05 January 2015

Maithripala's Victory 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 wins, perhaps he could use some of this.  These, I believe, are good things to say (better of course to believe what's said and better still to make it real).

My name is Maithripala.  Our campaign theme was ‘maithri’ or compassion.  It would be the gravest injustice our people have to suffer if whatever happens from today is somehow lacking in compassion. 

The time for anger is over.  The time of revenge-intent is done.  If there’s anything to learn from the years that have passed it is that all of us, including the most loved leaders, are prone to make mistakes.  We are not perfect.  We all have flaws.  This is why we should focus less on individuals than on institutions and rules.  If we get the correct institutional arrangement and have the right regulations there is less chance of people doing wrong or making mistakes.  Even if there is wrongdoing the system would then ensure that corrective action is swiftly taken.  I will therefore devote all my strength to getting the rules and structures right.

In this moment of victory I have to say something about my predecessor.  There has been no other leader who has earned the love of our people as Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa has.  I still remember that historic day when he stepped out of a plane, kneel down and kiss the earth of our Motherland.  I felt with all my heart that we are indeed blessed to have a leader such as Mahinda Rajapaksa. 

He was a hero and he will always remain one.  His name will never be erased from the history books.  He has done the best could and he has every right to enjoy a much deserved retirement from the rough and tumble of politics.   He was my leader and friend.  I am confident that he will support me in my efforts to change things so that the victory he earned for all of us can become even more meaningful. 

There’s a time to fight. There’s a time to debate.  There’s a time to cheer.  There is time to work hard.  That time is now. 

There are extremely capable and good-hearted people in my time. There are similar individuals who fought on the other side.  This country belongs to all of them and its future rests on all of them working together.  I extend a warm hand of friendship to all those who opposed me.  Take it.  Let’s move forward. Together.

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