Sri Lanka Brief
FeaturesAmbassador Jayatilleke bids Adieu :” Those of you who know me would be able to fill in the blanks”

Ambassador Jayatilleke bids Adieu :” Those of you who know me would be able to fill in the blanks”

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“ My second principle was that the ‘Sri Lankan community in France’ meant just that, the Sri Lankan community. It was not my job and in fact it would go against the spirit of what I was doing, to identify myself with or serve one political party, or one faction or one family, or one religious denomination, or one linguistic community, while representing my country that is democratic, that is multiparty, which is multi-faith, multilingual, multicultural and pluralistic”.

 “ it is not that I love Paris less but I treasure my autonomy and independence as an academic more” said Ambassador Dayan Jayatilleka in his farewell speech to the Sri Lankan community in France.

“I think those of you who know me would be able to fill in the blanks as to why I have chosen to leave at the completion of this term rather than make a request for a third year’s extension”, Dr. Jayatilleka said.

“ I have stood for the idea that the main duty of a Sri Lankan Ambassador in any part of the world is to represent his or her country in the country or State to which he or she is accredited. Now this does not mean the neglect of the Sri Lankan community but that is not the primary function of a Sri Lankan Ambassador”, he stressed.

“ My second principle was that the ‘Sri Lankan community in France’ meant just that, the Sri Lankan community. It was not my job and in fact it would go against the spirit of what I was doing, to identify myself with or serve one political party, or one faction or one family, or one religious denomination, or one linguistic community, while representing my country that is democratic, that is multiparty, which is multi-faith, multilingual, multicultural and pluralistic”.

“it was our duty to represent the totality of Sri Lanka, not simply this or that component which thought that it was by definition privileged, or should be. We were totally opposed to the idea which was implicit among some but explicit in the writings and publications of others, that there should be unequal treatment; that certain elements in the community should have privilege, if not a monopoly, for a variety of reasons, be they politics, ethnicity, language, religion, or whatever. I really did not care about that because that is not what Sri Lanka means. I represent the country, and parochial prejudice is not what being Sri Lankan is or should be. Certainly if one had functioned in that way it would have been the worst possible message to the people and Government of France about what Sri Lanka stands for. My diplomatic practice has been informed by these ideas. I saw absolutely no incompatibility between the ideas of what a democratic Sri Lanka are and the values and ideas of France” , the Ambassador said.

“Another positive experience we have had is that we have been able to have a dialogue; have an interaction across the kind of barriers that has grown up here during the years of the war, such as the ethnic barrier. And here I must thank courageous people like the Rajendrams who head the large, strong Tamil association in the Parisian suburb of Bondy, have made their own transformations and transitions. All of us undergo change and change is something that requires us a lot of courage. So to move away from certain established position one held and to do it on your own, reach out across the ethnic divide; that takes a lot of doing. That also for me gives a lot of hope” The Ambassador said.
– Sri Lanka Mirror

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