Welcome Remarks by the Director General of INSSSL at the Lt Gen D L Kobbekaduwa Annual Memorial Lecture
Director General of INSSSL, Mr. Asanga Abeyagoonasekera delivered the welcome remarks at the Lt Gen D L Kobbekaduwa Annual Memorial Lecture that was held on 8th December 2017 at the Suhurupaya Auditorium in Battaramulla. The Lecture titled " The Life and Times of Lt. Gen Denzil Kobbekaduwa in the Contemporary Context" was delivered by General G H de Silva (Rtd) RWP VSV USP, former Commander of the Sri Lanka Army.
"Chairman of INSS and Secretary of Defence, Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne P.C, State Secretary of Defence, Mr. Sunil Samaraweera, Mrs. Kobekadduwa and Family, General Gerry De Silva, Commander of the Army, Retired Senior Military Officers, distinguished military officers, families and friends of all our fallen heroes, ladies and gentlemen…
On behalf of the national security think tank the Institute of National Security Studies Sri Lanka, it gives me great pleasure to welcome our Chairman Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne, our guest lecturer Gen. Gerry de Silva, family members of late Gen. Kobbekaduwa, Excellencies and members of diplomatic missions, distinguished military officers, research officers, members of the media and all distinguished guests to this event upon us today. It is a deep honour for the institute to have such an august audience.
Let me first thank the guest lecturer Gen. Gerry de Silva, for accepting our invitation and for his time, to remember and reflect upon late Gen. Kobbekaduwa, the great warrior who was inspirational to the entire defence force of our nation.
When I look at the audience today it is a clear sign that INSS has taken the right decision in honouring Gen Kobbekaduwa through this annual memorial lecture series, to invoke the memory of a great military strategist and discuss an important strategic topic for our nation. I thank our Chairman and all others for their fullest support to the newly established security think tank by His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.
It has been 25 years since the loss of Gen Kobbekaduwa, Brig.Vije Vimalarathna, along with other brave military officers. We have lost many valiant warriors in our history and as a proud nation with rich values; we should remember these patriots who gave their last full measure of devotion for this country that they loved. The values that drive men like Gen. Kobbekaduwa and many other brave men and women in uniform are Honor, selflessness and Courage.
Any nation that does not honour and remember its war heroes who sacrificed their lives falls short of fulfilling its duty as a nation-state.
Why we are all gathered here today is to honour and remember a human being who sacrificed his life for our motherland. As the national security think tank it is fitting that we can bring together both the military and civilians to honour this valient military strategist.
I remember the fateful day of Gen Kobbekaduwa’s death, our family was in Kalawewa for my father’s birthday and we had to rush back home because due to the untimely demise of his close friend and our neighbor late Brig. Vije Vimalarathna. The next time I heard about Gen Kobbekaduwa was through Dr. Kolvin Samarasinghe, the neurosurgeon who put an X ray in front of my face to show the damage caused to my own father who was a victim of the LTTE. I remember him saying," the nature of your father's injury is similar to many, including Gen.Kobbekaduwa – I think you are old enough to understand." Thus, the pain of one individual is the same pain felt by all who have lost loved ones in our almost 30 year war. This tragically interconnects us all.
Our nation has suffered immensely, I am certain most in this audience are direct victims. Yet, today Sri Lanka stands as a proud nation, having defeated one of the most ruthless terrorist organizations in the world. We as a nation have not cowered away from this but rather most have celebrated our victory of eradicating the LTTE. Going forth, this nation will be built by the youth and therefore, it is left to us - the living - to advance the mission of the sacrificed war heroes, to fulfill that which they cannot. As the great poet Aeschylus reminds us: With pain and suffering we will discover wisdom. To this I will add, what we need today is love, wisdom and compassion towards one another and a feeling of justice for all. Gen. Kobbekaduwa waged war to achieve peace and believed in creating a harmonious society. This was evidenced by the way he led his life, a peace loving General respected by all.
INSS the national security think tank, with the leadership of the Secretary of Defence and advice from military and civilian scholars has achieved several important milestones. Today is another important day; the first civilian military security think tank will launch its annual lecture series, honoring a great military strategist loved by the entire nation. I am certain that in years to come they might not remember what we said here but will remember the great deed we launched today.
While reading Brig. Mudannayake’s appreciation to Gen. Kobbekaduwa, the words of Shakespeare came to my mind: “A breathing valiant man Of an invincible unconquered spirit”(HenryVI) , I thank you!"