Independence Day Anniversary is of special significance to all
Sri Lankans. For we are on the threshold of emerging out of a
devastating civil war and uniting the country once again under
one banner bringing together all communities, religious and
ethnic groups in a common bond as envisaged by the founding
fathers of our Independence.
Therefore the nation no doubt today will be captured by the
same spirit and the euphoria and spontaneous rejoicing that was
witnessed when the country's first Prime Minister D S Senanayake
hoisted the National flag 61 years ago, when his 12th successor
down the line President Mahinda Rajapaksa unfurls the Lion
Ensign at today's celebrations at the sprawling Galle Face
The event would no doubt harken to that first Independence
Day when all communities felt belonged and was part and parcel
of the rich multiethnic fabric that welded a nation that was
even looked upon for emulation by powerful nations in the
The countrywide celebrations and rejoicing on such
unprecedented scale no doubt is a pointer to a new resurgence
among the populace and a determination to enjoy the full bounty
of Independence following the defeat of terrorism and a total
unification of the nation's territory under the Government's
The jubilation of the entire nation on the defeat of
terrorism and real prospect of peace, manifest by the riot of
national flags adorning the country's landscape is also a clear
symbolism that this independence is vastly different to the
preceding ones which were subsumed by the pomp and ceremony.
Here we have an Independence Day that gives substance to the
true meaning of independence, which is not just the right of
sovereignty but the defeat of all forces and elements who had
attempted to undermine that very sovereignty.
We say this because it has been the contention of most that
what we received was only a nominal independence and that we
were continued to be guided by our colonial masters in almost
every sphere of national life. Not only that, there were also
insidious attempts to undermine the country's sovereignty in
various ways by aiding and abetting divisive tendencies to take
root in the country which results we see today in the form of a
full blown terrorist problem for the self same purpose of
dividing the country.
It is to the credit of the current leadership of the country
that this problem has been taken cognizance of in it's true
perspective and measures taken to strike at the very root of the
cancer that has all along kept us as a divided nation.
It goes without saying that the terrorist problem in Sri
Lanka had an international dimension designed to undermine the
sovereignty and independence of the country. The efforts of our
gallant security forces therefore in a way were a wresting back
It is in this context that this 61st Independence Day assumes
historical significance. For we have not only identified the
problem that has kept our nation divided all these years but has
effectively bottled the genie of separatism that had been
hanging over the nation threatening to swallow it up.
It will be now up to the leadership to ensure this genie is
shut firmly inside the bottle, by losing no time in alleviating
the conditions that estranged a section of our own brethren. The
prevailing good will of the majority community should be
harnessed to bring about a complete reconciliation between all
communities and ethnicities putting behind the bitter acrimony
of the past and to live together as brothers and sisters of one
This good will should also be harnessed for the gigantic task
of nation building that lie ahead with the cooperation of all
segments and groups working towards a single goal. There should
be a redoubling of efforts to rebuild the economy. A lot needs
to be done. Every single Lankan should lend his shoulder to
build on the success achieved by the Government if the country
is savour the fruits of victory.
Regrettably we collectively as a nation lack a proper work
ethic and tend to shirk in our duties. Our doctors, nurses and
now even teachers down their tools for the flimsiest of reasons,
which is not the best recipe for forging ahead on the national
front. Great sacrifice is called for to put together a nation
that has just emerged from conflict and conflagration.
The Government for its part should strive to make every
citizen count and give them the necessary incentive and
wherewithal to spur them towards reaching its goals. Above all
the 61st Independence, which is a watershed in the annals of Sri
Lanka, should be made the catalyst for national reconciliation
and ethnic harmony and a resolve to defeat all insidious forces
trying to undermine the nation's sovereignty.
Let this historic day herald a new beginning for Sri Lanka.