7 Things you Should Know about Gotagogama.

By Janani Vithanage

Sri Lanka, internationally known as the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, is currently in crisis. The poor management of those in power had plunged the entire nation into (literally) dark times. Island-wide power cuts, often mile-long queues for basic commodities like fuel, gas and even milk powder, not to mention the soaring prices of other everyday food items, have made life extremely difficult for the common Sri Lankan. However, in the midst of all this chaos, something new and beautiful has emerged; all around our paradise isle, people are standing against the wrong that has been done, with a sense of unity and camaraderie that is breath-taking to behold. Irrespective of race, religion or socio-economic status, the citizens of Sri Lanka have joined hands in order to speak up for their rights, while maintaining astonishing levels of peace and orderliness.

 The peoples’ protests that were seen all around the country have culminated at a single, main location, a space adjacent to the President’s Secretariat at Galle Face, located in one of Colombo’s busiest business hubs. True to our reputation as a creative nation with a healthy sense of humor, we Sri Lankans have named this space “Gotagogama”.

Thousands of people flock to this point everyday and every night to join this liberating movement, often pitching up tents and camping out overnight! Here are a few interesting facts that you should know regarding Sri Lanka’s latest village. 

1. The protest is completely peaceful

A factor that makes this movement so successful is that all demonstrations are peaceful. The people are frustrated and angry, but also organised and responsible. People hold up boards stating crafty slogans and raise their voices in creative chants around the clock, but never does the massive crowd become unruly or disruptive to public security. It is imperative that this remains so.

2. Gotagogama has united the people of Sri Lanka

People have kept away religions, cultures and creeds for good. It is truly amazing to see how the citizens at Gotagogama work together towards a common goal. 

People holding umbrellas over Muslims breaking fast, in order to enable them to eat undeterred by the rain, holding mass on Easter Sunday and demanding justice for the victims of the 2019 attacks, joining hands to celebrate the Sinhala and Tamil New Year, providing alms for Buddhist monks on poya day and hearing the National Anthem sung in Tamil for the first time since it was removed from the 2020 agenda for Independence day; these are all scenes witnessed at this multi-cultural, multi-racial village.

This unity, this beautiful sense of brotherhood and sisterhood, this knowledge that we are all, first and foremost human and most importantly Sri Lankan is the single main fact that makes this peoples’ protest so incredibly powerful. Regardless of the various attempts still being made to break this chain of unity, we, the people of Sri Lanka must and will prevail and move forwards, together. 

3. There is a steady supply of food and beverages.

Protesting for hours, or even days on end is tiring. Sri Lanka’s weather is, as always, being very temperamental and standing in the scorching heat of the sun on one day and getting drenched in the rain, not to mention the cold winds blowing in from the sea can drain one’s energy completely. This is why Gotagogama has erected tents which distribute food and drink throughout the day and night. Volunteers from all around the country arrive bearing endless bottles of water, buns, savouries, cartons of fruit juice and even rice and steaming hot tea to bolster the spirits of those protesting. On the Sinhala and Tamil New Year that occurred on the 14th of April, people flocked in with crates and boxes full of the much-beloved sweetmeats eaten on this day. 

4. Gotagogama has a functional medical center. 

Again, understanding that shouting yourself hoarse for your country, while being completely at the mercy of the elements can cause various ailments, Gotagogama is home to a tent struck up by the Sri Lanka Red Cross, where basic medical care is provided. There’s a standby ambulance parked there at all times in case a patient should require more advanced medical assistance. In addition to this, there is also an ayurvedic medicine tent available, where one can receive traditional, herbal remedies for one’s complaints. 

5. A place to educate yourself and express your opinions 

Another venture that has sprung up at this thriving village is a library, now home to thousands of books. Many who come to visit bring along a favourite book to donate, not to mention the countless authors who have provided the library with their literary work free of charge. So orderly is Gotagogama, that people remove their shoes before entering this tent. It is common to see youth sitting on the ground perusing a volume that caught their eye and discussing it with newfound friends. Meanwhile, a tent denoted as the “Citizens’ Forum” is open to anyone who wishes to make a statement or voice their opinions on any matter regarding the country’s ongoing crisis. 

6. The people at Gotagogama are careful to protect the environment 

Until now, it has been customary to see roads strewn with plastic waste during and after a protest (or any other large gathering of the public for that matter). However, Gotagogama is very different. A separate tent, proclaiming the need for “Zero Plastic”, has been allocated in order to provide a place for people to dispose of plastic (mainly empty bottles of water). Moreover, a new venture is that of the 60 feet long mural. In light of the various deforestation activities that have been and are still carried out by the government, protestors have decided to be creative in how they express dissent. The painting of the mural, which is still underway, poignantly depicts how our island’s exquisite national beauty is being slowly destroyed by those hungry for power. 

7. Gotagogama has branches!

A few days ago, the people of Galle decided to open up a “branch” of Gotagogama, so that they too could engage in creative, organized, peaceful protests against the current regime. However, this startup was cut short when police officials took down the single tent that had been erected. This caused a nation-wide uproar, for it is imperative that every citizen of a democratic country be given the right to express themselves peacefully. Our amazing team of lawyers (who seem to be everywhere right now, swooping in to save the day wherever they’re needed) stood up for these peoples’ fundamental rights, resulting in an even bigger tent being erected in the same space!

Gotagogama is a spectacle that our country has never seen before. Rain or shine, the people of Sri Lanka toil on. From innocent babies and children to determined youth, we will prevail. From war veterans to performing artists and legendary cricketers, we will prevail. From mothers bearing the future generation in their wombs and fathers struggling for their families, to grandparents pushing their weariness aside to fight for their grandchildren, we will prevail. “Power to the people” will prevail. What a time to be alive!

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

Highlights.

Latest.

KAMU.

Satisfy your Kottu cravings at KottuLabs

Located in Nawala down a little lane, Kottulabs is home to the widest and most

Highlights Kamu

A flavorful journey to the North East by Paadum Meen

An ecstatically beautiful place located down Frankfort place, Bambalapitiya has caught a significant eye for

Highlights Kamu

Hummus Festival 2022 – Graze Kitchen by Hilton

By Shamrina Carim The stunning atmosphere Walking into this masterpiece designed by an excellent interior

Kamu

A Luxury European Dining experience at 1864 Limited Edition

Ambience Intimate dining area for couples and friends Comfy lounge areas to sit and catch

Highlights Kamu

Pizza Hut – My Box Birizza Fever- review

By Sumaiya Jaleel Hurrah! Welcome back to your scrumptious feast. Pizza Hut has brought back

Highlights Kamu

The Hottest Food Fest of the Year: Eat Street Colombo

By Janani Vithanage After a 2 year (Covid induced break), Sri Lanka’s biggest, best food

Highlights Kamu

Trending.

Tom Cruise Returns As The Iconic Fighter Pilot In Top Gun: Maverick

Scope Cinemas Premieres Top Gun: Maverick Starring Tom Cruise Colombo, Sri Lanka - 26 May

Trending

Things you Should Know About Monkeypox

By Janani Vithanage As Sri Lanka navigates what seems like the worst financial crisis she’s

Highlights Trending

 Unique Burger Promotion at Hilton Colombo

Hilton Colombo is presenting five unique burgers at Café Kai, LAB and SunsetBlu from 28th

Trending

Ramada by Wyndham Colomb Wins 2022 Tripadvisor Travelers’ Choice Award 

Ramada by Wyndham Colombo is recognized with the 2022 Tripadvisor Travelers' Choice Award for the

Trending

‘Encounters’: The Second Exhibition by the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Sri Lanka

-  A walk through history that gives you a feel of déjà vu, especially when

Trending

Cinnamon Lakeside Colombo’s ColomBar moves to newly refurbished location

04 May2022, Colombo: Colombo’s iconic and stylish destination bar, ColomBar, has been re-located to its

Trending

Yamu Guide.

7 Restaurants to dine in June 2022

Here is a mix of aesthetically pleasing restaurants that are known for their Instagrammable background

Highlights Yamu Guide

The Embazzy – a relaxing luncheon spot

By Hiruni Herath Service and Ambience Stepping into The Embazzy, it’s clear that the restaurant

Highlights Yamu Guide

What to expect at a Yala National Park Safari

Covering an extensive area of Southern and Uva Provinces, Yala is the second largest national

Yamu Guide

Everything you need at Online Kade

Located in the heart of Rajagiriya Online Kade also has a branch in Colombo 04

Yamu Guide

5 Co-working spaces in Colombo

By Tashia Ranasinghe Here are some more interesting places for all the digital nomads out

Highlights Yamu Guide

7 Buffets to Indulge In this Easter 2022

By Janani Vithanage As the youth of our nation make their voices heard, the birth

Yamu Guide