Sri Lankan Reconciliation in Australia
These days I marvel more and more about the perfection with which the system of Truth works. The brain plays an important role in structuring this Truth of our purposes. The greater the influence of Truth in our thought and conduct – the more orderly and reliable our brain becomes. Those who use imagination and hearsay tend to have disorganized thoughts and their expressions and actions confirm unreliability. This often results from using one sided thinking that politics often is, in an area that is beyond the reach of politics.
Laws help us form common order of thought. But without common belief – the common order is difficult to achieve. Given that majority Sinhalese are Buddhists and majority Tamils are Hindus – it could be concluded that the ethnic conflict happened due to failure to respect the need for separations. Language is one outer form of such expressions. Belief based expressions need to be confined to local groups to prevent damage to the common base on which the Administrative and Judicial structures are developed. When religion becomes part of the law – there is higher risk of conflict between the order as per the secular system on the one hand and the order as per religion on the other.
Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution states ‘The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by
Articles 10 and 14(1)(e)’
Article 10 states ‘Every person is entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and
religion, including the freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his
choice.’ Article 14 (1) (e ) states “Every citizen is entitled to – the freedom, either by himself or in association with others, and either in public or in private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching’
Recently, the conflict between Article 9 on the one hand and Articles 10 & 14 (1)(e ) on the other, was confirmed as a consequence of the article ‘Sinhalese Fearing Tamils’ (http://austms.blogspot.com.au/). Following excerpts from the discussions would help form the picture:
1.Australian Sinhalese: A thinly veiled glorification of the LTTE and of the extremist terrorism it represents…
Australian Tamil: LTTE eliminated caste based barriers. If this is glorification – then that is being done by Ms Shenali Waduge.
2.Australian Sinhalese: It is your comment that LTTE protected the Tamils from the Sinhalese that glorifies the LTTE.
Australian Tamil: If that is your understanding – then your mind is far away from Truth.
3.Australian Sinhalese: You have justified/glorified the LTTE with your statement that the LTTE protected the Tamils from the Sinhalese.
Australian Tamil: It’s not glorification. It’s how the mind is influenced by what happens. A big part of the fears and anxieties due to physical powers of the race that has the capacity to elect government – have been balanced due to LTTE actions. This is an observation. It becomes glorification only when someone’s status is elevated subjectively – with or without just reason. LTTE’s Karuna being included as part of the National government confirms that the National government recognized this strength in LTTE. THAT was reconciliation on the basis of need.
4.Australian Sinhalese: Are you trying to say that the LTTE was a counterbalance to the Sinhalese anxieties and fears? What strength did the LTTE have apart from it's guns and terrorism?
Australian Tamil: The LTTE showed outcomes that were difficult for the government to prevent. The fears and anxieties are the effects of the perceived strength of the powers of majority race with the power to elect government. The fears and anxieties were felt by minorities – especially Tamils who became victims of ethnic riots. These would now be less due to LTTE actions. This is an observation. Confirmation comes from those who are driven by physical reaction rather than intellectual response. Hijacking the caste issue as ‘seen’ is confirmation of such physical level reaction from your side. You are not able to identify with the deeper common values driving my presentation of a solution.
5. Australian Sinhalese: You are justifying the terrorism of the LTTE and saying that the Tamils are better off because of it and that Tamils are protected by it. Your comment is not supported by the ground reality. A majority of Tamils lived outside the areas illegally occupied by the LTTE during the conflict. They obviously didn't see the LTTE as their protectors.
The fears and anxieties of the Sinhalese have increased due to the LTTE and it's proxies like the TNA.
Australian Tamil: First of all, I do not consider the TNA to be an LTTE proxy – nor do majority members of the Tamil community.
If you are genuine about the increased fears and anxieties of the Sinhalese due to LTTE you would appreciate that Tamils would have likewise felt fears and anxieties and losses due to ethnic riots which the government failed to control. Truth helps us connect to another’s feelings without needing proof. Hence I do identify with the fears and anxieties of the Sinhalese due to LTTE. Likewise I would expect Sinhalese to have fears and anxieties due to JVP also – the way Tamils have due to LTTE and other armed groups. To stretch it to cover TNA is a political move that I do not identify with.
6. Australian Sinhalese: You will need to be clear as to what your solution is and what problem you are trying to solve.
Australian Tamil: The problem as I see it is that the subjective system using majority power would fail to facilitate merit based higher governance. A democratic administrative system in multicultural areas would prevent the issue being hijacked by armed groups. To the extent those groups are not able to project beyond their local values – we need to become part of them and structure systems that they would be comfortable with. Part of the reason for foreigners telling Sri Lankans what to do – is because of this vulnerability of the people who get attracted to foreign outcomes – without feeling ownership in them. In terms of any part of the land – we need to feel ownership to be able to work the natural local systems as part of the community and not as outsiders – telling them what to (as is the case with Sinhalese like yourself) or handing out easy benefits (as is the case with many foreign NGOs).
Implementing democratic systems that would suit locals by becoming part of them is the picture of the solution I see myself producing. Just because you or I say so – the system of Truth does not deliver. It delivers as per our investment in Truth. To the extent you judged TNA – you confirm lack of ownership in Tamil Community and therefore Sri Lankans.
7. Australian Sinhalese: You and the majority of Tamils are turning a blind eye towards the clear evidence proving that the TNA is a proxy of the LTTE. It continues to act with the LTTE overseas network and espouses the same separatist ideology. People like Sampanthan were the ideological god fathers of the LTTE. You will never allay the fears and anxieties of those Sri Lankans who want one country as long as separatism is pursued.
Australian Tamil: Each one is entitled to their own assessment of the threats to their independence. That ability to enjoy independence is equally in all of us – as per God’s system. Whoever travels along the path of Truth will get there sooner than those who are driven by hearsay. No individual Sinhalese has earned the trust of the Tamils to be able to assure them the prevention of their enjoyment of their earned independence. You are confirming this to be the case more and more by such statements about political leaders. Do you know of one Tamil in your field of expertise whose word you would take without dispute. If you do – please go to that person. If not – we need to stay away from each other due to lack of common faith in each other.
8. Australian Sinhalese: Most if not all Sinhalese are very happily co-existing with Tamils and wish them well and want to see them prosper within ONE country. It is clear that you are either ignorant or trying to pull the wool over the eyes of people by denying the clear links between the LTTE and the TNA. The TNA are separatists. It appears that you are a separatist as well given your irrational defence of the TNA. Is that so? No one's words are going to erase the evidence of the TNA's separatist agenda.
Australian Tamil: Given that majority Tamils have elected TNA over EPDP – to govern in North – which usually is the managing seat of Sri Lankan Tamils – I conclude that your statements – do not represent Tamil beliefs. If majority Sinhalese are happy to coexist with Tamils on Equal footing until known otherwise through merit basis – we do not have a problem and hence you need not be concerned about LTTE-TNA partnership – unless you have an official position that makes it your duty to prevent any negative outcome through such partnership – for the whole of Sri Lanka. If Sinhalese are happy to coexist with Tamils on Equal footing – then we have progressed since 1983. The major factor in this was the rebellious activity on the Tamil side – resulting in thousands of deaths – more on the Tamil side. That should not be in vain. Your side also has the duty to prevent such riots in the future and you would, by honouring those who died in their line of duty during this war.
9. Australian Sinhalese: The Tamils who elected the TNA are either ignoring their separatist ideology or are active supporters of it. We have every right to be concerned about the LTTE-TNA partnership. The day the TNA and other Tamil party gives up their separatism, then our anxieties and fears will be reduced. There have not been any anti-tamil riots since 1983. Co-existence is a reciprocal exercise.
Australian Tamil: It is up to each group to pursue as per their own beliefs through the system they consider to be reliable. If that is the current system for you and according to that system TNA is guilty of Terrorism – then as per my assessment – your group has a longer way to go towards enjoying peace and harmony – than the group that I feel a part – a group that accepts TNA as an educated political party legitimately representing Tamils. If you think otherwise, it’s up to you to take action against them. You do not have the capacity to make changes to our beliefs because you do not trust Tamils like myself who are self-governing including in Australia.
10. Australian Sinhalese: It is you and like minded people who have long way to go to achieving peace. Give up your separatist baggage and stop promoting separatism through the TNA. The TNA are separatist and there is clear evidence of that. They are also the proxies of the LTTE.
Australian Tamil: I conclude that I have proven my point that it was due to LTTE that some sections of the Tamil Community feel less anxious about becoming victims of ethnic riots. Now you are confirming that you feel anxious and fear separatism. In other words as Buddha said – if the accusation does not belong to me/us it comes back to you. Hence we lost some degree of anxiety and fear and you have now picked that up. It’s now shared in common. You do not control the system of karma. If your system of governance is strong and it upholds Buddhist philosophy – you would not be feeling that fear and anxiety about separatism. You would have the strength of the whole to manage it as a challenge.
Given LTTE are part of the Tamil community TNA has the responsibility to reflect the real values that they contributed to removing fears and anxieties of the Tamil Community – even though LTTE’s intentions went far beyond that, to take ruling power over Tamils. The potential damage through LTTE was much greater for Tamils than for Sinhalese. Externally the status of Tamils would have plummeted if we had not fought against majority rule in Administration and Judiciary. That is the gain for Sri Lanka as a whole. LTTE’s excesses are Tamil community’s problem and we are actively eliminating them through strong internal partnerships while you keep showing off your majority power to ‘tell’ where there are no listeners.
11. Australian Sinhalese: You are living in denial about the TNA and you are justifying the terrorism of the LTTE saying that it provided protection to the Tamils. You avoided the question I asked you about why the majority of Tamils lived outside of LTTE if they were their protectors. There is clear evidence that the TNA acted as a proxy of the LTTE and continue to do so by acting in concert with the LTTE's international network. Your repeated denials do not alter that fact. The TNA's commitment to separatism is clearly articulated in their declaration in Batticaloa in 2012. It is a denial of reality or an attempt to hoodwink people to claim otherwise. It is NOT a political move to state that the TNA is separatist. The TNA must give up their separatist agenda if they are truly interested in working together and prospering with the rest of Sri Lanka.
For a start they should Revoke their 2012 Batticaloa declaration and then cut all ties with the LTTE's international network. BTW the anxiety about Tamil separatism has been there ever since the Tamil separatist ideology was formulated. That was way before the LTTE.
Do you agree with the TNA's 2012 Batticaloa declaration?
Australian Tamil: That particular problem was explained and quite rightly – as interpretation bias. As per news report:
‘In the latest instance, at the ITAK convention in Batticaloa, TNA leader R.Sampanthan detailed the issues confronting the Tamils and ways to solve them. One relevant part went like this: “The struggle for the political rights of the Tamil nation has now entered an entirely new chapter…We must clearly prove to the international community that the Sri Lankan government, which has delayed for so long in giving the Tamil people their rights, has never made any genuine effort to do so. In other words — we must prove to the international community that we will never be able to realize our rights within a united Sri Lanka. We must be patient until the international community realises for itself that the effort we are involved in is doomed to fail. To put it more strongly, the international community must realize through its own experience, without us having to tell them, that the racist Sri Lankan government will never come forward and give political power to the Tamil people in a united Sri Lanka.”
As per the same news report:
‘A deliberate false translation of its constitution is the reason the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK) — the main constituent of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — is being portrayed as a party that stood for secession of the Tamil parts from Sri Lanka, said TNA leader and MP M.A.Sumanthiran on Wednesday.
In a conversation with The Hindu , he said the sworn affidavit filed in the Supreme Court — the constitution of the party — which is in Tamil, was translated into English wrongly by a certified translator. This could only be done with motive, he said and added that the ITAK did not stand for a separate Tamil and a separate Muslim State in Sri Lanka. (A May 18 story in The Hindu had relied on the translated version of the ITAK constitution and sought the TNA's comments).
The Sixth Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution (enacted in August 1983) prohibits political parties from having as one of their aims establishment of a separate State. The petition was filed in the Supreme Court by a little known advocate Jayantha Liyanage, the general secretary of Sinhala Jathika Peramuna (an unrecognised political party). He named the TNA, ITAK, Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) and Eelam People's Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) as parties having constitutions aimed at creating a separate state. His plea was to declare that the parties be automatically disqualified .’
Given that the ITAK is still the leading Tamil Party – I conclude that the application to the Supreme Court failed. As per that ruling your interpretation is vexatious.
12. Australian Sinhalese: The interpretation bias is on your side. He has quite clearly espoused separatism as the solution whichever way you look at it. His comment "Tamil people will NEVER get their political rights within a united Sri Lanka" says it all. He wants the international community to realise that and support them for a solution OUTSIDE of a united Sri Lanka.
Australian Tamil: If your interpretation is correct – you ought to take legal action against TNA. You would if you care about the lawful policies of Sri Lanka.
13. Australian Sinhalese: What does a solution OUTSIDE of a united Sri Lanka mean?
Australian Tamil: Mr. Sampathan has explained this as ‘We must clearly prove to the international community that the Sri Lankan government, which has delayed for so long in giving the Tamil people their rights, has never made any genuine effort to do so. In other words — we must prove to the international community that we will never be able to realize our rights within a united Sri Lanka. We must be patient until the international community realises for itself that the effort we are involved in is doomed to fail. To put it more strongly, the international community must realize through its own experience, without us having to tell them, that the racist Sri Lankan government will never come forward and give political power to the Tamil people in a united Sri Lanka’
Administratively this would mean using global principles of Equal Opportunity through which we administer the areas within our responsibility. Politically and socially – it means we form coalitions with other Tamils living beyond the borders of Sri Lanka – to expand our thinking and have a broad base on which we operate.
People realise independence and give form to their sense of independence in various forms. Mr. Sampanthan is promoting forming higher coalitions because he for his people is not able to visualise such realisation within Sri Lankan borders. That is wise and needs to be valued.
14. Second Sinhalese trying to hijack the focus: Ms. Param, you know you do ramble on and on. At the end, I think you lose track of what you started to say - hence the confusion. You did say that the LTTE protected the Tamils from the Sinhalese. That is very confusing and certainly untrue. Now you can't turn around and hide behind the psychology of those who read what you write. No need for that when it is in black and white. Please don't write back and say there is a Grey patch in between! Thanks.
Australian Tamil: Mr. S, You are confirming the very need for separation. My words in that article were:
‘As some Tamils point out – today, due to the LTTE - the common Sinhalese is more aware of what could go wrong if s/he went against a Tamil without objectively measurable proof of wrong doing. Some of us may not need that protection – but the average Tamil living in Sri Lanka does. To that extent LTTE has changed the order of thought of the Sinhalese at their parallel level. This has been followed by the Tamil Diaspora through their influence over UN and other Global Governments. Talking about our internal problems would not help restore that lost status for the Sinhalese.’
You have translated that as “the LTTE protected the Tamils from the Sinhalese.”
That is an indiscriminate application of the statement to the whole problem – very similar to allocating the Terrorism label on the whole of the Tamil community – including the TNA.
Someone who is demanding a black and white clarification – is confirming ignorance of the science of the mind. To such a shallow person – the process of - Black facts becoming Grey intelligence to transcend as White philosophy would cause allergic reactions - resulting in finding fault with philosophy as ramblings. Mr. Australian Sinhalese by responding was showing more respect than you. You need to understudy him to learn about opposition in a democratic system.