s Channel 4 aired a documentary “Sri Lanka’s Easter Bombings – Dispatches,” that gave new information provided by highly-placed whistleblowers, implicating government officials in potential complicity in the attacks that killed both locals and foreigners to gain political upper hand by the Rajapaksa clan.
After New Zealand, I visited Fiji. Brits have done the same thing to them that they did to us – giving the religion and taking the land. An island that is bigger in width than ours (604 miles wide) but with less than 1 million people, poverty in Fiji is prevalent. Diet is heavy in starches. Crimes are rampant, and I was asked not to walk back from the Uni to the hotel. But there is racial harmony in Fiji, something that is rare in Sri Lanka. Fiji Indians, iTaukeis, and others mostly live in harmony.
Wake up, Sri Lanka! You live in a paradise that is stolen. Punish the thieves who stole it from you and your children. Look around. They are still in power despite hard evidence of corruption, theft, and even murder. You might elect them again when and if you have another election. Reclaim your country, my fellow Sri Lankans, and make it better. You can do it.