Religion & Politics – Mix & Match!
Posted on January 24th, 2011

Prof. Hudson McLean

Wow! I touched on a highly sensitive topic of Religion & Politics.
LankaWeb Forum really did open the door to dialogue. Polite, Courteous, Civilised!

As a matter of principle, I do not usually touch on Religion.  Although as one reader quite correctly reminded me that, I expressed a negative opinion on the behaviour of certain Catholic clergy,  however it did not mean that I would maintain same opinion till Kingdom come.

Priests,  Monks and other clergy are as human as any other human being.  Late Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike was a Christian at birth, converted into Buddhism for the sake of politics, later assasinated by a Buddhist Monk. Ironic!

Now that the government forces have destroyed the Tamil Terrorist LTTE, this means a vaccuum has been created to start a “new” conflict to maintain “the pot boiling” by some Looney Cluneys, some LTTE Tigers in Lion skins.
And this would be to create an unnecessary conflict within the Sinhala population.

There are far greater topics of necessacity which the Real Patriots might indulge in, ie: Bribery & Corruption, without delving into the cheap end of Race, Caste, Creed, Ethnics etc.

The LTTE is Not Dead yet! Say the pundits. Take a good look at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and follow what the highly paid Diplomatic Community is doing to facilitate control of the vermin.

Good thing that ex-General Sarath Fonseka is a Buddhist. Otherwise, some of the readers might conclude that he is a Secret Agent from the Vatican.

Sri Lanka is now travelling on the right track becoming a “Miracle of Asia”. The last thing Sri Lanka needs is a division between the Sinhala population on the lines of Religion & Caste.

Buddhism as a Religion, in my opinion, is a Dignified, Humane, Kind, Harmonious, True-to-Life  Philosophy, and whenever I have visited a Buddhist Temple, one gets the feeling of Spiritual Calm.

HE President Mahinda Rajapaksa has created an atmosphere of Inter-faith cooperation by virtue of his marriage to a Catholic.  HE has also created an Inter-faith collaboration amongst the Clerics of various Denominations in Sri Lanka.

Visiting the Vatican to pay respects to HH the Pope is done by all Heads of State, irrespective of their Faith. There is only one globally recognized Buddhist Monk, the Dalai Lama, who is revered by all Heads of State, except China. And Dalai Lama is domiciled in and  protected by India, a Hindu State!

The primary object of all Sri Lanka Patriots should be to capitalise on the current positive trend of growth, hamony, peace, and to contribute towards the common goal of development.

Religion is an intangible, which cannot be quantified, like the existence of God.
Like a saying goes..”God is No God, if He Could Be Understood by Man!”

Clergy, whatever their religion, whomever their God is, should Stay Out of Politics!

Religion & Politics? Is not a fashion item which could be worn, Mix & Match? No way!

 

26 Responses to “Religion & Politics – Mix & Match!”

  1. A. Sooriarachi Says:

    I agree with Prof McLean that there are LTTE Tigers in Lion skins. Some are there to create division within the sinhalese and get rewarded by the LTTE.
    As for involvement of religious leaders in this conflict during the past several decades, I did not observe any Hindu priest supporting the “cause” of the LTTE, unlike the Catholic priests, especially in the North. They have been not only leading campaigns in favour of Tigers internationally but some even trying to white wash the terrorist leader by equating him to Jesus Christ, and demonstrating in publc with Tiger flag and Prabakaran’s photo held up high.

    Another fact I observed during this conflict was that the Tigers did not waste time killing any Hindu priest who came in close contact with the President but never harmed any of the Catholic priest who had similar contact. Also though Tamils are mainly Hindu, many of the LTTE leaders were Christians and Prabakaran himself apparently embrased christianity as a gimmick to obtain support from the church and powerful christian nations.
    This does establish that a strong connection did exist between the agendas of the Tigers and the Catholic Leadership of the North. However lets hope all SriLankans forget the past and unite to take the nation forward and not fall pray to divisive forces.

  2. jimmy Says:

    Great Article Professor

    I agree with you

  3. PRIYAN WIJEYERATNE Says:

    Good one Prof. Keep writing for us, please.

  4. ranjit Says:

    Religion is a sacred thing for every human being. Religious people should be there to unite people not divide. 100% I agree with Prof. religious people should not be engaged in politics. They should not take sides. Their duty is to bring people together and work for the betterment of the people to live harmonously and peacefully. Those who does wrong will have to answer to someone at the end.No one can escape when that time comes. We all need only to live in PEACE

  5. Ben_silva Says:

    I agree with the Prof. and thank him for his wise words. Religions should teach morality and values to people so that they can identify what is wrong and what is correct. There are many caring Catholics with high standards of morality and values, who help humans in need. Catholic priests who helped LTTE are not in this group. My view is that religion is a thing of the past. Religion could be a dangerourous mind virus. We should have a set of values and standard of morality that does not depend on religion. Buddhist precepts indicate a good code of conduct, with high standard of morality.

  6. Fran Diaz Says:

    No offence meant to you, dear Prof, when we vent our feelings in these columns. You have raised an important issue, for which we thank you.

    Here are some other points to think about, addressing the Root Causes. No intent here to offend. Only intent here is to help stop anger and resulting violence.

    (1) The 3,000 year old Tamil Hindu Caste system will continue to be the main Root Cause of Discomfort of daily life in Lanka for the bulk of Tamils for a long time more. The Catholic Church will continue to Convert the low caste (or casteless) Tamils for quite some time into the future. This will unbalance Sri Lanka’s religious balance, giving more and more power to the Catholic Church. This is why there is a sense of “being under attack” by the Church, particularly at a time when the Catholic Church fault lines are being exposed to the whole world.

    (2) The second cause of Discomfort leading to Conversions is the Domestic “Servant” system among the Sinhalas & Tamils. This is the other cause why poorer Sinhala & Tamil people Convert to Catholicism.

    As Pogo the Possum says : “We have identified the Enemy, and he is Us” !

    Cause #2 may diminish with time with only daily helpers coming into homes (no live in “servants”), and with mod-cons to ease daily household tasks, whilst Cause #1 will not be so easily resolved.

    Buddhist & Hindu concerned people should device ways to stop people wanting to Convert to other religions. Temples should get actively involved in approaching the problem in a practical, non-violent way, and less of the chanting & rituals, please.

    I agree with Mr Ben Silva that “We should have a set of values and standard of morality that does not depend on religion. Buddhist precepts indicate a good code of conduct, with high standard of morality”. Buddhism is a Philosophy. So why not have these high standards set in Buddhism, in other religions too ? Will it ever happen is the million dollar question !

  7. Ben_silva Says:

    Fran Diaz has identified another social problem in Sri Lanka, which is having people as domestic servants. In my view it is extremly unfair to steal some one’s time on earth, and I am totally against the idea of having domestic servants. I am however powerless to do anything about it. My only hope is that more people will realise tat it is unfair.

  8. De Costa Says:

    I am very sure that LTTE has launched this “hate a Christian campaign” in Sri Lanka more than a year ago. The idea is to destroy unity of Sinhalese using religious fear. MS Mudali is the LTTE representative within Lankaweb. Don’t trust me, read all his comments and understand.
    A true Buddhist cannot be converted. If people are worried about conversion understand Buddhism properly and practice. Buddhism is not based on belief but experience. Buddhas show the path only. Spreading hatred towards other religious believers will not protect Sinhalas.
    Government will look after “conspiracy of Catholic Church” if any. How stupid is to attack Pope to protect Sri Lanka ? Spread love and compassion towards all but do not lazily allow anyone to destroy what you have earned.

    All religious principles can be argued. All political issues too can be argued. Why not ?
    You don’t have to be the God to understand creation of a Prabhakaran. While we do not understand the logic behind creation of a Prbhakaran the God has given us brains to know for sure this creation is evil, not God’s work. Otherwise we have no brains to understand any of the prophet’s message and those messengers would become time wasters. In my view, God did not create Prabhakaran.

  9. orpheusperera Says:

    I agree with Prof. Hudson Mclean that religion should be kept out of politics. Buddhist priest were responsible for both rise and fall of SWRD. After his death there was a period when bus drivers refuse to stop the bus for Buddhist monks. I wish to add my opinion about the politics and Buddhism.
    It is a fact that Catholic church was supporting LTTE to eradicate the ”Buddhism and Hinduism in Sri Lanka”. But priests never got involved directly.
    We still need to have a “Sangayana” to re-establish and bring the rules to date. This is not the job for the government. It should be carried out by the Sanga Saba and mahanayake’s. Only time Buddhist priest should step on to a political stage is to carry out religious rites such as setting the politicians and those who gather on five precepts and chanting pirith.
    They should not support any political party. If a priest decides to serve the country through the parliament, he should disrobe himself and contest at the general election. There is no harm in politician seeking advice from monks occasionally.

  10. M.S.MUdali Says:

    Catholics are in discomfort for telling truths about the terrorist invovement of their Church which is headed by a NAZI now.

    These Catholics or Prof. Mclean never tell why Catholic Church actively involve in politics through social problems. Hindu Caste problem has nothing to do with LTTE or the conversion of Dharmapala. In Jaffna Catholic priests publicly involved in Bank robberies and UNP government took no action but let them go free.

    How can these Sinhala catholics justify the involvement of Fr. S.J.Emmanuel who claimed the LTTE are the divine soldiers of Christ, is now the head of the GLOBAL TAMIL FORUM which created the OXFORD FIASCO?

    Is Prof. McLean telling that these priests involved in terror without the knowledge of Vatican?

    Catholic Church propagate in Tamil areas that Buddhists are problem for Tamils but Sinhala Catholic propaganda goes as Hindus are the problem for Sinhalese. These doule toungued propaganda have one goal. That is ” Destroy Hindus and Buddhists and bring back Catholic rule over Sri lanka!”

    Remember! We never had any language or religion based problems before the invasion of Christians in Sri Lanka!

  11. ranjit Says:

    I am sorry to say Catholic rule will never happen in Sri Lanka as Mudali says NEVER,NEVER,NEVER as long as we Sinhalese Buddhist live in our country. It’s a dream only for Catholics. Every human being has the right to be in any religion as his or her beliefs. True Buddhist will never convert to a Christian unless for personal benefits like Christians convert to Muslims in the Middle east for money and favours. If our leaders are true Buddhist and have guts and backbone no need to fear of Pope or any white leghorns who eyeing to destroy our Motherland. Old days we didnt had this problem. We all have to live in this world not destroying each other but helping each other. All the evil in both sides will be gone with the wind before they realize anyhow good to argue and learn things through our friendly forum now and then.

  12. lal Says:

    Those who say the catholic church actively supported the LTTE should submit their evidence to LLRC. It was/is an offence to support terrorists,and if found guilty they should be locked up. I have little to doubt that individual (Tamil) priests have supported the terrorists but I don’t think the establishment as a whole including Bishops in Colombo would have made a decision to support the LTTE.
    After four centuries of Western christian activism in Sri Lanka, the chrsitian population remains a minority of less than 10% of the population. Those who fear of a christian take over of Sri Lanka by force and/or coercion are somewhat naive. The sinhala nation will prevail.

  13. Fran Diaz Says:

    Please do not underestimate the Tamil Dalit Problem or Catholic Church action in Lanka. Be ever vigilant.

    Frankly, we do not know why Tamil people do not embrace Raj Yoga in Lanka & in Tamil Nadu. Raj Yoga is the Inner Journey of Meditation. It will give them all the human dignity they crave, without having to convert to another religion.

  14. jimmy Says:

    Mudali and crowd,
    I am not going to argue any more with you folks
    “Ignorance of Ignorance is the melody of ignorant”

    I am a tamil and I feel sorry that some elements trying to destroy the country bringing the Religion
    similar thing happened in 83 against tamil race
    I am sure People are much smarter

    Most of The LTTErs were hindus not christians
    They were supported by Indian Tamil Nadu 99% Hindus MGR and all these folks are Hindus hindus hindus

    Do not bring Christianity to this . I am not a catholic I am a Born again Christian ( Alleulia)
    Attack on Catholisim is wrong
    In my opinion Christians are normally for peace peace ( bible says when a person take sword he will die with sword)

    How many Hindu Iyers were LTTERS . Can any one give the data

    I hear the same names from Mudali the fathers who wee in LTTE ( 5 or 6 names) How many thousands and thousands of Hindus were in LTTE or LTTE sympathizers
    Do not talk nonsense about christianity
    It is sad some people are alergic to christian faith

    I love you all Let us pray for peace
    We should not have divisions no hatred any more . Tamils and Sinhales should love respect and live together eventhough language, cultcure , food are different

  15. jimmy Says:

    Fran
    I am not a dalit
    I notice every time you write about dalits and christianity

    Are you kidding me? We are living in the 21st centuary and still talking about Dalits
    what makes you to think you are superior pal?
    even at this age you guys are talking caste system . shame on you

    bye i have to catch the bus

    Bonjour merci

  16. Fran Diaz Says:

    Bonjour, Jimmy : I never said that you are a Dalit, Jimmy. I am merely addressing the Root Cause of the Problem. There are lots of Tamil people of Dalit origin in Sri Lanka. I seem to have touched a raw nerve here … so I must be spot on.

    When Shenali Waduge visited Jaffna recently the main complaint by the citizens of Jaffna was on Caste Issues. The most heart breaking part of the Caste Issues come from Dalit Issues of Tamil Nadu. Let’s not bury our heads in the sand like the ostriches Lanka is going to import. The more we face the problem squarely, the better the chances of solving it. Otherwise, we will be “treating the patient for influenza when he really has cancer” and the rest of Lanka will continue to pay heavily for other peoples problems.

  17. Leela Says:

    An eminent professor and a historian Tennakoon Wimalananda points out from his book; ‘Buddhism in Ceylon under the Christian powers’ that all colonial governments in Sri Lanka had promoted apostasy. With ample statistics, the book shows how Christian education was uplifted with lavish subsides while Buddhist Pirivena monasteries were deprived of it. It also pointed out; the manner that evangelists coerce the British rulers to withdraw all subsidies due to Buddhist monasteries under submission agreement with the sole aim of ruining Sinhale culture.

    Christianity in Sri Lanka started like this. The Spanish and the Portuguese sailed the world over in search of loot. Catholic Missionaries not only blessed those pirates but also cruised along with them to plunder whole nations of their wealth and heritage. With the blessings by the Pope of Vatican, the holy sea, a franciscan priest washed up to Sinhale in 1505 A.D with a Portuguese click of pirates. The extent of destruction these fanatical missionaries have done to our ancestors and to their serene culture would take too long to describe here. I shall write about it separately some other time.

    Anyway, to cut the story short, let me quote ‘the Jubilee memorials of the Wesleyan Mission, South of Ceylon,’ that had published in 1864. It; clearly shows the motives of the then missionaries for it wrote; “… were convinced that it was the intention of the missionaries to destroy Buddhism and place Christianity in its stead”. That is what we Sinhala Buddhists are concerned even to date.

    Modern day Catholic padres and Christian evangelists may give a different impression to that of their cruel ancestors. From their work however, we suspect their aim is the same. We see that many a missionary outfits carry on their tricks with no controls what so ever. They have been turning our society upside down with their octopus like networks. Their connections with NGOs are like a hand in a glove.

    Both Evangelists and NGOs have identified human rights activity as a key method to reach their goal. World based beauty queens turned politicians, Deshamannya Businessmen in dishonor, tv anchors turn environmentalists, editors of weekend news papers, especially those that called discussion type and journalists that fled after scandals have all lined up to play their role. Greasing the palm had been such, once in one would never gets out; it is like a jamboree.

    Now coming to our good professor’s statement “Clergy, whatever their religion, whomever their God is, should Stay Out of Politics!” I’d like to ask him; whomever are you aiming at? Whomever it may be let me tell you professor that without the JHU monks in politics, RanilW would have been the President of this country. And if that happened, this island would have been effectively divided by now.

    Let me also tell you professor that clergy do not necessarily have to put on a special dress. I mean a yellow robes or a black cloak. They could well come in with a tie and a tailcoat as well. You hardly can tell who is who. So, what about them?

    You say; “The primary object of all Sri Lanka Patriots should be to capitalise on the current positive trend of growth, hamony, peace, and to contribute towards the common goal of development.” True, true, but it had always been during such growth that Christian evangelists capitalize the situation to spread their unfinished business among the unsuspecting citizenry. So in my opinion; MUdali is right.

    I think this is getting too long; so I shall write a separate article on this subject matter.
    Leela

  18. Fran Diaz Says:

    And Jimmy, I must address this part of your comment too. You say : “We are living in the 21st centuary and still talking about Dalits what makes you to think you are superior pal?”
    One visit to India will confirm that the Caste Issues are very much alive, especially for those with Dalit/Tribal origins (Maoists, Naxalites). Church will confirm this.

    Feel ‘superior’ ? No, no. Just old and very, very tired of all the bs going on in Lanka for the past 30 yrs or so. Been watching the scene for a long time, Jimmy, and just sad and very frustrated to watch the death & destruction. We think of solutions for Lanka, day and night, with whatever limited knowledge we have of life. Just like to see the man made catastrophes stop, in Lanka and anywhere else in this world.
    Do you do think of solutions for Lanka’s problems ?

  19. jayt Says:

    First of all, Sinhalese should not keep the door open foreigners come into the house of Sri lanka and exploit Tamil, Sinhalese or any other group. In the case of Tamil, Sri lanka govt. should try fast-track system to help those people come out IDPS. This is one of the issues that exploited by foreign group. And Tamil in general be in India or those live in the West have legitimate right to concern about it, I have no argument about it. second, in the case of LTTE, they did not have such big hatred toward Sinhalese before 1983. This all began after that year riot in which innocent Tamil were attacked and tamil properties were damaged and Sinhalese politician did not take firm action to prevent it.

    Furthermore, from that year onward, many of the time, when LTTE attack on government or on civilians, Sri lanka army or police have taken revenge on Tamil civilian which is not right. However, lately, govt.. of past and present have addressed theses issues. And lately, LTTE become a problem for Tamil and Sri lanka army and police have become a protector of Tamil.

    Also, keep in mind, all those, years, many incidents took place where neither LTTE nor Sri lanka security forces involved revenge on either side, therefore, there are mysteries that are not resolved.

    Anyway, Both, Tamil and Sinhalese equally suffered and I believe Sri lanka govt.. still will invite the LTTE to join the development of Sri lanka and it is up-to LTTTE to accept it.

  20. jimmy Says:

    Fran
    I understand what you say . sorry man if I hurt you

    Agree with you Jayt what you say . people have to work hard for Peace . I have met wonderful sinhalese people in USA . I had the privilege to live with them , I studied with them . we communicated in English . I had a great time I do not see any difference between Sinhalese and Tamils It is very sad we do not live like this in Lanka .

    People have to work very hard . There are home less, unemployed , poor people in Lanka who need help .
    Whether they live in Kalutura or Point Pedro whether they live in Polanaurwa or Batticaola need help

    People should spend time putting all the energy to resolve poverty, homelesness , housing in Lanka instead wasting time still talking who came first and who came last to Srilanka or try to find fault on other religions or other cultcures

    We all know what happened recently in Aizona . A congress woman and 9 others shot by a man who was influenced by speeches by Right wing politicians eventhough they never advocated viollence
    If any one talk or write against religion or race they should remember what happened to the victims in Arizona

    Dr Martin Niemollar said

    When the Nazis came for the communists,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a communist.

    When they locked up the social democrats,
    I remained silent;
    I was not a social democrat.

    When they came for the trade unionists,
    I did not speak out;
    I was not a trade unionist.

    When they came for the Jews,
    I remained silent;
    I wasn’t a Jew.

    When they came for me,
    there was no one left to speak out.

  21. M.S.MUdali Says:

    What ever the claims made by Sinhalese, the catholic church is firm on their goal. To achive it they manipulate everything. Tamil, Human rights, and other issues will be taken by the Catholic Church.

    In Vanni Catholic Churches are built in most of the villages with the help of the LTTE and the Christian NGOs. Catholic Church suceeded in the separation of Hindus and Buddhists through TAMIL.

    If Catholic Church get an EAST TIMOR in Sri Lanka, then Buddhists have no option but to obey Vatican!

  22. Fran Diaz Says:

    Yes, Jimmy, work hard for Peace.

    Re the1983 Riots that jayt refers to, we would like to reiterate the following points, lest we forget :

    The Cold War between the two Superpowers was on at the time of the Riots. JR who was pro-West & doing great development work for the whole Nation, was contained and removed through the Riots. This shows that the whole incident had far wider ramifications than ‘ethnic based’. Who exactly advised JR to ignore the the Riots for 3 whole days is still unknown.
    Note: Recall too that Lord Mountbatten, who was VR of India during the British Empire days in India, similarly ignored the Hindu/Muslim riots that preceded the formation of Pakistan. About a million people were killed during the Indian riots.

    * At the time of the Riots, the main Opposition in government was the TULF.

    * There were Tamils leading the rioters, among others. Drugs were used on some of the rioters, especially those dressed in
    white Jatawas and tucked up white sarongs to be identified on film as Sinhala people. Films of Riots were shown abroad by
    3 Tamil Ambassadors in UK, Germany & France.

    * No Christian or Catholic Tamils were killed in the Riots, as far as we know. Please correct us if we are wrong.

    * Also, at that time, the festering Caste Issues of Jaffna were never really studied by the Colombo ruling group. The Caste Issues were used as the Anger Base for Jaffna separatism from the rest of Lanka against GoSL. Prior to and during the Riots of 1983, Jaffna Tamils enjoyed all the benefits of Free Education, Free Health Care, etc. provided by the GoSL for the whole of Lanka. They still do.

    * The 1983 Riots were used by Tamil people to start the Tamil Exodus to the West. We can now see what the Tamil Diaspora & the ltte (rump) did/are doing.

    * The 1983 Riots were pre-planned and well planned. The Riot Leaders carried Electoral Lists to identify Tamil homes. The purposes of the Riots were to divide the two communities through hatred, and form Eelam

    * About 300-400 Tamil people from the poor sector were killed, all Hindu Tamils, with a few Sinhala Buddhists.

    * Many Sinhala people risked their own lives saving Tamils & Tamil property.

    So, while the Cold War was on, Sri Lanka could turn neither West nor East. Now that the Cold War is over, can the powers that be leave us alone to be in peace and develop the country. Sri Lanka is a Non-aligned nation, a democracy, and has good social programs in place for all its people.

    We can see from the above facts that the bulk of the Sinhala/Buddhists are not to be blamed for the 1983 Riots which was a pre-planned affair with wide ramifications. Both Sinhala & Tamil communities lost from the 1983 Riots. We might say that the greatest losers were the Sinhala Buddhists, whose good name has been “tarred and feathered” by those who practice telling lies, cheat & deceit.
    Re the 1983 Riots, state the truth clearly with the facts, over and over again, so that all of Lankas people & foreigners know what really happened.
    State the truth so that we may all learn from what happened, and never allow such events to happen again.

  23. Naram Says:

    Prof McLean must read the speech by the US ambassador in Jaffna recently where she recalled how former US Defence Secretary John Foster Dulles’ great grandmother was a pioneer missionary in Jaffna in te 1820s.

    Professor GOmbrich in his book on THeravada Buddhism records how while Missionary schools were being set up in Jaffna for Vellala folks, Methodist priests who were going round Kandyan villages trying to convert the heathen, while enjoying the nights rest at Buddhist temples, taking part in friendly debates on the existence of the GOD above with the Theras. Famously John Doyly the GA , Matara, learnt Sinhala from the Karatota Unnanse.

    I do not blame that but Methodist Priests were writing petitions against the continuing support to the temple under the terms of 1850 Kandy Treaty at the same time while they were getting a salary from the crown.. THat is how the lopsided statepower to a veritable cancer by 1948 with demands against the Independence and 50-50 power sharing by the Vellala minority in Jaffna.

    My point is missionaries in politics or out of it are always exercising subtle power and that is the root cause many of the problems.

  24. jimmy Says:

    Again again and again
    hello My beloved People
    Why are we even discussing this BS who cares ?? 1890s and 1900s my great great grand pas life time
    there are lot if issues problems we need to focus
    Unemployment , homelessness, poverty , Flloods : these are the current issues people are having
    people just want peace . A common man in lanka whether in Gampaha or Jaffna or Anuradhapura just want to have peaceful life, happy life want to eat , have a job and be happy

    let the Younger generation lead the country They all want peace

  25. cassandra Says:

    Professor,

    You certainly did touch on a highly sensitive topic with your previous article. I don’t suppose that was really a bad thing and the question you posed, “Is the Catholic Church the new Whipping Boy?” was very pertinent considering what has been said on this website recently.

    I have long been of the view there are only a few things more effective for rallying support than being able to identify a common enemy. Until May 2009 the LTTE was that ‘enemy’. With its military defeat, it seems there is need for a new ‘enemy’ to fill the ‘vacuum’ it left. It was not surprising then that a strident theme during the Presidential Elections in 2009 was the allegation of ‘an international conspiracy’. Something similar appears to be reflected in these columns. Recently there was one respondent to an article who identified the Western nations, the Catholic Church and India as the three forces posing the greatest danger to the country. For a while, a group vaguely described as the ‘Columbians’ also came in for criticism. Thankfully, the ‘Columbians’ rarely get a mention now.

    It is of course the Catholic Church more than any other party that is consistently targeted with suspicion. There is clear evidence that some Catholic clergy in the North supported the LTTE. But it seems that some are convinced that the Catholic Church as a whole also was behind the LTTE and is engaged in some dark, sinister conspiracy against the country and its Buddhist majority. That belief is clearly difficult to shift.

    You have observed it is a “good thing that ex-General Sarath Fonseka is a Buddhist. Otherwise, some of the readers might conclude that he is a Secret Agent from the Vatican”. I am beginning to wonder whether you may have unwittingly planted the germ of an idea in some silly person’s head and he may soon be saying just that!
    In your previous article you alluded to a recent article on this website alleging the Catholic Church in Canada was trying to revive the LTTE. That proposition was so farfetched as to be risible. As you rightly said, the suggestion was “way out” and “bringing in the Canadian Catholic dimension into play is also ludicrous”.

    Another thing surprised me in connection with that article. As we know, some of the Tamil Diaspora have formed a so-called Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) and have not tried to conceal what they are about. Now, here is a group that is openly trying to revive the LTTE. And yet some people must go looking for sneaky conspirators attempting that! Are we so suspicious and devious of mind and so fond of conspiracy theories that we prefer to ignore the bleeding obvious and look for hidden villains? It is just mind boggling.

    I suppose it must be comforting in a way, to blame external forces for the ills that afflict Sri Lanka. But one problem with constantly blaming others for our woes is that it blinds us to our own failings and we fail to take a good look at ourselves. Critical self examination may well show that the fault is indeed in ourselves. I believe that the greatest dangers facing the country are as much from inside it as they are from external forces.

    I am not suggesting the rest of the world is full of love and affection for Sri Lanka. But it would be just as silly to imagine it is engaged in some diabolical schemes aimed at ruining the country. And it is necessary for Sri Lanka to have the best of relations with all countries, and institutions like the UN. You cannot only expect to enjoy the benefits that membership of the UN brings without also accepting the responsibilities that it entails. Calling the UN Secretary General names does not help nor do rowdy protests outside the UN offices in Colombo. These actions may make for good propaganda at home but the rest of the world is not impressed with such mindless conduct. It ought not to be forgotten that the world does not owe Sri Lanka a living. It needs friends, it needs markets. It cannot afford to alienate anyone.

    Whatever was achieved by militarily defeating the LTTE will come to nought if people do not get a share of a ‘peace dividend’, if meaningful efforts are not made to reach out to the Tamils and the real issues facing the people – the unending rise in the cost of living and the like – are successfully addressed.

    One thing is certain. Nothing will be achieved with the politics of division. So far, it has only led to darkness. If the country chooses to go along the same route again, it will only end up at the same destination.

  26. M.S.MUdali Says:

    Vatican is silent over the involvement of Catholic Church with LTTE. Why? Can these Bishops like Rayappu or Soundaranayakam who are appointed by Vatican, go against the will of Vatican? They carry out what Vatican asked them to do.

    How these catholics always forget to mention Fr.S.J.Emmanuel, former Vicar general of Jaffna and the Head of the Global Tamil Forum based in Europe? He is anotehr appointee of Vatican.

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