The civilised world is horrified at the dastardly shell attack the LTTE launched on a much venerated Catholic church in Mannar on Tuesday. The beleaguered Tigers trained their big guns on St. Sebastian s Church, Thallady, where soldiers were engaged in repairs on a request from a group of Catholic priests, killing six of them and injuring ten. That horrendous act of desecration is proof of the Tigers callous disregard for religions as well as places of worship and the fact that they won t baulk at anything in trying to achieve their macabre objectives. Nothing can the Tigers claim in extenuation of that unspeakable act. They made no mistake. They deliberately targeted the church to kill as many soldiers as possible. Priests were lucky that they were not harmed.
The Tigers are, we repeat, no respecters of religions. They mowed down scores of Buddhist devotees in Anuradhapura in 1985 and gunned down 33 young Buddhist monks at Arantalawa in 1987. In 1998, they bombed the Sri Dalada Maligawa, the most venerated Buddhist shrine in this country. Among the crimes the LTTE has committed against Muslims include the massacres inside two mosques at Eravur and Kaththankudy in 1990. Hundreds of Muslims were shot and hacked to death while they were praying. Last year, the Tigers killed a kurukkal in the Eastern Province as he had blessed President Mahinda Rajapaksa during his visit to the East. This year began with a crime the LTTE committed inside a kovil in Colombo, where UNP MP T. Maheswaran was shot dead in cold blood.
So, the shelling by the LTTE of a Catholic shrine comes as no surprise to a Tiger watcher. He who touches the gourd, so goes a local saying, touches the ash pumpkin.
It is with the greatest difficulty that priests are protecting children in the sacred Madhu area against the LTTE hell bent on forcibly conscripting them as cannon fodder. If the good priests lower the guard for a moment, abductors descend on the little ones and take them into the jungle in a jiffy. `Let the children come to me, do not hinder them for to such belongs the kingdom of God,` said Jesus. The opposite of that is true of Prabhakaran s ghoulish thinking. Of children, he says, `Abduct and bring them to me for to such belongs fire and brimstone.` Only the rights of LTTE leaders children to education and freedom are respected in the terrain under his jackboot.
We are intrigued that a high priest who met Prabhakaran years ago chose to describe him as someone humane! How can a humane person harm children, kill so many human beings, bomb temples, kovils, mosques and churches?
Perhaps, Prabhakaran has no reason to respect any other god. For, he considers himself the Sun God. Hitler was better. He only believed in a divine providence and thought he was the chosen one to lord it over the world. Our deified friend has placed himself on a much higher pedestal. His faithful cadres, as the killer of Maheswaran has revealed, recite a gaatha and pay homage to his picture every morning. So, the Sun God may have thought why he should hesitate to target a church dedicated to St. Sebastian, considered the patron of archers, athletes, soldiers et al, to avenge the setbacks he has been suffering for the past so many months.
Terrorism is Prabhakaran s religion. Cult leaders don t give two hoots about established religions and humanity, do they? They are psychopaths believing in a messianic role. It may be recalled that Rev. Jim Jones of America drove hundreds of his fellow cranks to suicide, having claimed he had had a personal vision of nuclear holocaust and promised to protect them.
It is a mistake for anyone to think such homicidal maniacs are a threat only to one particular ethnic or religious community and therefore to tolerate them or try to use them as tools. Human history is replete with such costly blunders. The countries that sought to appease Hitler had to pay dearly for their servility and imbecility in the end. Those who created the LTTE terrorism and sponsored it have paid for their action with their dear lives, both here and abroad. The US is today fighting the very band of terrorists it created and nurtured as a counter to Russia. Osama would have been puffing on a hookah in some nondescript corner of the Middle East, unknown to the world, but for his elevation by the US to the level of a hero. The US also backed Papa Doc of Haiti to the hilt only to regret having done so in the end. Rajiv Gandhi would have been the present Prime Minister of India, if he and his mother had desisted from using the LTTE to force this country to toe India s line.
So, terrorism in all its manifestations has to be condemned and battled for the sake of humanity.
Tuesday s attack was a clear sign of the LTTE s desperation. An ignominious defeat is staring Prabhakaran in the face and his dream empire is crumbling pillar by pillar before his own eyes. Above all, he has taken leave of his senses.
Those whom God wishes to destroy, they say, he first makes mad.