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Assassinations and Bombs - Enough is Enough
CEYLON 080103-1
January 3, 2008

A Statement by the Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera, Bishop of Colombo

[The Church of Ceylon (E-P) - Ceylon] The assassination of Parliamentarian T Maheswaran and one other on the first day of the New Year, tragically in the premises of a place of religious worship, and the bomb that killed four people including two children, on the second day of the New Year, must be condemned outright. They are both terrible demonstrations of the continuing hatred and revenge that has permeated our society and killed numerous political leaders, thousands of security force personnel and militant cadres and tens of thousands of civilians. They are much more a demonstration of the inability of our leaders and people to resolve our differences in a civilised non-violent way and live together with mutual dignity.

I convey the condolences and assurance of prayers of the Clergy and Congregations of our Church to the families of the bereaved. May God whose mercy endures forever, enable you to bear this unimaginable loss and give you courage and strength to be living examples of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Horrific human initiated incidents like these jolt and remind us that the promotion and justification of war through the promise of an illusive peace is immoral, misleading and counter productive. They reveal that a society saturated in violence for decades and that has lost its vision of a just peace, cannot be redeemed with more violence even in the guise of war. We simply cannot sow seeds of a war culture and expect to reap peace.

Consequently I once again plead with the political leadership of the country to harness our systems and resources and immediately put a stop to more killings and destruction. The bleeding and cries of the people cannot go unheeded and cannot be compensated with counter allegations and political rhetoric. It is your responsibility to rise above negative political rivalry and differences and serve the people. It is your responsibility to lead the people out of this culture of violence and pursue sustainable peace through negotiations. Even though time is running out it is still possible to return to and act on a consensual political will that could still save us all. Your mandate as elected leaders leaves you with no other option.

When this is done with dignity for all, the people of all ethnic communities will back you and undoubtedly judge and isolate the LTTE and other militant groups if they refuse to co-operate and remain intransigent.

The fuller challenge the country faces is to work towards sustainable development and nation building, so that the people can get on with their lives in an atmosphere of trust. Most other nations, some of them not as resourceful as ours, have forged ahead and have honoured the trust their people have placed in their leadership. We can only hope to do so when you as leaders have adequately and justly addressed this destructive trend of violence of sister and brother against sister and brother.

With Peace and Blessings

The Rt Revd Duleep de Chickera
Bishop of Colombo
3rd January 2008