Memories strewn with roses and thorns
February 4, 2013. Let us bring to mind memories of 65 February
fourths. Memories strewn with roses and thorns. February fourth 1948. A
proud lion flag fluttered resplendently over our little gem after nearly
four centuries of foreign domination. On that happy day, a vibrant
leader-our first Prime Minister and father of the Nation hoisted our
The Union Jack was gently and gracefully lowered. Yes! The sun had
begun to set in the British Empire.
Sri Lankans should be thankful to them for giving us their language,
their system of government, judicial system, rail and road communication
systems, lucrative foreign exchange earning, plantations and a good
February 4, 2009. Sixty one years since Independence. And, after
nearly three decades of gunfire, rockets, landmines, above all the
wailing of children, infants, mothers-to-be, some carrying them in their
frail arms, along with our brave vice personnel who, laid down their
lives for their motherland, we looked up at our lion flag with lots of
hope and prayers' that bore fruit on that blessed day in May 2009.
Thousands of tourists visit the cradles of civilisation and the
so-called wonders of the world. They ranged from the pyramids of Egypt
built by the Pharaohs to bury themselves, the Taj Mahal, a memorial to a
beloved queen, the Great Wall of China, an edifice of defence and the
Colosseum of Rome, a blood soaked arena to entertain the blood thirsty
Romans and their emperors.
Our sagacious Kings left no palaces and tombs. They bequeathed to
their citizens and also to those on this land, living civilisation,
belonging to all, the past, present and the future.
Water for their subjects to drink, bathe, irrigate their lands and to
live in contentment and peace.
Again, in 2006 history repeated itself in the form of water, when the
same life-giving water flowed through the sluice gates of MavilAru into
the embrace of a part of our parched motherland and again into history.
That glistening sheet of water, was to be the precursor of an operation
that brought an end to a period of blood sweat, tears and despondency
experienced by our brave combatants and many citizens. An era of death
Then this same life-giving gift of nature cascaded into history as
droplets of peace, that blossomed into a fountain of joy and tears.
Tears of thanksgiving and gratitude to a truly fearless leader, who,
with his absolutely dedicated advisors in the guise of his own fraternal
blood, the indomitable defence forces and last but not the least our
most understanding citizens of our lovely lands who bore the trials and
tribulations during that period with hope that made our dear lion flag
to encompass the entire country.
Today we salute you. Yes, we can proudly say "politics apart'. This
was a man.
Water enriched our civilisation. It was water again that was to be
the spring of love for a vibrant, happy and peaceful people, whose smile
and hospitality has made many a foreign diplomat, foreign executives of
multinational companies and banks to linger on in our land.
While sipping a good cup of Ceylon Tea in the salubrious highlands of
Lanka or the beaches in the South and the East.
To many foreign visitors, our people and our country is like no
other. One group of researchers from Japan had counted 14 occasions
where from birth to death and one year after, invite their friends,
neighbours and kin to hotels and their homes and literaly feed them.
Only in Sri Lanka they had said. Even we haven't counted the number
of times. They had. Then again, this group had been stopped at
Avissawella by a group of people. Dusk.
They had been scared. Not the driver and the local escort. All had
been served with eats, coffee and king coconuts. Payment had be
It was the day after Vesak. A dansala. They had been told that it was
in commemoration of the Gauthama Buddha's birth. Enlightenment and
death. 'Only in Sri Lanka' they had said.
'Nowhere in the whole world are people stopped on the highway and
treated with food and drink, No where, they had cried.
This group had preferred to take water from Kalawewa in small milk of
magnesia bottles given by the Kalawewa Rest House Keeper to our precious
We are taking a more valuable souvenir from your country" - they had
said. Of this I can only say about ourselves - Cry my beloved country.
Outsiders love you more than your own. Unforgettable happenings.
When we step into another milestone in being a free and sovereign
nation, let us first thank all those in whom we believe for looking
after our motherland, and pray that all who had been led to tears be
comforted through faith.
We beseech teachers for their blessings to our little island and pray
that she will enjoy many more February fourths.