- We are aggrieved that those responsible for governance at that time did not take seriously the repeated warnings
By Yohan Perera
In a special message to commemorate the first anniversary of the Easter Sunday attacks, Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said Catholics wished to affirm their commitment to live harmoniously with other religious groups, conscious of the common culture enriched by the teachings of Buddhism to a very large extent, and in which culture there was a high level of acceptance and tolerance.
“Our challenge would be to work amicably with all our fellow citizens and to ensure a spirit of true acceptance and integration within the national fabric of cultures for a peaceful and prosperous new Sri Lanka free of all divisions and petty mindedness.
“On this occasion when we commemorate the dead and pray for the wounded of last year’s Easter attacks, I wish to express our sincere gratitude to all those who stood by the victims showing their solidarity and for assisting them in every possible way. These victims belonged to all ethnic and religious groups in Sri Lanka and included foreigners.
“We honour especially all those who lost their loved ones and those who were injured, for their spirit of magnanimity in not reacting in anger and hatred. What was remarkable in that was the resolve to stay calm and peaceful so that an evil plot to destabilise Sri Lanka with racial or religious riots was defeated by all Sri Lankans.
“First of all, I wish to extend our grateful thanks to the Holy Father Pope Francis who was one in spirit with us during this time and sent his special envoy to convey his closeness to our country and its people. We are also thankful to the foreign missions in the country, particularly the High Commissions of all Islamic Republics for their prompt visit to me after the attacks, to convey their solidarity with our nation. I wish to extend my sincere thanks to the many foreign countries and their citizens who sent messages of condolences, support to the relief fund and assurance of prayers. For instance, the Eiffel Tower switched off its lights at midnight on April 21 and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai was lit up with the colours of the Sri Lankan flag in honour of the victims. We are also grateful to the many other countries that showed similar gestures of solidarity with our people and also to the local and foreign business entities and individuals who generously supported the relief fund established to help the victims.
“We are thankful to the international media, especially those who interviewed me locally and via phone, for reporting true facts to the international community. We are aggrieved that those responsible for governance at that time did not take seriously the repeated warnings received concerning these attacks and so not only allowed this massacre to take place but also sought to hide their culpability in different ways after the attacks. Still more serious is the responsibility of all those who masterminded these attacks by planning, funding and encouraging the perpetrators and deliberately covering up facts of the case. Some of them surely knew this was coming. We thank the incumbent President for his insistence in investigating these attacks thoroughly and for ensuring those responsible are brought to book. We are indeed sad and shocked to hear that some educated and elitist people, some of whom are connected to the legal sphere, are trying to bring pressure on the President to cover up these investigations and possibly hide the authors. What are human rights when they try to use such to cover up the perpetrators and associates of those who violated the basic right to life of so many innocent human beings – men, women and children?
“We also wish to affirm our confidence in the Presidential Commission of Inquiry appointed for this purpose. Finally, even though it is difficult to comprehend the will of God, as a ray of hope that miracles do happen, I wish to mention that the Danish family who lost their children in the bomb attacks, has been blessed with twin girls on March 11, 2020,” he said.
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Colombo told Daily Mirror that commemoration ceremonies would not be held to mark the first anniversary of the attacks while people, especially Catholics, were asked to observe two minutes of silence at 8:40 a.m. today and conduct prayers at their respective homes.
- Affirms confidence in the PCoI appointed to probe matter