Posted on November 6th, 2010 ලන්කාවෙබ්

Dr. Sudath Gunasekara 5.11.2010.

 Reading through what was said by Cardinal Malcolm Ranjit before the LLRC few days back I got the feeling that the LTTE machinery is still not dead. With all respect to him as a respected Cardinal of the Catholic Church I am convinced to believe so when I evaluate what he has said this week together with his past behavior on this issue. For as every one knows right through out he has been supporting this terrorist movement while opposing the government’s attempts to eradicate the LTTE.

 I reproduce the main issues highlighted by the Cardinal at the LLRC as they were reported in the press.

1 Only a political solution could address the grievances of the minorities.

2 The Sinhala Only Act and several other laws, particularly the 1972 Constitution, introduced by different governments had caused ethnic tensions and created the situation leading to a bloody war

3 Colonization schemes in the Northern and Eastern Provinces are another cause of ethnic tension.

4 Any attempt to change the ethnic ratio in the Northern and Eastern Provinces though colonization could cause ethnic trouble.

5 A major shortcoming in the public sector was the inability of the public servants to communicate in Tamils

He also has called for meaningful measures in the post-war era to restore confidence among the minorities as part of a strategy to prevent bloodshed in the future (I do not know as to what exactly he meant by this assertion)

I also read Minister Keheliya Rambukwella’s press statement of 5th Nov issued to Ada Derana in response to the comments made by the Cardinal, where he has very clearly given the position of the Government of Sri Lanka at least on the land matter. Having gone through the views of readers on what the Minister had said on the Cardinal’s rather pro LTTE, pro-communal and anti government comments made at the LLRC obviously one cannot disagree that the Cardinal has made a serious blunder which has not only brought to light his true colours and exposed his past stand on this issue but also the nakedness of the Catholic Church on matters impinging upon the sovereignty and realm of governance in this country. I do not know what freedom a citizen, how important and higher he is, has to make such traitorous statements taking cover under religious mantles that has no relevance to our culture.

I am happy to note that the government at last is clear and firm on this issue when the Ministers says “ƒ”¹…”The prerogative on land is with the Government and not a single inch of Sri Lanka belongs to any particular religion, caste or race’ I must also add that in future no Government should allow communal segregation by way of mono-ethnic or mono-religious settlement in any part of this country whether it is in north, east, west or south if it wants to guarantee and sustain ethnic and religious harmony in this country. That is the only guarantee for communal harmony and against divisive movements that could raise their ugly heads in different parts of the country in different forms.

At his point I would like to make few more comments on what the Cardinal had said, one by one.

1 The Sinhala Only Act and several other laws, particularly the 1972 Constitution, introduced by different governments had caused ethnic tensions and created the situation leading to a bloody war.

I do not propose to delve here with the pros and cons of constitution making in this country as it had been so illegal and clumsy through out history since 1818. But I would like to comment briefly on what the Cardinal has said about the Sinhala only issue. Firstly is this most respected and decorated Cardinal aware that this country was the Land of the Sinhala race and it was known as the Sinhala Dveepa or Sinhale for 2615 years from 643 BC to 1972 AD and the Sinhala or Hela Language had been the official Language of its people. (Except for a short span from 1815 to 1948 for official purposes only). Even during these 133 years the language of the natives comprising at least 95% had been Sinhala. Is he aware that the official religion of all these people had been Buddhism and that continuous to be so even today? Is he aware that they were the people who were solely responsible for the unique culture in this Island and they are also the sole architects of that unique civilization; it’s colossal Dagabas, sculptural works on stone, massive architectural works and the unique hydraulic achievements that has stunted the world were the singular achievements of these people? Does he know that these uniue cultural transformations took place centuries before his god was even born to this world? Under these circumstances if Sinhalese is not made the Official Language in this country, then where else could and should it be given that status Is it in Tamilnadu, Vatican or the Moon? Could the most Rev Cardinal please provide an answer to this question?

Secondly I ask this religious dignitary whether he knows who actually and really started ethnic tension in this country. Is he aware that it was the Tamil politicians who first broke away from the Ceylon National Congress (the forerunner of Tamil party politics and Ethnic tension) and formed the Ceylon Tamil Congress in 1921; it was G.G. Ponnambalam in early 1930s who asked for 50 -50; it was Chelvanayagam who formed the first Tamil communal political party the Illankai Tamil Arasukachchi (Ceylon Tamil State party) in 1947 (the year he was born) long before Bandaranaike made Sinhala Official Language in 1957. Could Rev Cardinal please explain then as to who took the lead in ethnic politics in this country?

2 Any attempt to change the ethnic ratio in the Northern and Eastern Provinces could cause ethnic trouble.

3 Colonization schemes in the Northern and Eastern Provinces are another cause of ethnic tension.

It appears hear that the Cardinal is talking through his hat on the assumption that the north and the east are traditional Tamil home lands. I pity his knowledge of history of his nation as a citizen of this country. For his information, no part of this country had ever been a traditional homeland of Tamils at any given time of history. On the other hand this Island had been the sole traditional homeland of one nation and that is the Sinhala nation. That is non-negotiable and inalienable. What really happened was all these areas in the north and the east were run over by the jungle tide after the Magha invasion and the devastation in the 12th and 13thcenturies until they were reopened in mid 1930s by that great statesman ad patriot D.S Senanayaka. The process of so-called colonization (a misconstrued terminology introduced by people like B.H. Farmer to our context) only reopened that abandoned land for the original settlers to enable them to regain their lost rights; a historical injustice inflicted upon them nearly thousand years ago. The whole of the so-called present day eastern province was under the Kandyan Kingdom up to 1815 and even the Northern Province was either under the Kandyan Kingdom or Kotte except for a very short interval. This resettlement therefore should never be interpreted as “ƒ”¹…”colonization’ as it was and is understood in the west apparently where the Cardinal has got his roots and allegiance.

The land belongs to the State and I must add a further dimension here to what Minister Rambukwella has said by adding that the Government has the absolute right under the law to make use of any land for any public purpose. Resettlement of Sinhala people on these lands becomes fully justified as it is only putting back the traditional owners on their own land that had been under the jungle tide in the wake of destruction done by foreign invasions.  

One more query from the Cardinal. Where was he when the LTTE was massacring and chasing out the innocent Sinhala and Muslim people from the North and the East during the past thirty years. Where was he when the LTTE and other Tamil politicians were illegally settling Indian labourers from the hill country and South India in the Vauniya jungles and some areas in the Eastern Province.  I hope he was not sojourning in the heavens. Perhaps he never interpreted that diabolical colonization of the Sinahala lands as an illegal attempt to change the demography of this Island leaving aside those districts. Probably he must be addressing a wider international audience to display his erudition in his new capacity; little realizing that it is only a fine display of a proverbial peacock dance, where the dancer is unaware as to what is being exhibited in broad day light in presence of the whole world. He also should know that this menace called provinces were not there before 1833 to talk so highly of a Tamil tradition. It was the British who set up these ethnic divisions firstly to achieve their vicious objectives of divide and rule and secondly to destabilize the Sri Lankan State by planting apolitical and an ethnic atom bomb on our soils.

4 A major shortcoming in the public sector was the inability of the public servants to communicate in Tamils

Who says so? To my knowledge most public servants, Sinhala he is referring to in this case, can do so when the need arises. Even if they don’t have it the question arises as to why they should be so. Because they work only in a Sinhala country. Of cause all those Sinhala officers who work in the east and north know their Tamil and there had been no problem at any stage. What is more is, it was compulsory for such public officers to be proficient in Tamil. On the other hand do Tamils know their Sinhalaor do they transact business in Sinhala. Why is this Cardinal silent on that aspect? This again shows the ignorance of these Colombian elites who think Sri Lanka should be ruled from Colombo and that also the way they prescribe. All these self proclaimed intellectuals take pleasure in preaching only to the Sinhala Buddhists who had been subjugated, oppressed and suffered for five centuries in their own motherland. But none open their sacred mouths to utter a single word against the Tamils or any other who are trying to make this Island another Tamilnadu or a Khalisthan. Have they ever spoke a single word when Chelvanayagam and his communal outfit preached the communal mantram of Ilankai Tamil Arasukachchi and set political fire from 1947 onwards or when old Thondaman an indentured south Indian labourer from Munapudu transformed in to an extreme Tamil communal politician conducted all his business in Tamil only and encouraged his labour gang also to do. All these so-called intellectuals are only trying to fish in trouble waters to meet their own ends by just talking utter rubbish making use of their newly acquired social positions.  

5 Only a political solution could address the grievances of the minorities.

This is a stale, outdated an often used rhetoric and a cheap political slogan directed to arouse communal sentiments by many self proclaimed bankrupt intellectuals and politicians. What do they mean by such provocative statements? Although they do not openly say so what they really mean by such statement is nothing but self rule in a separate kingdom for Tamils. In other word all what the LTTE wanted. That is EELAM. They only talk about the grievances of minorities. But have they ever spoken a single word on the genuine grievances and aspirations of the Sinhala Buddhists, the true architects and makers of this country and its unique civilization. The answer is no. Why is it that, this type of pundits do not talk a word about the resettlement of displaced Sinhala and Muslim people. Why don’t they talk about justice to them as well? Why resort to such blatant and naked duplicity? Why don’t they understand that what is sauce for the goose should be the sauce for the Gander as well?

For his information the Government has already brought about the first step in finding a political solution to this extremist problem by defeating the LTTE that was perceived as invincible by all these intellectuals. I am sure the government is on its way to complete the final political solutions as well. But that should include a comprehensive programme that will do justice to every body and not only to Tamils. I think that is what that irritates and disturb these intellectuals.  

In sum all what the learned Cardinal had said only demonstrate his ignorance of the history of this Island nation. If it is not ignorance then it should be an expression of his diabolical anti-Sinhala, anti-Buddhist and pro-Tamil, pro-divisive mentality and anti-Sri Lankan and pro Vatican, attitude that underlies his upbringing. There is nothing new in his arguments that befit the intellectual profundity or religious sanctity of his eminence. It is only simple gallery talk and bloody cheap slogans that attempts to re-kindle ethnic and communal tension that has been at least temporally abated by the present government, thanks to the courage and determination of the incumbent President and the armed forces.

My dear Cardinal, please try to be sensible and rational in what you say and what you do. Please don’t be so stupid and traitorous to your mother land to safeguard your acquired sentiments, prejudices and religious biases. One wonders to what nationality he belongs and in which country he holds his citizenship and to which land and nationality he owes his sacred and patriotic allegiance. This is the Land of the Sinhala nation. It had been so for the past 2600 years. All others are interlopers who are trying to rob the sons of the soil of their birth rights. Please don’t be a declared traitor of that great nation by exposing your true colours in the name of your God. We have no bone to pick with any one’s religious conviction. Since it is highly personal and a basic human right. But please try to be patriotic. One can still be so, while believing in any god of his choice.

I do not see any difference between this Cardinal and the Tamil Catholic priests like Father Thamil Nesan or Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar diocese whose credentials on racism and communalism are well known in this regard. I quote what they have declared at the Sri Lankan conference held in Mannar this week to promote Tamil revival with Government support on November 4, 2010.

Father Thamil Nesan spake thus

“Today we Tamils are stranded in our villages as political and economic orphans. We have lost everything. Only our language, heritage, literature and arts remain. Let us rejuvenate them, said Father Nesan, who presides over the Mannar Tamil Sangam (Tamil Association), which organized the conference. The Sangam, which was founded by local scholars after the end of the nation’s civil war in May 2009, publishes books and articles, stages traditional plays and works to preserve Tamil cultural artistic and linguistic heritage. Many valuable Tamil historical documents, manuscripts and artifacts were destroyed during the war. The conference has no political ambition,” Father Nesan told participants. “Our main goal is to promote the growth of our language.”

Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar diocese told the conference that efforts to rebuild the war battered north cannot be confined to rejuvenating the life of people alone. A holistic revival of the Tamil language and all its art forms is required, he said. Tamil should also be studied as a first language in order to maintain it as a functional language, he added”.

Who is responsible for this destruction? Why don’t they see the naked truth and say openly it was the racist and communal Tamil politicians elated and over estimated their real strength by colonial conspiracies, who planted the seeds of racist communal politics in 1921 and their successors like Ponnambalam, Chelvanayagam, Amirthalingam and finally the master murderer Pirapaharan and Sambandan and his band wagon who continue to push this caravan of destruction even now who were and are wholly and squarely responsible for this tragedy. May their God at least give them eyes to see, ears to hear and brains to understand this reality.

The only cardinal difference between Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and these two is that they being Tamils by birth naturally behave like typical Tamil racists while the Cardinal, though a Sinhalese by birth also behave unfortunately like a communal Tamil. May be they must be going by the dictum “ƒ”¹…”God is one”.

How wonderful and magnanimous it would have been for the Cardinal if he had congratulated the government for winning an unwinnable 30 year terrorist war against the LTTE that has terrorized  a whole generation and more so the Tamil people and brought destruction and untold misery  to this country, with minimum loss to human life in the most exemplary manner by our forces,  and appealed to all communities to forget the past and at least now to work together as one family  to take the nation forward so that we all can make this beautiful Island nation a symbol of prosperity, peace and harmony. He also should have appealed to the Tamils in the North and the East to understand the realities of the Sri Lankan State, give up the EELAM dream and join hands with the Sinhala and Muslim brothers and sisters to make this a beautiful country without harbouring enmity and distrust. Why could not he say enmity never ceases by enmity, it is only through love one can bring an end to enmity.

That I think should have been the tone and substance of his address as a high ranking religious dignitary to this commission. Had he done that without treading on unknown grounds fanning communal hatred and distrust, that will only further communal tension and enmity, that will end up in disaster and destruction to every body, he could have displayed the colossal heights to which a Cardinal of the Catholic Church could rise.  I am sure if he had chosen the path of God in place of that of the devil even his almighty God would have been really proud of his newly decorated Cardinal.

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