05/19/2009, 00.00
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Church in Sri Lanka: now equality and unity so the war may truly end

by Melani Manel Perera
For the Bishop of Jaffna Msgr. Savundaranayagam, celebrations must not overshadow the refugees who “have lost everything and are in need of everything”. Msgr Gomis Colombo, thanks the government for having put an end to the conflict. But he asks for “humility and wisdom to learn from past errors”. “We must recognise that we are a multi ethnic, multi-religious and multi cultural community”.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - “We cannot really celebrate, because these people have lost everything, their land, their work, their home”.  Msgr. Thomas Savundaranayagam, bishop of Jaffna Diocese in the North of Sri Lanka, cannot bring himself to join in the enthusiasm of the population who are celebrating on the streets in the Island nation’s couth.

The army has crushed the Tamil Tigers, but the situation is dramatic and the plight of the thousands of displaced people who are living in camps prevents the bishop from celebrating. “Right now there are 300 thousand people in these camps that have been set up here”, Msgr Savundaranayagam reports. “They are hoping against hope that the government will give them a better future and they are asking to return to their homes as soon as possible, to return to freedom and a dignified life”.

Msgr. Oswald Gomis, the Archbishop of Colombo, shares in the concerns of the Jaffna: “we have won the battle but the war is not ended. The war would end only on the day that we grow in nationhood realizing that we are all one people in one country with equal rights”.

Msgr. Gomis thanks the government for having put an end to the conflict, but looking ahead to the future adds: “We have to realize the fact that we are a multi­-ethnic, multi-religious and multi-cultural community. As such we are now left with the great task of nation-building forgetting our ethnic, political and religious differences”.

The Archbishop of Colombo speaks of “the humility and wisdom to learn from the sad experiences of that past” and he invites everyone to “share the blame for our division and forgive each other”. He reminds the people of the island nation and political leaders: “Let us always remember that united we will flourish but divided we will perish” and asks for a commitment to find “a political formula that will inspire confidence and promote a sense of belonging among the minority groups in the country”.



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