Views on Independence
As our country celebrate its 61st year of
independence, many are hopeful that the country will be liberated very
soon. As our armed forces toil in the sand and liberate our beloved
Motherland, we hope that very soon blood will not be shed and peace will
be a reality.
We interviewed a cross section of the public including religious
leaders to give their views on independence. It was enlightening to know
that the positive outlook and the patriotism felt by the people is hope
that as our country will celebrate a near-peaceful Independence Day on
the 4th of February.
The Bellanvila Wimalarathna Thera said that this year’s independence
offers some food for thought. The venerable Thera said, “Even though we
gained independence in 1848, for the past decades we haven’t been free
in our country because of the terrorists”. The venerable Thera added,
“This year, I’m happy that we see our ‘proper’ independence in the
horizon and hope that people set aside their differences to build a
better Sri Lanka”.
The Chief Imaam of the Colombo Grand mosque, Moulavi Al Haj
that the Muslims have always joined together with the Sinhalese and
Tamils to gain independence for the country and this time that vision
will be fulfilled soon. “Every citizen should live in peace fully among
communities with the freedom we have gained in the dignity and basic
rights, if not the word ‘freedom’ has lost its value in sense”, said the
Rule of law
In his Independence Day message, the most venerable Archbishop of
Colombo, Dr. Oswald Gomis said that victory has to be achieved through a
political solution that is acceptable to the larger majority of our
people on both sides of the divide and our fair-minded people should
restore the rule of law in our country. The most venerable archbishop
said, “It is my firm hope and prayer that the commemoration of
Independence this year will help us initiate our journey in the
direction of peace and prosperity”. The most venerable Swami
Sarvarupananta of the Ramakrishna Mission in Wellawatte said, “We only
pray and hope that peace will be a reality soon in our country”. The
Swarmi said that the people should join hands and work together to
achieve peace and success for this independence. “We have not been
governed by politics but only by people who have faith in Sri Lanka and
those who will pray and look at a person’s character and not by their
skin colour”. Iranganie, a mother of three from Rajagiriya said that she
hopes that the country will be liberated because sometimes it can be
cumbersome to be checked at the security checkpoints.
A wayside vendor Sangadasa from Grandpass said that he’s a true
patriot and under the jurisdiction of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the
country will be liberated soon. “I am definitely sure that by the time
we celebrate next year’s independence, we can live in a terrorist-free
Udaya from Gampaha, a lottery ticket seller said, “This time we can
really celebrate independence because we feel that peace is now a
reality and not a dream as we thought before”.
He said that the country has always been in turmoil with the
terrorist problem and now there is hope for the people in the North and
East”. A well-renowned businessman gave his views too by saying that the
North and East can be liberated very soon. “The big corporations have
already thought of business investments in the North and East because
the situation is much better than before”.
He added that many are willing to go and invest there because the
mentality is changing and peace is indeed possible in the near future.
“It is best to grab the chance before the price on things like property
rises fast as peace dawns”, he said.
Adding to this, an economist said that foreign investors to Sri Lanka
can only be a reality if peace is established. “The economic recession
is widespread around the world and Sri Lanka’s economy is pretty much
stagnant because of the war”.
Interviews with college students in the Colpetty area was that while
some said that they will definitely go abroad to complete their studies,
many said that they will try to eke a living in their home country.
Sudarshi (24) said, “After graduating recently, I used to think that
there’s no future in Sri Lanka as I had plans to go abroad.
However, now I am confident that since peace is just round the
corner, it would be good to take up a career here and I’ll still be
home”. Master’s degree student Chamith (30) said, “Even though I studied
and worked abroad for a long time, I always felt like a second-class
citizen”. He said that living in Sri Lanka is no different than the rest
of the world because terrorism is a global phenomenon and the countries
in Africa have a situation that is far worse than here.
A Tamil student, who didn’t want to be named said, “Right now, the
situation is difficult for Tamils because we are checked thoroughly
which makes it difficult for us to travel in the dark”.
He hopes that peace will be soon but he had his doubts. “I hope
Tamils will be free to travel around the city but if the country is
liberated, it might not mean that the terrorist threat will not go
away”. He further added, “Even though all around the world,
terrorism is prevalent, the government of Sri Lanka has optimum
national security because the incidence of terrorist attacks is greatly
lesser than before”.
An army officer posted near a checkpoint said, “We adhere to strict
security measures in order to protect our nation’s people because it is
our duty”. The officer, who usually has to stand guard for hours in the
hot sun, said, “We know that the people find it difficult especially
with the checking routine but we have done our best to prevent the loss