23 September, 2020

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My Second Home & Commander Of The French Legion Of Honour

President Kumaratunga becomes the first Sri Lankan to be awarded France’s Highest National Order – Commander of the Legion of Honour

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga became the first Sri Lankan in almost 07 Decades and the first ever Sri Lankan woman to be awarded the Prestigious Medal of Commander of the Legion of Honour, the highest rank of the National Order of France. 

Jean-Marin Schuh, Ambassador of France to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, presented the Medal of “Commandeur de la Légion D’Honneur” on behalf of Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, at a special function held at the Residence of the Ambassador.

President Kumaratunga’s Acceptance speech in English:

I wish to first thank the President and the Government of the Republic of France for according to me this high Honour of Commanduer de la Legion d’Honneur. My special gratitude goes to His Excellency the Ambassador, Jean-Marie Schuh, for so kindly facilitating it all and arranging this most enjoyable event. 

I was taken completely by surprise when I received an intimation from Ambassador Schuh that the French Government had decided to accord me this honour. I had not asked and did not know that I would be considered for it. I never seek honours and have even declined some that were offered to me during my presidency – Honorary Doctorates from the Sorbonne University, as well from Peradeniya and Colombo Universities. I believed I should actually earn a Doctorate in the normal way, by writing a thesis and so on. 

In this instance, I reflected long and hard and decided that I will accept the honour, because I believe I have earned it, through decades of dedicated service to my country and people, as well as the role I have played globally, for the promotion of democracy, human rights and good governance. 

I am specially delighted that this recognition of my life’s work comes from a country I consider my second home. 

The generosity of the Government of France in granting me a scholarship for the entirety of my university studies in France opened up new vistas for the unhindered development of my personality and my knowledge today, while giving me the opportunity for new experiences enriched with the eternal values of Liberty and Equality. It gave me possibility of learning of the beauty and necessity of diversity. 

The ethical values I learnt from parents – values of Honesty at all costs, unswerving commitment to the causes I believe in, loyalty and friendship – were offered the opportunity to blossom fully, in the freedom of Parisian student life.

I learnt to manage financially entirely on the stipend given to me as a scholarship student, as the Government Sri Lanka did not, permit exchange to be repatriated for undergraduate studies. At that time, I existed as many other students on subsidized meals from the university canteens, subsidized public transport, and at times foregoing meals to save money for theatre and ballet. I also learnt to do jobs – teaching English or menial jobs such as baby sitting and sweeping floors, washing dishes in my university hostel.

Thus I learnt what it is to be poor – something I may never have done in my country! I also learnt sharpen my inclination to militancy that I seemed to have harboured from a young age, when “May ‘68” exploded before us. I was on the barricades, in demonstrations, organising workers to protest, engaged in passionate dialogues and meetings till the wee hours of the mornings. For me, “May ‘68” was a marvelous explosion of free thought, of fraternity between youth belonging to every community – ethnic, religious, political.

I remember the day an Officer of the Sri Lanka Embassy in Paris called me to say that the French Police wished to see me. Our Diplomatic Officer kindly accompanied me to the Police. I was told firmly, that if I did not stop engaging in anti-Government activity, I’d be put on a plane and deported home! 

The seeds of free and liberal thought were sown in me by my father, and forged in to a strong force on the barricades and in the debates of “May ‘68” and thereafter. The ability to think logically in Cartesian style, peppered with dialectical materialistic thought in Marxian style, and to formulate a clear Vision and Action Plans for the tasks I undertake were learnt in my training at Sciences Po and during my PH.D. studies.

All this, is to say that I owe much to the life I had the privilege to lead in France. I am what I am as a person, and whatever positive achievements I can, in all humility, claim credit for, were deeply influenced not only by my parents and my education at School, but also very much by my time in France, where I gained deep intellectual inspiration as much as activism for progressive policies.

I must emphasise that I would not have achieved all this, without the immense support I have received from friends and colleagues in my diverse responsibilities and the trust and the affection of my people. 

I wish to dedicate the Honour of Commanduer de la Legion d’Honneur I received today, to all those like me, who dedicated their lives to realise our dream of building a better world. 

I also dedicate this Honour to all the precious young lives of Sri Lanka sacrificed on the altar of needless violence against fellow humans, in the name of whatever unattainable Utopia.

I thank all of you, my friends and colleagues, for your presence here today to share in the joy of this important moment in my life. 

My deep gratitude to Your Excellency Ambassador Schuh for all you have done to make this event a success.

I take this opportunity to wish Ambassador Schuh all the very best, as he is going to be leaving Sri Lanka in a few weeks, after completing his tenure here.

Thank you.

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Latest comments

  • 8
    10

    what about the honor, ‘Chaura Rajina’?

    • 7
      4

      She is much better than Tsunami Hora – or Chatu Mara who stole $800 million of Tsunami Funds depriving poor Tsunaim victims of their resources to rebuild their lives.

      • 8
        0

        Nimal

        Here is a Sri Lankan whom Sri Lanka failed to retain or respect who is being respected by foreigners.
        Please read:
        The Sri Lankan who solved a maths problem for Jeff Bezos & gave the world Amazon
        REGINA MIHINDUKULASURIYA 20 September, 2018
        https://theprint.in/economy/the-sri-lankan-who-solved
        -a-maths-problem-for-jeff-bezos-gave-the-world
        -amazon/121706/

      • 1
        1

        Very right truth.
        But the stories being passed in favour of Tsunami balligeputha.
        See, very same punnakku eaters would not worry the manner, ballige putha laetly visited india for the invitation their ticksplayers.
        Our media is fully biased and supportive to former man for some reasons.

        The reason may be the being scared not to face what Lasantha Wikcramathunga faced it.
        That proves the braveness of lanken folks.
        Media mafia is at its height today.
        They abuse the freedom to media given by SILLY leaders today.
        No code of ethics of similar is in action as it he case in UK.

      • 3
        3

        OMG. The Frogs (as the Brits fondly call their neighbours) must be desperate indeed!

        No takers for their neo- colonial awards, except CBK?!
        How sad.

        • 2
          0

          Laxmi

          “No takers for their neo- colonial awards, except CBK?! How sad.”

          True, she should have been honoured by the Colombo Uni academics, Mahasangha, Institutions in India, China, Russia, ………………………………. as they bestowed many accolades on war criminal and crook Mahinda then only every honour becomes worthwhile.

          I lost count of patriotic honourary degrees churned out of Sri Lankan universities. Even the sharkman Dr Go was awarded with DSc.

    • 4
      0

      Charua Rajina is much more dignified charator than Multi murderer Mahinda Rajapakshe..

      is NOT that not the truth ??????????????????????

  • 8
    6

    France awarded the Prestigious Medal of Commander of the Legion of Honour, the highest rank of the National Order of France.
    What has she done to get this medal?
    ————————————
    Sri Lankans have awarded the not prestigious title ‘Chaura Regina’.

    • 5
      6

      Eagle Blind Eye

      The Brits honoured some ceylonese with fancy titles. Here is the list of some of them:

      Ceylonese Knights Bachelor
      -‎
      Henry De Mel
      Charles Henry de Soysa
      Paules Edward Pieris Deraniyagala
      Cyril de Zoysa
      Marcus Fernando
      Thomas Garvin
      Ukwatte Jayasundera
      Edward Jayetileke
      John Kotelawala
      Archibald Campbell Lawrie
      Lalitha Rajapakse
      Arthur Ranasinghe
      Bennet Soysa

      Knights Commander of the Order of the British Empire

      Claude Corea
      Susantha de Fonseka
      Eddie Jayamanne
      James Peiris
      Albert Peries
      Edwin Wijeyeratne

      Ceylonese knights

      Nicholas Attygalle
      Solomon Dias Bandaranaike
      Thomas de Sampayo
      Ernest de Silva
      Wilfred de Soysa
      Harry Dias Bandaranaike
      Leo Fernando
      E. R. de Fonseka
      Francis Soertsz
      Oliver Ernest Goonetilleke
      Frank Gunasekera
      Senerat Gunewardene
      Don Baron Jayatilaka
      Henry Kotalawala
      John Kotelawala
      Alexander Francis Molamure
      Richard Morgan (Ceylonese judge)
      James Peter Obeyesekere II
      Solomon Christoffel Obeyesekere
      Forester Augustus Obeysekera
      Christopher Ondaatje
      Tikiri Bandara Panabokke II
      Paul Pieris
      Arthur Ranasinghe
      Philip Rodrigo
      John Tarbat
      Hector William van Cuylenburg
      Donatius Victoria
      Thomas Lister Villiers
      Arthur Wijewardena
      Gerard Wijeyekoon

      Did Sinhala/Buddhists lick the a*s of Para Suddas to get these titles?
      Why was Hindian Hindu N Ram Sri Lanka Ratna?

      • 2
        0

        This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2/

      • 2
        1

        All who have polished British shoes with their tongues, in other words. Right, Veddha?

        • 1
          0

          T. Devendra

          Mine was a follow up question to Eagle Blind Eye from previous comment elsewhere. That’s all.
          I don’t have any problem with Sinhalese, Buddhists, Tamils, Hindus, Muslims, Christians, ………………. receiving accolades from any Tom, Dick or Harry or crowning themselves.

    • 5
      2

      Eagle Eye –
      Your pseudonym is a joke or what? Seriously man, what did she do to deserve this award?

      I will tell you what your thick skull cannot handle;

      •She lost one of her eyes to an LTTE bomber – she did not slaughter the Tamils for that.
      •The only past leader of the country who wept for the plight of the Tamils when they were slaughtered in the name of this dreaded war
      •She brought down the coward, murderer, thief who thought he will be the President of Lanka for life
      •She did not send white vans to kill people
      •she did not steal to get rich – she was already rich

      As a Tamil, I salute this woman. The only leader of Sri Lanka with a heart. If I was still living there, I will cast my vote for this great woman and I don’t care whether she is Sinhalese or Tamil. To me she is a Sri Lankan!!!!!

  • 9
    2

    Hi man, the last commtators show their small mind. Man this is not only an honour for her but for the entire people of SL. Please stop your pettiness and grow up to be a better human being, and show the appreciation.

  • 4
    1

    A hero is never honoured at home.
    =
    … For good reasons.

    There were better places for the medal to go probably.

  • 4
    3

    Maybe you should make your second home , your first home .

  • 9
    3

    We are delighted to see this. You deserve it, dear Madam. Congratulations!!!

    • 0
      2

      Yes, we should all be delighted that this honor has been bestowed on a Sri Lankan. Women especially should be proud on this occasion. Sad to see some stupid idiots calling her “Chaura Rajina”, ….

  • 8
    3

    Madam Chandrika,

    We are proud of your achievement

  • 7
    1

    You never even earned a bachelor’s degree did you? Most people who start PhD studies don’t finish them.
    [edited out]

    • 4
      3

      Please read her letter written in English.
      Had not she earned degrees how could she be like that.
      Today ballige putha and other men need lot more people to write their letters which they have to read before the audience in UNHRC or any other bodies.
      Mrs Kumarathunga never reied on others to write her speeches.
      And the fact Mr Kadirgamar made a great service under this lady. That was the reason us to eleminated LTTERs in 2009, but ballige putha MR harvested it.

      Since then in post war stage, Rajakshe did not nothing good to the country.
      Even today ballige puthat has been rabblerousing as no other leaders would do.
      I wish nature should take him away.
      Today rascals have been promoted since ballieg putha through media spread lies in this country.
      CBK and RANIL and even Mr Sirisena are all victimized by Ballige puthas media mafia games.

  • 11
    6

    Congratulations Madam,
    You deserve this title, for
    1. you did not deployed white vans to make innocent people disappear,
    2. You did not massacres over 40,000 civilians in the name of a war
    3. You did not steal $ 800 million Tsunami funds
    4. You did not kill innocent civilians, journalists, civil right activists
    5. You did not destroyed rule of law
    6. you did not manipulated judiciary
    7. You did not ran illegal floating armouries to make mega commisions
    8. You did not sell the country to Chinese
    9. You did not launch white elephant projects in the name of development to pocket in over $18 billions as commissions
    10. You did not build monuments for your parents at the expense of tax payers money

    By trying to eliminate the LTTE, you made unthinkable sacrifices including one of your eyes.
    Did Mara or Gota lose anything? They only gained from the war.

    • 3
      1

      i cant agree with you more Nimal.

      These punnakku eaters would not see it beyond.

      Media mafia is run by Rajakshe goons even today. They just dance to the tune of the Rajakshes. Wahallu…

    • 2
      2

      Nimal,
      Please read Victor Ivan’s book ‘Chaura Regina’.

      • 2
        1

        Very same victor iwan remained deaf at the time, ballige putha ruined the nation to core.
        Why was that ?
        These men are really biased.
        The harm everyone else have deliberately made is much less than the harm ballige putha Rajapkashe did to this nation. Or not ?

      • 0
        0

        congratulations madam,
        Forget all else. You are a human being.even to win the war you strengthen the Forces. You got the Funds from funding agents to build our roads. But to reap the benefits wrong man was at the helm
        This honor is given to you for what you have done to your countrymen and women.

      • 0
        0

        Very same Victor wrote about Mahindas Chaura Rajjaya.
        Read both books to get a balance view.

    • 0
      0

      I agree with you and probably you are right. But it was the French Embassy, the naughty one, humiliated her by cracking this sarcasm in the middle of the North is observing the Nargar Kovil Massacre with “War for Peace”.

      Chandrika preceded Lankawe’s Rapist Army during the Nagar Kovil, Navali Church, Chemani and other Massacres. Then she covered it by impression Corporal Rajapakse, instead of using his honest witnesses on the Rapist Army Commanders’ rampages as Crown witness against the commanders.
      Even after that all Chandrika made a difference to Tamils than any other leader came to power from the past 70 years. From 1956 Sinhala Rowdies, Hooligans and the Rapist Army and Rapist Police have been using the rape as most humiliating weapon on Tamils. Not one single case out these was honestly prosecuted by the Sinhala Only Jury Verdicts. But Chandrika let the Kitrishanti Kumaraswamy case to go court. But she shut off the case as soon as Rajapakse said it was commanders killed Kirishanti. Sure Rajapakse was in that but only was used as the shovel to bury the massive number of the bodies. That is how he gave the exact location of the mass graves and the bodies in the graves were exhumed. Yes Chandrika is the only one, who punished one man within the history a million rapes carried on Tamils over 70 years. Further that could be the reason Lankawe unis did not show much interest in giving her DSc.

    • 0
      0

      congratulations madam,
      Forget all else. You are a human being.even to win the war you strengthen the Forces. You got the Funds from funding agents to build our roads. But to reap the benefits wrong man was at the helm
      This honor is given to you for what you have done to your countrymen and women.

  • 2
    6

    Nosey Parker, exactly mate, I hope Macron has awarded CBK the French citizenship and a nice apartment in the 8th arronedissement, a nice hood, wont mind a pied de terre there myself.

  • 3
    0

    So CBK’s second home is in France.
    Her first home is in the UK where her children lived and grew.
    And her Attanagala Estate is………….? Watch this space.

  • 3
    2

    Only thing I know Tamil protestant NAtive Vedda with a portugal names says all these Titles, although accepted by uneducated Sinhale People, were offered solely fir the purpose of honuring them. Stupid Vedd, thsoe werre just buyig out natives from different countries to pay alligience to the British Monarch. IT is similaer just the way you become a Journo-prostitue for money for any politician. Reember you accused some females. Who are you ?

  • 4
    2

    Can we expect any patriotism or sinhala-buddhi qualities from this drunkard, uneducated, but International woman.

  • 4
    4

    The Queen of corruption had many bogus deals to her credit.
    The ones I remember are the Ten French Locomotives Deal – tender for same by a French ship engines manufacturer, Rs 500 Million more than the next lowest by a British firm which had traditionally supplied the CGR with locomotives which are still running after many decades, was forced to be accepted by CBK who had got down the entire board to her residence.
    They could not run on our railways.

    Waters edge judgement – she was fined.

  • 3
    0

    In the western world even the Nobel prise is political. How many in Asia wins it.

  • 2
    3

    Madam Chandrika deserves the appreciation. If the Sri Lankan people are so stupid that the cannot tell the difference between the wheat and chaff, it does not mean the whole world is stupid like us.
    They appreciate people objectively and correctly. This is a quality we lack.
    Even the stupid Tamils shamelessly say negative things about this remarkable lady. But let me remind those idiots of two solid reasons why they should not.
    1. She was bold and sincere enough to openly and publically appologize to the tamil public for the attrocities committed against them since independance, more so when it was her own Father who was the culprit.
    2. Few months after the Katunayake airport attack, september 11th attack happend. In response to that Bush offered to assist all countries military asdistance to crush any rebel factions within. CBK was one of the first to address the UN general assembly shortly after Bush’s offer and in he speech she said,, we don’t need anyones assistance to kill our own people, we will sort out our issues internally. That was a very noble stand. Naturally many people will not understand this, but anyone with half a brain would see it.
    During CBKs time the LKR had a purchasing power parity of 3.5 to a US dollar. That means if you earned 1,000 usd in SL it was like 3,500 usd outside. Hence low income earners got value for money. And exports were profitable. What MARA did was to nullify this advantage and kill the export market. In fact LKR has a ppp less than 1 to 1 now. Yet he made it look like the percapita income had gone up. Yes it has for the rich, the ordinary mans salary has stayed the same, his purchasing power has dropped like hell. These are just a few things I can mention here. This is the reality.

  • 3
    1

    CBK has very credible story behind that selling nation wealth and assets during her 11 years of mismanagement of our Economy as similar as did by UNP Ranil Wicks and joint hand with Gamarlagae Sirisena alies MS…..since 2015 January 8th?

    It is known fact that CBK has accountability of killed values of democracy in last four years, while co-habitation with UNP’s neo-liberal polices.
    She created puppet regime in Island by help of Ranil wicks of Christen democracy of UNP new wave of Liberalism. …since 2015 January 8th.

    She has guided and advice undermined whole process of democratic procedures in mode of Parliament operation , by undermined Presidential system of rules and meanwhile Law of land and court of law has been discarded by help from support of UNP Ranil wicks leadership. She is enemy of Democracy and majority people by supporting for Tamil federalist by encouraging Gun Rule politics in island by TNA separatism political agenda.
    We are disappoint of given such award for CBK was that she is NOT an eligible at all.
    The people of France has to think about are they against motto of French Revolution in 1789 which that advocated for .

  • 3
    1

    Yes I remember Sorbonne, was there for a while, arrived late of course. Offered Velu half the country for ten years of peace. Have you seen my new curtains? Appreciate French wine, lots of it. A medal? Pour moi? How nice. Cheers…hic

    Satellite

  • 0
    1

    Both successful and Acheivemnt .
    Mrs, Sirimavo Bandaranaike was the world’s first female prime minister.

    President Kumaratunga becomes the first Sri Lankan to be awarded France’s Highest National Order.

    Every one with a good job taka away is the recognition, the world cup that Sri lanka Achieved

  • 5
    1

    France has honoured a rogue woman that all the Sri Lankans reject and hate. Shame on you France Shame on you.

  • 1
    0

    what has victor ivan to say about this ?

  • 1
    1

    Because of LTTE atrocities, there were assassinations of good people on either side of the Palk Straight.

    However, it was the greatest regret for Sri Lanka and its people that this woman was not killed in the suicide attack by LTTE Terrorists.

  • 5
    0

    CBK is politically and personally turn into bankrupt status since during SRD Banadarake rule of SLFP as ruling party of that mid of 1970 tees.
    Her(CBK’s) political arrogances has been damages of SLFP’s Rural Poor and betray interest of vast majority People , by disintegrated its Party base in Island-wide .The aim of SLFP been betray by surrender to UNP in 2015 January 8th by CBK joint hand MS.

    It was not that her personal escaped to UNP camp, she has surrender set of policies of SLFP to UNP leadership by undermined founding fathers aspiration ;and CBK was greatest splitters of SLFP in this century .

    The very reason is that current French regime has mishandle by awarding for CBK is major mistake the people of France who fought Liberty, Equality and Fraternity of more than two centuries ….since 1789!.

    We disagreed and disappoints on Award for CBK by People of France.

  • 2
    4

    Well done madam president cbk.
    You have lost your precious eye because if Ltte.
    Mahinda gave Ltte in billions to win elections and not to assasinate his family.

  • 1
    1

    I thought CBK’s second home is in posh St John’s Wood in Central London. I suppose that will be her third home until perhaps the Queen includes her in the Honours list. By the way, I am not sure what she did to receive such an honour from France. Anyway reading her acceptance speech made me puke. What hypocrisy.

    ”I learnt to manage financially entirely on the stipend given to me as a scholarship student, as the Government Sri Lanka did not, permit exchange to be repatriated for undergraduate studies ,,, (wasn’t her mum who brought that rule? At least she was privileged with a French scholarship but weren’t there other deserving people & did she actually graduate?) At that time, I existed as many other students on subsidized meals from the university canteens, subsidized public transport, and at times foregoing meals to save money for theatre and ballet (what a sob story). I also learnt to do jobs – teaching English or menial jobs such as baby sitting and sweeping floors, washing dishes in my university hostel (now that takes the biscuit) …”

    Madame, many of us, not privileged with scholarships & subsidised food & transport did the same. so is it sympathy you want or are you implying that it was all that hardships that prevented you from writing your thesis?

    Anyway, what ever your educational achievements are & the militant tendencies & going on protest marches (qualities of a socialist politician?) what have you done to earn this medal? What have you done for your country? All I know is that you had to borrow jewellery from your wealthy inner circle for your Presidential inauguration but by the time you left the Precidency, you had enough money to buy a posh pad in St John’s Wood.

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