(1999 September 29)

There seem to be attempts to justify the massacre of more than fifty people in Gonagala in Ampara, including pregnant women and children by the LTTE murderers. It is said that the mass killings were in retaliation to the deaths of 22 Tamils in an air attack in Puthukudyiruppu in Mulathiv district. While we express our sympathies to the members of the families of those who were killed in Gonagala and Puthukudyiruppu the two cases cannot be compared.

We also have the example set by the Bishop of Jaffna who issued a statement condemning the "action" of the Air Force, without mentioning the massacre in Ampara and asking the government to stop the war and enter into a dialogue with the LTTE. Meanwhile the Bishop's conference issued a statement appealed to the leadership to find a solution to the conflict. However like all the peace vendors and peace beggars nobody has asked the LTTE to stop the "war". It appears that they have no objection to the LTTE taking up arms against the state but they do not want the government and the security forces to protect the state.

There were some political parties like the JVP who not only equated the two situations but went on to emphasise that the LTTE killings were in retaliation to the deaths in Puthukudyiruppu, thus in a way "justifying" the barbarous act of the LTTE. Perhaps they have no alternative as they too justify their inhuman killings in 1987 - 90 period by claiming that "certain things" happened during that time to the state "bheeshanaya". At least the JVP is trying to be consistent in their statements over the years though the same thing cannot be said about their policies.

Let us go back to the statement by the Bishop of Jaffna. In a letter written to the President with copies to UNHCR, ICRC and Apostolic Nuncio, he says: " According to the report of the ICRC representative from Puthukudyiruppu in the Mulaitivu district, on the 15th morning at 10.00 a.m. suddenly Kfir jet bombers appeared in the sky and they rained bombs on the market place....." The Bishop gets his reports from one of the ICRC representatives who are not known to be the most impartial observers of the LTTE activities. He concludes his letter with the following two paragraphs.

"We don't believe that the continuation of the policy of War for Peace and the escalation of military operations will bring about a solution to the ethnic problem of the country, The unleashing of cruel attacks on the civilians of this country only will raise the question of the moral right of the present government to rule the people."

"Therefore please stop this war and make a sincere decision to enter into a dialogue with militants, with the help of a third party mediation so that we can bring an end to this long suffering of our people and our country."

The Bishop is very careful in his use of words. He calls the terrorist murderers the militants. It should be remembered that the "impartial BBC" the darling auntie of the Anglophile middle class also call the LTTE the militants though they were not so generous with the JVP. The Bishop writes to the President with copies to various authorities, asking her to stop what he calls the war. The Bishop gives the impression that he is very much interested in peace and wants third party mediation. He seems to be concerned over the suffering of "our people and our country". The Bishop also reminds us that the attacks on the civilians will raise the question of the moral right of the government to rule the people. In other words he justifies in a very subtle way the so-called right of self-determination of the Tamils. The LTTE representative who enjoys all the facilities in the United Kingdom to raise and send funds for the LTTE terrorist activities, with the blessings of "Her Majesty's government", could not have drafted a better statement on behalf of the "Tamil cause".

I cannot recall the Bishop making a statement when the LTTE attacked the Sinhala Catholics not long ago in Kokilai. I wonder whether the Sinhala Catholics have been "excommunicated" from the church. Even with respect to Madu pilgrims the church was more concerned with the Tamils. The Bishop of Mannar was making statement after statement that would have deterred the Sinhala Catholic pilgrims going to Madu.

If the Bishop of Jaffna is interested in peace all he has to do is to ask Prabhakaran and his murderers to lay down arms. I cannot understand why he should be writing the President with copies to various dignitaries asking her to stop the so-called war. This is not a "war" started by the Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga or any one of her predecessors. It is a "war" started by a butcher called Velupillai Prabhakaran who is close to the Catholic church, though he may call himself a Hindu, and who was brought up by people like Amirthalingams and especially Samuel J. V. Chelvanayakam who was not a Hindu. The Ponnambalam trinity, I mean Ramantahan, Arunachalam and G.G. , were interested in controlling power at the centre through a numbers game without giving the rightful place to the Sinhala people, their language, their history and their culture. It was Mr. Chelvanayakam who wanted an Eelam depriving the Sinhala people the north and the east that was part of Ruhuna right up to 1815. Prabhakaran who is supported by most of the Catholic and Christian Bishops is only following the policies of the Christian Chelvanayakam. Tamil racism gets most of its support from the Christian European countries not because of a Christian attitude of supporting the underdog. There is nobody to speak on behalf of the Sinhala Christians as, except for a few, they have refused to be cajoled into the bandwagon of the Tamil racism against the Sinhala Buddhists.

The Bishop, if he is interested in peace, can also write to the British Prime Minister asking him not to provide facilities for the terrorists, the militants of the Bishop and the BBC, to raise funds to kill innocent Sinhala peasants. If he has more time he can also send messages to the Scandinavian countries asking their governments not to provide funds for those NGO's operating in Sri Lanka who confine their peace marches, bhavanas, pickets, conferences, discourses etc., to Colombo and the capitals and big cities of the other countries. The Bishop together with the peace vendors and peace beggars of the NGO's, the retired, ex and neo Marxists, the postmodernists in Sri Lanka, who think that postmodernism is a mixture of sexuality and a "new" reading of outdated Marxism, should go to the jungles in Vanni to meet Prabhakaran and stage a peace picket. All these people, except the Bishop, are being used by world imperialism and will turn out to be disposables, some ending up as disposable sacrifices if I may use a term of Mr. Mangala Samaraweera or condoms in the language of Mathota the journal of the Sri Lankan postmodernists, sponsored by the media minister. Incidentally can the Bishop define the term ethnic problem and then establish that there is such a problem in Sri Lanka.

As we have said a number of times there is no war in this country. A murderer who has been conditioned to think that there was an independent Tamil state in this country for three thousand rears by people like Mr. Chelvanayakam has taken up arms against the state to set up a separate state. It is the foremost duty of the government to protect the state. Unfortunately the government is not doing that the way it should be done and the members of the government and their henchmen discourage the young people to join the security forces and demoralise the armed forces with their peace marches and peace weeks in schools. Imagine the government under Winston Churchill organising peace weeks in English schools during the 'second world war'.

The conference of the Catholic Bishops in their statement says: "Whilst we condemn the this violence very strongly, we once again, appeal to the conscience of our leadership to be touched by this brutal shedding of blood and awaken to the need of an immediate solution to the ongoing conflict. Only total moral insensitivity and insane ambition could make a person blind to the realities of this war with its consequent human suffering." This statement has some meaning only if by our leadership, the Bishops' conference means the government and Prabhakaran. One never knows whether the Bishops have decided to consider Prabhakaran as one of their leaders. If so the Bishops should inform us leaving no room for any doubt. If the Bishops do not consider Prabhakaran as one of their leaders then the statement is partial as that of the Bishop of Jaffna and what is stated above in respect of the statement (the letter to the President) Bishop of Jaffna is applicable in this case as well.

The two incidents at Puthukudyiruppu and Gonagala cannot be equated. The Ampara massacre should not be referred to as an act of retaliation in order to give even a semblance of justification. It is true that civilians have got killed at both places but the comparison ends there. It is not known whether the Air Force made an error in bombing the market place. These facts have to be found out before making statements. We all know that the LTTE uses innocent people as human shields. This is what the security forces have to say on the incident: "However. Military spokesman Brigadier Sunil Tennekoon maintained that the security forces do not target civilians but positively identified LTTE positions. Tennekoon said he could not say if the LTTE had deliberately moved civilians to the location which the security forces had identified as an LTTE position. 'We carefully study the areas in which attacks are to be launched. Even in this instance the normal procedure would have been followed'."

Rather than depending on the reports of representatives of the ICRC and taking steps to write to various people on the right of the government to rule the Tamils it would have been better if a request was made for an inquiry into the incident. Is the Bishop worried that it could end up the way the inquiry into the so-called mass graves in Jaffna did? Let us have an inquiry into the death of the 'civilians' due to the bomb attack in Puthukudyiruppu.

The bomb attack was in an area where the security forces are fighting to defeat the terrorists. What can we say about Ampara? The LTTE cadres have deliberately gone there and butchered innocent people in their sleep. The LTTE has used women cadres to kill the pregnant women and the children. I do not know what the women liberators in Colombo have to say about this. There is no point in begging for peace in Colombo and say that the deterioration is due to the 'war'. There is no deterioration as such as these women cadres are only putting into practise what Mrs. Amirthalingam said long time ago when Prabhakaran was a teenager, before the present day women cadres were born.

There is another aspect to these murders. The LTTE has already ethnic cleansed Jaffna peninsula. They want an Eelam in the northern and the eastern provinces. One of their objectives is to chase out the Sinhala people from the eastern province as well. Already people around Gonagala have started to move to other places.

There is no comparison between Puthukudyiruppu and Gonagala. By trying to compare, the "humanitarians" and the others are only attempting to justify the LTTE attack in a very subtle way. We have come a long way since the birth of Tamil racism in this country to identify the disposables (condoms) used by world imperialism.