The statement by the Tamil Christian priests



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By Nalin de Silva


Two hundred and five Tamil Christian priests in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka including Bishop Rayappu Joseph have written to the members of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) asking for a so called international investigation into alleged war crimes and human rights violation. It is not my intention to analyse the contents of the letter by the priests though invariably I will have to refer to some of its parts. What is important is that we are in the process of creating history and nobody can claim that the existing situation and conditions, should be maintained in the future as well. The present is just another moment and unlike the postmodernists who give much importance to the present, as far as Buddhists are concerned everything is anicca, and present has no significance over the pasts which had been present at sometime in the history. The pasts are also important in creating histories. It is impossible to forget the pasts that have led to the presents as seen b y different people and different groups including ethnic or religious.


The problem with history as in other fields is that there are many histories (not versions of history) and it is not possible to come out with an objective history. If there is no objective physics then the problem of finding an objective history is much acute. However, when there are histories the method of deciding which history is to be accepted is not by applying so called reason but by applying force in almost all the cases. It is well and good if the decision can be made through reasoning but it does not happen even in physics. As Max Planck, who gave the idea of Quantum in the modern sense to the world has observed physicists agree on new ideas not by resorting to reason or to so called empirical evidence but by the older generation passing away. In Physics the physicists do not kill each other but the new generation waits for the older generation to disappear naturally.


I am not an advocate of war but unfortunately history (not in an objective sense) is made by force. We have what is known as the Tamil problem in Sri Lanka but this is not a problem identified by all the parties (stakeholders) the same way, and in that sense there are many Tamil problems. The Tamils identify the problem as that of discrimination by the Sinhalas against Tamils, but the Sinhalas do not agree with that. The Sinhalas have different Tamil problems and one of the problems formulated is that the Tamils are being used by the westerners to weaken if not destroy the Sinhala Buddhist way of living or in one word the culture, and of course the Sinhala Buddhist Chinthanaya. I do not want to justify my claim here but it is doubtful that the Tamil Christian priests who signed the letter will agree with me on most of the things I have said in these columns.


My contention is that there is no so-called international community but what goes by that name is only a bogus international community of western countries and the westerners pretend to be the international community not through any reason (the so-called age of reason in European history written by Europeans is nothing but humbug, which we also had to learn at school) but by the sheer force of media and other instruments including the hegemony of western knowledge, and there are international communities and not one international community as such. The bogus international community or the western international community is the Godfather, in many senses of the word, of Tamil racism and I am not surprised by the letter of the Tamil priests to their Godfather in the west. Incidentally, we are told that all of us are children of God and in the case of Christian priests it should be "more open than usual", as stated in a plaque in Peradeniya when the university was opened by a member of the English Royal family. However, it appears that the Godfather is very much different from the God and the former distinguishes (discriminates) between Tamils and Sinhalas and also Christians and Buddhists. I hope the Bhikkus would not write to the Godfather, but if they decide to write asking him not to hold a so called international investigation would it reach the Godmother, I am not referring to Navi Pillai, let alone the Godfather. The Sinhalas especially the Sinhala Buddhists know that the Godfather is biased, and any so-called international investigation conducted with his blessings would end up with the prosecutor becoming the judge (naduth hamuduruwange baduth hamuduruwange situation). The vast majority of Sinhala Buddhists, except perhaps those who have been conditioned incorrigibly by the English education they received irrespective of the medium of instruction, oppose a so called international investigation. The verdict of such an investigation has already been written as in the case of reports by Navi Pillai and others who come to study the problem and report to the west.


The histories of the Sinhalas and Tamils, which are processes, have been competing with each other at least from the end of the nineteenth century, and as there was no agreement between them, had to be finally decided with arms. Prabhakaran, with the aid of the west and India took up arms in order to settle the issue in "war". Of course, the west pretended to be angels of peace and wanted the Sinhalas and the Tamils to negotiate, however under the auspices of the Godfather. Solheim and others represented the Godfather, and the intention was clear. It was to make the present created by the Godfather in the past, the future as well. In other words the intention was the establishment of an Eelam, and as we understand today a greater Eelam consisting of Tamil Nadu and the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. The Godfather failed, and the LTTE, the agent was defeated in Nandikadal. If it was a mere struggle between the Sinhala opinion and the Tamil opinion it would have ended in the Nandikadal lagoon as in the case of many "wars" in the histories.


It was not to be so, and in spite of the defeat in the Nandikadal lagoon Tamil racism is still alive and kicking hard. It at least convinces most of the Sinhalas that the so-called Tamil struggle is not confined to the Tamils only. As we have said the Tamil problem was created, nurtured and maintained by the west (mainly England), and the latter will make sure that the problem will continue to be with us for some time. If the Nazis had similar Godfathers the so called second world war would have never ended.


The Tamil priests have the following to say in their letter to the Godfather. "At the same time, we are concerned about the post war intensification of systematic efforts to destroy the identity of the Tamil community. This is particularly so by grabbing land for military establishments, development projects and government organized settlement of Sinhalese in the North and East, where Tamils have historically been the majority. The imposition of majority Sinhalese language and majority Buddhist religion in the North and East is another indication of attempts to destroy our identity. There has been no genuine political process to address the root causes of the conflict, which are being aggravated. Thus, there is a need for the international community, through the UN, to find creative ways of assisting Tamils to live in dignity as a nation."


I have several questions to ask these priests and following are just a few of them. Who settled the Tamils in the present Northern and Eastern Provinces and when was it done? How did they become the majority in the Northern Province—they are not in the Eastern Province, even if we go by the demarcation into provinces by the English? The Portuguese tell us that the Sinhalas were the majority in the North when they arrived. How old is the Tamil identity and the Christian identity in Jaffna? What happened to the Buddhist identity in the North? Who destroyed it? Why are the Tamil Christian priests interested in maintaining one ‘present’ and not the other ‘presents’ in the histories? Why do the Tamil Christian priests want to maintain the ‘present’ created by the Dutch and the English?


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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