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Tuesday, 12 December 2017
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 | Sri Lanka Watch
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Father Don Camillo and Mayor Peppone enigma of Tiger terror politics PDF Print E-mail
By Sandy Joseph for Sri Lanka Watch

Asia News, a website that has a selective focus on events and happenings around the world with a heavy leaning on the Vatican takes a strong exception to four Catholic priests from the Diocese of Jaffna and two Oblate missionaries of Mary Immaculate being held for inquiry. They were among the very last of those who joined the final batch of evacuees from the No Fire Zone. Claiming they are being held in solitary confinement, this report expressed serious concerns for “their safety, their emotional and psychological conditions and also for their physical health.” The Catholic Bishop of Jaffna, the Rt Rev Father Thomas Soundaranayagam has appealed for their release. Asia News claims that these priests have “unselfishly helped the Tamil people during the war until the last hours of the military campaign.”

The feature is also highly critical of the IDP camps stating that conditions there are on the verge of collapse, and humanitarian organizations have their hands tied and observes that the army is in search of the Tigers among the refugees. But the feature overlooks the need for such a search with hundreds of Tiger cadres known to have used the civilian exodus to make their getaway. Further, they are quite likely to re-form with vast hordes of arms buried throughout the Wanni.

However the obvious concern here is the role of the Catholic Church in relation to the LTTE for from the time Prabhakaran committed his bank robberies in the 1970s, it has been his loot keeper. This Machiavellian involvement of the Catholic Church with the LTTE is widely known.

Even more, the Catholic Church led by the Rev Father James Pathinathar and assisted by certain priests and some nuns played a lead role in herding people as human shield on the march to coastal Mullaitivu. In this, a priest who broke away from his church and formed an illegal runaway mission with generous American support was also involved in herding the people. This priest who was known to have been close to Pottu Amman, is yet to account for the millions he raised in the US, Europe and Israel. One of his deputies was recently found to have defrauded a Christian organization of a considerable sum of money and that was not the first time too.

A week or ten days before the final assault on the Tigers, dozens of children and young people sought refuge in a church when the Tigers were force conscripting them from the civilians kept captives as human shield. Having promised they would be safe under his care, when the Tiger press gang arrived at the church entrance, the priest did a vanishing rope trick. It is believed he is one of those being held for investigations.

It should be recalled that the Rev Father Emmanuel in Australia calls the Tigers, the divine soldiers of Christ. The Rev Father Francis Xavier, a defrocked Catholic and re-frocked Anglican was engaged in raising funds for purchasing heavy armaments for what he described as the final war. The Rev Father Chandrakanthan of the University of Toronto, another Tiger enthusiast is on the team headed by Interpol wanted Kumaran Pathmanathan which has declared, as a pro tem arrangement, a government cabinet of sorts to administer the Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam. During the time Wanni was under the control of the LTTE, the Bishop of Mannar the Rev Father Rayappu Joseph was more or less the Public Relations Officer for the LTTE and one who would be consulted by overseas visitors to the Wanni especially the INGOs and NGOs as well as the Scandinavian monitors.

Soon after the war was over, almost the first visitors to hurry to the IDPs were Sri Lanka’s Catholic bishops and this high powered team to the Wanni did raise some questions especially at a time when it was not known that among the IDPs were a number of priests from the Catholic Church. Furthermore, the noticeable interest of certain countries to “Cry Genocide” seemed more an orchestra performing for the Catholic Church.

May be we have to go to Italy’s Po Valley to read the mind of Giovanni Guereshi who wrote the popular Don Camillo series to understand why the Catholic Church became involved with Tiger terrorism. Five hundred years ago, the Portuguese soldiers unleashed terror on the people of Sri Lanka and Velupillai Prabhakaran took the baton from them perhaps with the blessings of the Catholic Church in the manner of Portugal’s colonialist expansion.    
 
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