Fr. Emmanuel Must Be Forgiven For His Sins by Cardinal Ranjith
By Dr. Nilanga Samarasinghe
Father Sleemanpillai Joseph Emmanuel is back in Sri Lanka and appealing to the immigration for leave to remain. He wants to die in Sri Lanka, a country that he spent the last three decades demonising. In spite of his record of supporting the LTTE and glorifying violence by Velupillai Prabhakaran, the generous people of Sri Lanka have decided to accommodate his plea.
The foundational culture of Sri Lanka has been compassion, mercy, and forgiveness. Buddhist thinking permeated moderating all other traditions permitting an environment for those with diverse views to coexist. It has been abused from time to time by Velupillai Prabhakaran who was influenced by the Tamil Nadu separatism and Zaharan Hashim by Wahhabi ideology of attacking other faiths.
Father Emmanuel created the Global Tamil Forum, the premier LTTE international organisation to project Sri Lanka as a human rights violator and white wash the LTTE. To promote the LTTE message in Geneva, Father Emmanuel worked with Gary Anandasangari of the Canadian Tamil Congress that came up with the idea that there was ‘genocide’ in Sri Lanka. Gary Anandasangari was in contact with LTTE chief procurement and shipping officer Kumaran Pathmanathan and planned to visit him in Malaysia. After KP was arrested and deported to Sri Lanka, Father Emmanuel assumed LTTE global leadership and worked the British Tamil Front, Canadian Tamil Congress, and the Australian Tamil Congress, and other LTTE fronts. Father Emmanuel (87 years), spent the latter part of his life in Europe.
Meanwhile, efforts are being made to mobilise the Tamil Diaspora around the world for a relentless struggle to revive the Tamil racist autonomy struggle in the North, which had a tragic death, and to keep their interest alive. Fr. Emmanuel is trying to use the connections he has made through the Catholic Church for this.
The purpose of this article is to discuss the future of the struggle for the establishment of an independent state for the world Tamil Diaspora (not only Sri Lankan Tamils) in the North of Sri Lanka by the Priest, Fr. Emmanuel, of the Global Tamil Forum and how we as Sri Lankans could identify and defeat its strategy.
Emmanuel, born in Jaffna in 1934, is a graduate of the University of Colombo, (then University of Ceylon) with a degree in Mathematics and Physics. He holds a Ph.D. in Theological Philosophy from a private theological university in the Vatican.
Also, young Emmanuel worked briefly as a maths teacher and a freelance journalist, and later became a priest who now spends his entire life teaching and propagating Catholicism.
He fled to the Vanni jungle with the people of Jaffna in 1995 in the wake of the Jayasikuru Operation launched by the Sri Lankan Forces to liberate the Jaffna Peninsula from the LTTE terrorists and later sought refuge in Germany.
During his entire career as a pastor in Jaffna, he became a supporter of the LTTE, differing only from a LTTE terrorist by hanging a cross around his neck instead of a cyanide capsule and holding a Bible instead of a T-56 weapon.
From the day he set foot in Germany, his dominant and sole task was to build the International Tamil Diaspora and to raise funds to facilitate the killing fields of Tamil terrorists in North and East of Sri Lanka. He was devastated and helpless by the decisive defeat of Tamil terrorism in 2009.
The money collecting project was hampered by the inability to provide a valid reason for further fundraising across Europe from Europeans as well as the Tamil Diaspora.
The meagre allowance he received as a priest and a refugee was not enough for him and his family to live a more luxurious life hereafter.
Emmanuel’s promise of establishing the ‘Eelam State’ today if not tomorrow had led many Tamils to borrow thousands of Euros from banks and their workplaces and send them to the LTTE to procure weapons for the Eelam war.
However, after the defeat of the LTTE, it was confirmed that the money would not be refunded by any of the existing LTTE, some Tamils committed suicide and are even homeless due to bankruptcy.
Upset by these incidents, Priest Emmanuel insists that the Sri Lankan Army should be labelled as a ‘Sinhalese Force’ that carried out a Tamil genocide. Now his accusations have been converted to hatred.
He was so blinded by racism that he could not comprehend that this inhuman racist outburst outside Sri Lanka would do more harm to his own ethnic Tamil people, who have become more and more helpless as a result of the 30-year War and the post-war frustration.
Pardoning and forgetting the ‘mistakes’ or ‘wrongdoings’ as done by the Priest Desmond Tutu of South Africa and moving towards for lasting peace, he is somehow managing to further separate Sinhala and Tamil communities. Emmanuel tried his best to do everything he could from Europe. He is working to rekindle a racial war against all the doctrines of Christianity that he preaches.
I suggest Father Emanuel should learn the teachings of Lord Jesus from Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, again. It would be nice if he could follow the way the Archbishop behaved during the Easter attack after Muslim extremists bombed two Catholic churches and one Christian church (Zion), in order to bring peace to those lives and their souls to rest in peace in the hands of God. Cardinal Ranjith did not spread hatred against Muslims, but extend an olive leaf of peace.
The Cardinal managed to stop all kinds of destruction around the nation. Therefore, with the blessing of the risen Jesus, he stopped the recurrence of the 1983 ethnic conflict throughout Sri Lanka.
We believe that if Cardinal Ranjith had asked for a tooth for tooth or flesh for flesh by igniting the flames of hatred, like Fr. Emmanuel, Sri Lanka today would be a hell of a place in the face of this Corona epidemic and the global economic crisis.
Word of Jesus
Recalling the Word of Jesus and behaving accordingly, which were forgotten by Fr. Emmanuel after the decisive defeat of the LTTE terrorists in 2009, will be the greatest service that can be rendered to his race, his nation (Sri Lanka) and his religion, if he could fulfil his national role in the latter part of his life at least.
He is not too late yet. All that is needed is the Appearance of God to him once. If that day happens in the near future, under his leadership, the light of the Dhamma lamp, lit by the World Tamil Forum from Europe, would reach the northern part of Sri Lanka. The Buddhist, Muslim, and Hindu clergy in the South too should follow the example set by Cardinal Ranjith.
We must understand that hatred does not quell hatred and that Tamil racism cannot be extinguished by the flames of Sinhala racism.
As we call on other ethnic groups to say, "Don't be a racist," we too, must be determined not to be racist, but to bring peace and equality among ethnic groups stand as one Sri Lankan nation.
The greatest support you can give today to the will of the vast majority of the people of the country is given to the Government led by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to elevate Sri Lanka to a developed nation is, maintaining peace and equality among ethnic groups and providing the economic and social peace necessary for development.
For supporting terrorism, Father Emmanuel was designated as a terrorist personality together with his protégé Suren Surendiran under the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373.
According to Lt. Colonel Shammi Arjuna Kumara who ran a testimony before the Presidential Commission of Inquiry on 26 August 2020, both the GTF (Global Tamil Forum) leader Father Emmanuel and the BTF (British Tamil Forum) leader Suren Surendiran were blacklisted individuals upon information received by Intelligence sources.
Colonel Shammi said, the then Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera had ordered him to remove the names of Father Emmanuel and Suren Surendiran, who were members of the LTTE, stating that they were ‘close associates’.
Samaraweera also stated, “This is not the Rajapaksa regime and therefore, I should not work according to the needs of Gotabaya Rajapaksa,” he added.
Sri Lanka suffered an Easter Sunday attacks because national security was compromised.
Sri Lanka should keep a sharp eye on Father Emmanuel and his network both in Sri Lanka and abroad as they pose a threat to Sri Lanka’s social harmony, political stability, and economic prosperity.
Granting Father Emmanuel’s last wish to live his last years in Sri Lanka is in concert with Sri Lanka’s long-established tradition of compassion. However, it is paramount to ensure that he does not abuse the hospitality of Sri Lanka once more.
And it should be emphasised that any association of Father Emmanuel with the arising Tamil racism on Sri Lankan soil must be subjected to dispatch him to the place where he has come from. It should be one of the first priorities of Sri Lankan national security.
(The Writer is a Researcher at the University of Lucerne, Switzerland)