Posted on November 8th, 2010

S L Gunasekara

The Roman Catholic and the Anglican Churches are two Institutions with  considerable followings in the Northern and Eastern Provinces which could, had they been so minded, have saved tens of thousands of lives and billions of rupees worth of property by rendering their unstinted support towards the restoration of peace in our land  by:-

 a)         exhorting their flock to oppose or simply refuse to obey the orders of the LTTE and to give information to the Security Forces regarding the conduct, activities and the movements of the LTTE and its leaders; and,

 b)         publicly condemning the LTTE unreservedly and exhorting them to lay down arms and surrender to the Government.

 Sadly, neither did either of these things.  On the contrary they, by their conduct conveyed to the People the distinct  impression:-

 i)                    that the LTTE was a responsible body of persons which was responsive to reason with whom a just “ƒ”¹…”negotiated settlement’ was possible; and,

 ii)                  that they were sympathetic to the `cause’ of the LTTE.

 Thus, for example, Kenneth Fernando, the former Anglican Bishop of Colombo gave a wholly heretical and equally unfounded character certificate  to Prabhakaran to the effect that he was a humane person !!! 

 Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church openly consorted with the leaders of the LTTE such as Tamil Chelvam, participated in public meetings/functions  with them, and one of their Bishops, namely Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar, actually, participaterd in and spoke at a rally  held by the LTTE to condemn the wholly praiseworthy killing of  the terrorist  Kaushalyan by the Armed Forces. 

 It is also an undeniable fact that when affluent nations of the West sought to intimidate us into giving the LTTE a fresh lease of life by declaring a cease fire when we were on the point of victory, none of these Churches [whose voice would, presumably, have been listened to by those countries, the governments of which were principally comprised of members of their respective faiths]  either condemned such crude efforts at the intimidation of our sovereign Nation, nor extended any support to the Government to continue with its operations against the LTTE which were so essential for the restoration of peace. 

 Thus, neither of these Churches helped in any way to liberate our country from the LTTE. That liberation was achieved by the blood, toil, tears and sweat of our armed forces backed by the President and all patriotic People, and the doughty resistance offered by President Mahinda Rajapakse to the filthy efforts of the West to resurrect the LTTE.  Indeed, that liberation was achieved in spite of the doings of these Churches. 

 By acting in such manner these Churches betrayed our country and, in particular, those patriotic Anglicans and Roman Catholics who were entirely supportive of the military effort to liberate our country from the terrorism of the LTTE. 

 Now that peace had been restored without the assistance of these Churches and in spite of them, I find from the newspapers that they have now come forward to proffer advice to the Government about what they should do after achieving the victory towards which they made no contribution.  While the constraints of space do not permit to deal with all the items of advice/views expressed by the hierarchies of these two Churches, I will restrict myself to the following items of advice/views expressed by the Roman Catholic Church, either directly or by necessary implication, which, in my view, constitute an infallible recipe for disaster.  The views expressed by the Anglican Church were somewhat  similar in respect of `a’ and `b’ below, though those set out in `c’, `d’ and `e’ were not, as far as I am aware, expressed by it.

 a)                  Only  a political solution could solve the grievances of the minorities and the devolution of power is a `must’.

 b)         The  LTTE having been defeated on the battle field, there was no need for a heavy `military presence in the North and East nor for the continuation  of the Prevention of Terrorism Act or the Emergency Regulations which should therefore be repealed [The Anglican Bishop, however says that they should be reviewed].

 c)         There should be no `colonization’ in the Northern and Eastern Provinces in such a way that  would change the ethnic ratio of the area;

   d)         The 13th Amendment should be fully implemented.

 e)                  The Sinhala Only Act, the 1972 Constitution and other laws as well as the `colonization’ of the Northern and Eastern Provinces  with Sinhalese were causes of terrorism.   

 These views/advice  appear to be based on an unquestioning acceptance of the hoary myths:-

 a)                  that there exists in Sri Lanka an ethnic problem between the Sinhalese and the minorities;

 b)                  that the minorities, to the exclusion of the majority have a monopoly of grievances that can and must be solved by a `political solution’ in the form of a devolution of power; and,

 c)                  that the Northern and Eastern Provinces are the “exclusive homeland of the Tamils” [a wholly racist view expressed by the TULF in its manifesto for the 1977 elections] and that the settlement of Sinhalese in “ƒ”¹…”Peasant  Settlement Schemes’ [to which they refer  by the pejorative term “ƒ”¹…”Colonization’] in the North and East  must be stopped. 

 The good Churchmen appear to be wholly oblivious of the fact that except where some power hungry politician or some racist psychopath  such as Prabakaran  intervenes, there is no ethnic tension between the Sinhalese, the Tamils, the Moors or any other race that inhabits our land; and that the tensions that do exist among our People are not INTER-racial tensions such as tensions between the Sinhalese and the Tamils or the Moors but INTRA racial tensions between Sinhalese and Sinhalese, Tamils and Tamils and Moors and Moors etc. 

 The expressed view that the minorities have grievances in need of a political solution appears to proceed on an assumption as wholly simplistic as it is untrue, that the minorities have a monopoly of grievances to the exclusion of the majority.  Even a cursory glance at the situation prevailing in our country today will show that while a goodly section of the Tamils resident in the Northern and Eastern Provinces [and to a lesser extent some of the Muslims and Sinhalese resident therein] have more problems and grievances than their counterparts among the Sinhalese, Muslims and Tamils living in other parts of the country, as a consequence of the terrorism of the LTTE, [in much the same way that the Sinhalese of the South encountered some problems peculiar to them as a result of the terrorism of the JVP, until the situation stabilized not very long after the destructive capability of the JVP was wholly annihilated], the Sinhalese, the Tamils, and the Moors all have grievances which have arisen from the same sources, namely,  the high cost of living, unemployment, the prevalent mess in the spheres of education and health, mis-governance, corruption, nepotism, favouritism, sycophancy, bureaucratic arrogance/indifference etc.  These are all grievances/problems that any government worthy of the name must approach, address and solve as “ƒ”¹…”national problems’ and not as problems effecting one or another ethnic group that forms part and parcel of the citizenry of our land.  Indeed, any attempt to solve these problem piece-meal by solving the problems of one or more communities to the exclusion of the others, and seeking thereafter to solve the problems/grievances of the other communities can only, and will inevitably, cause ethnic tensions and ethnic strife where there presently is none.  Yet, this appears to be one of the “ƒ”¹…”gems‘ of advice given by the newly minted Cardinal !!!

 The term “ƒ”¹…”colonization’ is but a pejorative term used over the years by Tamil racists to describe a most laudable development project  commenced under the British in or about the 1920s which was designed to alleviate poverty and increase the productivity of the Country by giving the landless peasants of all communities plots of state land in and around irrigation schemes “”…” either newly constructed or renovated with public funds. 

 Even a cursory glance at the facts pertaining to this laudable development project  will make manifest the fact that the allegation these this project  was implemented in order to alter the “ƒ”¹…”ethnic ratios‘ of the Northern and Eastern Provinces is nothing but a horrendous myth.  Such Peasant Settlement Schemes commenced with schemes such as Nachchaduwa and Tabbowa in the Anuradhapura and Puttalam Districts where the majority of the population was Sinhalese, and the first Sinhalese to be settled in either the Northern or the Eastern Provinces was about 30 years later in the Allai-Kanthalai Scheme in the early 1950s. 

 It is self evident that land can only be given to the landless where land is available for distribution, and that such availability of land exists in areas where the density of population is lowest;  while on the other hand, land hunger would be most rife and land least available for distribution in areas where the density of population is high.  Thus, an equitable implementation of Peasant Settlement Schemes must necessarily result in Sinhalese from the over-populated South being given land in the under-populated areas of the Northern and Eastern Provinces.  It is inevitable that the settlement of an appreciable number of members of one race in a particular locality, would result in an alteration of the ethnic ratio therein.  This, it must be remembered is what happened in the Hill Country when our colonial rulers imported thousands of Indian Tamils from South India to work on their plantations.  There is no gainsaying the fact that the ethnic ratios in Districts such as Kandy, Marale, Nuwara Eliya and Badulla and even Districts such as Matara, Galle and Kalutara were affected by such importation of South Indian labourers.

 However, ethnic ratios in any particular locality can never be as constant as the morning star in any developing country, but must change with the times and the needs of the country. 

 Accordingly, to restrict the settlement of Sinhalese in the Northern and/or Eastern Provinces in such Peasant Settlement Schemes on the ground that such settlements would alter the “ƒ”¹…”ethnic ratios‘ of the District concerned would be both unjust and inequitable in that it would call for discrimination on racial/ethnic grounds against the Sinhalese in the matter of the allocation of the natural resources of the state around development schemes paid for with public funds which could be deemed to constitute funds of which 74% are those of the Sinhalese. 

 It is also worthy of note that the objections of Tamil racists to the settlement of Sinhalese in such schemes in the Northern and Eastern Provinces does not stem from any complaint about an inequitable distribution of allotments of land in such schemes, but that they are based on the silly ground that settlement would alter the `ethnic ratios‘ and that the Northern and the Eastern Provinces constitute the traditional/exclusive  homeland of the Tamils. 

 We [including the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches and the Tamil polity] must even now realize that Sri Lanka is equally the home of all its citizens and that every citizen has equal rights in respect of every inch of her territory, so that the rights of a Sinhalese to be granted state land in a Peasant Settlement Scheme in the Northern and Eastern Provinces is, in every respect, equal to that of a Tamil or a Moor 

 The implementation of the views of the Roman Catholic Church in this regard would only result in bringing into being a system of `Apartheid‘  with the division of the country into “ƒ”¹…”Bantustans‘, “ƒ”¹…”Tribal Homelands‘ or “ƒ”¹…”Tribal Reservations‘ and bring to naught  the laudable principle enunciated by President Rajapakse in the immediate aftermath of the victory of over the LTTE when he said that there is in this country only one People namely the Sri Lankan Nation, and that there is no minority or majority community therein. 

 The views of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith about the causes of tiger terrorism fail completely to take into account the anti-national and divisive  policies adopted by Tamil          chauvinists/supremacists such as G G Ponnambalam who called for discrimination against the Sinhalese in the matter of representation in Parliament, and S J V Chelvanayagam who propounded the necessarily divisive and hateful theories that denied the existence of one Ceylonese [Sri Lankan] Nation comprised of Sinhalese, Tamils, Moors etc. and of the Northern and  Eastern Provinces being the traditional/exclusive homeland of the Tamils. He also failed to consider the undeniable fact that the divisive conduct of these learned professionals commenced long before the enactment of the Official Language Act in 1956, the 1972 Constitution and all the communal riots that succeeded them.

 The call for a repeal of the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Emergency Regulations as well as the call for a reduction of the “ƒ”¹…”military presence’ in the Northern and Eastern Provinces is wholly misconceived.  It is no doubt true that the LTTE have been defeated militarily in Sri Lanka.  However, the organizations of the LTTE in foreign climes  remain intact and are still advocating total separation and support for the tiger “ƒ”¹…”cause‘.  Thus, it is the prime task of the government to see that there is no recurrence of terrorism and to ensure that it does not raise its ugly head again.  The vast quantities of arms still being recovered by the armed forces in  the Northern and Eastern Provinces bear ample testimony to the fact that the LTTE had made plans to regroup, recover such arms in the event of defeat and resume their murderous campaign with the aid and assistance of those Tamil supporters of terrorism in foreign climes.

 One of the biggest dangers that faces the country in this regard is the danger of sinking into complacency.

 Further, inasmuchas the Northern and Eastern Provinces are as much a part of Sri Lanka as the Southern, Western or Central Provinces and our armed forces are the armed forces of the State they are equally the armed forces of every Province.   Accordingly, just as much as nobody has raised objections to or can raise objections to the military presence in the South, particularly in Colombo, there should not be and could not rationally be any objection to the heavy military presence of our troops in the Northern and Eastern Provinces. These silly objections also fail to take into account the monumental sacrifices made by our troops to destroy terrorism and the monumental amount of work being done by them to repair and rehabilitate the damage done to those areas and the People resident therein by the tiger terrorists and their cohorts.

 There remain for consideration the totally nonsensical calls for the full implementation of the abomination called the 13th Amendment which was forced down our throats by the Indians who trained, armed and equipped the terrorists to murder our citizens and destroy our property.  We have now had over 22 years experience of these Councils and nobody with an iota of intelligence can fail to realize the fact that they are the biggest white elephants this country has  ever seen and/or is likely to see.  The prodigal extravagance of the Government and  the waste incumbent upon that prodigal extravagance is nothing compared to the waste of resources incumbent upon the maintenance of these white elephants.  The opposition to  the 13th Amendment being implemented in full is not based entirely on the dangers of separation that such implementation would bring about,  but also on the effect it would have on administrative efficiency in our country.  It would do well for the Attorney-at-Law representing the Catholic Church who expressed this view to ponder upon the law and order situation that would result in this country if the Police Force in each of our Provinces is placed in charge of and/or under the direction and control of the political functionaries known as the Chief Ministers of these Provinces.  Further, no explanation had been given as to why or how the implementation of this odious 13th Amendment which causes the devolution of power not to the People but to the hierarchies of our various political parties and has hence multiplied many times over, the epidemic of sycophancy which has enveloped our land, could ever bring any benefit to this country.  

3 Responses to “`CARDINAL’ ERRORS”

  1. Fran Diaz Says:

    Thanks to Mr Gunasekera for pointing out the facts. May I add the following points :

    (1) The Tamil problems are really in Tamil Nadu, not in Sri Lanka. Even today, some 5 Million Tamils are caught in the Caste bind of Untouchability working as ‘night soil carriers’ etc. and denied some basic human rights. Ms Navi Pillai of the UNHRC, various NGOs, western politicos, rump ltte members, parts of the Catholic/Christian Church, are trying to solve this problem by helping create a separate state for Tamils carved out of Lanka. The Catholic Church tried to create conversions in Tamil Nadu, but this was not successful, as one Tamil convert said : “the Church is only interested in a head count & the caste system is going on”. It is possible that the Catholic Church feels that Lanka is an easier place to gain conversions plus edge toward a separate Tamil only State. Ms Jayalalitha of Tamil Nadu, when she was Chief Minister, banned conversions. At present, Tamil Nadu should solve its own caste problems. Lanka is unable to solve Tamil Nadu caste or economic problems.

    (2) The Tamil Community of Lanka on the whole, is perhaps the community that is best off today, in the fields of education & economic activity.

    (3) High Security will have to be maintained for a long time more by the GoSL now & in the future, as we can see that separatist ideas are yet being renewed by vested interests.

    (4) It would be in the interests of all religions to follow the true teaching of the Masters: Christ said : “the Kingdom of Heaven is within You” and the Buddha said : ” Truth is within You”. ‘Heaven’ or ‘Truth’ is a human FEELING accessed through Meditation & Contemplation. There is no other method. Clergy of every religion should help their flock to access this FEELING – that ought to be the purpose of Clergy of every religion.

    (5) The Market Place and Creation of Wealth, & Politics should not be a part of religious bodies. That should be left to duly elected governments of each country.

  2. AsokaK Says:

    Shame on you Malcolm Ranjith. You never blessed our ranaviruwos.

  3. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    Cardinal Malcolm Ranjit’s recommendations are very disturbing and it is important to know the answers to at least the ethnic ratio issue.

    1. When the Cardinal warns that the ethnic ratio in the North and East must be maintained, WHICH RATIO DOES HE MEAN? Is it the current ratio created by LTTE terrorists by evicting non-Tamils from the North and East during the past 30 years? Or is it the ratio that would have prevailed 50 yrs ago prior to the genocidal ethnic cleansing campaign of the LTTE terrorists; or is it the ratio that was before the British, Dutch and Portuguese colonised SriLanka for over 400yrs, during which period the Sinhalese and Muslims were either killed or evicted from their lands and South Indian Tamil Labour imported to colonise the North, East and the hill country?

    2. Does the Cardinal’s ethnic ratio apply at Provincial Level, or District Level or Village Level?

    3. Does this rule apply to all provinces in SriLanka and if not why?

    4. Does this mean the Sri Lankan Government cannot develop waste lands in the North and East, unless sufficient Tamil families are available to settle down on those lands?

    5. If there are no meaningful answers to the above questions, then could the Cardinal kindly withdraw his recommendation and bless the entire country for a prosperous and peaceful future, irrespective of race or religion.

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