Our message on this Christmas eve to all our Christian readers is one of invoking the blessings of the infant Jesus and wishing a very happy Christmas and a joyous and peaceful New Year to everyone. Although Christmas has its obvious roots in the Christian religion, it has now become firmly etched even in non-Christian minds as a time of joy, goodwill, celebration and peace and we wish them all of these things.
In a world that is wracked by anxieties and worries about our own financial stability and about the gathering challenges of recession and possible redundancy affecting us, we need to look beyond the selfishness, excesses and the arrogance of capitalist greed and, instead look for the message of neighbourly love, kindness and generosity that is the hallmark of the message of Christmas. Although peace to all men of goodwill is the eternal message of hope at yuletide, it might also be considered an exhortation or even a divine edict to mankind to settle their differences in a non-violent, just and peaceful manner if we are not to attract the judgement of God.
On an exceptionally joyous day like today when I sat down to send you my sentiments of peace and joy, I am saddened to note that the Sri Lankan government air force has deliberately bombed a Catholic convent of the Holy Cross in Paranthan in northern Sri Lanka with cluster bombs on Christmas eve, causing deaths, injury and widespread damage. This can never have been a justified military target but it is just a house of prayer and service to the people. It is almost as if the Sri Lankan government set out to send a message to the world that it is quite contemptuous about the Christian message at Christmas. It sought to attack with impunity an innocent convent run in the name of the Holy Cross in the Vanni where Catholic nuns were living and teaching.
Earlier the Sri Lankan government did not care to accept the offer of a ceasefire from the Tigers for the period of the Christmas season, to allow the battered people of the Vanni some respite from the war in keeping with the message of Christmas. But this execrable government, comprising and representing the worst elements of Sinhala Buddhist chauvinism, had only murder and terror of the Tamils in its hearts. The roof of the Holy Cross convent was clearly marked with a red cross, but the Sri Lankan military bullies paid no heed to such internationally accepted symbols. It is indeed a poor reflection on the Sinhalese Christian community in the South of Sri Lanka that they do not have the conscience nor the fortitude to protest to the Sinhalese South about such premeditated acts of violence against their co-Christian Tamils. The Dragons among this rabid ultra-nationalistic Sinhala Buddhists will one day devour the same Christian Sinhalese who unconscionably stood by while the Tamil Christians were decimated.
Apart from paying occasional lip-service towards human rights, the rest of the world appears to be indifferent to the genocide that is being conducted by the Sinhala Sri Lankan government, while they maintain all the accoutrements of state and international contact with this appalling government.
We have to go beyond these duplicitous governments and appeal to the public at large, to bring to an end any government links with the murderous and rogue Sri Lankan state. It is evident that the world has always been late to recognize mass rape, torture and genocide as instanced in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda and Darfur and in the Jewish Holocaust by the Nazis. Even after 100,000 innocent Tamil lives have been lost in racist cleansing and almost entirely the whole of the Tamil homeland obliterated by ruthless bombing and shelling, the world has still to bring the Sri Lankan government to account. There are 250,000 hapless Tamils driven out of their homes in the Vanni by the ferocity of the government's bombing and shelling. They have little food and limited temporary shelters. The government hounds and harasses them while they are penned in by the military assaults. It is only the people and politicians of Tamil Nadu who have raised their concerns. The West seems to have lost its sense of moral outrage at this genocide masquerading as a war against terrorism conducted by an unscrupulous Sri Lankan government.
Let us hope that the year 2009 will bring peace, freedom and hope to the Tamils and that the new US administration of President Elect Obama will at long last lead the world in calling the scourge of the Sinhala Sri Lankan war against the Tamils as a
genocidal war of state terrorism.
Ivan Pedropillai B.Sc., M.Sc., FCCA, FCMA
Chief Editor, Tamil Writers Guild, UK
Source: Tamil Writers Guild
Date: 24th December 2008