Thursday 8 September 2022


08 September 2022

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam



On 08 September, many decades ago, while teaching at St Briget’s Convent in Colombo, I found in my book, a picture of Our Lady  of Vailankanni.  One of my students at St Briget’s Convent where I taught Accounts for year 12 students before going to work, said to me that 08 September was the feast of Our Lady  of Vailankanni.

Wikipedia presents as follows:

[In the 17th century, a Portuguese merchant vessel sailing from Macau to Ceylon was caught in a severe storm in the Bay of Bengal.The sailors prayed fervently for Mary, Star of the Sea to save them, and promised to build a church in her honor wherever they could land. The sea became calm, and their ship landed near Vailankanni on 8 September, the Feast of the Nativity of Mary. To honor their promise, the Portuguese rebuilt the thatched chapel into a stone church. The church was later renovated twice in the early 20th century.

Although these alleged apparitions have been formally approved by the Holy See, they were implicitly approved by Pope John XXIII's 1962 elevation of the Vailankanni church to minor basilica status. The Pope's apostolic brief noted that pilgrims in large numbers had been visiting the shrine for a long period of time, and that it was hailed as the "Lourdes of the East"]

When a group of Tamil nurses who were promised permanent appointments were distraught that they would lose their jobs and I represented them at the Ministry of Health successfully, I thanked Our Lady. That was during the time of Ranil’s leadership, in 2016. As stated previously, we the ordinary folks need to work the system with faith and know that our prayers have been answered not through outcomes delivered by Politicians, but by us as leaders in our local environments during their time. Their trust in us, to the extent it is genuine will empower us. Otherwise we become the true Opposition of their supporters in our local environment.  The above group did approach Mr Wigneswaran who was then the Chief Minister. But he failed to act. I then became his Aragalaya Opposition.

Paragraph 4 of the recently released UNHRC report on Sri Lanka, presents as follows:

[4. Sri Lanka is facing an unprecedented economic crisis, while its political landscape has undergone significant upheavals. For months, Sri Lankans have faced severe shortages of fuel, electricity, food, medicines and other essential items. The Sri Lankan rupee has depreciated against the US dollar and inflation is expected to increase to 70 per cent by September 2022. Meanwhile victims of past human rights violations, particularly in the North and East of the country continue to wait for truth, justice and redress.]

No one in the Vaddukoddai area has complained  of shortages. They make do with what they have. Hence, to my mind, our group has become independent of the government. They do not know enough about the UN to make calculations as per UN theories. Likewise, the UN does not know enough about them/us  as per their/our  current state of mind. In terms  of common belief, the UN failed to do enough at the time Tamils felt abandoned by the world. Most have turned to each other including those in the Tamil Diaspora and their/our faith in god. That is the way of a sovereign community.

Once we know our own contribution to what happened, we have found our solution. The rest is a Natural Disaster like Tsunami and the Pandemic. That is the way of truth – the problem and solution are in that truth. Hence it is illogical to state ‘particularly in the North and East of the country continue to wait for truth, justice and redress’

Truth can only be found by each person or common group. Others cannot find our truth. Once we do so, justice would be apparent to us through our insight. If we continue to ‘wait for redress, it means we have not found our truth but are dependent on others to find it for us. This certainly cannot be the Sri Lankan government that Tamils do not believe in and have found fault with. The UN report is for itself and not for those in true need. If they are for us, their presence would be directly visible in North & East.

Tamils and Sinhalese are divided communities. This is our current reality. So long as we go outside our respective communities strictly on the basis of calculated agreements, there will be harmony in Sri Lanka. Once we realise our truth,  there is no room for Reconciliation. THAT IS THE TRUTH



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