(Text of Independence Day Message Issued by the Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa on Feb 3 2019)
71 years ago, a group of remarkable men decided that enough was enough. Sri Lanka had all the strengths it needed to gain autonomy, govern its own jurisdiction and rule under its own mandate. We, a nation that has always had to juggle its diversity and often been at the negative end of that battle produced these men who made up a literal interpretation of our glorious flag and displayed it through their own diversity. They volleyed, they fought and above all stood together to gain independence and prevailed.
Having been a young boy when it happened and growing up watching our country’s growth, I can’t help but reflect on our journey as a people. I feel overjoyed and yet, sympathetic as I have seen our nation rally together in the darkest times and at the same time, tear itself up from within.
Independence Day is by definition, the day we achieved our independence from the British, but by spirit, it serves as a reminder that we are first and foremost, one. One nation, under one flag and we are free to allow our diversity to be the uniting factor of our people.
Today, I would like to take this opportunity to remind us all of this truth, let us unite to create a truly non dependent Sri Lanka, a country that is self sufficient and bold enough to not let external forces try to divide itself based on their vested interests, because after all Sri Lanka is a great island nation with pride, a relentless spirit and a virtuous soul.
I wish all my fellow countrymen a happy Independence Day.
Leader of the Opposition