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The E-Sylum: Volume 12, Number 47, November 22, 2009, Article 24

SRI LANKA ISSUES BANKNOTE TO MARK END OF TAMIL WAR

They say history is written by the victors. So are the commemorative coins and banknotes. -Editor

Sri Lanka on Tuesday released a banknote to mark the end of the country's 37-year separatist war, following the crushing of Tamil Tiger rebels in May, the central bank said.

The first commemorative banknote in the 1,000-rupee (nine dollars) denomination was given to President Mahinda Rajapakse on Tuesday, the bank said in a statement.

"The valiant contribution made by the nation's victorious sons and daughters, of the security forces and the police, is the theme on the reverse of the note," the bank said in a statement.

"The design at the centre depicts the hoisting of the national flag by members of the security forces."

To read the complete article, see: Sri Lanka issues banknote to mark end of war (www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5gSyqb-7OITAcscn_B_7h1NX5TEXQ)

I asked our man in Sri Lanka, Kavan Ratnatunga, about the note. I asked him if the Tamil rebels (known as the LTTE) had issued any scrip notes. He writes:
"There is no known LTTE currency. They used Lankan rupees. I have been told by a reliable intelligence officer that the LTTE forged Lankan currency. I have not found any"


Kavan also forwarded a link to another article which had this picture of the new note. -Editor

Sri Lanka End of War Commemorative Banknote

Kavan wrote up a detailed article and critique of the note. He submitted it to the Sunday Times, but they declined to publish it. It's posted on his web site. Here are some excerpts.

The front of the new currency note has a Black&White picture of the victorious president, His excellency Mahinda Rajapaksa with both his hands raised. It is the first time since 1954, that an image of a living person has been used on Lankan currency notes. Previously only portraits of British King George VI (1941-1951) and Queen Elizabeth II (1952-1954). Late Prime Minister S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike appeared on some currency issues from 1961 to 1975. The new currency note resembles the 1970 issue in which a portrait of the Late S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike with his hand raised was issued. That issue was withdrawn from circulation when it was deemed inappropriate by authorities to have a symbol "the hand" of the ruling SLFP political party prominently on currency issue.

mahinda_flagraising

The center piece is an image of five soldiers raising the national flag. The pose has clearly been plagiarized from the iconic World War II picture of American Marines raising the flag on Iwo Jima in 1945. The faces have slant eyes and the helmets, dress and boots unlike those currently used by SLA. I was unable to trace this photograph, in online image archives. It will be interesting to identify image if it is not just a drawing. The CBSL Press release nor the folder stated the name of the designer, as is customary.

To read Kavan's complete article, see: 2009 - Sri Lanka - 1000 Rupee note The Ushering of Peace and Prosperity (coins.lakdiva.org/commemorative/2009_mahinda_1000r_note.html )

Wayne Homren, Editor

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The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

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