After seeing tri
services troupe’s excellent performance Mr.Dusmantha Wijekoon
handed over £1250 to tri services cultural troupe on 28th
September at Manchester show. Main sponsor Sam Chandrasinghe
organised a special dinner for the cultural troupe at Prince of
Ceylon Restaurant in London after the London Show to show his
gratitude. Mr Chandrasenaalso admired
the performance and made individual contributions. Many others
from London Birmingham & Manchester were also shown their
gratitude by many ways.
Minister Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella thanks Dusmantha Wijekoon for
sponsoring the Api Wenuwen Api official website
Rambukwella, Government Spokesman for Defense and National
Security and Defence Advisor Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe gave
special thanks to Mr Dusmantha Wijekoon for sponsoring the
official Api Wenuwen Api website at an official meeting at the
Sri Lankan High Commission on 22 September at 7pm.
members Chanaka Dissanayake and Thilan Wijesinghe were also
Date: Monday, 22nd September 2008)
More Sri Lankans living in UK extend support for Api Wenuwen Api
Jayawardana and Mr Anil Jayawardena from Surrey handed over
£3000 and Mr Wasantha Pathiranage of Price of Ceylon handed over
£1000 to HE the High Commissioner Mr Nihal Jayasinghe on the
7th Aug 08 at the High Commission. Donations are for the
Apiwenuwen api housing project for the serving and disabled
service personnel of our armed forces. Brigadier Prasad
Samarasinghe who was present facilitated the donations.
Date: Thursday, 07th August 2008)
Patriotic, unassuming and committed, the lion hearted, General
There I was in the high security zone, laptop, camera, voice
recorder and trustworthy assistant making my way to meet the man
in charge. As I approached the screening centre I began to
realise exactly who I was about to meet.
Many of us claim to wear the stripes of our nation but rarely do
you spend time in the company of someone who does this for a
living. Whilst in Sri Lanka I often find that I am mistaken for
being Indian, it would be easy to be insulted but on this
occasion the affection I felt from the people around me just led
to a Sinhala clip with a touch of British humour.
that I encountered on the
journey to his office was extremely polite, highly accommodating
and helpful, indicative of the man himself. I realised on
entering the complex that for the first time in my life I was
truly vulnerable and in awe of my surroundings. In recounting
this story I am shedding tears of joy and pride for a wholly
extraordinary day in the life of an ordinaryindividual.
arrived at the waiting room and our greeting was especially
considerate and apologetic for the lateness and security
measures endured. Several minutes past and once our equipment
was ready we were off to the zone. Leaving our mobile phones at
the door surrounded by security personnel, the chief of staff
pressed the buzzer.
The Green light flickered the door opened and from behind the
desk appeared a big friendly giant, General Fonseka. There was
no time for admiration as it was down to business after the firm
handshake. He explained my good fortune in being able to
conduct an interview without the expressed consent of the
Ministry of Defence.
began my line of questioning with a firm opening, where is the
army today? A deep but reassuringly calm voice articulated in
detail the current position concluding with the expressed desire
to complete the task at hand. I found the moment this man
started speaking his ability to communicate and summarise
succinctly his position quite simply, inspiring. Feeling
confident in my own brief I thought I should find out why he
joined the army in the first place?
His answer was no different to that of his fellow service men
and women, a sense of duty, pride and commitment to a nation.
Despite the trappings of office and his standing as the man at
the top, he felt that he was like any other recruit, a solider
first and figure of authority second. When he joined there was
no war but unity, peace and prosperity in a country that was
climbing its way to the centre stage of the world.
This inner sense of humility from a man of stature was further
exemplified when confronted with the welfare of his men and
women. The General commented on the systems that are used daily
to monitor the well being of personnel in the field and those in
recovery. Admittedly, the very nature of the operation and
intensity of activity implies in itself that this cannot be an
exact science but diet, physical condition, emotional sanctity
and contact with loved ones are just some of the things that
feature on the commander’s radar.
expressed a constant willingness to go the extra mile to ensure
the strength of his army. I was astounded by his dedication to
this particular cause. It demonstrated for me that irrespective
of serious frontline decisions this man put his people first. In
doing his duty to his fellow personnel, General Fonseka also
showed that his work involved much planning and focus on
limiting any form of civilian casualty or fatality.
is perceived that military activity must always mean death,
destruction and general carnage in an indiscriminate area.
However, the commander was at pains to explain that his actions
and indeed that of his troops are well targeted.
Loss of life in any given conflict is an unfortunate part of
reality but as and when physically possible it is avoided at all
costs. Those who do decide to join the services are acutely
aware of and ready to face such uncertainty. The General himself
has come face to face with his own mortality on three separate
When responding to his own circumstances again he drew no
distinction between himself and any other soldier but did
believe that because of his ranking, LTTE propaganda could
present his plight far more unfavourably than that of any other
soldier. Here I felt that not only was I in the company of an
enormously significant figure but also someone who understood
the implications of his position and the vulnerability of it. I
detected a range of sentiments from the Commander, which in
their entirety seemed to convey that as a person he has
withstood a prolonged period of intense emotional and
psychological unrest yet remained professional.
Compassion is not normally a word associated with military
command but the General did highlight the steps taken to
rehabilitate those who were permanently injured in the line of
duty. He illustrated and indentified the need for this type of
work to increase. For those returning to the frontline in
particular the commander himself indicated speed was everything.
When recounting his injuries it appeared as if they were no more
than a common cold.
The commander was concerned that his priority should be to
return to active duty. At this moment in time I began to wonder
what the DNA of this man was as ultimately he seemed bionic in
his temperament and capacity to withstand adversity. Courage is
often used loosely and in many instances wrongly attributed
however, the journey from the hospital bed to the frontline is
an example of where the action meets the primary description.
Closing on the final stages of this discussion I felt the need
to ask what as Sri Lankan’s living abroad can we do to help?
Our ethnic conflict is sometimes seen as an internal Tsunami
with very little prospect of respite. Although, I had initially
envisaged that the commander would be encouraging people to
donate money to the forces purely to contribute to the high
levels of expenditure. I was completely wrong and the Army
Commander was more interested in engaging the community abroad
in dispelling the myth that our nation is committed to war and
was then I realised the true magnanimity of the man when he did
not ask us to dip into our pockets but to work together to
present an accurate picture of our country but most important of
all was the silent but rallying call for the good wishes and
blessings from our people.
Flippantly, I invited him to comment on what a conversation with
Prabakaran might be, he felt that it would not be an effective
use of his time.(
Date: Monday, 28th July 2008)
Chandila Fernando BA (Hons) Politics and Social Policy.
Fast Cash sponsors Api Wenuwen Api’ London Cultural
& Musical Show
Deshamanya Dr. Lalith
Kotalawala who is visiting London on a business tour pledged to
sponsor the cultural and musical show, to be held at
the Troxy Theatre in London on 21st September this
year, with a donation of £8,800 .
This pledge was made today (18th July 2008) at a meeting with
Brigadier Prasad Samarasinghe, Defence Adviser who made a
presentation to Dr. Kotalawala about the ‘Api Wenuwen Api’
Project initiated by the Ministry of Defence in providing
housing for serving and disabled service personnel of Sri Lankan
armed forces. Mr Hiran de Silva and Mr David Gunawardena were
also associated at this event. It was further explained that
the project is supported by the Sri Lankan community and well
wishers of Sri Lanka living in U.K.
Dr. Kotalawala while commending the project to provide housing
to the service personnel acknowledged their contribution in
protecting the territorial integrity of the Island in creating a
conducive environment for all the Sri Lankans to live in peace