Ilankai Tamil Sangam

24th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

25th Commemoration of Black July 1983

by Rev. Fr. S. J. Emmanuel, July 22, 2008

Let us lit up our flame of hope in our hearts for the future of our people and for the future of the island of Sri Lanka. Without anger and revenge, let us hope and wish and speak up in order to wake up peoples and their leaders to Truth, Justice and Freedom.

Survival of Sri Lanka depends on all of us standing up

for Truth, Justice and Freedom

On this day the whole world is rejoicing at the capture of  Radavan Karadzic in Bosnia because he was the most wanted man who caused the torture and death of  more than 8,000 Muslim Bosnians. He will be standing trial at the International Court of Justice, accused of mass murder and genocide.

On this day, Barack Obama, the American Democratic Presidential candidate, is visiting Yad Vashem – the Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. In the Hall of Remembrance he lit the Eternal Flame and laid the wreath in honor of all those who were vicims in defending the identity, dignity and culture of a People.

On this day Tamils all over the world commemorate the victims who were tortured, burnt alive, killed and their properties destroyed just because they happened to be Tamils or Tamil-speaking Muslims.

Let us lit up our flame of hope in our hearts for the future of our people and for the future of the island of Sri Lanka. Without anger and revenge, let us hope and wish and speak up in order to wake up peoples and their leaders to Truth, Justice and Freedom.

Just three months ago I was at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem and just two weeks ago I was in Dachau, the Concentration Camp of the Nazis in Germany. 2720 Catholics from all over Europe were intered in this camp. One of the survivors – Father John M Lenz - authored a book titled Christ in Dachau and narrated his experiences.

For the benefit of all who have held back their witness and speech until now, I quote here  a few lines for your personal reflection on this day 23rd July 2008.

“As the Bible declares: There is a time to keep silence and a time to speak. (Eccl.3.7). For years we were condemned to silence. Yet in point of fact those years were a ‘creative pause’, as it were. It seemed as though God were using this period of silence to prepare us for speech...................It was God’s will, yet it was a silence imposed by the wickedness of man.  It goes without saying that there are still many who would be glad if we were to ‘keep silence’ in their own interests. The truth about the ‘death mills’ of the concentration camp can only serve to their further indictment.............. Would it not be better to put an end to the matter and cover all this injustice with a comfortable ‘mantle of love’? By no means. This sort of ‘mantle’ would only be cowardice, even indolence. It is a poor service to the erring to blindfold eyes that are dazzled and to stop up ears that cannot hear.

Weak consideration for the evil-doers of this world inevitably ends as betrayal of the good.”  (p.9)

I am one convinced that there is no future for the island unless and until all of us – Sinhalese, Tamils, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and Christians, especially, stand up for Truth, Justice and Freedom.

S.J.Emmanuel

Germany 23.07.08