Independence Day Message
Sri Lanka marks 72 years of independence on the 4th of February 2020. During the past few years, the independence that we won on the 4th February 1948 faced unprecedented challenges. What we can learn from that experience is that achieving freedom and preserving it are two different matters entirely. The freedom that we obtained in 1948 in the eyes of the law, came very close to being vitiated after 2015 through bad politics. What the result of the presidential election held last November showed was the determination of our people to safeguard our status as an independent nation.
When we look back upon the 72 years that have passed since we gained independence, we see some cause for satisfaction. Even in the midst of some serious challenges, the system of representative democracy based on universal suffrage has survived in this country. We are ahead of most countries in terms of indices relating to health and literacy. We have a free media and every citizen is assured of his personal safety. During the period 2006 to 2014 this country was also able to achieve a major leap forward in economic terms.
The challenge before us today is to restore to this country the economic progress that was lost due to bad politics. Today we mark the first Independence Day of a new decade with a new government in power. I can confidently state that due to the patriotic enthusiasm and the desire to build a new country that has galvanized the people and especially the youth, we are now on the cusp of a golden era once again. It is my belief and expectation that people belonging to all ethnic groups and religions living in this country will come together as one, to participate in the task of taking this country forward into an era of prosperity.