Berlin Celebrates 65th Independence Day
By Lalith Ganhewa
Feb 12, 2013

The 65th National Independence Day of Sri Lanka was celebrated, on the 04th of February at the official residence of the Ambassador of Sri Lanka to Germany, in Berlin. The celebrations were presided over by H.E. Ambassador Sarath Kongahage. Representatives of Berlin based Sri Lankan Associations, Organisations, all Sri Lankan communities, and the staff of the Embassy of Sri Lanka, participated at the occasion.

The Independence Day was inaugurated with the hoisting of the National flag, while the gathered guests sang the National Anthem. Pirith was chanted to invoke blessings on the country and its people by the Buddhist clergy, Rev. Waurukannala Seela Sumana Thero, Rev. Rambukwelle Devananda Thero and Rev. Kongaspitiye Santha Rakkhitha Thero. A short blessing according to Hindu religious observances was also conducted by Hindu the priest Sri Veerakathiar, same was performed by the Muslim Imam Mohamed Irshard and the Christian Priest P. Dietmar Lenfers.

H.E. Ambassador Kongahage in his address mentioned that Sri Lanka celebrates its 65th Independence after nearly 450 years of colonisation by the Dutch, Portuguese and the English. He also affirmed that the main challenge in the post independence era for Sri Lanka was the thirty year war with the LTTE, which hampered its development and put its citizens through many adversities. The Ambassador further stated that Germany and Sri Lanka are celebrating the 60th anniversary of the commencement of diplomatic relations in 2013. A series of events would be arranged throughout the year to commemorate this event and to strengthen the political, economic and community relations between the two countries.

On the same day a pro-LTTE element had called for all Tamil people living in Germany to demonstration in front of the Embassy with the aim of sabotaging the Independence Day Celebrations. However, the Tamil community in Germany did not heed the vast propaganda made on pro-LTTE websites regarding this demonstration. Hence, only five persons participated in a demonstration which was held in front of a deserted Embassy.

Subsequent to the celebrations on the 4th of February at the Ambassadorial residence a full scale celebration was held on the 9th of February officiated by Ambassador Kongahage and his staff, at the Sri Lanka Embassy in Berlin, with the participation of about 150 persons representing all communities of Sri Lanka. Many Tamils living in Germany enthusiastically participated on this day as well, even though they rejected the call by the pro-LTTE groups to participate in their demonstration on the 4th, clearly indicating the ethnic harmony prevailing among all Sri Lankan communities living in Germany.

This celebration took a new direction with the traditional lamp being lighted by young children, signifying the future of Sri Lanka. The gathered guests also listened to the Independence Day speech by the President of Sri Lanka, followed by a few other events, and the celebration came to an end with a sumpcious Sri Lankan buffet.

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