– by: Nicholas Dias Abeyesinghe, Cer.Ed.,DRTE.,MIMI. –
I am writing in response to the Report of your recently held Bishops’ Conference as reported by the media. The Report appeals to His Excellency President Mahinda Rajapksa:
- Not to repeal the 13th amendment to the Constitution of the Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka
- Not to dissolve the Provincial Council System whereby political power is devolved to the Provinces
- Not to remove police and land power granted to the PCs by the Provincial Council Act.
I am a Sinhala Roman Catholic and a patriot. I am very disappointed and dismayed by the stand adopted by the Bishops’ Conference. Perhaps it was in response and opposition to the growing agitation and position taken by certain patriotic political parties of all communities, patriotic political associations/civil societies and individual patriotic public figures of all communities, in Sri Lanka.
This position of the RC hierarchy reinforces the view of the Sinhala Buddhist majority that the RC hierarchy is unpatriotic and has allegiance to the Vatican principally. Worse still, the Sinhala Buddhist majority believes the RC hierarchy is biased in favour of the Tamil nationalists, whose ultimate aim is Tamil autonomy, to establish their ‘eelam’ in our small island. For the eelamists, devolution through 13th amendment is just a means to an end, which is total autonomy in a merged North and East. That is, eelam through political means, this time round, now that terrorist military insurrection by the LTTE ended in utter failure after 30 years of misery, death, destruction and needless suffering mostly by the ordinary Tamils in N and E. I regret to say that the stand the Bishops’ Conference has taken is to pave the way for Tamil autonomy in a merged N & E.
In the North, most Tamils do not consider themselves ‘eelamists’ but Sri Lankans who just want to get on with their lives and live in peace in One Sri Lanka. It is the Tamil nationalists, a rabid minority among them, who agitate for eelam, with diaspora money to support their campaign in SL and in the West. Most Tamils live safely in the South among the Sinhala majority, in harmony. The rich businessmen may support eelamists financially but are not too bothered to agitate for eelam.
The LTTE is a terrorist organisation, which tried to establish eelam through militant insurrection. They conscripted low caste Tamils and their children from N and E as child soldiers and suicide cadres. For 30 years, N and E lay undeveloped, agricultural land mined by the LTTE, their economy stagnant. They suffered death and destruction needlessly. LTTE cadres were made to wear a cyanide glass capsule around their neck they have to bite and commit suicide if captured, a war crime by the LTTE leadership. Adele Balasingham, hiding in the UK or in Australia, has yet to be extradited by SL and charged with war crimes for her role in the LTTE as commander of the female child and women’s brigade and enforcing them to wear cyanide capsule around their neck to bite into and commit suicide if captured. The ordinary Tamils in N & E endured heavy LTTE tax; their freedom of expression and travel were curtailed by the LTTE. Their human rights were non-existent. They lived in fear of the LTTE. They lived under the dictatorship of the murderous, evil LTTE leader, VP. TNA was established by the LTTE as their political face to represent them in Parliament. TNA stated LTTE was the ‘sole representative of the SL Tamils’. All other Tamil parties were banned by VP, their leaders assassinated or forced to flee abroad. After the LTTE was totally annihilated by the UPFA government of President Mahinda Rajapksa, TNA was not disbanded but allowed to function. This was rather generous of the GOSL but foolish.
TNA now claimed to be the sole representatives of the Tamils in the N and E. They indoctrinated the Tamils in eelam politics through their media. They intimidated the ordinary Tamils in N and E. Through fear and manipulation, they continued to vote for TNA. They dared not oppose them. They have become robots. They are not truly free.
Nearly 300,000 low caste Tamils held by the LTTE as a ‘human shield’ (a war crime) against the advancing SL army, were liberated in the Humanitarian Operation. It was the biggest ever hostage rescue operation in world history. A few thousands were killed, needless to say, as they fled to the SL army side across the Nanthi Kadal lagoon. Heroic soldiers of the SL army helped to carry weak, sick and elderly Tamil men, women and young children across the lagoon. They fought to protect the fleeing Tamils. Many heroic SL soldiers sacrificed their lives and limbs to save their fellow citizens, the Tamil hostages. The whole nation is grateful to them. The liberated Tamils were initially cared for in refugee camps with food, water and medical treatment. The Sinhalese in the South sent lorry loads of food, cooking utensils, water and clothes for the refugees, collected through the Buddhist temples. There was no rancour or enmity towards the SL Tamils, who were fellow citizens, unfortunate victims in the grip of the LTTE. The fight was with the evil terrorist LTTE. Once the land in the North was de-mined the refugees were re-settled in their own houses, which were renovated or even rebuilt by the SL army. They were given several months’ dry rations, money and equipment to resume their trades. Schools, hospitals and infrastructure were rebuilt on fast-track; new roads, rail-roads and bridges. About 12,000 LTTE cadres and 600 child cadres who surrendered or were captured were rehabilitated, trained in trade skills and employment found for them. Some were even helped to continue their interrupted higher education. They were even provided with bicycles to pedal to school rather than walk. School uniforms and books were all provided. This was the action of a caring GOSL towards its Tamil SL citizens in the aftermath of a brutal militant insurrection by the LTTE. Contrast this with the actions of the armies of the imperial West in their illegal invasions of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya where hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed and their cities destroyed, which they called heartlessly ‘co-lateral damage’. It is the imperial West who commits crimes against humanity, war crimes and human rights abuse, with no sanctions against them by the UN which is but a puppet and a tool of the imperial West, against third world countries that do not comply with the imperial West demands. Millions suffer in refugee camps for years through civil wars in the Arab countries instigated by the wicked imperial West and Israel.
The TNA and diaspora Tamils were devastated when the whole LTTE leadership was annihilated with the hard core cadres who refused to surrender. They cried ‘war crime’ and ‘genocide’. In the rescue operation of more than 300,000 SL Tamils held hostage by the LTTE as a ‘human shield’ some invariably died, mostly due to LTTE bombing and shooting, along with their SL army rescuers. There was no war crime or genocide by the SL army. It is a vile canard invented as disinformation by the TNA and the diaspora Tamils, angered by the loss of their LTTE leadership and hard core cadres. Their aspiration for a Tamil autonomous state had gone up in a puff of smoke.
Provincial Council elections are scheduled to be held in September 2013. TNA will win as other Tamil parties, allied to UPFA, are not tolerated because the ordinary Tamils in the N and E have been indoctrinated to vote for TNA, through the TNA controlled Tamil media. If the police and land powers are not repealed from the Provincial Council Act then TNA will certainly declare autonomy once they have built a large paramilitary police force with logistic support. The SL army camps in the North will be forced to pull-out and their bases occupied by the paramilitary forces of the TNA run PC. We have a precedent in the former Chief Minister of the merged N and E Provincial Council, Varatharaja Perumal. The IPKF held PC election in 1987 was won by EPRLF, backed by India, as there was no TNA then. Within two years, he declared unilateral independence of the Province. When President Premadasa promptly dissolved the PC, Mr V Perumal fled to India.
What then is the likely agenda of the TNA and the diaspora Tamils? Once they have won the PC election in September, the TNA will clamour for the SL army bases in the North and naval ports and air bases to be vacated, under the PC land power. They will build a huge police force and paramilitary force with the latest conventional weapons supplied by the diaspora Tamils through the imperial West. Well trained Tamil commandos will be recruited from Tamil Nadu to join the paramilitary force. An air force will be built equipped with a few fighter planes and bombers from India and the West. Similarly, a navy will be built with a couple of warships, FACs and a submarine or two. Eelam War V will be declared to avenge the total massacre of the LTTE hard core and its leadership. The South will be defeated and GOSL will fall. There will be massacres on a scale to dwarf even Rwanda genocides of the Tutsis. India, UN and imperial West will be silent. The whole of SL will be eelamised. More Tamils will flood from Tamil Nadu to SL to settle throughout the country. The Sinhalese will become a minority then. Buddhist temples will be razed to the ground and the monks killed. Even the Sri Maha Bodhi and Dalada Maligava will be destroyed. This is the likely scenario. Terrorists in India have recently bombed the sacred precincts of Bodh Gaya in Bihar injuring many pilgrims. It was an outrage but neither the UN nor the West condemned it. One does not have to be a prophet to foretell the future by the writing on the wall. Is this what the Bishops’ Conference has paved the way for through its Report and appeal to President Mahinda Rajapaksa?
Bishop R. Joseph of Mannar was soft towards LTTE and its murderous terrorist leader. Even when Madhu Church was desecrated, occupied and the surrounding land mined by the LTTE, Bishop of Mannar did not condemn it. He merely took the venerated statue of O. L. of Madhu into his custody. When the SL army ultimately defeated the LTTE, de-mined the surrounding sacred precincts of Madhu Church and renovated it, the Bishop re-consecrated the church and placed the statue of O.L. of Madhu for veneration by the faithful. No credit was given for this by the Bishop for the good and dedicated work of the SL army. How much influence did Bishop R Joseph had in the Bishops’ Conference deliberations, the decisions taken and the drawing up of their Report?
The RC priest, S. J. Emmanuel, is the chairman of the political body Global Tamil Forum, based in Paris. He is a fanatical Tamil nationalist, an eelamist. He plays a dominant political role along with the diaspora Tamil leaders who formed the Trans National Government of Tamil Eelam. Much of his life was devoted to fighting for Tamil eelam. As a RC priest should he not be attending to the spiritual needs of the Catholic faithful in SL, perhaps as a parish priest? During the middle ages, corrupt RC prelates, such as the notorious Borgias, precipitated the Protestant Reformation. This is because these prelates combined spiritual power with temporal power which led to their corruption and downfall. It was a sad and dark chapter in the history of the RC Church. Do we want a repeat of it, albeit on a small scale in SL, through these Tamil prelates, who dabble in separatist politics and devote more time to it than to the spiritual care of the faithful? If Fr Emmanuel wants to devote more time fighting for eelam through his GTF let him then leave the priesthood. Isn’t this the noble thing to do before God? Surely, Jesus Christ would not approve the actions of Fr Emmanuel! Jesus requested his apostles to renounce all temporal aspirations and material goods to follow Him, to devote themselves to matters spiritual in the life of the Church. Under whose authority is Fr Emmanuel now? Is he under the authority of Bishop of Mannar? I for one am appalled by this behaviour of Fr Emmanuel. I think he should be ordered to quit his commitment to eelam politics and devote himself to his priestly duties in the RC Church in SL. If he is refusing to do so, should he not be excommunicated from the Church?
Jesus Christ is present in the world through His Church. Jesus is the Head while the Church is His Body. Those who follow Christ, are baptised and live according to His teaching, are the Church. This is the Theology of St Paul. The Church in SL should not allow Christ’s Body, the Church, to be desecrated / polluted by the actions of Tamil, racist, eelamist prelates such as Fr Emmanuel, pursuing their mono-ethnic separatist ideology in SL, while neglecting their priestly duties and spiritual vocation. Why is Fr Emmanuel, in the garb of a RC priest, being tolerated by the RC Church?
The RC Church must denounce the moral degradation of the imperial West today, as without remorse it trains, arms and funds groups of fundamentalist Islamic rebels with links to the very Taleban terrorists the West is fighting in Afghanistan and in other theatres of war, to destabilise legitimate governments such as in Syria on the pretext Syria’s ruler is a dictator, but really because Syria is no friend of USA and the West. Saudi royals are worse dictators and so is the king of Bahrain, but they are allies of USA and protected by USA. When they impose their barbaric sharia law there is no outcry from the Western governments. USA and its NATO allies have little remorse to the needless death, suffering and destruction caused to the citizens of Syria and the hundreds of thousands of refugees created in this civil war, instigated by the ruthless West. The Church can no longer remain silent in the face of such evil unleashed by the West. Jesus did not hesitate to condemn the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. So should the hypocrisy of the imperial West be condemned by the Holy Apostolic Church fearlessly, as Christ would protect His Church. Jesus said to St Peter, “I tell you Simon, you are Peter. On this rock I will build my Church and no evil power can ever overcome it” (Mt: 16: 18). During the Crusades, St Francis of Assisi went on a lone mission to meet Saladin (the Sultan of Egypt and Syria who fought the Christian crusaders of the West) to try to win peace and rights of Christians to visit the Holy Land on pilgrimage, unimpeded by the Muslims, who had conquered the territory. Saladin saw in St Francis a holy man, an ascetic, a fakir. He did not harm him and had great respect for him. Saladin won the crusades but let the Christian pilgrims visit the Holy Land and even protected the sacred sites and pilgrims, in deference to St. Francis.
Pope Francis, soon after his consecration, denounced the moral relativism of the West, by which evil is committed on the basis of “end justifies the means” by the imperial West, TNA and diaspora Tamils. Moral law is universal and cannot be bent to suit individual circumstances and aspirations. This is why there is so much injustice and chaos in the world today. God gave us Ten Commandments which cannot be bent. If we observe God’s law properly there will be peace in the world and no moral decadence. Bin Laden was hunted down and executed in cold blood in Pakistan by a US special-forces team on the orders of President Obama. The operation was watched live by him, Mrs H Clinton and the US defence chiefs, through satellite link. BL was unarmed and stood still. Perhaps he prayed to God and asked His mercy and forgiveness. What difference is there between President Obama and a mafia boss ordering his hit squad to execute an enemy and watch it with a gloating smirk? Is it the action of a civilised leader of a civilised nation? BL should have been arrested and stood trial for his alleged crimes in a US court and not eliminated in cold blood. What is the difference between Obama and Rob Mugabe in killing an enemy without trial? What message has he conveyed to US younger generations? Is it that moral relativism is OK? Where UN has failed to haul Bush and Blair before The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity in Iraq and Afghanistan, for torture in Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay prisons, for torture through rendition to countries complicit with USA, perhaps the Pope, as Christ’s Vicar on earth, should raise these moral issues courageously. Christ is his model and so are Saints Peter and Paul. “Gates of hell shall not prevail against my Church” Jesus promised to Peter, the first Pope Jesus appointed.
The imperial West accuses the GOSL of war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights abuse, the very crimes the imperial West is guilty of, thousand-fold. It is their hands that are bloodied and sullied by such crimes. What hypocrisy! The UN is totally useless, a passive observer, a tool of the West, to help imperial West, especially USA, to rule the world and rob countries of their natural resources. UNHRC is used by the West to clobber countries like SL, while pretending to be whiter than white. Human Rights laws were made by the West to clobber the third world countries that do not play ball with them, but such laws do not apply to them. They consider themselves above such laws. This is the utterly ugly face of the West! Pope and the Church must condemned this hypocrisy with moral courage, just as Jesus did. I hope Pope Francis write his first Encyclical on this topic and to condemn Moral Relativism of the world today, with examples and elucidation.
The 13th Amendment was a piece of legislation along with the Provincial Council Act, drafted in India, and forced on the JRJ government in July 1987 by the Rajiv Gandhi government of India, under threat of war and occupation by India. This is absolutely true. History cannot be erased. As such, they are illegal, defunct and have to be declared so by the Supreme Court and validated by a National Referendum. PC system is a ‘white elephant’, which is costing the country dear to run, with little or no benefit to the provinces. Municipal Councils and Urban Councils, on the other hand, render better service and value for money to the people. Several elected members of PCs have been found guilty by the Courts of corruption, misbehaviour, violence and even murder and have been sentenced to long terms in prison.
Rajiv’s mother, Indira Gandhi, trained, funded, armed and released the terrorist LTTE on SL to cause mayhem in SL for 30 years, as confirmed by the Indian Jain Commission Report. Our economy suffered terribly as a result. In my view, India owes SL compensation of perhaps US dollars five trillion or more, to rebuild our economy and country. In insisting on maintaining their 13th amendment imposed on SL along with their obnoxious PC system, India is no friend of SL. This was further proved when India voted against SL twice at the UNHRC, in the resolutions raised by USA and the West to condemn alleged human rights violations by SL and eventually to pass sanctions against SL. India is the No: 1 enemy of SL.
There never was an ‘ethnic problem’ in SL but only a terrorist problem, as President D B Wijetunga rightly affirmed in 1994. There is no so-called ‘national question’ either. This is a term coined by the diaspora Tamils. SL is One Sovereign Nation which is multi ethnic. If Tamil nationalists want their own country for a Tamil nation let them establish it in Tamil Nadu, which has a Tamil population of more than 65 million and a territory several times bigger than SL. Sri Lanka’s Tamil nationalists, the TNA and diaspora Tamils can then migrate to settle in their own Tamil Nadu country/homeland. Good riddance! India will not grant autonomy to Tamil Nadu, hence India is craftily diverting the nationalist aspiration of Tamils for their own ‘country’ for a Tamil nation, to carve out a small territory from SL, in order to prevent Tamil Nadu from seceding from India. India’s talk of respecting the sovereignty of SL is all hog-wash, to dupe Sri Lankan leaders. Would India have tolerated it and consented, if USA were to threaten India with unilateral war if Indian Government did not sanction an amendment in its Constitution by a Bill drawn up by USA, to grant Tamil Nadu virtual autonomy by diluting Central Government power over it, to facilitate its eventual secession?
I hope Your Eminence would consider my views and I appeal to you for the love of God to review your Bishops’ Conference Report and be a patriot, in defence of Mother Lanka, to support the abolition of the India imposed 13th Amendment and their obnoxious PC system. Please stand your ground against the nationalist aspirations of Fr Emmanuel and perhaps Bishop R Joseph. Please support our charismatic President Mahinda Rajapksha’s efforts to build a truly one sovereign multi-ethnic nation in Sri Lanka, in peace and prosperity for all, with no religious, racial and political discriminations and respect for human rights of all.
May God bless you!
With best wishes
Nicholas Dias Abeyesinghe