Patriotism does depend on where you live
Posted on January 11th, 2016

Ranjit Weerasinghe Toronto Courtesy The Island

I read with interest, the series of articles written by former Consul-General of Toronto, Bandula Jayasekara, regarding the L.T.T.E. activity in Canada during the war in Sri Lanka. He, quite rightly commended the invaluable contribution made by SLUNA and a few Sri Lankans domiciled in Canada who provided leadership to it. It’s never too late to appreciate and pay tribute to them, who boldly fought against all odds, to defend Sri Lanka against the formidable propaganda machinery of the diaspora in Canada. SLUNA was no match numerically, politically or financially for the diaspora which commanded massive resources of every type. Yet SLUNA fought valiantly.

I wish to single out one individual who, according to most Sri Lankans in Toronto, was the real live wire behind the resistance movement among that illustrious group of Sri Lankans.

He had been in Canada for some forty years. He was the man who, using his innate leadership skills and indefatigable energy, initiated the movement in the mid eighties to clear the badly tarnished name of Sri Lanka. With his untiring support and guidance the Sri Lanka United National Association of Canada was established. For the past twenty years or so, I was witness to the heroic struggle he sometimes single –handedly conducted to defend the Sri Lankan cause. Lal, one of my friends in Toronto referred to him as the “one man battalion fighting for Sri Lanka”. He was neither scared, nor deterred by various threats, including a law suit brought against him.

But, please don’t get me wrong. He was never against the Tamils nor their rightful place in unitary Sri Lanka. I learnt that, as a young Socialist in Sri Lanka, he joined the ranks of N.M and Colvin and championed the concept of “One Nation, two languages”, as against “One Language two Nations”. He treats every Tamil as his friend.

Now living in retirement, this wonderful son of Sri Lanka deserves the admiration of every Sri Lankan. Daya Hettiarachchi is his name.

 

Ranjit Weerasinghe Toronto

2 Responses to “Patriotism does depend on where you live”

  1. Nihal Perera Says:

    I certainly agree with the writer. If there was one person who helped SLUNA, it was Daya Hettiarachchi, who worked tirelessly for almost 40 years to defend motherland against Tamil propaganda.

    I met Daya for the first time when we were trying to establish the first Buddhist Temple in Scarborough (Toronto Maha Vihara), which was almost 39 years ago. We have been friends ever since, and I know no other Sinhalese Sri Lankan who had dedicated his time and efforts to serve the community like Daya.

    He truly deserves our gratitude and appreciation for his contributions to the community, and the motherland.

  2. Nimal Says:

    While living in the comfort in a western country, putting temples and churches and lecturing the suffering people won’t make you a patriot.
    One must be honest with oneself. One must know the honest reason why one left the country and settled abroad in a Western country.
    If the styles and culture is that one enjoy in the new land should be brought back to the country one left behind.
    With my experience, because I have invested there to give jobs and hope to the people, the suffering people there don’t want temples, churches where the conniving politicians are doing just to subjugate the people,fliece the hardworking tax payers and go and settle in the Western countries.
    Since I enjoy the civility, order and security in jobs,housing,education,health care that we all enjoy in the West would strongly advocate the same system in the island left behind. You must agree that politicians don’t seek advice from clergy or visit places of worship like our dishonest Amude clad politicians.

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