22 October, 2017

WikiLeaks: For Sri Lankans It’s The First Time Since The Conflict Began City Looking So Festive – US

“Colombo is lit up this holiday season, with electric lights draped all over the city. The GSL is sponsoring the effort in a bid to increase the city’s attractiveness. For Sri Lankans, it is the first time since the conflict began almost 20 years ago that they remember the city looking so festive. Amid all the discussions focusing on the ceasefire, federalism, and other dry subjects, it is illustrative that Sri Lanka’s experience of the peace process also involves something as simple–and evocative–as bright lights.” the US Embassy Colombo informed Washington.

Chrismas Colombo

While the vast majority of Sri Lankans are Buddhist or Hindu, there is a long tradition in the country of respecting holidays of other religions, especially Christmas | Photo courtesy AFP

The Colombo Telegraph found the related leaked cable from the WikiLeaks database. The cable was written on December 11, 2002 by the US Ambassador to Colombo E. Ashley Wills.

The ambassador wrote; “Colombo is newly lit up this holiday season. Multi- colored electric lights hang over streets, and bedeck buildings and trees. The government is sponsoring the effort in a bid to increase the city’s attractiveness to locals and tourists after years of war-enforced austerity. Seeking a ripple effect that could help restore ethnic harmony, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe has even taken a personal interest, urging businesses to put up lights wherever possible. In response, the private sector is actively participating in a committee formed by the Mayor’s office, and beginning in late November, many hotels and privately-owned buildings strung up lights at their own expense. This, despite the surging price of electricity and frequent power outages that mean that expensive generators have to be used to keep the lights on. (Note: While the vast majority of coverage has been highly positive, there have been a couple of articles in the press grousing about the financial cost to the country of the lighting campaign.)

“For Sri Lankans, it is the first time since the conflict began almost 20 years ago that they remember the city looking so festive. Step-by-step as the war became more serious from 1983 on, the city became a progressively less welcoming place. Amid constant patrolling by the military, roadblocks and checkpoints were put up throughout the city to defend it from Tamil Tiger terrorist attacks. Lights were also dimmed as the city began to shut down at night. (Note: In the late 1980s, darkness almost completely enveloped the city as citizens switched off their lights in response to demands by leftist insurgents.) Given all of the tension around them, Sri Lankans were in no particular mood to celebrate the Christmas holiday season during these difficult years. (Note: While the vast majority of Sri Lankans are Buddhist or Hindu, there is a long tradition in the country of respecting holidays of other religions, especially Christmas.)

“With the advent of the GSL-LTTE peace process in December 2001, the city has gradually begun to gain back some of its luster. Most of the roadblocks and checkpoints have been closed and there are very few troops on the streets. The campaign to turn on the lights has helped bring back an added sense of normality to the city and it seems that Sri Lankans–for the first time in years–have found something worth celebrating in a peace process that is almost one-year old. (Note: Along with major businesses, the government is also helping sponsor a “peace” concert, which will take place in the city’s largest stadium on December 14.)”

Placing a comment the ambassador wrote; “Amid all of the discussions focusing on the ceasefire, federalism, and other dry subjects, it is illustrative that Sri Lanka’s experience of the peace process also involves something as simple–and evocative –as bright lights. In the past year, the atmosphere of Colombo and the country at large has improved dramatically due to the progress made in ending the war. Although there remains a justifiable sense of wariness as to whether the peace effort will ultimately succeed, it is almost as if a pall is being lifted. The powerful impact that this shifting of the atmosphere has had on Sri Lankans is one of the major factors propelling strong popular support for the government’s peace initiative.”

Read the cable below for further details;

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 002285 

SIPDIS 

DEPARTMENT FOR SA AND SA/INS; NSC FOR E. MILLARD 

E.O. 12958:  N/A 
TAGS: PGOV SOCI CE
SUBJECT:  Colombo, City of Lights 

Refs:  Colombo 2277, and previous 

¶1.  SUMMARY:  Colombo is lit up this holiday season, 
with electric lights draped all over the city.  The GSL 
is sponsoring the effort in a bid to increase the city's 
attractiveness.  For Sri Lankans, it is the first time 
since the conflict began almost 20 years ago that they 
remember the city looking so festive.  Amid all the 
discussions focusing on the ceasefire, federalism, and 
other dry subjects, it is illustrative that Sri Lanka's 
experience of the peace process also involves something 
as simple--and evocative--as bright lights.  END 
SUMMARY. 

¶2.  Colombo is newly lit up this holiday season.  Multi- 
colored electric lights hang over streets, and bedeck 
buildings and trees.  The government is sponsoring the 
effort in a bid to increase the city's attractiveness to 
locals and tourists after years of war-enforced 
austerity.  Seeking a ripple effect that could help 
restore ethnic harmony, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe 
has even taken a personal interest, urging businesses to 
put up lights wherever possible.  In response, the 
private sector is actively participating in a committee 
formed by the Mayor's office, and beginning in late 
November, many hotels and privately-owned buildings 
strung up lights at their own expense.  This, despite 
the surging price of electricity and frequent power 
outages that mean that expensive generators have to be 
used to keep the lights on.  (Note:  While the vast 
majority of coverage has been highly positive, there 
have been a couple of articles in the press grousing 
about the financial cost to the country of the lighting 
campaign.) 

¶3.  For Sri Lankans, it is the first time since the 
conflict began almost 20 years ago that they remember 
the city looking so festive.  Step-by-step as the war 
became more serious from 1983 on, the city became a 
progressively less welcoming place.  Amid constant 
patrolling by the military, roadblocks and checkpoints 
were put up throughout the city to defend it from Tamil 
Tiger terrorist attacks.  Lights were also dimmed as the 
city began to shut down at night.  (Note:  In the late 
1980s, darkness almost completely enveloped the city as 
citizens switched off their lights in response to 
demands by leftist insurgents.)  Given all of the 
tension around them, Sri Lankans were in no particular 
mood to celebrate the Christmas holiday season during 
these difficult years.  (Note:  While the vast majority 
of Sri Lankans are Buddhist or Hindu, there is a long 
tradition in the country of respecting holidays of other 
religions, especially Christmas.) 

¶4.  With the advent of the GSL-LTTE peace process in 
December 2001, the city has gradually begun to gain back 
some of its luster.  Most of the roadblocks and 
checkpoints have been closed and there are very few 
troops on the streets.  The campaign to turn on the 
lights has helped bring back an added sense of normality 
to the city and it seems that Sri Lankans--for the first 
time in years--have found something worth celebrating in 
a peace process that is almost one-year old. 
(Note:  Along with major businesses, the government is 
also helping sponsor a "peace" concert, which will take 
place in the city's largest stadium on December 14.) 

¶5.   COMMENT:  Amid all of the discussions focusing on 
the ceasefire, federalism, and other dry subjects, it is 
illustrative that Sri Lanka's experience of the peace 
process also involves something as simple--and evocative 
--as bright lights.  In the past year, the atmosphere of 
Colombo and the country at large has improved 
dramatically due to the progress made in ending the war. 
Although there remains a justifiable sense of wariness 
as to whether the peace effort will ultimately succeed, 
it is almost as if a pall is being lifted.  The powerful 
impact that this shifting of the atmosphere has had on 
Sri Lankans is one of the major factors propelling 
strong popular support for the government's peace 
initiative.  END COMMENT. 
¶6.  (U) Minimize considered. 

WILLS
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Latest comments

  • 3
    7

    How foolish to waste electricity!

    • 7
      0

      Absolutely! Night Races should be held in the dark.

      • 3
        0

        Indeed “Night Races” are being held in the dark. Dumb & stupid public is kept in the dark as well. While State resources, including the military are being misused, wasted & abused. Just to satisfy empty PR dreams of the self-appointed Crown Prince. Night Races will not survive the shine of any lights. Cheers!

        • 1
          3

          Not only dumb and stupid general public, all others are vicitimised. Even ones to be born in next days are made debtors by their high interest loans. It is believed, they will not be able to finance 2014 if one would closely study the cope reports, budget debates and any other reliable analyses.

        • 0
          0

          gamini & Ben Hurling

          Most drivers believe motor vehicles are extension of their private parts.

          It seems in this island motor vehicles are actually the replacement or substitute for their missing parts without which they cannot impress their naive partners. Poor women.

          • 1
            0

            Native,

            These car races serves to boost the egos of the ruling brats and their catchers. They advice the masses to conserve electricity saying it costs and they illuminate the race track like day light. Thereafter the costs are palmed to the masses to pay with their house hold bills, claiming the CEB is running at a loss. Apart from this Electricity cost, the air travel, accommodation at five star hotels and the freight cost of the vehicles of all foreign participants are met with our tax money, like how the British and most guests who participated for the CHOGM carnival, while the moda masses are made to believe that all these have come at their own expense.

            These car races were not advertised much here in the country, just to avoid the poor villagers would come to know. The joke is how the Forces are used to do the menial work now, which was done earlier by the ordinary labourers. What a decoration for the Forces buggers and serves them right to know who their Masters are?

            • 0
              0

              gamini

              Thanks for your fast and furious comment.

              “These car races serves to boost the egos of the ruling brats and their catchers.”

              Most drivers believe motor vehicles are extension of their private parts. They have their egos trapped in their private parts and time to time they feel the need to unleash them.

              Do you know any political brat who ever done anything sensible in South Asia?

              • 3
                0

                I watched the ‘Colombo night races’ this time. I have seen Monaco race too sometime back. So, to say the least, I feel this will be like ‘the circuit de Monaco’ in a few years’ time. Why do I say that? There were a lot of people (may be 50,000 or more) gathered around the circuit to watch the race even this time when publicity was minimum. And most of those who lined up were average man of the street from Colombo. People want splendour and excitement. It’s for that they spend money and celebrate Jan 1st. Likewise, the average man from all over the country will come to watch the spectre soon. From what I see around the world, these things are all a part of an up and coming country. Obviously, frustrated kallathoni vedda and a basement living buggers cannot appreciate it. Who cares?

      • 3
        3

        How about introducing a culture to race ruling thugs instead of night car races ?

    • 1
      0

      Hy Fathima Fukushima, The Sinhala BBS ass…
      I am Muslim, You touch us, you get slap in India …. Now you see Pakistan is coming on Oil investment it means Mahinda is paving way to make Islam this country aaahhh didnt i tell you, you sinhala guys wil betray…

    • 3
      0

      Fat Fuk ! where were u during wesak ?

  • 3
    0

    more electricity wasted lightining huge vesak pandals all over the country than during xmas

  • 1
    0

    Happy Christmas to all thise who celebrate X’mas
    and for those who do not celebrate X’Mas Happy Festive Season and join in the fun with parties and booze and relaxing holiday and of course the sale.

  • 2
    2

    Why during Ranil’s time? Most of the cabinet were Christians or muslims! Of course some are people who draped themselves the robes including Ranil and Milinda…. it was to compete with Wesak and pandals? Try to enumerate them and classify according to religion including their past religion.
    Although they are buddhist on the outside, they are Christians at heart! There is nothing wrong in changing a religion! But hypocrasy and opportunism is another aspect!

  • 1
    0

    Prime minister Wicramiasingha? In which country. Highly misinformed US Embassy.

  • 3
    0

    That is 11 years ago. Today there are lights only on the round about near Odel and the Richard pieris building at hyde park with a bit along the kollupitiya area of r a de mel mawatha.

    • 1
      2

      as they should be . how many christians in Sri Lanka ? 5 % or 2 % ?

      • 1
        1

        No Pinguththarayo, it is around 6, 1% of Christians living in the country.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_Sri_Lanka#Religion

        In Colombo and suburbs they are more so all the decorations should be more there. I am a born buddhist but I love Christian way of celebrations.

        • 1
          0

          wow why not google it . lol

  • 1
    2

    wow christmas lights , what a measure of peace and harmony . what about the bus bombs and train bombs what were they Christmas firecrackers .

    The US needs to stop sending crackheads on diplomatic assignments . I knowthere is a lot of them there but no need to send them to Sri Lanka.

    • 0
      2

      What else can one expect from an idiot of your kind ?

      Abhaya will never see it. How pathetic!

      • 2
        3

        what do you want me to see you fake turd who is hiding behind avatars . Other than the idiocy of the US ambassador while your wonderful praba deiio was rebuilding to Strike again during the fake ceasefire which was violated about 1500 times ? and [Edited out] ranil was letting him get away with ?

        I am glad there is no longer any war . No more killing . I am also glad that you blood thirsty goons lost your cause .

        • 2
          1

          Abhaya the most known Nimwit of this platform,
          We are also glad taht there is no longer war, but in the same time turn war against the rulers being that abusive to the core… is the problem that we the average facing in country today.

          You buggers will see it soon, give me one single reason whether the CHOGM brought anything valuable to this nation ? And give us how they have improved the revenues of the avenues by introducing those harbours and airports.

          Last but not least, give us reasons why the buggers – most abusive virulent criminals are on a mode of manipulating easily vulnerable masses of nation- for the sake of their power greediness.. by ruining the country to the core.

          • 3
            0

            you have a solution dont you ?. it is called the vote . vote them out and get the next set of criminals in .

        • 2
          0

          Hiding it behind is for good reasons that your ruling thugs have proved no mercy when it go for phsyical assualts or killing for petty reason. This is known to everyone but jackasses of your kind would take longer to grasp it.. that is also clear to many.
          But enough is enough now to this date.. your man will surely be caught in the months to come. That is becoming clear to us all.. sooner than later.

          • 5
            0

            Tadpole (゜゜)~ But enough is enough now to this date..your man(゜゜)~
            #######

            Ab_Haya,

            “Girls, please, there’s only one way to resolve this…

            ….Rockem sockem sports sex.”
            ______

            Ö Ö Ö__。◕‿◕。

          • 4
            3

            There are sri lankans who are living there and using there real names and criticizing the rulers ? I have yet to see anything really “happen” to them .

            There are also some newspaper editors who when their house gets robbed gets asylum too .

            • 3
              0

              How pathetic this SOB is?

              ‘There are also some newspaper editors who when their house gets robbed gets asylum too.’

              If not for Mandana Ismail Abeywardene’s husband coming home late, today the story would have been different where the whole family would have been massacred and these MFs would have speculated this as a house breaking story. After one of the intruders were killed by the Police and the rest arrested and they happen to be Forces personnel sent by Gota on the errand, are swept under the carpet as all murders committed by the Rajapaksa family.

              • 2
                0

                Gamini:
                You have hit the nail on the head by stating the facts of that case. However, it is a total waste of time to explain this sort of thing to Abhaya the Pobbaya with s..t for brains.

                • 1
                  0

                  Palayang yako!

                  It seems Abhaya’s life long ambition to win the Jackass of the century competition.

                  He forgets there are other candidates also jockeying for the same position.

                  I wish him well.

              • 0
                4

                A stupid bugger opened his gon theory that no voter would buy. Living in a basement, gaminiya doesn’t know that get close but not murdered is a sure way to the first world passport.

                • 3
                  0

                  Mechanic bass, why display your ignorance to this forum? Why? did you believe others are also fools like yourself? Typical Amuda mindset Buggers. Fits in well as advisors to MR.

  • 0
    0

    The next project may well be a statue of the Supreme Leader in a prominent location.
    It will be proposed by a top sycophant and none will dare oppose.
    Wait for it.

  • 0
    0

    The path to progress and prosperity is not easy and for a while sometimes – authoritarian policies may be necessary . But the fruits are sweet eg SINGAPORE.

    • 0
      0

      “|”But the fruits are sweet eg SINGAPORE”|”
      _____________

      The bestiality virus is corrupting the system- <%)50 iQ of 90%.

      Singapore was upon coral by professionals for professionals with Chinese vision backed by Ceylonese.

      Stop reinventing the wheel.

  • 0
    2

    This not a festive season. It is simply commercialization of religion.

    then the next phase is disappearance of that religion.

    It just become spending money and partying.

  • 0
    2

    See the photo shows a Santa by side of a monk.

    Santa is about DAANA or giving or generosity and not about business or selling what ever garbage you can.

    • 0
      0

      “|”Santa is about DAANA or giving or generosity”|”
      ________

      Uduran Kanan Uruu Masa Danna,

      Jimboge Panna Natuwata Banna

      Three Kings Day or Epiphany is on the 5th January and that is the completion-

      Family- Christmas , end nougat, wafers and candies and finish the meal with the

      traditional cake of kings .

      No Tatte Motte in that.

  • 0
    0

    Remember the best lit up sky ever over Colombo in 2008?.

    It was the mother of all fire works for full one hour, when the late Mr Prabakaran sent his Air force to check on the Colombo Elite and the Vellalas..

    The show was great from the 8th Floor of the old Intercon, which apparently was bought by the Defence Sec for next to nothing and now runs it under a different name…

    That is what my learned Diaspora mates tell me.

    Wonder whether it would be in Wikileaks !!!

  • 0
    0

    “|”That is what my learned Diaspora mates tell me. “|”

    No definitely not Alu Porota’s Iranian/Parse Guuu Dynasty after Equinox.

    The Maratha Empire is R Vellala, and it might tickle your balls.

    NaMo is the Way not God Buddha.

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