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Selected Writings - Chandiravarman Sinnathurai
Thamil Bishops Urge Votes for Peace
23 November 2005
It was Ogden Nash who rightly reminded us that “No man ever forgets – where he buried the hatchet.” Had the Thamils voted either for the war monger (Mahinda) or the peace pretender (Ranil) the commentators (particularly the foreign ones) would have, no doubt, perceived them as pliable and taken again on a merry-go-round by the Sinhalas!
The Thamils of the NorthEast, on the contrary, showed the world that they are politically astute enough to see through the “Ariya Koothu” 'Baila' (dance). So, their choice was to give these 'wolfs in sheep’s clothing' a clear signal: “Kariyathila Kannai Iruppom Thandavakonei.”
My Jesuit collegemate, Veera Bert was particularly concerned as a Thamil Canadian. He wanted to know my “take on the story” of the Catholic Bishops. I gather from some Clerics that these bishops stood for peace (with a pinch of salt); because in the dictionary of the Cardinal, Ranil = Peace.
Gone are the days when the Thamils believed that the UNP was good for the Thamils, and the SLFP bad. For argument's sake, let us term those passive days as “Bad Judgement” on the part of the Tamils. Yet the experience of those horrendous days made us think and it ventually taught us all to stand up and be counted. And that is precisely what the Thamils did in this presidential election!
I am among those who honor the integrity and the boldness of the bishops of Jaffna and Mannar. It is far too easy to be an arm-chair critic. In difficult times, they have been Voices in the wilderness – and they still are! It is a costly business – lest we forget. But how could the Thamil bishops be so insular from the political sensibilities and well-developed liberative perceptions of the Thamil voters? That is worrying.
Thamils do not have to “vote” to exercise their democratic right. They do not need to be cajoled by international opinion. They have voted in the past and know only too well the outcome of those votes.
The Thamils can exercise their right to NOT vote for a Sinhala President to tell the whole wide world by their ‘choice of silence’ that they have no real democratic right within a unitary police State! It does not matter who wins, their plight will not alter – that is the reality. The stand of the Thamils was not impassive silence. Those who have the ear to hear can hear their silent scream – and can do something about it!
There are those who love to hate the LTTE. Tragically, the Canadian Foreign Office seems to be among those eggheads. It is a literary tragic-comedy to lately see Ondaatje being recruited to carry the egg cups.
Since my return from Vanni, I have viewed Mr VP (Viduthalai Puli Supremo) essentially as a spiritual person. He is not a megalomaniac as some ‘egg cups’ would have us believe. Contrary to the Western myth the LTTE did not instruct the voters as to what to do. They left it up to the people to decide.
Mr VP kept his silence. I call that an original (authentic) strategy. (Mauvunam kalaga nasthi).
As for our Bishops, their prerogative was not to be influenced by the ‘peacenik’ Cardinal. Peace is a highly politicised and loaded word. Why did not they sit up?
In the books of both Ranil (UNP) and Mahinda (SLFP), peace is either an international safety net to mellow down the Tigers or an entrapment of Tamils within the nascent state. The Hatchet men would give anything if only they could keep us in this limbo land to keep us from the goal of an autonomous state.
The Bishops have miscalculated. Of course, they are fallible beings. Let us not be tempted to read too much in to it. The message: Silence is indeed golden.'
For the SLFP and the UNP the lesson is: You can’t have the Kavun and eat Palagaram. Try fasting.'
Mr VP will be breaking his fast of silence in a few days (at Elephant Pass?). What he says matters the most in terms of calling the shots – that is the realpolitik!
All else is pointless.
 This is what Taraki wrote: “If he [Pirabakaran] is full of himself, why has he cancelled the construction of a 50 foot cut out of his image in Valvettithurai? Why doesn’t he call himself a general? …The problem is that, whatever the basis for hatred one may harbor towards him (class, caste, his vernacular education, etc;), his enemies cannot afford not to understand the man.”