The Interminable Patriot is no more! – by Dr. Tilak S. Fernando
Douglas Wickramaratne answered the final call from this world on 1 December 2021. He was born on 9 April 1938 in Colombo. He lived in North London and 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 the West Chappal of Golders Green, Crematorium, London NW11. He was educated at Ananda College, Colombo and was the leader of the debating team for both Sinhala and English, until Dr Buddhadasa Bodhinayake succeeded him.
After leaving Ananda, he worked at the Bank of Ceylon as a manager and subsequently with the National Savings Bank in Sri Lanka. Douglas arrived in London in 1970 to pursue further studies. Upon completing his studies in London, he joined the Lloyd’s Bank of London as a Manager, from 1983 onwards .
He became the voice of the voiceless Sinhala folk overseas to combat the LTTE propaganda in the hour of its greatest need. He had an enormous gratitude for his motherland. Patriotic Sinhala folk stood by him when he bravely fought by himself on the disinformation campaign launched from London by the country’s denigrators.
Courageous Douglas Wickramaratne touched the Sinhala folk for the stand he took alone to combat the false propaganda against the LTTE. He received limitless 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 terrorist guerrilla ( LTTE) war, which lasted for thirty years with the Sri Lankan forces when the entire world was brainwashed, by false propaganda by the LTTE who manufactured the 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 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 in the West.
Douglas spent all his London life dedicated to his motherland by forming the Sinhala Association in London. Being the President of the Sinhala Association, he ensured that Sinhala expatriates could maintain close cultural links with their homeland. With this in view the Sinhala 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 a Sri Lankan nostalgia to expatriates in London. In addition, The Sinhala Association funded and dispatched provisions to help the flood victims to the Department of Health in Sri Lanka and financed to carry out repairs to old water tanks in the hinterland in Sri Lanka.
During his life in London, for almost four decades, he undoubtedly spent most of his time countering the false propaganda manufactured by the LTTE. Sri Lankan patriotic citizens were behind Douglas when he took single-handedly 1983 in fighting the false propaganda campaign on the country’s detractors (LTTE). 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, Australia, 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, apart from combatting the false propaganda of the LTTE, invited Ven. Madihe Pannasiha Nayaka Thera, Elle Gunawansa Thera, Professor (Dr.) Nalin de Silva, and, 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 U.S.A., Canada, Australia, and France to bring the World Federation of Sinhala to culmination. The World Federation of Sinhala held second Conference in 1985 at the Hilton Hotel in London, with the participation of the late Minister Lalith Athulath Mudali, the late Anura Bandaranaike and representative of various other countries who assisted Sri Lanka on the LTTE claim.
Douglas Wickramaratne spent his personal 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 the Sri Lankan 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. 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 have an independent homeland for Tamils in the east and north.
Numerous interviews Douglas Wickramaratne had on B.B.C., and Channel 4, Aljazeera, CNN and Sky News are on YouTube from 15 July 2008, which are self-explanatory. ( Please refer to the links at the foot of the article).
Tissa Madawela’s video productions of Douglas Wickamatunge’s interviews on B.B.C., Channel 4 with severe, ferocious thrusts of Douglas Wickramaratne when he confronted 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, who was a LTTE supporter, came out saying there was continuous genocide from 1983! Immediately, Douglas Wickramaratne cut in during the conversation to educate LTTE him and supporters to what extent the LTTE fabricated the ancient Ceylon history and twisted and had rewritten.
In another Channel 4 interview with Peter Snow and the editor of Channel 4 news, Douglas Wickramaratne emphasised how the T.V. documentary avoided the word ‘Tamil.’ Had they used such a term in the documentary, the world would have realised the whole documentary was partisan and purposely against Sri Lanka.
He stressed that the Inspector General of Police was 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 from the LTTE cohorts of what they meant by discrimination! He also stressed that Sri Lanka Government appointed so many high-ranking officials to the Administration service including the leader of the estate workers, the late Savumiamoorthy Thondaman, Member of Parliament and a Sri Lankan politician who represented the Indian Tamils of Sri Lanka from the Nuwara Eliya District until his demise. Savumiamoorthy Thondaman was an advocate for the Indian Tamils who represented Indian origin, tea estate workers.
Douglas 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 was 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 Wickremaratne’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 was encoded, stored, and retrieved when needed with full of ‘Ceylon’s’ historical facts to counter LTTE cohorts. He always came out with specific answers to detractors’ questions and was always on the ball every time with precise details such as the carnage caused by LTTE attacks on unarmed civilians and even novice monks at Arantalawa.
Senaka Weeratana at OSLOUNU stated how Douglas Wickramaratne ‘deserves a National Salute’ for having the courage and determination to face the LTTE supporters in London. He wished ‘the Sri Lanka Government would find the strength to appreciate all Douglas’s 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 of Sri Lanka paid any tribute to this Interminable Patriot, at the hour of his demise, who fought a battle single handed during the LTTE guerrilla war!
National TV can announce birthday greetings and deaths of all cherished personnel daily at 6 pm, but it is a contemptible characteristic of all concerned to forget what this patriot did for his motherland, within a matter of twelve years to have forgotten what this patriot achieved for his motherland after the Sri Lankan forces crushed the LTTE completely.
May he attain the supreme bliss of Nirvana.
His interviews are on: