While the acts of Eddappans (traitors) betraying others for self-interest and contributing to violence are not going to end, we find even non-violent struggles demanding just rights being suppressed by military might. This has become the daily routine in Ilangkai. Authoritarianism is at its height here. Despite the development propaganda aimed at the outside world, freedom and human rights are yet to reach our people. The underlying factors [of the conflict] remain unresolved as ‘sleeping fire’, said the Bishop of Batticaloa, Rt Rev Joseph Ponnaiah in his New Year message in Tamil, broadcast by Vatican Radio on 30 December. Meanwhile, the Bishop of Jaffna addressing in English the Christmas Carol organized by the occupying SL military in Jaffna, was “grateful” to the SL government and military for “all the beautiful services they rendered to our people.”
The Bishop of Jaffna, Rt Rev Dr Thomas Saundaranayakam addressed the function organized by the occupying Sinhala military at the church of Our Lady of Refuge in Jaffna on Wednesday, 02 January.
The SL military has also arranged a similar fete in Vanni on 21 December in which the Bishops of Jaffna and Mannaar, along with other religious dignitaries were present with the occupying military officials.
The Sri Lanka Army website claimed that Wednesday’s function in Jaffna was organised in partnership with the Bishop of Jaffna.
A Large number of Tamil children were brought to attend the function and to receive presents from the genocidal military.
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“As we celebrate this feast of Christmas, we are also grateful to the government and also the SL Army among us for all the beautiful services they rendered to our people. I want to thank our Maj Gen Hathurusinghe for organizing this beautiful evening of carol singing. We experience a joy of Christmas,” said the Bishop of Jaffna addressing the gathering full of children.
“We also want to thank the government for all that they are doing to develop Jaffna after years of war. We know that it is not easy task. But, nevertheless we have seen for ourselves the things that are being done and still there are things to be also fulfilled,” the Bishop of Jaffna certified the ‘development’.
The violence the Bishop saw was only internal in the society: “During this feast of Christmas there are also some dark spots. We are increasingly worried about the violence that is among our people, especially the young. Adding to this also the menace of drug and alcohol that is being consumed increasing this violence. Therefore, people of all responsibility, they have to assist in destroying this menace from our society because of all the evils it brings to us,” the Jaffna Bishop said.
“At the same time, we also want to say that the parents are not very happy regarding the university classes not being conducted. Long vacation, long holidays. Therefore, we appeal to the government also to re-open the university and conduct the classes for the best of our students,” the Bishop said.
“We also want to reiterate here that we don’t want the war again. Absolutely, we are against the war. We don’t want the war to take place once again, with all its violence among us. But, at the same time also, we request the government to accept us as equals,” the Bishop of Jaffna was pleading.
Striking a sharp contrast, the Batticaloa Bishop said in Tamil that the Catholic Church, on its own, and along with the leaders of other religions, has voiced against [the dictatorial situation], but that only fell into deaf ears.
The Batticaloa Bishop said that it was “Chevidan kaathil oothiya Changku” (the conch blown into the ears of a deaf).
Describing the situation, the Batticaloa Bishop said in Vatican Radio that any voice of protest means prison or banishment (“Im en’raal chi’rai vaasam; ean en’raal vanavaasam”: Prison for uttering hmm and banishment to forest for asking why).
People suffer without being able to either talk it out or gulp it in (Me’l’lavum mudiyaamal, vizhungkavum mudiyaamal), the Batticaloa Bishop said, adding that the unresolved situation is only a dormant fire (“Nee’ru pooththa neruppu”: Ash covered cinder).