Eelam Tamils have lost a dear friend who, going beyond narrow boundaries and beyond religions, truly and honestly strove for justice for the affected Eelam Tamils. We gratefully remember that not only he was supportive of the Eelam Tamils political struggle, but also raised his voice for the same in the international arena, Priests and Religious for Justice and Peace, North-East said in a press release.
See the full statement below:
Priests and Religious for Justice and Peace, North-East
Media Release Archbishop Desmond Tutu – A VOICE against Injustice is NO MORE
If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. -Desmond Tutu
The Priests and Religious for Justice and Peace, North-East express their deepest sentiments of grief at the demise of a freedom fighter who with progressive thinking, fought against the oppression of the black race and the apartheid institutional structure of South Africa.
The loss of Tutu, one of the Fathers of the Nation, who built the ‘Rainbow Nation’ of South Africa and who was the voice of the oppressed majority since the 1970s by the institutionalised form of apartheid and tirelessly walked with and worked for the liberation of those oppressed people, cannot be filled.
He constructed himself, by his own mastery, as the catalyst of the oppressed people by taking a policy stand, understanding their great political desire. It is noteworthy, that even though Tutu’s politics used various strategies against oppression towards liberation, his critical analysis consisted of political humour and nonviolent approach. It is a good example of his leadership quality that, after the liberation, he used the same strategies even when the South African leaders were involved in corruption.
History will remember that he chastised, at the UN Council in 1988, the Western politicians who did not impose sanctions against apartheid as raciest equal to the raciest Hiller’s Nazism. It can be seen from his thoughts that it was his conviction that only an approach of victim-centred system of justice can guarantee non repetition in the future.
When he was the Chairman of the ‘The Elders,’ Desmond Tutu was one of those who opposed holding the Summit of Commonwealth Nations in Sri Lanka in November 2013. From the perspective of Tamil Nationalism, he asserted: “… I would be guided (by) what the Tamils there would be saying on the issue,” and he also advocated: “I am saying ‘Yes, maybe they (the heads of governments) shouldn’t go …”. Eelam Tamils will never forget that he harnessed strength through ‘The Elders’ to boycott the Commonwealth Nations Summit to be held in Sri Lanka.
Concerning the political solution of the Eelam Tamils, he strongly advocated: “If there are enough reasons to suggest that the Sri Lanka government has not been doing things with integrity, I think the world has to apply all the screws that it can.” He also asserted that “… a boycott of the CHOGM could be one of them.”
The History of South Africa has taught us that he, as the Chairman of the South African Commission of Truth and Reconciliation, held that the only way to face the future is to acknowledge the crimes perpetrated in the institutionalised apartheid. The denial of Tamil Eelam genocide can never lead to reconciliation since in the denial of a genocide, truth is murdered. The Archbishop who was deeply convinced that not only truth must be accepted but also publicly acknowledged, also strongly condemned the political leaders who joined hands with the apartheid government.
A very good example of this is the letter that he wrote to the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margret Thatcher, where he states that the official invitation, for political reasons, of United Kingdom to the Prime Minister of South Africa “a slap in the face of millions of black South Africans who are the daily victims of one of the most vicious policies in the world”.
He who had lost confidence in politics of neutrality was rather firm in his stand for the affected people. Eelam Tamils will remember that he promoted the demand of Eelam Tamils that justice can be obtained only by an Independent International Inquiry of the Eelam Tamils’ genocide.
Eelam Tamils have lost a dear friend who, going beyond narrow boundaries and beyond religions, truly and honestly strove for justice for the affected Eelam Tamils. We gratefully remember that not only he was supportive of the Eelam Tamils political struggle, but also raised his voice for the same in the international arena. A VOICE of the oppressed, in the leadership deficit, is NO MORE.
Rev. Fr. S. M .Selvaratnam OMI
Rev. Fr. Rohan Dominic CMF
Rev. Fr. A. Devathasan