VERITAS THE VOICE OF TIGERS
(1999 June 02)
The Island on Monday the 31st of May carried a news item under the heading "Voice of Tigers ties up with Radio Veritas", the contents of which are very revealing of the politics of Tamil racism in this country. According to the report the Voice of Tigers (VOT) has established a link "with the popular world-wide Catholic broadcasting station, Radio Veritas, with a view to boosting its international hook up". The internet Tamil website, "Tamilnet" had quoted a VOT broadcast to say that the "VOT has established a "coordinating office" for this purpose at St. Sabastian’s church in Mallavi in the Wanni". The "coordinating office" had been ceremoniously opened on Sunday the 23rd of May. Now this church is in Vanni and presumably comes under the Bishop of Mannar Fr. Rayappu Joseph. It is difficult to imagine that the Bishop has not given permission to the VOT to establish a coordinating office in the church. It was this Bishop who played a leading role in getting the army out of the Madu church premises. The Bishop had no objection to the presence of the LTTE members before the army moved in. He defended his position by claiming that the LTTE was unarmed. Perhaps the LTTE members manning the VOT in the St. Sabastian's church in Mallawi are also unarmed. The same Bishop gave testimonials to the LTTE when they were interested in establishing an office in South Africa.
Why did the LTTE decide to link up with the Veritas? The report as published in "The Island" states that the LTTE has selected Veritas in preference to the BBC as it is popular among the expatriate Tamil community. The report says: 'The rationale behind the tie-up is that it will give VOT access to the vast audience of Radio Veritas. Nearly 850,000 Sri Lankan Tamils living as refugees or migrants across the globe tune in to Radio Veritas, because it gives sensational "Eelam Tamil" news, often ahead of the BBC Tamil service "Tamil Osai". Its Tamil broadcast timings are more suitable and the number of bulletins is more. Many ardent LTTE supporters also find BBC’s Tamil Osai a bit too restrained. It is said that the BBC did not take note of LTTE supremo Prabhakaran’s speech on Maveerar’s or martyrs’ day in November last, thus deeply disappointing the Tamil diaspora. It is significant that Radio Veritas is a Catholic outfit run by the Asian Catholic Bishops’ Conference. The Tamil section of the Catholic church in Sri Lanka (which is quite considerable) has been an ardent votary of the Tamil cause and a tacit supporter of the LTTE'.
We may have to question the figure 850.000 given for the number of refugees or migrants as there are others who estimate it around 450,000. Whatever the exact number is, it is clear that a substantial number of Tamils have left the country thereby reducing the percentage of Tamils in the country. As many Tamils who were living in Jaffna have either gone abroad or come to Colombo the LTTE has not only driven out the Sinhala people and Muslims from Jaffna but it has also successfully chased away many Tamils from Jaffna. In any case this fact has to be taken into consideration when working out the percentage of Tamils living in the country with respect to the entire population and also the percentage of Tamils living in the so-called homeland. It is very clear as a result of the Tamil racist activities the percentage of Tamils living in the northern and the eastern provinces has come down to a value well below 50.
It is significant that the LTTE had short-listed the BBC Tamil service "Tamil Osai" and the Radio Veritas to select the most suitable station for their propaganda. The Sinhala listeners, other than the NGO types, who tune to the BBC Sinhala service "Sandeshaya" and the Veritas Sinhala programmes know how biased these radio broadcasts are towards Tamil racism. Unfortunately the Sinhala people started tuning into these services as they had no faith in the state radio news bulletins. However now the people know that they are biased and they are not effective as far as Tamil racist propaganda is concerned. The LTTE has finally gone for the Radio Veritas as it gives sensational Eelam Tamil news ahead of the Tamil Osai of the BBC.
There are other interesting facts connected with Radio Veritas. It is significant that not only the "Radio Veritas is a Catholic outfit run by the Asian Catholic Bishops’ Conference" but also "the Tamil service of Radio Veritas is in the hands of Tamil Catholics from Tamil Nadu". As "The Island" report states this adds another dimension to the support structure of the Eelam Tamils and the LTTE. We may also add that the Radio Veritas is based in Philippines, which is the only Catholic country in the region. That is not all. According to the report reproduced in "The Island", "the Tamil section of the Catholic church in Sri Lanka (which is quite considerable) has been an ardent votary of the Tamil cause and a tacit supporter of the LTTE". Now this not something that comes as a surprise to many people. The Sinhala people, not only the Buddhists but many Christians and Catholics, excluding of course those Bhikkus of the "pallli nikaya", some of the Christian and Catholic priests, the NGO people and the like, have come across activities of many Tamil Catholic priests who are involved with Tamil separatist politics and who have been supporters of the LTTE either directly or indirectly. Bishop Rayappu Joseph is only one such priest. The names of Frs. Singarayer, Diyogupillai and others come to mind. In fact some Tamil Catholic priests have been very active in the so-called "International Conference on Tamil Nationhood and Search for Peace in Sri Lanka" held on May 21st and 22nd at the Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. The conference has been ostensibly organised by the "Academic Society of Tamil Students (ACTS) of the Carleton University and the University of Ottawa" among several other groups and was attended by Messrs. Kumar Ponnambalam and Vasantha Raja, Drs. Vickramabahu Karunaratne and Jayalath Jayawardhane among others. However to the participants it has been very clear that the conference has been organised by the LTTE supporters.
According to Mr. Dushy Ranetunge, a participant at the conference, Rev S J Emmanuel, former vicar General of Jaffna. Rev. Emmanuel 'who has been a tireless campaigner for the "LTTE and the Tamil cause" had given the keynote address on the Moral and Ethical Responsibility of the International Community to help resolve the Tamil National Conflict in Sri Lanka'. Seemingly a very innocent topic but the contents have not been that innocent. This same Rev. Emmanuel on the 25th of August 1996 has participated in the opening ceremony of "Eelam House", the headquarters of the LTTE in London. Since then he has written a book "Let my people go" and travelled around the world meeting people like Desmond Tutu of South Africa, trying to drum up support for the "cause". At the Ottawa conference Rev. Emmanuel has said that "the international community must see the truth, come to its senses and turn the screws on the "Sinhala Buddhist state" so as to facilitate "freedom" for the Tamils". Only the God knows what the Reverend means by truth.
Another speaker at the conference has been Prof. (Fr.) Joseph Chandrakanthan, from the Department of Theology at the University of Toronto, a former President of the University of Jaffna Teacher's Association. Mr. Ranetunge says: 'As he began to speak, I realised that it was his voice which was in the "War Without Witness" video, reading the commentary on the "exodus" from Jaffna. The video was produced by the propaganda arm of the LTTE and is distributed by them and could be purchased from the so-called Eelam House' in London. During his speech Prof. (Fr.) Chandrakanthan (please see the note in the link) has shown a slide of St Peters in Jaffna among others and has said "this is our Dalada Maligawa". It is interesting to note that a church and not a kovil is the "equivalent" of the Dalada Maligawa for the Tamil racists now led by the racist Tamil Catholics.
Incidentally the banner displayed at the seminar has had two statements in English and Tamil reminding us that party known in English as the Federal Party was called in Tamil, the Ilankai Thamil Arasu Kadchchi or the Sri Lanka Tamil State Party. The discrepancy in the two statements in the banner has been pointed out by one Mr. Richard MacPhail a white Canadian who knew Tamil! Mr. Richard MacPhail, had said that the main banner of the hall was deceptive. He had pointed out that the banner read in English as "International Conference on Tamil Nationhood and Search for Peace in Sri Lanka" while the Tamil writing on the banner, below the English writing said something quite different, more in the lines of Eelam, and of Tamils the world over looking for a country. Mr. Ranetunge continues: 'now, more strange things were to take place. Rev S J Emmanuel, the former vicar General of Jaffna, came running towards the stage, grabbed a microphone, and attempted to answer Richard MacPhail’s query by saying that it was a mistake. I wondered what Emmanuel had to do with this "international conference". His name does not appear in the list of names which show the chair, co-chair, program advisory panel, organising committee or sponsors. We were told that this "international conference" was organised by the Academic Society of Tamil Students(ACTS) at Carleton and Ottawa Universities. So, why was Emmanuel answering questions about the banner? Did he have a hand in preparing the banner? In this Tamil liberation game, things are not quite what they appear to be'.
All these indicate how the Tamil racist movement is being directed by the Tamil Catholics. Many Tamil Hindus, who have been brainwashed, by the parties with vested interests, to believe that theirs is a just struggle against the Sinhala Buddhist appear to be helpless now, as the report in "The Island" on the 31st of May aptly illustrates. It says: "Studies have revealed that in the Tamil Eastern coast, the church’s humanitarian work has led to conversions. Many Hindu Tamils resent this, and yet, they would not do anything to stop it because the church is supporting the larger Tamil cause. The church is an important link with the outside world. Many of the NGOs doing relief work among the Tamils in the war zone and outside, are linked to and funded by one church or the other outside the island". We do not agree that there is a Tamil eastern coast and a "war zone" but what is stated there is revealing. We have pointed out on number of occasions that the NGOs are funded by the governments of western Christian and Catholic countries and that these countries, have been supporting the Tamil racists in many ways.
Tamil racism in this country was baptised by the British and the western countries are supporting the Tamil racists as part of cultural imperialism. These countries make use of Tamil racism to attack and weaken, if possible destroy, the Sinhala Buddhist culture. Once their mission is accomplished they will turn their guns towards the Hindu culture in this country. It is unfortunate that some of us cannot see this, due to the brainwashing by the western education given to us at schools and the universities, which are themselves instruments of cultural imperialism. It is not only an Eelam these countries are after but a second Philippine in this region. The Radio Veritas, has willingly agreed to be the voice of tigers not because of its sympathy towards the Hindu culture. It is high time that the ordinary Tamil Hindu, not those in the NGOs and those who get paid tickets to go to the western countries to attend seminars and conferences, thought about what is happening. It is futile to believe in a mythical Tamil history in this country and to prevent the rightful place being given to Sinhala culture, Sinhala history, and Sinhala language in the name of a so-called Tamil cause. "The Veritas" will not be there to defend the Hindu culture if and when the Sinhala people are weakened.