Is the Catholic Church spearheading war crimes inquiry against Sri Lanka?

Mannar bishop - UNHRC

An article titled ‘Church’s Perseverance in Sri Lanka pays off’ written by Anto Akkara claims that the UN has decided to investigate possible war crimes because of a request made by the Sri Lankan Catholic Church. The writer perhaps is unaware of the ties between the LTTE and the Church over the years. Now that LTTE and 16 LTTE fronts have been officially banned it would be a good time to investigate these ties over the years. More so now that the ban imposed by the Sri Lankan Government include the Global Tamil Forum headed by a Catholic Father (Fr. Emmanuel) and the Church has done nothing against his nefarious activities.

The article itself is filled with numerous errors. First is the need to correct that the UN never officially placed civilian deaths at 40,000 and the statement by Gordon Weiss former UN spokesman upon retiring from the UN was disassociated by the UN itself

In so far as rule of law is concerned, for advocates that demand the Governments apply rule of law and due procedure without bias why would they in turn wish to demand the release of 2 Catholic human rights activists who had been arrested without ascertaining what they had done wrong? Is it not a slap on justice to demand their release simply because one wore robes and belonged to the Catholic Church while the other carried a label called ‘human rights’?

Is this why the nod of silence has prevailed throughout centuries of pedophilia taking place inside the Church environs and traumatized children are now coming forward with their tales of woe? Returning to the 2 arrests why should Ruki Fernando or Father Praveen be released ? Is it because Ruki is supposedly a ‘prominent journalist’ or because Praveen is a Catholic Father? That does not look too good for law enforcement to be told that journalists, lawyers and Catholic clergy cannot be arrested! Not a single entity asked what they had even committed except to go on an international tirade asking their release!

The article makes reference to Bishop Rayyappu Joseph and Bishop Saundaranayagam. The article claims that ‘‘There has been always [adverse] reactions when we speak about unpleasant things’ – what if these reactions were as a result of Rayappu Joseph opening the ‘Embassy of Tamil Eelam’ in London, or because he allowed LTTE to operate an office inside Madhu Church and the office was officially opened by him upon invitation by the LTTE? Would the US watch Catholic Bishops open Al Qaeda House or allow Al Qaeda to operate from any of its Churches?

What if these adverse reactions were due to Rayappu Joseph sending a letter signed by 30 Catholic priests in 2012 to the Asian Centre for the Progress of People requesting a war crimes inquiry against the Sri Lankan armed forces? Rajayppu Joseph went on to send another letter on 4 March 2012 signed by 31 Catholic priests to Navi Pillai going so far as to object to singing the national anthem in Sinhalese – Would the US, EU and UK allow Bishops to create mischief by spurring people not to sing God Save the Queen? how many countries would tolerate such?

On 18 February 2013 Rayappu Joseph joined 132 Catholic priests to write to the UNHRC appealing to bring a resolution against Sri Lanka referring to themselves as ‘concerned Christians’ and going on to acknowledge the ‘self-determination of the Tamil people’ – what has these initiatives got to do with spreading the word of Christ?

Anto Akkara quotes Rayappu Joseph alleging ‘structural genocide’ and ‘appropriation of lands and government-aided colonization schemes’ – Did Akkara and others not bother to count how many Tamils live in their so called Tamil majority areas and also count how many Tamils actually live in non-Tamil majority areas to discover that the Tamils in non-Tamil majority areas are more and next ask themselves whether the Sinhalese have objected to Tamils purchasing property. running businesses and living amongst the Sinhalese? Would this not provide the answer to a lot of lies floating around?

In January this year Rayappu Joseph and Rev. Thomas Saundaranayagam accused Sri Lanka of using cluster bombs when US envoy Stephen Rapp arrived. Why would they wait 5 years to make this revelation unless it was timed for Geneva to tarnish the Sri Lankan state. On 3rd March 2014 Rayappu Joseph joined 204 Christian priests to again write to UNHRC calling for an international investigation. Not stopping there he joined 34 signatories which included Desmond Tutu, Chief Minister Wigneswaran, TNA leader Sambanthan and supposed unbiased UN Secretary General Panel of Expert Yasmin Sooka to request a Commission of Inquiry on Sri Lanka.

What the common masses expected of Malcolm Ranjith the head of the Catholic Church to do was to either chide Rayappu Joseph or to collect 205 signatories of Christian priests to negate the lies of Rajyappu Joseph. Yet, Malcolm Ranjith did not go that extra mile and his statements compared over the years shows visible duplicity and ulterior motive.

What is interesting is that when Rayappu Joseph says ‘we are facing many difficulties here from fundamentalist groups from the South’ where Sinhala-speaking Buddhists are dominant does that not nullify all that he should stand for as a priest and how a Bishop should look after his flock?

What many are curious about is why it is always the Christian/Catholic clergy coming forward to speak on behalf of the Tamils? Why has the Christian/Catholic clergy been the conduit between the world and the LTTE? In this scenario we cannot overrule the fact that the Church is not simply another religious entity. The Roman Catholic Church represented by the Vatican is a sovereign state with Observer Status in the UN and the clergy are all agents or envoys of the Vatican taking orders from the Church and not the country’s they are born in.

Anto Akkara may like to project that the Church’s perseverance attributed to the Resolution being passed against Sri Lanka but it would also be good to balance this perseverance with some heavy facts that does not go in favor of the role played by the Church.

The orphanages LTTE picked its child ‘soldiers’ from were run by the Catholic clergy, the suicide cadres were Christians or Hindus by name only, most had even become ‘born again’s.’ Dhanu the suicide bomber who killed Rajiv Gandhi was a Catholic. The peace facilitating nations were all Christian evangelical nations who had their NGOs working closely with LTTE. LTTE theoretician was a Christian, Adele Balasingham the nurse who trained children to kill and take their own lives was also a Christian, many of LTTE’s top leaders were all Christian or namesake Hindus. The most influential evidence is the manner that dead LTTErs were all buried and not cremated as Hindus and Buddhists do. The orphanages were run by Christian priests, Christian priests have been arrested in the past for possessing arms and transporting arms for the LTTE, Christian priests have led pro-LTTE protests and placing these against letters calling for war crimes against Sri Lanka doesn’t really give the priests the look of impartial actors.

The ‘mission’ of these entities is very much a question unanswered and considering the rise in converted Hindus and Buddhists we begin to wonder if the numerical count of the Christian/Catholic population is being purposely kept at a low rate to hide the alarm that is likely to prevail. Let us not forget that from 90% Buddhist population South Korea’s Buddhist now number just 23% over 65 years. It is a good time for the Buddha Sasana Ministry and Buddhist themselves to seriously count the exact numbers of converts.

If the Church is part of the world regime change destabilizing operation connected to Western governments and their secret intelligence agencies and mafia it only spells the reenactment of modern colonial rule best known as neocolonialism. All that the colonial West needed to do was to board ships and invade nations and take over their administration and economy while converting natives to Catholicism/Christianity took place by force.

Today, the vessel is the UN, the tools are Human Rights and champions are local sepoys ever ready to betray their own people for money, personal pleasures and remunerations. When the US awards $1.7billion to Christian organizations and 7 out of 10 contributing nations to NGOs are Roman Catholic while 70% of UN’s religious NGOs were Christian, this equates to mean the Christian/Catholic influence, their way of thinking and their pattern of governance prevails in the administration and decision making in the halls of the UN itself thereby questioning the extent of transparency and accountability. Universal jurisprudence cannot be Christian/Catholic & Western centric totally ignoring the rich civilizational cultures, historical legal systems and value of the East.

Anto Akkara has also omitted to mention about Father Emmanuel the head of the Global Tamil Forum, now banned as a foreign terrorist organization under UNSC Resolution makes him aiding and abetting terrorism. When he compared Prabakaran the leader of the LTTE as ‘Jesus Christ’, the LTTE as ‘soldiers of Christ’, the LTTE suicide bombers as ‘martyrs of the Catholic Church’ and himself as ‘Moses’ not a hum came from the Catholic Church.

We would not be exaggerating in saying that the Church has been the catalyst to divide the Hindus and Buddhists over the years continuing what the colonial Christian West first started through their divide and rule policy.

Anto Akkara should have also balanced the article by placing some key questions before readers –

  •  Why would the Jaffna District Catholic Youth Committee under the Bishop House in Jaffna carry out anti-national activities and attempt to subvert the youth?
  • Why would the Catholic clergy train youth to enact cultural events to build resentment against the Sri Lankan Government (3 dramas held on 16 Dec 2012 by children from Jaffna Central College, Hindu College and Vembadi Girls College enacted that Eelam cause was not over / a drama staged on 27 Jul 2013 depicted 13th amendment – the clergy involved were M V E Ravichandran (In Charge), Justin Gnanaprakasham (Committee Coordinator), Anton Jeyamsnadan (Pullopalai East Church)
  • Why would Catholic clery from Vavuniya, Mannar, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Jaffna join TNA and TNPF politicians on 27 Aug 2013 to conduct anti-Government protests in front of the UN office during Navi Pillai’s visit
  • Why would the St. Sebastians Church in Mallavi, Wanni run LTTE’s Voice of Tiger radio station with Radio Veritas run by the Asian Catholic Bishops Conference?

Similarly there are many other instances of the Catholic clergy taking a lead role and steering anti-national drives and no denouncements or actions against these priests have taken place by the head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka except to issue half-hearted statements.

It is for the ordinary Catholics to decide on the manner the Church and some of its clergy have been functioning in Sri Lanka by placing the facts in perspective. These actions do not warrant the Church to be portraying itself as victim in the light of the covert actions it has been involved in moreso when no action has been taken against the handful of clergy who are openly advocating separatism and aligning with terror outfits we can only deduce our own inferences and question the exact objective of the Church.

The head of the Catholic Church should play a responsible role given that the Church is not an indigenous institute in Sri Lanka on the grounds that orders are taken from the Vatican and the Vatican itself is a sovereign state. Therefore, as a sovereign state the Vatican functions no different to the manner the EU has been continuously hounding Sri Lanka as seen in the voting patterns at UNHRC.

In the context of Anto Ankarra’s article that seeks to establish the notion that the perseverance of the Catholic Church has paid off it would be good for the Catholics and Christians to ask whether they too advocate a war crimes tribunal and welcome the scenario that led to other countries falling prey to regime change and country take over initiatives using the UNHRC as a shield.

Shenali D Waduge