என் தங்கை எழுதிய உரை. அவளின் எழுத்து நடையும் எழுதிய கருத்தும் மிக மிகப் பிடித்திருந்ததால் இங்கு பகிர்கிறேன்.
“Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart.” This quote became famous because it was by Anne Frank, a victim of the holocaust who became an inspiring agent of change especially to millions of Jews.
No, this is not about Anne Frank. I’m thinking about a woman whose whole life was a holocaust, set in a little island just below India. Living in rural Sri Lanka in the 19th Century, she grew up being taught cast and gender discrimination, and that a man was all she needed to fix her mundane, meaningless life. A man who was good, wealthy, prayed a lot. A man who beat her and his kids black and blue, but a good man…wealthy, prayed a lot. She was the first in her village to leave such a man and take him to court and sold her jewels to educate her daughter. She trusted a strange family to take care of her and send her to school, because she believed, that despite everything, people were really good at heart.
But no, this is not about her. She had a daughter. She had a daughter to whom war is far too familiar. She had grown up with wars at home, between Mum and Dad, wars in media that never quite told the truth, wars on the streets: She had grown up in a world that had taught her not to walk the streets alone because she was a female, not to study, not even to leave a circle in the corner of the room if she had her period. Let alone wars of politicians and freedom fighters. Her life was a holocaust; oppressed for gender, beliefs, race, and language.
You’re home alone with your 4 little children. You hear a knock on the door, you open it to find 6 men with guns. One of them puts a gun to your head and interrogates you about others in the house. On occasion they’ll barge in and search for people or weaponry you might be ‘hiding’. In fact, often, you hear bombs and you’d hurry your children along into the little bunker you have not for storage but for protection. You tell them it’ll be okay… not quite knowing if this would be the last time. That was her life in her 30s.
This woman, who had become the first female doctor in her village cured and helped the same people who had threatened to kill her family. Because she believed that despite everything, people are really good at heart.
But this is not about her. She migrated at the age of 49 to a strange land called NZ with her 5 children and her persistent husband. Despite being brought up with extreme conservative values, and despite her, sometimes shock horror, she had a daughter who prioritizes exercising more of her rights so that her daughter can learn from this and do the same for her generation. Because I believe that despite everything, people are agents of positive change, people are really good at heart. But this is not about me. This is about the strength and need for people to make things better and strive a bit more for our children so they are better able to fight their own wars. This is about the inevitable blessing of having a bit of our parents in everything we do. We may be many things in life, but we start and end with family.