On February 4 th , 2012, the Embassy of Sri Lanka in Paris celebrated the 64 th Anniversary of Independence of Sri Lanka with a civic event in the morning at the Embassy premises, for the staff, their families and the Sri Lankan expatriate community in Paris. This included a multi-religious ceremony with the participation of the clergy of all four religions practiced in Sri Lanka. The respected scholar-monk, Ven Mandawela Pannawansa Thero, accompanied by Ven Santhusitha, inaugurated the religious segment.
Following the religious ceremony, the Ambassador and staff of the mission lit the traditional oil lamp and raised the Sri Lankan flag. A two minute silence was observed to commemorate the war heroes and all war victims, following which the National Anthem was sung. Traditional Sri Lankan food and refreshments were also served.
The Independence Day messages of the President, the Prime Minister and the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka were read out in all three languages followed by a speech by Ambassador Jayatilleka.
In his speech the Ambassador recalled that almost half of the 64 years of independence had been marred by armed conflict and war. He said this cycle of conflict has to be broken if the country is to fulfill the tremendous promise it showed at the moment of Independence in 1948. Dr Jayatilleka said that in order to break the cycle, rulers and citizens alike should follow the Middle Path, eschewing all extremes, and ensure that the goal of all policy should be the watchword of Gautama, the Buddha, who declared “May all living being be happy”. Dr. Jayatilleka further stated that a great example of such a postwar paradigm shift is King Ashokha, who after many years of war found inspiration for his practice in the words of the Buddha, and was therefore renowned as Dharmashoka.
The event was followed by a reception at UNESCO for ambassadors, diplomats, heads of institutions, representatives of the corporate sector as well as scholars and members of the clergy.
Embassy of Sri Lanka
6th February 2012