Help protect Lanka's image
President's clarion call to Lankans abroad:
US: President Mahinda Rajapaksa made a fervent appeal on Monday to
Lankan expatriates all over the world to help protect the country's good
name in the international arena.
Addressing a gathering of Lankans domiciled in New York and other
parts of the US at the Buddhist Vihara in New York, President Rajapaksa
said all Lankans living abroad were 'ambassadors' who could play a
yeoman service in protecting the country's global image.
"Some unpatriotic politicians driven by jealousy are making
statements that demean Sri Lanka in the eyes of the international
community. You, as patriotic Lankans, must come forward to dispel such
adverse propaganda," the President said.
He noted that some local and foreign elements irked by the
Government's attempts to build a 'New Sri Lanka' and eradicate terrorism
were describing Sri Lanka as a 'failed state'.
Their main argument is that the Government did not respect human
rights. "I am a human rights campaigner myself. Besides, with our
Buddhist heritage, we do not have to learn about human rights.
Respecting human rights comes to us naturally," the President said,
outlining the steps taken by the State to ensure the rights of all
Stressing that the Government was battling a ruthless terror group,
the President said the Security Forces has succeeded in defeating a band
of terrorists who many thought of as 'invincible'.
"They said the terrorists cannot be defeated. On the contrary, we
have liberated the entire East and now, areas such as Silavathura. Now
they are confined to Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu," he remarked. He told
the Lankan expatriates that the Government was developing the economy
amidst these constraints. "Again, some are saying that Sri Lanka is
bankrupt. But the international community has placed its confidence in
the Lankan economy.
If we are bankrupt, they would not have come forward to grant us
aid." The President noted that economic growth and the eradication of
terrorism alone would not suffice to ensure a brighter future for the
younger generation, unless moral values are inculcated in them.
"We are spearheading such a programme of propagating moral values.
There is a Buddhist revival in the country. This is a good sign for a
He recalled his previous visits to the New York Buddhist Vihara to
seek the blessings of the Maha Sangha in North America who were
rendering a great service to disseminate the Buddha Dhamma.
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said Sri Lanka was on a "new
track" towards development under President Rajapaksa's guidance. The
international community was supportive of the Government's endeavours
for a peaceful resolution of the conflict and development.
He said the Government appreciated the role played by Lankan
expatriates and the diplomatic service would be better equipped to serve
them. Chief Incumbent of the New York Buddhist Vihara Ven. Kurunegoda
Piyatissa Nayaka Thera delivered an anusasana.
The Maha Sangha from the Buddhist Viharas in New York, New Jersey,
Boston and Staten Island chanted Seth Pirith to bless the President,
Ministers, the Security Forces and people.