We asked Dishani for a message of peace to mark UN International Day of Peace.
“When I was 14 years old, during the 1983 riots, I witnessed Sinhalese Buddhist youth engaged in violent actions against Tamils, including murder. Later as I became older and wiser, I realized it was not their choice. Their elders who led them used them as pawns to get political advantage. When I was 21 I witnessed bodies burning on the roadside, some were my friends from university. Some youth killed their own teachers in the name of freedom and liberation. This was during the 1989 JVP insurgences, when Sinhalese youth took arms against the state. From the earliest day I can remember I have witnessed young people holding weapons; when they should have been holding pens, roses or a bat and a ball. From the age of 14, I have witnessed freedom fighters dying in the name of liberty. Their eyes were so bright, honest and hopeful. From the day I could connect with and understand politics, I have witnessed the potential of youth to accept and deal with brutal truth, with honesty. BUT we didn’t have any place or the space to capitalise on this, for a positive Social Change through Non-violence. My dream is to create that space to capitalise on honesty, creativity, fresh energy and courage to deal with the brutal truth.”