AMBASSADOR WICKRAMASURIYA’S SINHALA-TAMIL NEW YEAR MESSAGE

April 13, 2011 at 11:33 pm

New Year’s greetings and a very happy Sinhala-Tamil New Year to everyone.

Today we mark yet another milestone as we celebrate our second New Year with Sri Lanka at complete peace.

Here in the United States, our work to consolidate our communities continues. I have spoken with so many of you in different parts of the United States during the last year that I can see how strong our community associations are, and how heartfelt our support of Sri Lanka continues to be. I will be meeting with even more of you in the coming year.

Many of you have traveled to Sri Lanka in the past year, and then have taken the time to call or e-mail me to describe your experiences there. I am happy to report that the vast majority of your reports are positive ones. Please continue to contact me or the embassy staff with your accounts of visits to Sri Lanka.

I have had to travel to Sri Lanka on official business several times during the past year. Each time I visit I notice dramatic changes: Checkpoints gone, businesses springing up, traffic flooding north and east. No doubt some of you have had the same observations.

Most importantly, people are happy, and free from the fear of the past conflict.

As President Rajapaksa said in his New Year greeting, it is a “time when all enjoy the freedom achieved in our Motherland. Therefore, this New Year will help bring a renewal in spirit and new expectations to the people about future progress.”

To ensure that progress, we must work here in the U.S. to safeguard the peace. It is our country. Sri Lankans are our sisters and brother. We do not want terrorism back in our Motherland.

We need to tell the correct story of Sri Lanka here in the U.S. to overcome the negative, fabricated stories of those who would return us to violence and division.

As everyone knows, the New Year tradition is to forgive and forget – forgive the neighbor or relative or friend who has done you wrong, and move forward in a New Year that is free of resentment and open to new opportunities.

My personal view is that there are some things that we will never be able to forget, and perhaps we shouldn’t. There is a saying etched into the stone of government building here in Washington: “Past is Prologue.”

But we can forgive. I would ask that as Sri Lankans living in the U.S., that we discard any animosities toward each other, that we look past ethnic divisions and work together. Sri Lanka needs the support of all of us, and together we can present a strong and meaningful united front.

May you have the happiest of New Year’s.

Jaliya Wickramasuriya
Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United States