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INTO AN ILLUSTRIOUS SRI LANKA

15 February 2012 05:39 am - 1     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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As Archbishop Tutu has often reminded us, when any major matter is under consideration by any nation, it cannot afford to neglect any part of this three-fold aspect - past present and future.In all these three areas Sri Lanka has opportunities enjoyed by few other nations in history. We have had a past resplendent with outstanding achievements – an irrigation system considered by competent observers to be the most outstanding on the planet, the greatest buildings of the ancient world next to the pyramids of Egypt, the world’s longest historical chronicle, monastic universities centuries ago with over 4000 students from Arabia to China, which radiated peace and goodwill throughout the region and embassies in the Court of Rome 2000 years ago when our later conquerors were only a remote province of the Roman empire.
Let us reflect on the inspiration this can give us regarding the solution to our problems of the present and our potential for the future. We have the ability, the traditions and the vision which can make us rise resplendent once more. Coming now to the present, we have emerged from of one of the most violent, protracted and destructive internal wars in recent history. Here is another opportunity to offer the world an example of how through national resolve peace and goodwill can rise triumphant over the ashes of conflict. Martin Luther King Jr. has observed that peace consists not merely in the absence of war but in the presence of justice. Justice for all, under a transparent human rights structure anchored to international law and to the teachings of the great religions should be the ideal of every state. We have an unmatched opportunity to create a shining example of how such a structure can be constructed through national resolve and a determination to put behind us the bitterness and anger of conflict, and to build harmony and happiness in their place. We should also recall that we have had a remarkable tradition of the co-existence in our country of four great religions for centuries. We participated in each other’s religious festivals, respected each other’s religions and lived in perfect amity with them. Kovils Temples, Churches and Mosques existed side by side on the same street, radiating their message of peace and commanding the respect of all around. Here is a way in which we can be a shining example to a world which is being torn apart by religious misunderstanding.
There needs to be a relentless effort to carry human rights to every corner of the country and to every member of society. This needs a vast legal and educational program which, with our traditions, we have the potential to mount in a manner that will be a shining light to all countries that are seeking harmony and justice, after years of conflict. Let us not be lulled into a feeling that now that peace has been achieved, we require doing no more. Let us also turn the torch inwards upon ourselves, search for our shortcomings and national defects and try to correct them as best we can. We have a great job ahead of us to see that the justice that accompanies peace reaches out of the law books and goes into every nook and cranny of the country. We in Sri Lanka all owe loyalty to one or other of the great religions. Each religion teaches peace and if we are true to our religions we should relentlessly pursue peace in all its facets as our primary goal. This involves love, compassion, forgiveness, justice and assistance to those in need. If we do this we can erect a structure which will stand out in the architecture of global justice as prominently as our ancient buildings stood out in the global architecture of the past. Let us think of the future with confidence that with our traditions of love and togetherness, we can construct that harmonious society which makes for true peace. A peaceful country where love and harmony prevail, will attract support and assistance as never before. We can then have a society not only of peace and harmony but also of prosperity and freedom from want. Let us on this national day rise to the challenge, abandon anger and despair, plan for the future think of generations yet to come, protect our environment and heal all the wounds of war. We will then rise triumphant over the despair and destruction from which we have just emerged. We have the ability to shine resplendent once more and to be a beacon of hope.
We have the ability the traditions and the goodwill to do so. This is the path to an illustrious Sri Lanka which has been the dream of our people down the ages and which the ending of our conflict has brought closer to fulfilment. Let us rise to the challenge, using the day of our freedom as an inspiration to keep the torch of our freedom burning ever brighter and casting a glow of inspiration to all around. (The writer is a former Senior Vice President of the International Court of Justice)
BY JUSTICE C WEERAMANTRY
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  • Senior Citizen Wednesday, 15 February 2012 07:12 AM

    Don't we have Statesmaen like this in Sri lanka any more?


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