Monday, 27 October 2014

About Separation Of Powers In Northern Sri Lanka

| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

( October 26, 2014, Sydney, Sri Lanka Guardian) Recently, I received reports of Mr M K Sivajilingam former member of Parliament representing Jaffna Tamils, accusing Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran on the basis of latter’s expression of difficulty in working with groups that used armed power. Listening to the speech by Mr. Sivajilingam, I concluded that Jaffna Administration was being suffocated by those who came to power by using the gun. We are accusing the Sri Lankan Government of injustice based on our own thinking. Relative to Mr. Sivajilingam, the Hon C V Wigneswaran’s investment in multiculturalism and justice through common forms is much greater. Any Tamil who uses Educational power before armed power to establish justice would feel hurt by this judgment delivered by Mr. Sivajilingam against the Hon Wigneswaran, the Chief Minister of Northern Province.

Mr. Sivajilingam stated that Mr. Wigneswaran was standing on the shoulders of militants and is criticizing them. In comparison, many examples of former leaders were stated as examples of good leadership. This included the support provided to the LTTE by the Hon Appapillai Amirthalingam – duly elected leader of Vaddukoddai – the Tamil District that led the claim for Independent Tamil State. On hearing this my mind said to Mr. Wigneswaran to not make the same mistake that Mr. Amirthalingam made. Mr. Amirthalingam was killed by the very same LTTE. The death of any person in the line of duty is a sacrificial death – and one who killed such a person is a criminal – be it the Sri Lankan Government or the Tamil Militant leader.

To my mind the work and sacrifices of the armed groups have been taken to the global level by educated Tamils through many paths – including investments in higher global administration.

The Tamil community as a whole claims credit at the global level – through its investment in Higher Education. Mr. Wigneswaran fits that position far better than Mr. Sivajilingam. As per my observations in Vaddukoddai and Jaffna – investment in Education is happening at a far higher rate than investment in politics. Mr. Wigneswaran has the duty to the Tamil Community as a Whole – to structure a system that would serve not only residents of Northern Sri Lanka but all Tamils of Sri Lankan origin who have invested in Tamil self-governance.

This self-governance could be achieved as follows:

1. As individuals
2. As part of an ethnic culture
3. As part of common culture recognized by the rest of the world.

So long as we have had little or no exposure to the world outside our land area – pathway 2 above would lead seekers to self-governance – with or without gun-power. That is the political path. But where the majority power of an ethnic group is based on global living – that path needs to be lost consciousness of. Devolution would then be used purely to prevent other ethnic groups – in this instance the Sinhala only politicians – from interfering in our path to self-governance. The people of Jaffna elected Mr. Wigneswaran for this job - knowing very well that he would promote Education and Higher thinking above armed leadership and at times even political leadership – as seen through the recent boycotting of the ceremonies around the President’s visit.

In his, Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘Sri Lanka: Executive Vs. Judiciary,
Mr. Basil Fernando – Director Policy and Programme Development Asian Human Rights Commission, has raised this very issue in terms of the Sri Lankan Presidency. One of the statements that registered strongly with me is:

‘The opportunity came when one person considered by all to represent the epitome of reactionary ideas J.R. Jayawardena obtained 5/6th of the seats in the 1977 parliamentary election.’

It was through the 1977 parliamentary elections that the Vaddukoddai Resolution was confirmed by the system of Natural Justice. The position of Tamil leadership was then held by the Hon Appapillai Amirthalingam and not by any leader of armed groups. The legitimate heir to that position is an Educated Tamil and not one who believed in armed struggle. Mr. Wigneswaran fits that Heirship more than any leader of armed group – past or present.

Back then - armed groups climbed on the shoulders of TNA politicians to pursue their own ambitions and then killed those very positions through those persons. A Vaddukoddai widow said to me that her husband was taken into custody as ‘Thesa Throki’ / Traitor of the Nation - for preventing his younger brother from joining the LTTE. That is quite a common label as per LTTE’s system of Justice. But the common Tamil would not be able to identify with this through an independent mind. It was so only because Prabhakaran said so. A community with such leadership would not use education for life. The Tamil community is stronger for the leadership of Mr. Wigneswaran and it would be very damaging to try to bring him down the lower level of political leadership of armed groups. Those groups need to respect the independence of the People who elected Mr. Wigneswaran and therefore his power in justice through educated thinking. Jaffna Tamils did not ever elect any armed leader as their representative. If they did – they would automatically downgrade the value of their own investment in higher education and therefore entitlement to live in other nations using common measures to uphold law and order.

A deep insight into the forces leading to the 1977 outcomes would help us become independent of dictatorships in both leading communities in Sri Lanka. Tamils lost the political leadership to armed leadership and Sinhalese lost their opportunity to enjoy the fruits of democracy to autocracy. The root cause is the same – Political leadership being used beyond local borders.

A strong example that illustrates the value of the Doctrine of Separation of powers is apparent at family level. Most of us are driven by family bondage / attachment and until marriage this is to our parents and siblings. Marriage structures are human structures and strong marriage structures help us become independent of biological attachments. This is necessary for us to override the animal tendencies in us. Hence the human brain has the ability to think at the higher level – to distinguish between right and wrong and prevent damages to own life and our ambitions to be ‘free’.

Those who fail to complete their primary level relationships – with parents and siblings would bring open ledgers into their marriage. Where that marriage is governed by an extension of one side of that marriage partnership – it would not be excessively damaging and in some instances progressive. But where it is not – one needs a new common structure with equal status to both. Likewise in multiculturalism. Likewise in Judiciary.

Where Tamil Politics submits itself to Sinhala politics – as in the above mentioned extended family system – there would be little need for common measures – as in the partnership between the EPDP (Eelam People’s Democratic Party ) led by Mr. Douglas Devananda and the UPFA (United People’s Freedom Alliance) led by Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa. That is an extension of the subjective system and hence suits a Presidential structure with little separation between Politics and Administration and therefore the Executive and the Judiciary. Tamils could still realize self-governance through their support for National politicians – especially those who demonstrate acceptance of other cultures – as Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa has been doing. Mr. Wignesawaran who is likely to have reached a high level of self-governance through the Judicial path – has chosen to add his strength to the Tamil Political path and that needs to be respected by the likes of Mr. Sivajilingam whose path even if successful would not have facilitated global opportunities for Tamils. The value of armed struggle has been made common not by the wins by armed groups but by the deaths that happened due to the expression of such cause being recognized at the global level.

Politics – like family affection is subjective and is one sided at that time at that place. Faith fills the other side to make it wholesome. Without that faith – that position has only half the power of Administration through Common principles and laws through which both sides could be known at the same time. Facts are manifestations of Truth – and it is common knowledge that there is no gain/pleasure without pain. Judiciary is strong in this balanced thinking and hence needs to rely least on faith through biological connections. Hence the need for Doctrine of Separation of Powers.

A community that argues for such separation of powers – needs to also recognize that need for separation between their culture and other ethnic cultures. Failure to do so – would result in our needs becoming theirs. Hence the 1978 Constitution and the Executive President without strong Democratic Administration. The promise by President Rajapaksa that he would give up that structure if Tamils gave up their claim for separation confirms his understanding that the two are linked.

Where the military is strongly active – one does need Presidential Powers. This is the case with the USA whose army is strongly active outside USA. Sri Lanka needs it within. Hence it needs the Executive Presidency. Tamils as a community may lead Sri Lanka into Democracy – through Public Administration under the leadership of Higher minds.

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