Human Fraternity in Todays Context

By Jayani R. Marasinghe

Human Fraternity is an essential element of the society. It seeks to promote cultural and religious tolerance and it focuses on interfaith harmony, dialogue, and mutual respect. The word fraternity is defined as a group of people that share common interests. Fraternity also means the state of mutual support within a group. The people around the world would begin to embrace these ideas. Instead of focusing on our differences we should focus on what we as human beings have in common.

Focusing on the Sri Lankan context, it is possible to present different opinions on Human Fraternity. Concentrating back in history, many instances of the breakdown of human fraternity can be identified in the Sri Lankan context. The most recent incident was the Easter Sunday attack which happened on 21st of April 2019. This attack was carried out by a group of Islamic extremists. As a result, the brotherhood between Christians and Muslims as well as the Sinhala – Islam collaboration was broken.

This incident caused many problems in Sri Lanka due to the estrangement between Sinhala and Islam communities. However, the easter attack has turned in to an event of grief and sadness because the tragedy it caused among the people was not served justice in the court of law. Besides, politic is a major obstacle to human fraternity in Sri Lanka. Politicians seek to break the existing human fraternity in society in order to achieve their goals.

My question is whether the Sri Lankan people are aware of human fraternity? If the answer is no, then what should be done to raise awareness of human fraternity in Sri Lankan context?

It is important to write about Pope Francis’s third encyclical called “Fratelli Tutti”. Fratelli Tutti means “all brothers and sisters” and is taken from the Admonitions of Saint Francis of Assisi. It turns the world upside down, placing human dignity at the center. This encyclical calls for the creation of a new kind of solidarity to tackle the crises the world is currently facing.

Pope Francis calls on us all to play our part in building peace, human fraternity and to focus on becoming a neighbor to others in particular to welcome migrants, and to resist racism, prejudice and discrimination.  Fratelli Tutti calls us to work together to develop a true understanding of human fraternity. Teaching such ideas from the grassroots to the upper echelons will enable the preservation of human fraternity.