(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – Speech of HE the President Maithripala Sirisena at the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations held on 15 May 2019 in Bejing, China.
“I extend my respectful thanks to President Xi Jinping and the Chinese Government and the people for providing this opportunity to us to join this important dialogue of Asian civilizations.
It is a policy and a concept accepted by all of us that no civilization can be suppressed by any other civilization. At a time when the subject of different civilizations of the world and different cultural identities are discussed and debated, as the leader of Sri Lanka, I participate in the Conference on dialogue of Asian civilizations to raise the question whether the Sri Lankan civilization and Sri Lankan identity could be suppressed by another invisible civilization.
My country lives in freedom and peace, without posing any threat to any nation, culture or civilization. However, on April 21, an extremist terrorists bomb attacks killed a large number of people and we are still in fear and horror and especially in uncertainty over this unexpected situation.
Although we are a small country, we too have a unique proud identity and a long history lasting more than 5,000 years. Sri Lankan civilization has been built, based on unique Buddhist civilization lasting 2,600 years. This is an occasion that the principle that Buddhism is not merely a religion, but a philosophy has been accepted.
In our country, different communities, Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Malays and Burghers live and Buddhism, Hindu, Islam and Christian religions and philosophies practiced. I believe it is correct to state that in human civilization and Buddhist civilization, primarily contains the philosophy required for human progress and development as well as for spiritual development. I firmly believe when an unknown forces not visible to us poses a challenge to our civilization or culture, we should join hands to meet this challenge.
One this one should consider is whether our unique cultures and civilizations in diverse global philosophies could allowed to be destroyed. Hence, it is very important the guidance and example provided by a country like China with a great civilization at this important Conference.
I must mention that in order to strengthen the unity, alliance and the friendship between the nations it is essential to recognize the unique civilizations and the cultures of other nations.
During various turbulence, conflicts and riots which exist at present and the attempts to impose by suppressing others, it is very important we recognize and discuss the cultures, identity, civilization and the nationalities of everyone. And based on the information we receive and the evidence we see, it is very important that we as Asian countries strengthen our bonds.
I could see a strong bond between the civilizations and cultures among the Asian countries and often they have similar civilization and cultures. Therefore, I believe it is very important to strengthen this bond, the unity and the harmony among the Asian countries through recognizing their civilizations and cultures.
Thus I must admit that the civilizations and cultures of different nationalities will move forward surpassing the political differences and economical fluctuations emerging in the world. I believe that the civilization and culture of a country cannot be suppressed by laws, constitutions or international proclamations.
While the main attributes of our civilizations and cultures are taking place, we could see at a discussion forum like this, the need of an International Programme to ensure our identity, nationality, and the dignity of all of us by strengthening the bonds among us. I believe that it is very important to formulate such a programme by this gathering of Asian Countries.
I believe that it is important to work cooperatively among the nations while facing the terrorism which has been sprung by international terrorism, and religious extremism, in order to live in a peaceful and democratic society, while protecting the identity and dignity of peaceful countries. I see the imperative need to defeat the terrorist groups and religion extremism and all the nations live in friendship and peace.“