In a previous article it was pointed out why it was important to make the Independence from colonialism meaningful by raising the National Status of Sri Lanka , with one language, one flag, one national anthem, and one official religion as any Nation any where in the World.
It will takes a long time for the people of Sri Lanka to shed their foreign cultural “skin”, to stand up proudly in their own. Nonetheless, they are doing it gradually and if they continue they will be able to shed themselves completely of the foreign “culture skin” with which they had been wrapped during more than four centuries of colonial rule. But Cardinal Malcolm R is up to his neck in the colonial culture which he upholds , and he will sink into it perhaps with some of those he is inviting to follow him and his “fairy tale” religion.
Reading the Cardinal’s submission to the LLRC, one cannot help feeling that it would be better for him to manage his Church affairs with his new Status as Cardinal instead of poking his nose in to secular matters, to put chaos into an already troubled situation as he himself says , “..Sri Lanka should be a secular democracy….”, .
He should revert to his spiritual vocation, where he may render some service to the 7 percent Catholic population who will listen to his homilies spellbound as he is now the direct descendent of Simon Peter the Apostle- the rock on which the Church had been built.
For the rest of the population the Cardinal is only another Catholic priest in a more decorated cassock, and what he says outside his pulpit are irrelevancies that would only damage the Communal harmony of the country.
If we consider the Buddhist Priests his counterparts, though his opposites in every respect yet give spiritual guidance to a larger percentage of the population, the Cardinal MalcolmR has a lesson to learn from them, if he were to be accepted as a spiritual man by the Sinhala Buddhist population in Sri Lanka.
But if they were to go by what Cardinal Malcolm R submitted to the LLRC, he will be considered by them a terrorist like Prabhakrana, wearing a different dress and instead of bombs and guns using words and speech to the same effect in a different sense.
The Buddhist Priests who did not receive from the Colonial rulers or even the Western governments and the media the same respect and reverence the Catholic Priests received, nonetheless, never complained at any time the exodus of Tamils from the North to south for its more acceptable climate, successful business ventures, or to serve the government.
Most of the Tamils who came to south to do their business or in the service of the Government, rarely brought their families. Thus they avoided social contact with the Sinhala people. Nevertheless, the Sinhala people accepted them and often they were invited to their weddings or funerals. The Buddhists also visited the Hindu temples frequently and attended Saraswathi Pooja or sought the blessings of Gana Deyyo. The Buddhist temples also had Devalayas- the Sanctuaries for Hindu Gods.
The Sinhala in south enjoyed celebrating the Sinhala New Year which was also called the Hindu New year. They exchanged sweet meets in celebrating the New Year. The Sinhala shared - Kawun, Kokis, Asmi and Plantains with Tamil people they had accepted as friends, or acquaintances as shopkeepers, or neighbours, and the Tamils in return shared Wade, Murukku and Kadalai wishing each other a happy new year.
Even the Muslim families were not left out. The Muslims also shared their favourite sweetmeat Watalappan a delicious soft cake with the Sinhala and Tamil neighbours .The Sinhala people thus accepted Tamils and Muslims in harmony without show of any dislike or animosity to them. During Sinhala Tamil disturbances some Sinhala families; sheltered the Tamils in their homes.
It is therefore very “unholy” for a Cardinal recently decorated by the Pope in Vatican, to speak critically of the Sri Lanka Governments for the colonisation schemes, which in his words are:
“….The massive colonization schemes undertaken by successive governments after independence, even if they were well-meant, but which did not necessarily respect the pluralities of the ethnic and religious proportions of the Sri Lankan people served rather as irritants than as catalysts for unity, because they were served as an attempt to a gradual breakdown and erosion of the original cultural make-up of these regions…..”.
That colonization was a necessary beginning for the Sinhala in the South and the Tamils in the north to get to know each other, after nearly five hundred years of separation without having any neighbourly contact with each other. The Yoda Ela Scheme and along with it the settlement of the Sinhala families in the north were the pioneer settlers, who were to build a bridge of unity between the Northern Tamils and the Southern Sinhalese.
To say that the colonization did not respect the ethnic and religious proportion of Sri Lankan people and served as an irritant , is a very unintelligent pronouncement which should not have come from a man who claims to be “ the fountain of divine love”. It is for a person like the Cardinal Malcolm R, a holy man, to speak to the people and to bring harmony among the people without taking sides with one community or another.
Cardinal MalcolmR, should explain to them the value of the mixture of different ethnic groups- all children of God, and not to make it a cause for irritation, but an occasion to weld a viable union of understanding. Those would have been “divine words of love”, like the homilies he makes from the pulpit.
But the following extract from your submission to the LLRC is very damaging to the motherland we love. How can Cardinal MalcolmR speak such idiocy
Cardinal MalcolmR says in his submission to the LLRC that:
“……The massive colonization schemes undertaken by successive governments after independence, ………….did not necessarily respect the pluralities of the ethnic and religious proportions of the Sri Lankan people served rather as irritants than as catalysts for unity, because they were served as an attempt to a gradual breakdown and erosion of the original cultural make-up of these regions.”
In saying that did this man, the Cardinal MalcolmR, consider for one instance whether the more than 55 percent of the Tamil population living in the South resulted in a “…..gradual breakdown and erosion of the original cultural make-up of these regions…” . If he does not know, he should recognise even as late as now, that the Tamil people had been accepted by the Sinhala population in the South and they live cordially well, sharing and respecting each others cultural values.
Normally, these type of statements are such as those quite often alluded to the expatriate Tamils, who had never lived with the Sinhala people to understand them really, except to hark back to the July, 1983 as a manthra, to sow seeds of racial hatred towards the Sinhala.
“Sri Lanka has only recently emerged from a long night of darkness and no sane person would wish to return to a similar nightmare. There is much talk of forces outside the country that are determined to act against the country’s interests. If we allow religious discord to grow, we will only be playing into the hands of those same forces.”
The above comment was taken from elsewhere in the Lankaweb. It is an area in which the Cardinal MalcolmR should act as a catalyst to bring sanity in the minds of those forces outside our country by explaining to them, the necessity to help Sri Lanka to develop as a Nation, without making attempts to destabilise the country.
This as a message he can send to every Church in the world requesting them to inform its congregation. That would be a crusade for reconciliation, and save Sri Lanka from wilful damage.
The catalyst of unity between the people in the North and East and those in the south should be the Catholic Church. The Cardinal Malcolm R should know that better, because if he is a “chosen man” who has real “divine love” within him, he should know that all people irrespective of the ethnic differences are “ the children of God”- for him the Sinhala Buddhists may therefore be the “sheep” that had wandered away:
In the Parable of the Lost Sheep in Matthew 18:12-14, it is said, “What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go look for the one that wandered off? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth: he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.”
The parable can of course be interpreted in different ways, but in the context of the situation involved, the nonbelievers-the Sinhala Buddhists, could be the “sheep” to which it refers.
The coming together of people of different ethnicity is a cultural mixture that should be encouraged in the context of the cultures of our different communities in Sri Lanka, specially between the Tamils and the Sinhala.
“It is the foreign culture that had been forced on us for nearly 500 years along with a religion which is in no way related either to the Tamil culture or that of the Sinhala culture that may have eroded the cultural make up of the north and east.
Therefore, “…the erosion of the cultural make up of the north and east by colonisation of the Sinhala in the areas”, is a fallacious statement of the Cardinal MalcolmR to create fear and hatred in the minds of the Tamil people of North and East, against the Sinhala people who may decide to go to those areas to live. And for which they have every right.
Cardinal Malcolm R, says “….We as Christians submit these specific recommendations to this Commission with the fervent hope that they will be considered seriously in order to heal the wounds of a painful conflict which traumatized our homeland for over thirty years, and to lay the foundation for a solid sense of peace and harmony in the future.”
We are afraid that from what we have seen so far in the Cardinal MalcolmR’s submission to LLRC, it is far from being an attempt to”….lay the foundation for a solid sense of peace and harmony in the future..”, but on the other hand it seems to be the same attempt that the terrorists made for 30 years with their guns and bombs to establish their Tamil homeland” , but without the guns and bombs by the Cardinal MalcolmR.
After his submission on Colonization he goes on to education stating that, …
“……..a system of value education, through the dissemination of religious precepts found in the four major religions practiced in this country , and through the inculcation of values such as tolerance, respect for other's rights, compassion, non-violent communication and non-violent conflict resolution, politics which does not harbour communal hate and a comprehensive programme of life-skills training for children and youth, any future resurgence of hate, division and terror should be effectively prevented….”
The educational system of Sri Lanka cannot be blamed for terrorism or any other type of armed rebellion. There are other factors that draw groups of people to “terrorism” such as being manipulated into religious or political extremism.
Of course a better system of education should be found in separating the education system for lay students from the education system for the monks or other religious orders. In this respect the Catholic Church has its Seminaries, which unfortunately is not the same case with regard to the Buddhist monks, whose monastic-Pirivena education system had been disastrously substituted to admitting Buddhist monks to the Universities. That is a question that should be urgently attended to by the Government and the Nayaka Theros of the Asgiriya and Malwatte.
I agree with the Cardinal Malcolm R, on the subject of legalising gambling- If the Gaming Special Provision Bill recently enacted in the Parliament is to close illegal gambling houses, and attract tourism, it is wrong to have legalised gambling. The tourists coming to Sri Lanka for a Vacation should be given a Sri Lankan experience different from what is already available in the West and provided in their holiday resorts. Illegal gambling houses should be raided by the police, and closed by other legal provisions.
But his submission promoting trilingual education is short sighted, and affects the aspiration of a Sri Lankan Nationhood. The Official language should remain Sinhala. But a student at a pre-university entrance education level, for instance at GCE Ordinary Level, should be allowed to study, or make it obligatory to pass in two languages first the Official Language and the other a language of choice. English should be made the optional language. This should be looked into in depth.
If the problem is communication between the Government and the people and vice-versa , all candidates for Government Service Examinations should be required to pass an examination in Tamil. That would then be a requirement for Sinhala Candidates only.
Official National language should give the sense of belonging to the Nation to which one is born. It should not be accepted as making the person whose mother tongue is different from the Official language a second class citizen. It is the mental attitude that had been created by the self ambitious politicians, media and racist Tamils.
It is here the Catholic Church should move in as a conciliatory factor, to explain and make the Tamil people understand that accepting the Official language is by no means a confiscation of their rights as full citizens of Sri Lanka their motherland..
Then again the Cardinal MalcolmR, comes back to the question of colonization stating:
“It is observed by many that there are attempts made in the Northern & Eastern areas with new settlements to change the demographic situation of the people. This could be a dangerous trend if it is not addressed, unless the people are allowed to move in and move out in the proper way, without any colonization as such with or without the government approval. Because what can happen is, that there can be a psychosis or fear of a cultural invasion of villages and areas of the country considered to be predominantly of one group or the other. This can cause frictions and unnecessary clashes.”
This is an absurdity, just showing to what an extent the Cardinal Malcolm R, had been influenced by the terrorist Prabhakaran’s call for a separate Eelam State, if it is other wise how could he have said:
“,….there can be a psychosis or fear of a cultural invasion of villages and areas of the country considered to be predominantly of one group or the other. This can cause frictions and unnecessary clashes.”.
Here I have to repeat what I had said before, that the 55 percent or more of Tamils living in the South has created an example of harmonious living together with the three main Communities Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim. In that situation why cannot we copy this model in the South in the North and the East ?
It should be mentioned that at no stage in the reconciliation process should the July,1983 taken as the point of departure. July 1983 incidents were a prearranged well prepared situation created by an interested India, with its RAW taking over a group of disgruntled youth ( you get them any where, in any country), brain washed them against the Sinhala Governments, and trained them as “terrorists” in a jungle clearing in South India:
“ Indian Prime Minister VP Singh said in front of Jain Commission in Nov. 1996 about the forming LTTE terrorist network 1983. Mr. Singh said,” First batch of training of Sri Lankan Tamil militants was done by India in 1983 under the orders of then Prime Minister (Late) Mrs. Indira Gandhi. The camp was located at Chakrata, Tamil Nadu”
RAW released these terrorist group in the North, “ The events dubbed Black July began after members of the rebels Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the Tamil Tigers or the LTTE) organization ambushed a military convoy in the North of Sri Lanka on the evening of July 23, 1983 outside the town of Jaffna in the North of Sri Lanka.”(Wikipedia). Thirteen policemen had been assassinated and their fingers cut to remove the rings they were wearing.
This had been planned to instigate the anger of the Sinhala in the south, to make them start a back lash against the Tamils, which would leave a permanent scar in the minds of the Tamil people. The RAW succeeded very well in their sordid manipulation, resulting in the Sinhala people as a whole became to Tamils who left the Island directly from Jaffna, as the racist murderers and Sinhala supremacists, chauvinists and all the rest. That was also a situation for the Tamil politicians and other interested Tamils to ask for separation from the Sinhala racists.
That was all a well planned act which provided the desired results for all anti Sri Lankans, and for them to create what is now called the “ ethnic problem ”. The Communal hatred began in the North where the Cardinal Malcolm R’s Church was very active, and the terrorists at least most of the leaders were Catholic or Christian.
And when the Cardinal speaks of an education system he has to take the responsibility for what he says, as his Church and Christian schools in the North provided the education he pontificates below. Things may have been different if the Catholic Church thought about such an education system thirty years ago:
“Through a system of value education, through the dissemination of religious precepts found in the four major religions practiced in this country , and through the inculcation of values such as tolerance, respect for other's rights, compassion, non-violent communication and non-violent conflict resolution, politics which does not harbour communal hate and a comprehensive programme of life-skills training for children and youth, any future resurgence of hate, division and terror should be effectively prevented.”
However, “ The Catholic Sacrament of Reconciliation (also known as the Sacrament of Penance, or Penance and Reconciliation) has three elements: conversion, confession and celebration. In it we find God's unconditional forgiveness, and as a result we are called to forgive others.”
Would it therefore, not be timely that instead of talking of separation of the communities, they are brought together forgetting the past applying the “Catholic Sacrement of Reconciliation.” ?
One word in Conclusion. Reconciliation is not separation . It is to bring into agreement or harmony; make compatible or consistent. Therefore in the process of reconciliation of the Tamils and the Sinhala there should not be conditions , there should not be a political devolution, there should be instead an attempt to reconcile the “hostile” parties, win them over to friendliness, make them become amicable.
Shouldn’t that be the Crusade of the Cardinal MalcolmR ?