Sri Lanka – A Nation That Forgives
J. R. Jayawardene – To Japan
During the San Francisco Peace Treaty (a UN conference to hold Japan accountable for damages in World War 2), Sri Lanka’s then Finance Minister (later President), J. R. Jayawardene spoke on behalf of Japans’ freedom despite Sri Lanka also being attacked.
Here’s an extract from his famous speech:
“We in Ceylon were fortunate that we were not invaded, but the damage caused by air raids, by the stationing of enormous armies under the South-East Asia Command, and by the slaughter-tapping of one of our main commodities, rubber, when we were the only producer of natural rubber for the Allies, entitles us to ask that the damage so caused should be repaired. We do not intend to do so for we believe in the words of the Great Teacher [Buddha] whose message has ennobled the lives of countless millions in Asia, that ‘hatred ceases not by hatred but by love’.”
The speech was given critical acclamation in the UN, and had even brought tears into the eyes of Hirohito, the Emperor of Japan. As a result, the speech played a major role in re-admitting Japan back into the global community.
Even today, Sri Lanka and Japan have had strong diplomatic ties. Japan has always endeavoured to be the country that donates the most financial aid to Sri Lanka in times of need.
King Dutugamunu – To King Ellalan (Elara)
Similarly, over 2000 years before, King Dutugamunu (61 B.C. – 137 B.C. considered one of the greatest Kings in Sri Lankan history) built a memorial for his belligerent, King Ellalan of the Tamil Chola Dynasty (South India).
King Ellalan had managed to successfully dethrone the Sri Lankan King Asela to capture the powerful Kingdom of Anuradhapura for 44 years.
Dutugammu (a young Sinhala Prince) made it his mission to retake the throne from the Cholas and mustered a country-wide army to defeat Ellalan. The Prince famously rode into battle on the back of an elephant yelling, “none shall kill King Ellalan but myself’. Eventually Ellalan was found on elephant back on the south gates of Anuradhapura and was killed by Prince Dutugammu.
King Ellalan was describe as ‘The Fair and Just King to both Friend and Foe” and was even respected by King Dutugammu who knew very well that Ellalan bravery stood his ground despite being disadvantaged by his old age.