By Pr Danny Nalliah
President – Catch The Fire Ministries Inc.

Sri Lankan FlagDear Friends and Family in Christ around the World,

I have always wondered whether it was a big mistake Sri Lanka made when it got its independence from the British in 1948. Then known as Ceylon and very famous for its Ceylon Tea, the nation now called Sri Lanka has been in civil conflict for the past 50+ years.  Thank God for the British who set foot on Australia some 200 years ago and made it a wonderful land to live in! I am so happy that they did not leave Australia.  As a Sri Lankan born Aussie, I must say we should be so grateful  for our great Nation.

Tea Plantations of Sri LankaMy parents studied under the British administration in Sri Lanka in a season when all people studied in English, and spoke English as their first language. They never looked at each other as a particular race group but rather as fellow Ceylonese.

As soon as the British left in 1948,  corrupt power hungry Government officials divided the once united country, giving some groups more privileges than others, and leaving minorities in the country to languish. This sparked off ethnic tensions and communal violence, thus requiring Sinhalese to study in Sinhalese and Tamils to study in Tamil. This divided a once united community in Sri Lanka, and made it a Sinhalese-Buddhist nation.

Many tell me in my travels in Australia and overseas, “The Muslims are causing trouble in Sri Lanka!” No, this is not true as the Muslims have nothing to do with this conflict. It is very much a Racial and Religious problem between Sinhalese Buddhists and Tamil Hindus.  The conflict  could be categorized as Sinhalese vs. Tamils or Buddhists vs. Hindus, as 90% + Sinhalese are Buddhist and 90% + Tamils are Hindu.

St. Clair\'s waterfall in Sri LankaI must clarify a very important point that there are many Muslim terrorists in the world, but definitely not all Muslims are terrorists. Likewise most Tamil Tiger rebels or better known as LTTE, are Tamils, but not all Tamils are LTTE.  Most Sinhalese people are peace loving and very kind, as so was Buddha’s teaching, although a few want to see violence all the time. It’s either the Christian church or a minority group who become the victims.

More than 70% of Sri Lanka’s population is Sinhalese- Buddhist and the rest are Minority groups such as Tamils, Burghers, Muslims, Malays, Indians and Chinese. After receiving independence Sri Lanka plunged into civil conflict and communal violence. Some of the most terrible attacks by Sinhalese Buddhist mobs on the Tamils were in 1956, 1977 and then 1983. Thousands of Tamils were killed, burned alive, many were raped, houses were destroyed, businesses were burned down, as entire communities were wiped out.

This resulted in many Tamils leaving the country and others starting up Terror groups such as the LTTE to fight for survival in the north of the country.  But then these Tamil groups carried out horrible retaliatory bombing attacks in many parts of Sri Lanka killing thousands of people mainly Sinhalese. The big question is, ‘Is violence the answer?’ My response as a Christian is a BIG NO! My parents were almost burned alive on tires in 1983. I was a new Christian who cried to God to save them and He used another Sinhalese Buddhist woman to save my parents. In these riots while Sinhalese mobs attacked Tamils,  many other Sinhalese at risk to their own lives, saved many Tamils from getting killed.

Today tens of thousands of people have perished in this island nation. The government blames the LTTE and the LTTE blames the Government and its forces. Each blame each other and sadly caught up in the middle are tens of thousands of innocent civilians in the north of Sri Lanka, who are dying by the hundreds every day. This include hundreds of children.  Meanwhile, the whole world stands by and waits for another genocide to take place like in Rwanda or Bosnia.

When Israel attacked southern Lebanon, it was 24 / 7 news. When the Serbs attacked Bosnia it was the same. Why is the media in the West so silent about this issue in Sri Lanka?? It begs a question…are somehow Hindus and Buddhists considered sub-class citizens to Muslims, Christians and Jews???

There are thousands of Tamils (mainly Hindus) and hundreds of Sinhalese soldiers (mainly Buddhist) getting killed in this conflict. But it is not at all “hot news”. We are not hearing or seeing reports of this dreadful carnage of lives. Be it Hindu or Buddhist these are people created in the image of God. Why are governments so silent??

Why is the UN, EU and the US not doing anything about it? It appears all talk but with no obvious intention to act. Is it because Sri Lanka has a lower profile than Iraq or Afghanistan? Or is it because there is no real threat for the rest of the world through this crisis? Or maybe because there is no oil in Sri Lanka?  …so “Who cares we say!” as we carelessly fling our hands in the air, “Let them all kill themselves!!” Is this how the world would react to the massacres in Sri Lanka?

I am a Tamil but lived amongst Sinhalese all my life and do dearly love them (some of them saved my family!).  I lost a few of my Sinhalese friends who were in the Sri Lankan army – they went for battle, but never came back. Many of their mothers continue to cry. So too many Tamil mothers cry for their sons and daughters. (I personally spoke with many of them in Canada a few weeks ago.)

Sinhalese or Tamil, Hindu or Buddhist – these are precious lives being lost. Please pray and act by contacting your local State and Federal representatives, and ask them to do something about this to stop the war. The West does have tremendous political influence to assist third world countries. We need to act quickly… If not thousands of people could be killed in the next few days!!!

You could call the Sri Lankan Embassy or High Commission in your respective country and strongly state your dissatisfaction regarding the civil war.

Also I implore you to send this message to everyone you know and let’s put a stop to this cycle of killing now! We must hope and pray that we will see this Island nation get back on her feet and truly become the Pearl of the Indian Ocean, as it was once known.

I also humbly ask all Sri Lankans living overseas, please do not take your fight to the land where you are living in. It was absolutely disgraceful to watch on TV news a few weeks ago reports of Sinhalese and Tamils clashing with each other in Melbourne, Australia. A peaceful protest is welcome under democracy, but not shameful acts of violence.

Let’s leave racism behind and move on as one people created in the image of an almighty God of love, liberty, and peace!

I pray for peace in Sri Lanka and the whole world.  May all violence end and all mankind love one another, as this is the primary message of the founder of the Christian faith, JESUS CHRIST.


14 Responses to “Only If The British Stayed In Sri Lanka – It Could Have Been Another Australia”

  1. 1 John

    Great article! It’s wonderful to hear a good viewpoint on British colonization. Despite the sins of men, there is no doubt that God was up to something really, really good. Your article gives us a view of history which helps us to identify the good, in order to repeat it and improve on it – instead of throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And that’s an important world view to have, both for the sake of social conscience and for the sake of future advances in freedom. See ‘A Prophetic Revelation of Australia’s History’ http://unfadingstory.googlepages.com/avisionconcerningaustralia

  2. 2 Cory

    Interesting. I agree that issues such as these ought to garner a great deal more media attention and that the international community should do more to end the violence in Sri Lanka.

    However, you fail to mention the fact that the colonisation of Sri Lanka by the British caused the ethnic tensions that led to the violence that has plagued Sri Lanka for the past 50 years since their independence. The Sri Lankan Civil War is a consequence of the way that ethnic identities have been formed and re-formed since the colonial period. The unequal distribution of political power and representation by the British created an escalating inter ethnic rivalry and political struggle between the minority Tamils and the majority Sinhalese.

    We saw this happen in Rwanda, Uganda and a host of other colonised states. The European colonial powers came in and favoured, in the case of Rwanda – the Tustis over the Hutus, and in the case of Uganda – the Southerners over the Northern Acholi. The ethnic tensions created by European colonialism led to 800,000 Rwandans massacred in 1994, and Uganda continues with Africa’s longest running war. That’s not to mention the enslavement, genocide, and destruction of culture inflicted upon natives by the colonial powers, who also plundered their natural resources for the wealth of Britain.

    In the case of Australia, the British killed more than 50% of the Aboriginal population through the introduction of disease, stole land and water resources, and killed tens of thousands indiscriminately and cruelly as a result of massacres, poisoning, raids, wars and intermittent conflict. Not to mention the complete and utter desecration of Aboriginal culture. Is that something we can thank God for? The British left Sri Lanka because the locals demanded it due to increasing grievances over the denial of civil rights, mistreatment and abuse of natives by colonial authorities.

    You praise the efforts of colonialists, yet fail to understand the damage they did and the way in which indigenous populations continue to suffer to this day from social ills, political instability and ethnic conflict due to colonial legacy. Maybe the British shouldn’t have left Sri Lanka, but better still, maybe they shouldn’t have gone there in the first place.

    Something to think about…

  3. 3 Surekha

    Dear Pastor Danny

    A friend of mine forwarded you email to me this morning. I just wanted to thank you for it and really see your heart. I thank God for people like yourselves who stand unbiased (even though you have a reason to be) but base your response on the love of God. I am a pastor myself based in London. We too are working in bringing unity amounst the Sinhalese and Tamil people which can only come about through Jesus.

    God bless you and your ministry

    Surekha
    Living Waters Foursquare Church
    London

  4. 4 Irene & Peter

    Dear Ps. Danny
    Greetings in Jesus’ Name.
    When we were in Sri Lanka different Tamils told us in Colombo, how their people had been gunned down and killed by the other party.
    Also, there was a Tamil married to an Australian missionary. He went into the Tamil Tigers domain in a vehicle, to preach peace to them.
    They shot him in his vehicle. One Tamil told me he counted the bullet holes and there were around fifty.
    It seems that one cannot preach peace to those at war.
    We knew a Tamil pastor in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, who had fled as a refugee from Sri Lanka. After a few years the Indian Govt. said that kind of person had to leave India. So he returned to that area in Sri Lanka.
    Hope he is safe. We found the Punjabis in Pakistan were anti-Indian. The Indians in the Punjab, India were anti Paki. So there you have it.

    The Hindus and the Moslems at one stage were killing each other so that Bangalore, e.g. was under a curfew. I do not think there will ever be peace between different races and countries. In fact, Jesus said there would always be wars and rumours of wars. It has been like that for millennia.
    The peace all people of all races and nations need, is the peace that Jesus gives. Then as believers, they will love other races. However, these believers will never be in the majority and will never have the effect of causing peace to exist world wide. Afraid we are in for turmoils while this world lasts – being as it is in the hands of the Prince of this world, Satan. However, Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is our Lord and King. We look for His appearing because to them who look for Him, He will come so that we put on immortality and have the glory of Christ.
    Thanks for the email, it was interesting. Did not know you were a Tamil. We have spent many years in and out of Tamil Nadu.
    In Christ
    Irene and Peter

  5. 5 Peter

    Thanks a lot for this Danny. I’ve filed it for future reference.

    Peter (Merrylands Presbyterian)

  6. 6 Christine

    That’s right let us learn to love one another as Jesus would have wanted us to do. Unfortunately churches even in australia are very far from it.

    With God’s Blessings
    Sis Christine

  7. 7 Jerry

    Dear Danny,
    Recently, I was in London, filming for the Coral Ridge Hour (for which we interviewed you re your case 2 years ago). In London, there are MASSIVE protests against the Sri Lanka government on behalf of the poor Tamils. Just so you know. (None of us are sure what the British have to do with the conflict).

    Jerry
    Senior Producer

    Coral Ridge Ministries
    Fort Lauderdale, Florida

  8. 8 Richard

    Hi Pastor Nalliah

    I am always blessed whenever I received communication from you.

    I was in prayer with you during your recent trips at broad where you visited America and Canada.

    I will mention Sri Lankan in my prayer and I believed that you said the right thing regarding how politicians are destroying our one world today. My own country is a classical example of 14 years of civic war.

    I always in prayer with you during my personal devotion time. Please remember me as well.

    we are praying in Liberia as you traveling,that one day God will lead you to stop over in Liberia and see the friendly brothers and sisters in the Lord.

    Richard
    Catch the Fire Ministries/Liberia

  9. 9 Rexley

    Dear Beloved Pastor
    I thank and praise for God people like you
    You have been to our church in Sydney twice
    The article you wrote was very comprehensive and may even melt the hard hearted people
    Like you, I am also against violence against anyone (either Singhalese or Tamils) which is contrary to our Lord’s teaching
    Please do something to stop this work of the devil

    God bless
    Kind regards
    Rexley

  10. 10 Luke

    Amen to that one. The world only concentrates the mass media where WEALTH IS AFFECTED
    Luke

  11. 11 Ian

    Funny how people on the angry, loony Left usually present the Colonial Powers as such big bad oppressors – without mentioning all the good they did as well!

    Such bias.

    God bless you and yours always Pastor Danny. We are proud to call you an Aussie citizen. Ian

  12. 12 Cory

    Ian. I think you need to re-think where the bias was. That was exactly why I commented. All I was doing was responding to the bias already present in the article which portrayed the Colonial Powers as God’s gift to Sri Lanka without mentioning the negative affects they had on the indigenous people. There was another side to the story that wasn’t being told. The bias was already in the article, all I did was balance it out.

  13. 13 Sam

    Well said Danny, I agree with your sentiments.

    Blessings,

    Sam

  14. 14 Paul

    I agree with Cory to some degree, though I think he fails to recognise one important factor in all of this. Unfortunately, God’s favour, (as is evident throughout Scripture) does not fall on pagan cultures. Colonization is certainly not the right method of “spreading the Good News”, but there is no doubt that as a result of European colonisation throughout the New World, Jesus has become a household name in regions that were under heavy spiritual bondage and condemnation. Spreading the Word by the sword was certainly not in keeping with Scriptural principles, i.e. New Testament principles, though many generations that followed have had access to Scripture and the knowledge of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ. Could it be that the West’s standing in the world is as a result of a collective acceptance of Judeo-Christian principles? Well, it is of no surprise then, that the rapidly downward spiralling trend in the West is as a direct result of the rejection of Judeo-Christian principles by recent generations, and it is clear that the tide is quickly changing. We will be on the receiving end if we do not turn this hopeless situation around soon. Consider the following-

    The average age of the world’s greatest civilisations has been two hundred years. These nations have progressed through this sequence:

    From bondage to spiritual faith;
    from spiritual faith to great courage;
    from courage to liberty;
    from liberty to abundance;
    from abundance to selfishness;
    from selfishness to complacency;
    from complacency to apathy;
    from apathy to dependence;
    from dependency back again into bondage.
    Sir Alex Fraser Tyler: (1742-1813) Scottish jurist and historian

    God Bless.

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