It was not my original intention to write about callow murder, particularly inside a Catholic Church, on Christmas day. The commemoration of the Nativity of Jesus Christ is universally associated with the bringing of good tidings for all people of goodwill. For Christians, the birth of Jesus was the Advent of the Messiah who had been promised by God to save mankind. Yes, to save even those criminals and cowards who have sought with this despicable act to desecrate the portals of the Catholic Cathedral in Batticaloa on this Christmas day. The vermin who came into a crowded Church to kill a humanitarian activist but also to recklessly injure so many other worshippers, cannot be considered to be a part of civilised human life. The impunity of this attack in the heart of the town in government control smacks of the backing of the armed services. Is a place of worship in Sri Lanka no longer a haven or refuge from the grisly murderers acting on behalf of the Sri Lankan government? Yet, even for those not of the Christian faith and of no faith at all, Christmas is usually related to a period of brotherly love and festive joy.
But in the fetid atmosphere that presently passes off for life and majoritarian hegemony in Sri Lanka, the foul deeds of rancour and murder inspired by Sri Lankan government racist politics do not stop for the season of goodwill. The septuagenarian politician, Joseph Pararajasingham was a decent God-loving human being with not a single bone or tissue in his body, which was disposed to doing any harm or of cruelty to his rivals in politics. Throughout his long service to his fellow citizens, he only exuded moderation and reason coupled with compassion and love. In a country steeped in political murder and endemic violence, Joseph Pararajasingham stood like a beacon for the goodness, kindness and brotherhood that should mark the conduct of relationships between human beings.
Philosophy and religion should normally signify the inner or spiritual attainments of the human mind and for believers, the inner reaches of the human soul. It is indeed craven for a country that proclaims itself a Buddhist nation, supposedly imbibed with the spirit of ahimsa or non-violence of Buddhism, to engage in such wanton killing on Christmas day in the Catholic Church in the quest for Sinhalese Buddhist ethno-racist supremacy. The Sri Lankan government and its armed forces will again attempt to exculpate themselves of responsibility for this heinous crime. But their excuses are starting to wear thin. Their protestations shall not and cannot be believed, as they had both the motive and the circumstances to perpetrate this sordid act and, of course they have previous history of gruesome murders carried out with impunity.
It is not sufficient for the cloak of Buddhism to be worn by their adherents like outer garments to cover the hideous inner self of some of those who practise it. The country is crying out for the majority of its people to abandon their cant and to genuinely practise the tenets of their religious beliefs. The reformation should start with the monks abjuring politics and secular life and dedicating themselves to improving the spiritual quality of their own lives as well as those of their followers.
This killing is not the single dastardly act committed by a madman on the spur of the moment. It is a calculated act of political assassination of Tamil leaders carried out by the government and its unscrupulous surrogates to eliminate the leadership of the Tamil people and to cower them into subjugation. This is what the odious apartheid regime in South Africa did to the leaders of the African National Congress. The roll call of our leaders killed by the Sinhalese is long and painful. We cannot forget the more than 75,000 Tamil victims of this cruel war on our people. The Sinhala establishment and their surrogates have assassinated in so-called peace-time, our top leaders such as Kumar Ponnambalam, Sivaram, and now Joseph Pararajasingham. How much more can we take before they come for us too.!
Let me quote Rev. Martin Niemoller, commenting on events in Germany 1933-1939
They came first for the Communists..
but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews...
but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for the Unionists...
but I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Unionist.
The EU was quick to condemn the LTTE for Kadirgamar's death without a scintilla of evidence and will, I hope, not be acquiescent in the death of Joseph Pararajasingham. The co-chairs of the Sri Lankan peace process will be complicit by their silence, if indeed they choose to do so, in encouraging the Sri Lankan government and its armed forces to terrorise and murder the Tamil civilian population in their homelands. Presently the Sri Lanka armed forces are carrying out a vicious campaign of murder and terror in Jaffna against unarmed civilians and university students. The co-chairs who have their representatives in the country, must know that the Sri Lankan government has unleashed this reign of terror upon the Tamils in contravention of all the provisions of the Ceasefire Agreement in order to subjugate them.
But while the co-chairs seem to want to rush into judgement whenever there is a complaint made by the Sri Lankan government and its Goebbelsian public relations organisations, they have done nothing at all to stop the Sri Lankan government from carrying out these attacks on the civilian population. Where is their moral authority and judgement? Why do they not ban the members of the Sri Lankan government and the armed forces from travelling to their countries? The Tamils have every right to ask themselves whether they should any longer depend on the co-chairs or Western governments to broker peace when they appear to have no sense of fair play or even-handedness in their approach.
The Sinhala Buddhist establishment has been toying with the Eelam Tamil nation, flirting with offers of federalism and equality, primarily for the benefit of the credulous Western governments that have abandoned their ethics or moral values and are willing to be used as pawns by Sri Lanka in their campaign to demonise the Tamil cause.
The Sri Lankan government will continue to play cat and mouse with the Tamils so long as they can use the co-chairs to their advantage. President Mahinda Rajapakse was prepared to jettison the Oslo accord on a federal constitution to win the presidential election, after exciting and exacerbating the massed ranks of extremist Buddhist monks and their febrile supporters to campaign against it.
The Sinhala masses and their political leaders have shown throughout the years that they will not brook any democratic campaign by the Tamils for their political rights. It is an exercise in total futility to depend on the Sinhala polity to negotiate and concede fundamental political rights to the Tamils. The Tamil nation has striven long and hard for a political concordat but the time has now come to tell the Sinhalese, the co-chairs and the world that we shall not stand idly by while our leaders are assassinated and our people terrorised.
Let us remember Joseph Pararajasingham and the values for which he stood, and also note that in the Pantheon of our nation he is another valiant patriot who will never be forgotten. It is up to us to ensure that he did not lose his life in vain. May God bless his soul.
May I wish our readers a happy Christmas and a joyful and peaceful New Year.