-By Dianne Silva
The eldest daughter of Sarath Fonseka, Apsara Fonseka spoke to the Daily Mirror about the ordeal her family has endured over the past two and a half years and how it had brought them closer together. She also explains her emotions towards those who put her family through a difficult time and her desire to stay far away from politics.
Q: Initially you and your sister were not very happy with the fact that your father joined politics, looking back at everything that has happened over the past two and a half years, how has your perspective changed?
Yes, we were not very happy with him getting into politics in the first place, but once he told us the reasoning behind it—we began to understand. We realized that he had an idealistic view for getting into politics and he had an agenda.
We have been through a lot over the past few years and I doubt that anyone in this country has ever had to face this type of situation. So it was something new to all of us and also to the citizens of this country. But now that we have had to go through this, we have become very courageous as a family, and looking back I think it was a good experience for all of us.
Q: When you mention courage, it has to be acknowledged that your mother and even yourself and your sister have become, these symbols for strong and courageous women, carrying out a fight for their families but moreover for this idealistic fight for justice. Do you see yourself in this light; as a role model?
If anyone should be seen as a role model it should be my mother, because she was a strength not just to me and my sister but to everyone who was supporting my father. She didn’t give up, or compromise on what she believed in. she kept on fighting and she is a great mother as well as a superb wife.
I would just say that at the end it’s all about never giving up. I think that it’s in our culture; you have to push through and force yourself to not give up and to endure it and you can come out of it victorious.
Q: What are some of the words of encouragement that your mother offered you, when your family was going through the most challenging moments?
Well Thathi himself, is a very strong person and no one can change his mind once it’s made and no one can bring him down. I think he proved that to the whole nation after being in prison for two and a half years. Therefore she used to always tell us, if Thathi can do it then so can you; it’s in your genes and you should be able to endure this. I believe that is true; giving up is not in your system, so if your try you really can go that extra mile, I think.
Q: Who do you think is more like your father, from the three of you?
I think my sister and I are like my father in that we are very impulsive and straight forward—both in a good way and bad. But at the same time we have our mother’s patience, which has taken us a long way, especially in this situation.
Q: Everything that happened over the past few years with your father’s entrance into politics and the cases that were brought against him, had consequences on your life as well and those connected to you. His actions did not only affect him and your family, but others as well. Therefore looking back would you want to change anything, if you could go back?
I have always believed that everything happens for a reason and I think there was a reason we had to go through this. Therefore every time we felt like it was too much and we could not go through it, Thathi would always remind us that; there are children out there who have never seen their parents, women who have lost their husbands and at least we are still alive. He would say, don’t forget that there are people who have gone through worse times than you—which is true in a way.
I think that is true, we did get to spend a considerable amount of time with my father and my husband as well. They are still alive and in good health, and that is enough—at least for us. We have learnt to appreciate everything, even the little things—because life is so unpredictable and you can never really say what will come your way.
Q: How would you say all this has changed your relationship as a family?
We have always been a very close family. In all honesty every time I leave, it is my hope that I get to see them the next time I get home. Our lives have always been so unpredictable, with the suicide bomb and everything—therefore we try to cherish every moment and spend as much time as we can with each other.
I think people take everything in their life for granted, but in our family we have learned not to do so. We live every minute and enjoy every minute we are together, so that we won’t have any regrets; if anything goes wrong we won’t ever look back and think we should have done something differently.
Q: What would you say is the difference between the father you saw going into prison and the father you saw coming out of prison?
I think that everyone knows, that my father was very new to politics and therefore he did not know how to sugarcoat things and he was very blunt—he told people exactly what he thought. He is still the same ethical, honest man—but I think he now knows how to put it in a different manner, so that people will understand him and his words, without giving the opposition MP’s the chance to misuse his words. I think my father is better able to make people understand what he really is, in comparison to before.
Q: Do you think that your father has received enough support from those who brought him into politics in the first place?
I don’t really want to comment on politics, because that is not my subject at all. I hope that they will be there for my father in the future and that is a big hope.
Q: How do you feel towards those who put your father in prison?
I think the whole country knows who was responsible, it is pretty obvious. I think that every daughter who has had to go through this would have the same feeling; I am trying to forgive but I don’t think I will ever forget. Since I am a Buddhist, we believe that you must forgive and forget and that Karma will take care of the rest. Therefore I am trying to forgive and I am hoping Karma will take care of the rest.
Q: What do you hope your father will do now?
My father is someone that once he takes one step forward he will not take a step back. I think that he will move forward in a very simple manner, without harassing anybody. I don’t know how his opponents will see it, because everybody is used to defending themselves.
His main goal is to provide freedom and bring success to the country. I don’t think he cares about power or position. He will find his own way to do it. Everyone knows that he once said he would never let another Army Commander have to fight a war and he kept to his word. He has proven that he keeps to his word one hundred per cent of the time, and I am sure that this time too he will keep to his word.
- Apsara Fonseka
JagathS Tuesday, 29 May 2012 00:45
Sri Lanka, we are very lucky to have person like your father, and family like yours...
Wish you all the very best for your future endeavors
Reply : 7 17
senanayake Tuesday, 29 May 2012 00:55
Greatness is in the Genes.
Reply : 7 17
kusum e Tuesday, 29 May 2012 02:31
WELL SAID 'DIRIYA DONI'. LIKE FATHER - LIKE DAUGHTER.
Reply : 8 17
willows Tuesday, 29 May 2012 09:51
keep up the good work, we all are with you for ever, for what your father gave to us - freedom, safety and security still more he can give us????
Reply : 5 13
Sheela Fernando Tuesday, 29 May 2012 11:04
Well said Lady!! I believe your Father has done a gigantic task for this nation, and I certainly believe he was a great A/Commander. He was one of the great tools to give this country freedom and its nation peace. This fact will remain in the hearts of all Sri Lankans for a long time, no matter what the politicians say...
Reply : 5 14
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