The celebrations the public sees on Independence Day attempt to project the idea of national unity. Yet this is misleading. The divisions we continue to see in Sri Lanka are often caused by the same forces that host and actively participate in these celebrations. Members of the public cannot grasp the flag; cannot achieve the unity that is celebrated every year on February 4, as much as they might like to. They are forced to be uneasy spectators instead. As a result, these celebrations unintentionally highlight the many divisions that continue to beset this country. The multi-cultural, pluralistic nature of Sri Lanka is shadowed by these divisions. As long as this remains the status quo, these issues will persist beyond February 4.

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