By Shyamon Jayasinghe –
“To learn to speak up when you are expected to do so and be silent when uncalled is a simple commonsense art that comes naturally to ordinary folk. Persons in dignified positions of society are measured by the people along a scale of following this rule.”
Our Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith holds the highest office in the Catholic Church in our country. By virtue of his position, he holds a direct link to the Holy Sea at Rome. I get the instinct that this gentleman isn’t conscious of his eminent position and doesn’t bear the required dignity of being its incumbent.
Along with other similar religious dignitaries, the broad civil community in our country looks up to persons of his eminence to give leadership in voicing opinion, warning, and advice during times of national crisis. However, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith didn’t see any reason to open up, as all others did, when the President of our country put the island into a total mess by violating the constitution once and twice and three times; appointing a rogue government and sending the legitimate Prime Minister home. Even previous to this, our Cardinal never uttered a word on almost every tragic occasion. Sarath Nanda Silva has been a better boy. On the other hand, recently, we see the Cardinal butting in and needlessly attacking Western countries for interfering in Lankan matters. God knows why he did that at this point in time.
‘Western Power Intervention’
The Cardinal’s speech at a book launch for Revd Banagala is out circulating in video all over the world. Listeners are bemused and I am amused. The Cardinal gets nasty social media comments and this should not happen. Naturally, would this happen when he humbugs about Western power intervention at a mere book launch totally unrelated to the subject of the book. How did Western conspiracy to divide our country come in at this moment in time? There isn’t any such issue at all in public discourse right now. Only Wimal Weerawansa can talk off the tangent as our Cardinal did that evening in Colombo. As indicated above therefore, Malcolm’s intervention was over a non-event. Malcolm Ranjith did have in the past many a desperately needed moment to intervene, which he avoided in silence. To save him discomfort I will not enumerate them.
Malcolm Ranjith has uttered untruths at the launch. He stated that Buddhism is like a big tree and that his religion and other religions are harmoniously coexisting on the branches. This is an utter untruth and even a school kid knows that. Christian evangelists are being charged by Buddhists over alleged attempts to convert. Some Buddhist extremists have burned down such churches sparing the devotees inside. Bodu Bala Sana and the Ravana Balaya, spurred allegedly by Pohottu guys, have pounced on Muslim mosques many a time and burnt them down. In the Kandy District Muslim villages and towons were torched just last year. Is that the perfect co-existence you talk of (Lassanata ekamuthuwen jeewathwenawa) Cardinal?
Isn’t that a lie also with reference to broader inter-community relations? If the different people in Sri Lanka live so harmoniously eating mangoes from the same tree why did the thirty -year war take place-destroying the whole economy and destroying so many lives and billions worth of property?
In fact, the critical problem in our country is that its different peoples cannot regard themselves as one. Extreme Sinhala nationalists think that Sri Lanka is a Sinhala Buddhist country and that other groups have to live in sufferance of that ‘reality;’ one stupid guy in London called Wimal argued that “minorities are our visitors.”
Malcolm Ranjith stated at this point that more than any other religion Buddhism teaches us to live in harmony. He has let down Jesus Christ here by a relative comparison, which is both unnecessary and false. Isn’t he acting demeaningly here to gain popularity points before a dominantly Buddhist audience? Isn’t that cheap? Should the highest dignitary of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka behave so cheaply? Furthermore, isn’t he also underestimating the intelligence of his audience who can smell instantly that the Cardinal was trying to pull their legs?
As far as I know the only situation where Western powers are intervening is on the subject of alleged war-time HR violations. Doesn’t the Cardinal understand that HR violations are an accepted provocation for international intervention? He cannot be ignorant of that as it is pretty much a common experience today.
Hence, the Cardinal was humbugging when he said sometime ago that there is nothing called HR to fuzz about. If a future BBS-type government puts the Cardinal on a burning stake due to his Christianity should he not resort to international intervention over a serious HR violation? Would he, then, tell any Western power to keep off and let him live harmoniously on the mango tree? Or allow him to hang smiling and stoically on the burning stake?
To learn to speak up when you are expected to do so and be silent when uncalled is a simple comonsense art that comes naturally to ordinary folk. Persons in dignified positions of society are measured by the people along a scale of following this rule.
I am afraid, I can give the Cardinal just 5 plus on a scale of ten.