Sri Lankan born Australian Sudesh Kolonne with his wife Manik and his daughter Alexendria. Manil and Alexendria died at Katuwapitiya Church during Easter Sunday bomb attack.
The best kept secret
Former Chief of State Intelligence Nilantha Jayawardena says that as of April 11, about 15,000 people were aware of information received from a foreign intelligence service about the Easter Sunday attacks.
Nilantha stated that it was highly unlikely that the country’s highest political authority was unaware of the news, which was known to embassies. He says that even the elite security forces were aware of it and it cannot be assumed that they did not inform the MPs and ministers about it.
Professor Rohan Gunaratne, a political analyst specializing in international terrorism, addressing the international symposium on global expansion of ISIS impact on Sri Lanka, on June 10, 2019 at Mahinda Rajapaksa Centre for international Relations, revealed that the DIG in charge of MSD had informed the 225 Principal Staff Officers, including the PSO of Mahinda Rajapaksa, judges and diplomatic core the precise intelligence of the impending attack and that the churches, however, were not informed by the government and that it was a fatal mistake.
Why did those who knew the impending attack hide it from the Church as the best kept secret
Church-State relationship redefined
It is true that the churches were not informed of the impending attack by the government. But do these churches - Catholic and Christian - in the country not maintain close ties with those who knew this vital information? Why did those who knew the impending attack hide it from the Church as the best kept secret? Why did they not take preventive measures, if the relationships are genuine, to salvage the Church, since prevention is better than cure?
If so, what type of relationship has been in existence between the Church and the 225 parliamentarians of the day, both of the ruling party and of the opposition wing, both Christian and non-Christian? What type of relationship is it then – a mutually beneficial one (benevolent to both parties), or else, a partially selfish one (benevolent to politicians at all times, while malevolent to the Church in crucial times)?
Did all politicians take the Church for a ride? Why did the ruling party of the day not inform the Church? Was it due to culpable carelessness or some displeasure with the Church? Why did the opposition wing of the day not inform the Church? Did they wait on fishing in troubled waters politically? Which party is the mastermind behind the attacks? Which one was hiding behind the curtain? God knows best!
On June 10, 2019 at Mahinda Rajapaksa Centre for International Relations, revealed that the DIG in charge of MSD had informed the 225 Principal Staff Officers, including the PSO of Mahinda Rajapaksa, judges and diplomatic core the precise intelligence of the impending attack and that the churches, however, were not informed by the government and that it was a fatal mistake
The bear and the two friends
However what we know could be presented parabolically. Once upon a time there were two friends. One day they were walking through a forest. They knew that anything dangerous might happen to them at any time in the forest. So they promised each other that they would remain united in any case of danger. Suddenly, they saw a large bear approaching them. One of the friends at once climbed a nearby tree. But the other one did not know how to climb. So being led by his common sense, lay down on the ground breathless, pretending to be a dead man. The bear came near the man lying on the ground. It smelt in his ears, and slowly left the place, because bears do not touch dead creatures. Now the friend on the tree came down and asked his friend on the ground, “Friend, what did the bear tell you into your ears?” The other friend replied, “The bear advised me not to believe a false friend.”
This story defines friendship. True friend is the one who always supports and stands by us in any situation. ‘A friend in need is a friend indeed.’ A person who helps at a difficult time is a person whom we can really rely on.
D. Ethos first!
In the Colombo Telegraph on March 5, 2021, Rasika Jayakody, former journalist of a popular newspaper pays a ‘tribute’ to an ex-DIG, under the title, ‘That Fateful Night with DIG Anura Senanayake.’ The writer reminiscences the night Keith Noyahr was abducted and brutally tortured by a hit squad in May 2008.
“It was at this point that Senior DIG Anura Senanayake — one of the most influential police officers at the time — visited the Dehiwala police station. His behaviour was abrasive and arrogant. In the heat of the moment, an argument broke out between Krishantha Cooray (former CEO of a popular newspaper) and Senanayake, after Senanayake asked if the missing journalist had “a girlfriend”, suggesting the abduction might have been due to an extramarital affair. Noyahr is a deeply religious man with an unwavering commitment to his wife and children”, states Rasika.
Insatiable desire for perks, privileges and ‘upward mobility’ at the expense of ethics and values leads one to commit unforgivable sins.” It is very true that one should inculcate and prioritize ‘ethos’ in one’s life and then, its benefits are reaped by the society at large as well
Rasika, then, concludes, “Anura Senanayake’s life and death is a reminder that it is character and integrity that define the life of any professional and not the willingness to satisfy the wills of political masters at any cost. Insatiable desire for perks, privileges and ‘upward mobility’ at the expense of ethics and values leads one to commit unforgivable sins.” It is very true that one should inculcate and prioritize ‘ethos’ in one’s life and then, its benefits are reaped by the society at large as well.
Lastly, we may remember this ex-DIG addressing the Archdiocesan Presbyterium once. This reminds us, by way of caution, of the popular adage, ‘Tell me who your friends are, and I will tell you who you are.’ Thus ends our chapter on ‘Friends exposed?’