16 July, 2019

Blog

The Cardinal’s Prayer & The Politicians Response 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith expressed the sentiments that are with most Sri Lankans today irrespective of their ethnicity or religion. At the reopening of St Anthony’s Church, Kochchikade, which was one of the two Catholic churches that were heavily damaged in the suicide bomb attacks on Easter Sunday, he said that many people in the country are living in confusion in the aftermath of the attacks and are wondering whether the country can overcome the situation. He said “What we need is a leadership that will work for the country rather than themselves. A leader with a backbone who will not protect the guilty. A leader who is not afraid to punish wrongdoers.” He added that the country needed leaders who would safeguard the rights of the people and would provide for economic upliftment. “These are the kind of leaders that the country needs today. We pray that there will be such leaders.”

As the most prominent Catholic leader in the country today, the Cardinal’s words will carry weight on their own. Sri Lanka is a country where people give deference to religious clergy who are trusted by the communities as having the people’s interests in mind rather than how to obtain their votes. The Cardinal’s words have even greater weight at the present time as he speaks as the voice of those 259 persons who are no longer on this earth, having lost their lives in the bombings that took place in two Catholic churches and four other locations, including one evangelical Christian church. Cardinal Ranjith said the Islamist extremists who staged the suicide attacks against three churches and three luxury hotels were misguided youth who will have no place in heaven. “The innocent victims who died while in church are now angels in heaven.”

The Cardinal’s words take on urgency and relevance because the 259 who lost their lives should not have died at all. There needs to be accountability on the part of all those who failed in their duty to safeguard the lives of people who depended on them for their safety. The ongoing proceedings of the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) into the reasons for the failure to prevent the attacks have disclosed that for several years prior to the Easter Sunday bombings, there were intelligence reports about the mobilisation of Islamist extremism in some parts of the country. Those who eventually organized the suicide bombers had been engaging in extremist party politics and befriending political leaders who wanted to get the votes to which these extremists had access. The political leaders may also have wanted to use them as instruments to weaken their local political rivals.

Basic Failure 

According to the basic principles of political science, the primary purpose of the state is to have a monopoly on the use of coercive force and use it to protect the people. By that standard, the responsibility for the death of the 259 will fall upon those political leaders who were, and remain, in charge of the highest offices of state. The revelations at the PSC hearings have disclosed how the supreme body vested with protecting the people’s security, the National Security Council, was virtually non-functional during the crucial period leading up to the Easter Sunday bombings and did not take up these issues. The time period includes the 52 day period of the constitutional coup, which saw President Maithripala Sirisena sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his government, and appoint former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister of a new government. During that period too, the National Security Council failed to take up these issues, which added to the vulnerability of national security.

Security forces personnel who served on the ground have said that post-2015 period was one that saw an escalation of militant activism by members of the radical Muslim groups, such as the National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) in those pockets in the Eastern Province in which Muslims are a local majority. The NTJ members, or those who eventually became its members, attacked other Muslim groups. They used to fire their weapons in their training camps. The field commanders of the security forces would have routinely sent in their reports to their superiors. These incidents of militant Islamists using Sri Lankan territory to conduct their own military training would have been reported up the chain of command of the security forces but to no avail. They were not given orders to either arrest the militants or to search the areas in which they live for arms.

Unfortunately, the government has still not given its response as to how it will ensure that the terrible and terrific mistakes of the past will not be repeated. Instead, the president together with the opposition want the PSC shut down on the basis that it is letting out state secrets and undermining national security. The irony is that those who neglected national security should now make national security the reason to shut down a mechanism that is exposing how the government failed to uphold the most basic of the state’s duties to its people. As a result of this neglect, 259 people lost their lives and 500 others were injured. The primary duty of those who govern is to ensure that the rights of the people are safeguarded, and most of all their safety is assured. Unfortunately the primary task of those who currently govern Sri Lanka, or seek to govern it, appears to be to win elections at any or all costs.

Flawed Strategies 

Instead of working together for accountability and justice, what is happening is a major political tussle between the different political actors who seem to show no interest in ensuring accountability of those who are responsible for dereliction of duty that facilitated the Easter Sunday attack taking place. Both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe are called upon, in the midst of this current crisis, to work together to resolve the outstanding issues and put a new framework of counter-terrorism laws approved by parliament. However, the president has stated that he will not preside over cabinet meetings nor will he sign cabinet papers that will make them law. In addition, the president is threatening to continue his boycott of the cabinet meetings until the PSC in its present form is halted. It is the country and people who will be negatively affected as a result due to the paralysis of government.

In an unfortunate indicator that partisan politics is motivating such decisions, there are reports coming in that the President is contemplating a non-binding referendum on the issue of whether or not to dissolve parliament before the presidential elections. Having created the problem of government paralysis by refusing to attend cabinet meetings and failing to come up with an action plan to prevent a recurrence of the failure of the Nations Security Council of which is he the chairperson, the president is trying to change the constitution through a non-binding referendum. However, the constitution clearly says that parliament can only be dissolved four and a half years after the elections of the new parliament. This means that the current parliament can run until February 2020.

It is strange to call a referendum to see if an existing constitutional provision may be overridden without even checking to see if a majority in parliament is in favour of this. A non-binding referendum would be meaningless in a context in which a 2/3 majority in parliament is an absolute requirement for any change of constitutional provision. An additional factor that goes against having a non-binding referendum is its cost, which will be in the region of half a billion rupees. The government could better utilise these resources to secure the future of the 259 innocent families who lost their loved ones and the 500 others who were injured as a result of government failure to discharge its most basic duty. Cardinal Malcom Ranjith’s prayer will need to be answered if Sri Lanka is to overcome the mis-governance it is being subjected to.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 9
    1

    It is beyond me as to why reference to the bombings is confined to the ‘two Catholic Churches’ and it does not seem important that the Christian Church in Batticaloa namely Zion Church is completely ignored when over a hundred young lives were taken there?

    • 16
      1

      Cardinal Malcolm is not a saint as what is being portrayed. He is an anti-Tamil racist who as a priest instilled racism in the minds of Sinhala Catholics, who never caused any harm to Tamils even in 1983. He had gone far to protect Sinhala war criminals who had committed atrocities on Tamils which have been proved with evidence. He is a lackey of Mahinda and remained silent on human rights violations carried out by the then government such as abduction, murders and disappearances. He wants Mahinda to come back to power and is trying to cover up Mahinda’s involvement in the bombings. He says that those Muslims who carried out bombings are misguided youth, but he never said the same for LTTE and was in collusion with government in getting rid of them extra judicially. He has no respect among Tamil Catholics

      • 12
        1

        Cardinal Malcolm is first a Sihalese and then a Catholic. As a Catholic he appears to pray for the welfare of the Sinhalese more than the Tamils. He acts in concurrence with Mahinda rather than with Mary. If there is a dispute between the Sinhala Buddhists and Tamil Catholics- right or wrong he will support the Sinhala Buddhists . I think we are giving too much of prominence to Cardinal for no good reason..

        • 4
          0

          Quote ” The Beast” available at Godage Publishers.

          I am a Tamil and then a Catholic. – S.J.Emmanuel
          Then he prays for a Seperate state Eelam and welfare of tamils.
          Duped the Tamil Youth and children saying they were the Army of Christ.
          Suicide bombers were martyrs.
          Supported terrorists killing border villagers, Pregnant women and children and killed Buddhist monks.
          Northern catholic Clergy acted in concurrence with Prabakaran rather than Jesus.

          • 2
            1

            Thondamany

            “Duped the Tamil Youth and children saying they were the Army of Christ.
            Suicide bombers were martyrs.”

            Did he say 72 virgins were waiting to entertain LTTE suicide bombers or being member of Army of Christ would send the recruiter straight to heaven?

            “Supported terrorists killing border villagers, Pregnant women and children and killed Buddhist monks.”

            This is contemptible cowardice.
            Did/do you record, react, …. contempt similar massacres encouraged by the saffron clad thugs since Dutta Gamani’s time?

        • 6
          2

          K. Anaga – Cardinal Malcolm is Medamulana Meeharaka Percy Mahendra Rajafucksha’s ass licker. Everything he does is with the concurrence of Ali Baba!

          • 2
            1

            mike

            “Cardinal Malcolm is Medamulana Meeharaka Percy Mahendra Rajafucksha’s ass licker”

            He also carries a little Sinha/Buddhist lion in his tummy which attempts to jump out regularly. Therefore no wonder he is trying to fit in with fellow Sinha/Buddhist lion carriers.

        • 0
          0

          I wouldn’t get to hung up if Cardinal is praying for his own flock. If Cardinal’s praying for his own flock works it certainly missed the mark and this seems to be happening all over the planet regardless of billions are praying for myriads of deities’s .
          Use a example from Sam Harris if Cardinal were to choke on piece of fruit while eating and one asks him His eminence “Would you like me to pray to your higher power to intervene and save you or shall I use the Heimlich manure” what would you think he will choose?”

    • 0
      0

      Perhaps he thinks that they worship a ‘lesser God’. Shame on him!

  • 2
    1

    All this is because of religion even the rev. Cardinal is propagating. Historically millions have been killed in the name of religion. Crusades and Inquisition. We know how the Portuguese spread Christianity in Srilanka. If not for barbaric Western invasions there wouldn’t have been Christians in Srilanka. What Karl Marx and Einstein said about religion and God stand good to date. Marx.. ”Religion is the opium of the people”. Einstein on God….”. The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses, ”etc

    • 2
      1

      Upali, Instead of repeating the well worn myths, it would be good to see things in true perspective. I know it is fashionable to speak of the alleged wars waged in the name of religion but please remember that Hitler who is blamed for starting World War II was not a Christian or claimed affiliation with any religion. Nor were Joseph Stalin or Pol Pot or Mao Tse Tung who were responsible for the deaths of millions. And, don’t be so sure that we would not have had Christianity in SL if not for the Portuguese invasion. How, for instance, did Islam get to the island? And just because Karl Marx is reported to have said that religion is the opiate of the masses, why must we accept that as true? I could just as well argue, based on how communism swept across Europe seducing people with this new creed, that communism was an even more potent opiate of the masses!

      • 1
        0

        Fred,
        As for me Communism too is a religion now beeing discarded like increase in non believers.

        • 0
          0

          Just like what Malcolm Ranjith once said, that “human rights” constitute a new religion of the West

    • 1
      2

      Upali,
      ” We know how the Portuguese spread Christianity in Srilanka. If not for barbaric Western invasions there wouldn’t have been Christians in Srilanka. ”

      We know how Sangamitta spread Buddhism in Ceylon (Eelam – If that too is not myth). If not for barbaric Vijeya and the rowdy 700 animal births invasion there wouldn’t have been Sinhala Buddhism in Eelam.

      • 1
        0

        Mallaiyuran,

        From what ever quarter it comes the West, Middle East or India Opium is Opium.

    • 1
      1

      My dear Upali,

      If not for barbaric Western invasions there wouldn’t have been Christians in Srilanka.”
      I F not for Western barbarians your ancestors would have remained as tree climbers and your females would not be allowed to wear blouses. Fact
      Learn to be grateful for what you have

      • 1
        0

        A N Other
        Follow the West. Drugs are being legalized and homo sexuality the same. Churches are sold to pubs for lack of participants non believers on the ascendance. We are fools to close our liquor shops on religious days when its open house in the west.Israel is grabbing land of Muslims and killing them all in the name of religion.Its very difficult to get out of addiction. Its the same with Opium and religion.

      • 0
        1

        A.N.Other,
        I agree with you totally. Otherwise who taught Buddhist priests child molestation, sexual misconduct etc. Credit to invaders.Scores of Christian clergy in the West are under investigation for child molestation and sexual misconduct helplessly watched by God and inaction by The Pope. You know who is Pelp now spending jail time in Australia and why.Our females were safer bare bodied before the western invaders.

      • 0
        0

        A.N.Other,

        Probably Westerners lent their women’s blouses to our women. Now they have made it big business selling topless women in Las Vegas ,42nd street , Soho and piccadilly in London, Reperbahn in Germany and down under.

        • 0
          0

          Upali Weera Ratne,
          Do you really have to praise your own tail under different names?

      • 2
        0

        A.N. Other

        “your females would not be allowed to wear blouses.”

        If the females were left to roam around half naked, the present day perverts would not have learned to peep at breastfeeding mothers.

  • 0
    0

    “What we need is leadership that works for the country and not for themselves”. Has that need being met for the last few decades? NO. With the growing demand for such a “Leadership” now spearheaded by Cardinal Ranjith, another organization of “Buddhist Clergy” headed by Rev. Madegoda Ayeyatissa has come up with a “Plan” containing “Dasa Panatha” ( 10 Principles) and says: “Any political party and politician” who do not “Sign” in agreement will not be supported by this “Bikku Peramuna” in any future elections. Leaving aside theses “Promoters” political affiliations very publicly displayed , (even by publicly saying that Mahinda’s face reminds of Lord Buddha) the obvious question would be: Who will NOT sign that agreement? Every “Dick Tom & Harry” will RUSH to sign it. No doubt about it. There are 10 “Dictates” in it and the very “1st” starts by saying, “Promise not to take political revenge”. What does that convey? For the last 4, 1/2 years all the complaints against Politicians and their Cohorts have been TERMED as “Political Revenge”. So , this “10 Commandments” stipulated by the “Bikku Peramuna backed by well known “Racists” and “Religious Bigots”‘laity will “REQUIRE” all those complaints to be “DROPPED” by any future Leadership who has singed it and received support to ASCEND the “Throne”. Where does Cardinal Ranjith stands, in view of his insistence on demanding action against the “Wrong Doers”? Will he be made a pawn in the chess board by others who have a “Different” and a “Hidden” agenda to be implemented at future elections? It is best for the PEOPLE to be CONSCIOUS and AWAKENED to these SECRETIVE manipulations that would be staged in the coming months. Please remember our village wisdom : “When and How the cow turns, know that it is going to eat the banana plant”.

  • 1
    2

    Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith is not second at all to Ven. Ghansara. Simply Human rights are not applicable to Cardinal and he can not talk and he should not talk. All these Jehan Perera Like people goes haywire.
    I can not understand those who worship Human rights say, that a Catholic priest cannot talk his mind and he is not free.’
    In that case, we can understand why Christian Pastors are very silent. Their bosses in the west are asking them to keep their mouths shut. Catholics are religion. Sri lanka is not obliged to accept Christians as religions. they are just cult. It is like Wahhabism, a Desert culture. Only thing is Christians do not blow up but they are always behind in those. Sri lanka has obligation to allow Catholics but christianity should be banned in Sri lanka with the Wahhabism.

  • 5
    0

    Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith spoil his reputation (if he has) by visiting Rathana. Futher more he said in an interview “Country belongs to people, not to its rulers”.
    You are right leave it to the people, Priest / Monks should not interfere in politics. Cardinal do you support Sri lanka to be ruled by chauvinist buddhist fundamentalist? If the answer is yes, then leave your preaches and sermon in church and join the saffron clad. After that you go and shout-out Sril anka is a sinhala buddhist country no other race or religion can be tolerated here. Now I can feel your motive coward…! Please do not put race over religion

  • 2
    0

    PSC is mostly National List MPs, so MPs appointed by Ranil plus PENT house Ravi one that is gong to lose the election because, he is one of the major parties to the Bond scams. So, Ranil appointed MPs who became National list MPs have become the [powerful of PSC. Even resigned MPs are included in it.
    UNP for sure is going to lose the election. So, SLPP does not like election because, they want an election in a hurry. UNP does not care. Because, they lose the election. But, president can have a referendum and conduct both the General and Presidential election at the same time. Then it is a big saving of money. UNP wants election delayed for their benefit. SLPP wants election ASPP that is again for their benefit.
    President should have a Referendum to hold both elections at the same time, to have a very smaller parliament and smaller cabinet and to reverse the 15th amendment,.

  • 1
    1

    I thought Dr Dr Jehan has converted…
    Obviously not..

    Dr Jehan has just quoted Our Cardinal’s Sermon to get some browney points for Dr Ranil and his mates who want to hang in there as long as possible.
    Perhaps until those ” Boots ” are on the Ground.

    Dr Jehan is wore worried about the unfulfilled demands, which he quotes as unfinished Business, Fair enough.

    Wonder what those are which are more important to Dr Jehan than the 300 Catholic Lives which got extinguished on their Holiest Day the Calender.

    Dr Jehan trying to project Dr Ranil’s PSC as the real thing to satisfy the Cardinal is laughable.

    Here is the latest example.
    UNP Professor Ashu Marasingha the Minister on the PSC told the Journos that they forgot to ask Hezbulla -about his Car Park Meeting with Three Arabs in the middle of the Night in Batti..-

    Will this PSC tell our Cardinal ” Who Done It”?.. And Punish the Culprits?..

  • 1
    0

    I wrote a comment about the 15th amendment, Referendum, the 225 Parliament. that comment is missing.

  • 1
    1

    cardinal and ratana birds of a feather
    is the country going to be led by priests
    sinhala kings took advice from brahmins not buddhist priests
    errant priests were tarred and feathered

  • 1
    0

    When Zarhan’s murderers attacked Tamil Churches, Comedy Cardinal’s speech was a request to Sinhala Buddhists not to attack Muslims. It was excessive evidencing a, preplanned statement. When he was warned by Opposition Leader of the impending attack, he didn’t tell the Bishops cancel all Easter Sunday Prayer island wide. I did not see in news media, while Aanduwa was creating panic that the murderers were planning more attacks, this notorious racist was not telling anybody not to attack Tamils, which Sinhala Buddhist Rowdies and Rapist Army together continuously doing from 1948. He did not say a soothing word, not just for Tamil Christians victims but even to the few Sinhalese and outside Christian who were caught in the middle of the cross fire. When it was the trios, -President, PM and Opposition Party Leaders- had set up the attacks on Tamil Christians, Cardinal Comedy was protecting the Trios by saying it was foreign forces (West) had set up the ISIS attack. The educated imbecile Cardinal’s statement is worse than the 8th grade donkeys in the parliament. Koolzhukum Paadi Kanchikkum Paadi Jehan PhD every time write and put out this type of equivocal statements before he deposit his checks at the bank.

    • 0
      0

      Mally…Mally. Now you are talking rubbish..

      Why didn’t the UNP Heavy Digital Harin tell the Cardinal?

      How can the poor Cardinal tell you Thmilians what to do, when they are well looked after by Sampathar, Abraham, Sivajilingam, Ponnambalam, and a whole host of others including Suren Surendran from UNP London , who are all sort of living on the Lap of Dr Ranil.,

      And the Thamil Bishops in Jaffna and Mannar didn’t allow the Cardinal even to visit the Holy Mother of Madhu at one stage .
      And even threatened to form a separate Catholic HQ with a Thami Cardinal in Jaffna.

      • 1
        0

        KASmaalam K A Sumanasekera

        “And the Thamil Bishops in Jaffna and Mannar didn’t allow the Cardinal even to visit the Holy Mother of Madhu at one stage .”

        It was your single handed security force commanders who stopped people travelling to and from Madu area for reasons known only to the security forces.
        I wonder would there be a day you would voluntarily stop talking nonsense. Your mother may catch you by your neck and send you to a specialist hospital.

        When do you think Sinhala Buddhisisation of Madu will be completed since the day the cardinal bravely admitted that this island is Sinhala/Buddhist country?

  • 2
    0

    Malcom Ranjith said “What we need is a leadership that will work for the country rather than themselves. A leader with a backbone who will not protect the guilty. A leader who is not afraid to punish wrongdoers.”
    But is Malcom Ranjith sincere. His actions has given a negative reply. When former President Mahinda Rajapakse recommended Malcom Ranjith to be the Cardinal for Sri Lanka when the Pope asked what he could do for Sri Lanka after the death of Cardinal Thomas Cooray. Thereafter the Vatican appointed him in 2010. Since then Malcom Ranjith has shown his loyalty to Mahinda Rajapakse. But when thousands of civilians died at the end of the war with the LTTE, Malcom Ranjith said that no civilians were killed at the end of the war, when he was not present at the war front. Moreover, when Mahinda Rajapakse was nominated as the Prime Minister unconstitutionally by stupid President Srisena, Malcom Ranjith was seen at Rajapakse’s official residence at a time when he should have been neutral. Again when death penalty for drug dealers was proposed by President Srisena, Malcom Ranjith supported it. But Malcom Ranjith made a fool of himself when the Pope declared that the Catholic Church was opposed to death penalty. Finally Malcom Ranjith proved himself as a racist when he was seen in the company of BBS Gnanasarathero. Is Malcom Ranjith ridiculing himself.

    • 0
      0

      Malcolm Ranjith did not see any reason to open up, as all others did, when a ‘rogue government’ was appointed on the night of 26th October 2018. In fact, the first religious leader that Mahinda Rajapakse met on his appointment as the ‘illegal Prime Minister’ was Malcolm Ranjith. Isn’t this evident what his political agenda is. Time the Catholic faithful awoke from there slumbers and took serious note, and serious action against this ‘so called’ Cardinal

  • 0
    0

    In the first instance, this Cardinal should never comment on political matters, although he has a penchant for doing so, that too for his own political agendas. He does not mention about those who were affected, at the Zion Church in Batticaloa, perhaps giving the impression that they worship a ‘lesser God’? It is time the Catholic faithful work up and took serious note, and serious action against this man who is bringing disrepute to the Catholic Church and the Catholic faithful.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.