3 December, 2020

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A Reflection On The Attack On Jaffna University Students

By Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda

Fr. Sarath Iddamalgoda

There has been a military-police attack on Tamil residents attending commemorative events for their dead in the North. Other similar incidents were reported from Mannar as well. Two catholic priests have received orders prohibiting the celebration of Mass.

Some of the dead that the Tamil people commemorate no doubt may have been the Tigers or the LTTErs, who were perhaps their family members or their kith and kin.

Could a ritual – lighting of oil lamps be a threat to the country’s security? How can such religio-cultural annual commemorative events be prohibited? Holding such events serves a human need to release a person’s emotional burdens accumulated due to the loss of one’s dear ones.

Does commemoration by their comrades of the dead JVPers who took up arms against the State, cause a threat?

What Sri Lanka should earnestly seek in the post war area is reconciliation. Such attacks unfortunately lead only to generate contrary results eg. further alienation of the Tamil youth. Alienation of youth could one day be a security threat. If that happens again in the North, as in 1971 and 89-90 period in the south, the government should take the blame.

The attacks on the students point to the fact that the government is not interested in reconciliation. This is what is reflected in the move to abolish the 13th amendment. The devolution of power has been accepted as a solution to the problem from the time of Bundaranaike and Senanayaka.

It was also a promise made by the President Rajapaksha on several occasions. But unfortunately, he seems to go back track. What we witness now is not sharing of power but greater centralization of power. The attack on the judiciary is one more step in that direction. This is not a healthy phenomenon.

As it has been mentioned in the LLRC recommendations, the national war has been a creation of power hungry political leaders. The politicians are not interested in working out a solution.

Our country needs honest leadership. What we have in the country at present are opportunists and politicians who are corrupt to the core. A way for them is to create LTTE or Tamil diaspora phobia among the gullible population.

The national issue for them is only a political tool to remain in power or come in to power. They would betray religion, language, national flag or even the people for their selfish ends namely to seek more power and wealth.

Therefore we should not depend on these politicians and should not expect solutions from them.

However there are positive signs emerging. Unlike in the past the students of other universities in the South have stood in solidarity condemning the attacks on the Jaffna university students. This solidarity is a sign of hope for future.

Also, the leadership role played by Ven Sobitha of Naga Viharaya Kotte, the FUTA and Lawyers for Democracy on current issues, ought to be appreciated. People of this country expect a greater contribution from them to bring the country out of this mess.

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    Thanks Fr.

    “.. there are positive signs emerging. Unlike in the past the students of other universities in the South have stood in solidarity condemning the attacks on the Jaffna university students. This solidarity is a sign of hope for future…” – hope this grows.

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      Do

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    True. This stupid govt blows up even a simple issue of lighting a lamp into a major ethnic issue. It shows how petty minded and vindictive our leaders have become. Attacking young students is not the way to develop this nation.

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    Thanks for this Father! Very true analysis but the Rajapassa regime is too crude, nasty and brutish to grasp the fact that its military repression generates violence and Lanka has come a full circle – almost back to July 1983 in just 3 years after the end of the murderous Prabanakan, under the murderous Rajapassa brothers..

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    The tendency to keep going at all Tamil activities in the N/E is based
    on a hidden agenda of none other than a Gotaffi-cum-Rohana Program to
    crush all that the Tamils cherish – their culture and religion,in all
    devious ways, using the Sinhala Forces. The Sinhala Voter does not
    understand this yet. The diaspora-billa will be the next item in local
    election campaigns!

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    Once again, dear Fr. Immalgoda, you speak loud and clear across the ethnic-racial cleavage for justice to a section of your people – long marginalised by designn for naked political gain. Thank you.

    Politicians have benefited but the country and its necessary unity has been ruined. But despite all the gloom and trickery, there is hope – ordinary Sinhala people in the South are waking upto reality. It is time the heirarchy of the Buddhist clergy, representing over 75% of the population, too come out of clover and speak for justice. It is time they admitted and proclaimed, as President Rajapakse so often does, the Tamil people are their people too. There in lies, I humbly believe, the path to peace.

    Senguttuvan

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    Correction – The salutation should read as Father Iddamalgoda. Humble apologies. Senguttuvan

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    The problem appears to be with the army and police,who appear to have appointed themselves as ‘supervisers’ of the tamils in the north and ensure their subserviance to the military regime headed by the military governer.
    The government turns a ‘blind eye’ to this situation.

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    Thank you Fr. Iddamalgoda. At a time the Sri Lankan Catholic Church shows little concern to the sufferring Tamil issue your voice gives consolation to us the ‘voiceless’. Please enlighten our Sinhalese Christian brothers and sisters during your homilies to the fact what their Tamil brothers and sisters are undergoing under the brutality of this Rajapakse government.

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      I apologise for the ommission. Please read my comment above as… ‘As a time the Sri Lankan Catholic Church(except Bisops of Mannar and Jaffna)shows…..

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    Rev Fr Iddamalgoda I would have agreed with you if the security forces have acted harshly on Tamils who were remembering their dead had it happened on any other day. Why did they choose to remember their dead on the day nominated by the LTTE as their Martyrs’day?

    No right thinking Tami or Sinhalese or Muslim would like to go back to the days of the Tigers. November 27 is the day of remembrance marked by Tigers whenn they ruled over the hapless Tamils of North East Sri Lanka.

    Only die-hard Tigers and their sympathisers will mark that day as the day of remembrance for their dead. Not others. If anyone really wanted to mark a day as a day of remembrance for the Tamils who died during the Eelam war it should be May 19th or another day closer to that day when Eelam war ended.

    Father I could understand your kindness and compassion for the
    Tamils and as a Tamil I am thankful to you. Sinhalese like you should act as a bridge between the two communities. But please don’t be gullible and believe the pro-LTTE propaganda.

    Security forces cannot be blamed for trying to nip in the bud any resurrection of the LTTE and their murderous past. Mahinda Rajapakse on the other hand should realize that it is his failure to resolve the outstanding problems of the Tamils that is making the Tamils feel hopeless. He should be blamed if there is any resurrection of the LTTE.

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    In case reader Naga’s comments are not misunderstood by the Sinhala and other audience to give rise to the question if the Memorial week could not have been held during some other months, please allow me to add the ancient Kaarthigai Theepam (lights) ceremonies fall in the Roman/Western Calender months of the last weeks of November – during which period, coincidentally, VP appears to have been born. Whether alleged residual Tiger interests engineered to make this week one that will spill into disorder, violence and hardening of feeling between the two major communities is a matter of debate.

    Senguttuvan

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    well said Senguttuvan.Americans or British would never let remeber the Al Qaida deaths on a day set up by the terrorists.We cannot let LTTE propaganda back again as the destruction they have done was immense.I lost many of my my family mambers brutally killed by LTTE by a bomb attack and never want to see people remeber these ruthless killers who killed many many civilians cold bloodedly.As a Catholic I am very sad about the stand of our Church too.

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    The only dissent appears to be the argument as regards to the chosen date for the candlelit vigil, which was the reason for the banning of this public show of support albeit in an enclosed University context where there was no threat of violence or spilling into such.

    It would have been better if Tamil police were used instead, advising the people in Tamil to disperse as it is not appropriate to use a date designated as an LTTE date of remembrance. They could have been asked to hold it the following day instead, and commemorate Karthigai Theepam with the apt candle light vigil.

    It is compromise that is needed, not to fight a lighting match with gruesome unprovoked violence.

    Clearly MR wants a fight, to show he is boss of the Victors, thereby besmirching the religion he professes to adhere to.

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    “Could a ritual – lighting of oil lamps be a threat to the country’s security? How can such religio-cultural annual commemorative events be prohibited?”

    You are free to lighting of oil lamps at your homes, no one would stop you for that. However, doing such things in public will create chaos. It will take the young people’s attention from the education to something useless and dangerous. We have experienced this uselessness for decades, no more please. I agree Tamils need freedom in their own country, but please do not bring Prabhakaran or Tiger flag, it will harm you more than up lifting you.

    The Tamils have lost everything since they have allowed India to equip the criminals with arms to fight for their freedom. The genuine freedom fight was hijacked by India for its own interests. Prabhakaran was a criminal, wanted by the Sri Lankan police for smuggling and murder chrages. The Sri Lankan government could not put Prabhakaran in jail, because India gave refuge to him and made sure he becomes an incurable cancer for the Tamils and Sinhalese. India’s refuge made Prabhakran as one of the most dangerous man in the world. India made the Tamils and Sinhalese to suffer by equipping the uneducated criminals.

    Nelson Mandela wanted to take up arms to fight for his people’s freedom, but fortunately the South African government put him in jail. This has changed everything, it made Nelson Mandela to choose non violence method for his people’s freedom. The South African jail made Nelson Mandela as a wise leader. Today the South Africans have their freedom, at the same time Nelson Mandela became one of the most respected leader in the world. There is no comparison between Mandela and Prabhakaran or Ghandi and Prabhakaran. Last week the Tamils commemorated defeated Tamil Tigers, and celebrated Prabhakaran’s birthday. I really feel sorry for the followers who gave-up their lives, especially for the young people, they have wasted their lives. However, these events are creating more disaster for the Tamils, it will drove the Tamils away from their rights and freedom. These events are clearly proving that the Tamils have not learned anything from the past, but they are still under the grip of India and the Western Countries. I am a Sri Lankan Tamil, I have an Australian business degree and done lots of research about world history and politics. My research is equal to two Phd’s, but the Tamils do not want to listen to me, even if they want to listen to me the Westerners and Indians won’t allow them. The Westerners know how to divide others, the Indians follow the Westerners. The Tamils are to be blamed for their current status in their own country. This is the outcome when you listen to the foreigners and kill or ignore your own intellectuals. Sadly, history is repeating itself, but the Tamil leaders believe something new is happening. China and India are the future superpowers, they will never allow the Tamils to get Eelam under any circumstance, if they do it will set the precedent to divide their own countries. The Westerners are using the Tamil diaspora leaders to create a drift in South East Asia, but the Chinese leaders are too smart for this trick.

    I urge the Tamils to stay away from the LTTE and remove Prabhakaran’s picture and Tiger flag from your minds, houses and offices. The Tamil Armed groups have killed thousands of innocent people, intellectuals and political leaders more than al-Qaeda. The Armed Groups have been eating your dignity, rights and freedom. You are not better off since they have taken the arms, in fact they have taken you backward. They only served India’s and the Western countries’ interests at the expense of innocent Sri Lankans. I urge you to build your leadership which has been destroyed by the Tamil armed groups. Create a think tank website for the Tamils, listen to the Tamil intellectuals, rather than listening to the foreigners. Do everything to get back your dignity, rights and freedom. Remember, late is better than never.

    I also urge all the Sri Lankans who have been affected by the Tamil Armed Groups to sue India and the Western Countries. India is liable for creating the Tamil armed groups, and the Western Countries are liable for making them as the most dangerous terrorist groups in the world. The Western Countries knew how much money have been poured into the LTTE by the Tamil diaspora, but did nothing. Canada banned the LTTE in 2006, but millions of dollars poured into the LTTE in 2007 and 2008. The CSIS knew everything, but did nothing. The Westerners are happy as long as the rest of the world is divided, kill each other and the West get to talk about war crimes, democracy and human rights to undermine others. The Westerners are only 8% of the world population, therefore they will do everything to divide others, in order to rule the majority.

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    Ranbanda – I differ with you in the accomodative culture of the British and the Americans. Remember, Muslims in New York are proceeding with building a large Mos

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    Ranbanda – I differ with you in your understandng of the general accomodative culture of the British and the Americans. Remember, Muslims in New York are proceeding with building a large Mosque on Ground Zero – yards away from the very spot the Twin Towers were brought down by Al Qaeda. When civil society protested to NYC Mayor Bloomberg to refuse this he did not agree. There is every reason to believe once the Mosque comes up Mullahs and Muslim adherents will mourn the death of those men who carried out the attack. That appears to me to be the highpoint of intellectual tolerance where even Karl Marx was allowed the facilities of the British Library in London to pursue his research for the very destruction of the economic system
    centred on private enterprise – that Britain was zealously protecting then as now.

    Such sublime culture can only flow from a high sense of education – centred on a religious platform based on compassion and tolerance. In the nature of matters here, it is unlikely we will see it here in the present or the next few generations.

    Senguttuvan

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    True justice is possible only when the people who rule and those under their power, have a common and genuine goal of seeking and finding the truth. Then, the people become rational beings, with a will to reason, with truth and justice.

    Is the government of Sri Lanka(GOSL), truthful to its citizens, the International Community(IC) and the UN about LTTE funds?

    The LTTE was running the de facto state of Tamil Eelam(TE), incurring expenses such as paying public servants, running hospitals, caring for the orphans, promoting agriculture and development etc; which are the normal activities of any state.

    This required money. The LTTE members in exile and other well wishers contributed financially to do these tasks and to defend the territory of the de facto state.

    Mostly, the weapons the LTTE used were captured or bought from the army of SL.

    The GOSL knew all these things and signed a Ceasefire Agreement with LTTE and held “Peace Talks” with it.

    And this is the absolute truth.

    But, the GOSL lied to the IC, the UN and to the citizens of SL that the LTTE funds were used only to buy weapons for “terrorist” purpose. This helped the GOSL to shut voices, commit war crimes and Tamil genocide.

    The truth and justice from the rulers of SL is only mouth deep, does not exist in their hearts and certainly not in the work of their hands. This scourge should be eradicated once and for all.

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