Douglas Wickramaratne answered the final call from above to leave this world on 1 December 2021. He was born on 9 April 1938 in Colombo and lived in North London. Educated at Ananda College, Colombo, he was the leader of the debating team for both Sinhala and English until Dr Buddhadasa Bodhinayake succeeded him. He was an interminable patriot.He always argued with the international community to safeguard the reputation of Sri Lanka. His funeral took place on 14 December at West Chapel of Golders Green Crematorium in London.
After leaving Ananda College, he worked at the Bank of Ceylon and later at the National Savings Bank. Douglas arrived in London in 1970 to pursue further studies. After completing his studies in London, from1983 onwards, he joined the Lloyd’s Bank of London.
He had an enormous love for his motherland. He bravely fought single-handedly to counter the international disinformation campaign when the LTTE and other Media-manufactured false information on Sri Lanka. He became the voice of the voiceless Sinhala folk overseas to combat the LTTE propaganda in the hour of its greatest need.
Courageous Douglas Wickramaratne impressed the Sinhala folk for his stand-alone to combat the false propaganda against the LTTE.He received unlimited support from Sinhala folk in many parts of the world on national unity, territorial integrity, and an undivided Sri Lanka.
Activities in London
Douglas Wickramaratne confronted the LTTE advocates fearlessly during the separatist war, which lasted for 30 years. The LTTE managed to brainwash the entire world with false propaganda by manufacturing pseudo-history and fabricated news that prejudiced the international community. There were hardly any competent speakers at the Sri Lanka High Commission in London during the epoch to confront the LTTE backers on T.V. or Radio.The Sri Lanka Government initially employed Douglas Wickramaratne as the only Sri Lankan spokesman to shield the vacuum at the High Commission. No diplomatic officer had the nerve or the courage to face the strident LTTE enthusiasts of the West.
Douglas spent all his London life dedicated to his motherland and formed the Sinhala Association in London.Being the President of the Sinhala Association, he ensured that Sinhala expatriates could maintain close cultural links with the homeland. With this in view, theSinhala Association introduced the first-ever cultural show in London during the Sinhala New Year festivity. The Association volunteered by bringing prominent musicians from Sri Lanka to London; also, Sinhala film shows annually to bring about Sri Lankan nostalgia to expatriates in London.In addition, The Sinhala Association funded and dispatched provisions to the Department of Health in Sri Lanka to help the flood victims and financed the repairs of old water tanks in Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan patriotic citizens were behind Douglas when he took single-handedly 1983 in fighting the false propaganda campaign of the country’s detractors, LTTE. During his life in London, he spent his time countering the false propaganda manufactured by the LTTE for almost four decades. He contributed his uppermost leadership to his self-styled course by exhibiting his readiness to evade danger. Consequently, an Overseas Sri Lankan’s Organisation for National Unity (OSLOUNU) was formed in Australia, under the leadership of Professor C.G.Weeramamantry, as its first President in Melbourne, with Dr Ranjith Hettiarachchi and H.L.D. Mahindapala as joint secretaries.
Later OSLOUNU expanded immensely to become the most reputable and significant organisation to counter false propaganda on Sri Lanka the world over. OSLOUNU hailed Douglas Wickramaratne as a hero who had personal and moral courage of absolute commitment to national unity, territorial integrity, and an undivided Sri Lanka. The Sinhala Association invited Ven. Madihe Pannasiha Nayaka Thera, Elle Gunawansa Thera, Professor (Dr.) Nalin de Silva, among others to address gatherings in London on national unity, territorial integrity, and an undivided Sri Lanka. He was a genuine Buddhist closely associated with the London Buddhist Vihara.
Douglas Wickramaratne was the brains behind the formation of the World Federation of Sinhala. He coordinated with dedicated members of other Associations in the USA, Canada, Australia, and France to bring the World Federation of Sinhala to culmination. The World Federation of Sinhala held the second Conference in 1985 at the Hilton Hotel in London, with the late Minister Lalith Athulath Mudali and the late Anura Bandaranaike, and representatives of various other countries.
Douglas Wickramaratne spent his funds on air tickets to travel to various destinations such as Paris, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, the United States and Canada (Toronto) to attend LTTE forums. He confronted the persuasive and forceful speakers of the LTTE bravely because he had the nerve and had facts in his head. His brain was akin to a computer ‘hard-disc’ about ‘Ceylon’s ancient history.
Naturally, his debating skills at Ananda College, Colombo, helped him in London to confront numerous fanatics of the LTTE. The LTTE was a ruthless terrorist organisation recognised by the F.B.I and proscribed by several countries across the globe because of employing the under-aged children as combatants and sending them as cannon fodder. The LTTE fought a guerrilla war claiming to fight for an independent homeland for Tamils in the East and North.
Numerous interviews of Douglas Wickramaratne held on B.B.C, and Channel 4, Aljazeera, CNN and Sky News are on YouTube from 15 July 2008, which are self-explanatory.
Tissa Madawela’s video productions of Douglas Wickramaratne’s interviews on B.B.C, Channel 4 with critical and ferocious thrusts of Douglas Wickramaratne in confronting the LTTE backers in London remain indisputable evidence of Douglas’s persuasive eloquence that needs to be recognised by the Sri Lanka Government.
In one of the T.V. interviews, a professional doctor, an LTTE supporter, came out saying there was continuous genocide from 1983! Immediately, Douglas Wickramaratne cut in during the conversation to educate the LTTE supporter to what extent the LTTE fabricated Ceylon’s history.
In another Channel 4 interview with Peter Snow and the editor of Channel 4 news, Douglas emphasised how Channel 4 avoided the word Tamil. Had they used the term Tamil in the documentary, the world would have realised the whole BBC documentary was partisan and purposely against Sri Lanka.
He continually stressed the Inspector General of Police in Sri Lanka, Rudra Rajasingham was a Tamil with his five Deputies under the I.G.P. who were also Tamils; Ambassadors in London, Germany, France, China, and Indonesia were all Tamils. Hence, Douglas Wickramaratne wanted to know what they meant by discrimination from the LTTE cohorts! He also pointed out that the Sri Lanka Government appointed many high-ranking officials to the Administration Service. He also mentioned the estate workers leader, the late Savumiamoorthy Thondaman, a Member of Parliament and a Sri Lankan politician, who represented the Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka from the Nuwara Eliya District. He advocated for the Indian Tamils, tea estate workers who were of Indian origin.
He continued there were two kinds of Tamils in Sri Lanka. One group was called Jaffna Tamils, and the second group was Indian Tamils, who were brought by the British for tea plantation work. Although they speak the same language and share the same culture, there is no intermingling between the two groups because the Tamils in Jaffna treat the group in the East of Sri Lanka as low-caste Indians, including the Leader Prabhakaran, who killed 60,000 Tamils civilians.
Douglas Wickramaratne’s debates on T.V. were factual and came out fluently in English from his memory without a scrap of paper. His faculty of the brain by which data or information about Ceylon’s history was encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed was full of Ceylon’s historical facts to counter the LTTE cohorts. He was always on the ball with precise details, such as the carnage caused by the LTTE attacks on unarmed civilians, and even novice monks at Arantalawa. He always came out with specific answers to detractors’ questions.
Senaka Weeratana at OSLOUNU states how Douglas Wickramaratne ‘deserves a National Salute’ for having the courage and determination to face the LTTE supporters in London. He wishes the Government would find the strength to appreciate all his arduous work to show some gratitude publicly to this national hero. However, it is such a shame that neither a single Media nor the Government paid any tribute to this perpetual Patriot, who fought a battle single-handed during the LTTE separatist war!
National T.V. can announce birthday greetings and deaths of all cherished personnel daily at 6 pm. Still, it is an obnoxious characteristic of all concerned to disregard what this patriot did for his motherland within 12 years, after the separatist war, when Sri Lankan forces completely crushed the LTTE in 2009.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana!
picture :credit Tissa Madawela, London