05 January 2015

Maithripala's 'Acceptance of Defeat' Speech (Draft)

Victory speeches are long.  Statements from the defeated camp are also long.  They usually consist of a lot of homilies, chest-beating and finger-pointing.  It’s quite alright and even necessary to thank those who helped.  A bit of chest-beating is allowed; so too the articulation of reasons for defeat.  Troop morale has to be maintained, after all.  But there are things that don’t get scripted into such speeches.  In the event Maithripala Sirisena loses, perhaps he could use some of this.  

When one decides to fight and when many people join the fight it is not unusual to expect victory.  Many wanted change and many believed that we would prevail.  But victory is never obtained cheap.  Struggles are seldom rewarded with the desired outcome at the times we want it.  We fought.  We believed.  We are disappointed.

Politics is a long process.  Those who know this also understand that it doesn’t begin when elections are announced and does not end when results are announced.  Disappointment marks the long journey towards our cherished objectives.   This is such a moment.  It is right now, more than ever, that we need draw strength from the values which made us launch this struggle and which sustained us during disappointing days.  I declare, here and now, that I will not give up.  I will continue to struggle to the best of my ability.

I accept this defeat with grace.  I congratulate the winner, Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa.  I am hopeful that he retains the political maturity to acknowledge that there were valid reasons for our parting of ways.  I am hopeful that he will see the errors which he failed to correct.  I am hopeful that in the coming years he will see the logic of the proposals we asked the people to vote for.  He has won yet another opportunity to alter the course of our history, to institute much needed and democratizing political reform.  If he does not undertake such a task, with all humility, he will find me to be a formidable foe.  If, on the other hand, he decides to launch a process to reform our institutions, amend or even re-write our constitution to make citizenship more meaningful, he will find in me an able ally. 

I wish him all the very best. 

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