Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 13 November 2015
Australian Tamil or Jaffna Tamil?
On Deepavali day, a fellow member of the Sri Lankan Reconciliation Forum, Sydney asked me about an alleged attack on Mr. Sumanthiran in the Sydney suburb of Homebush which includes considerable proportion of Tamil population. I did not know anything about Mr. Sumanthiran’s visit to Australia until this morning and hence I asked for more details. Then I went about my own work – sharing my feelings with others who felt for the Tamil Political Prisoners and at the same time looking for the lasting solution in my own way. Accordingly I continued to write my articles on this subject matter, in the consciousness that every genuine identity works the system of Truth.
This morning I read the news in Colombo Gazzette that Mr. Sumanthiran had met with our Government. Then I searched through Google and learnt about the commotion in Homebush during which Mr. Sumanthiran was called a traitor. The very question that rose in my mind was asked by one guy who asked Mr. Sumanthiran as to what he was doing here when the young ones who were in prison because of the Tamil struggle – had resumed their fast? A very valid question.
Politicians have to be physically present to ‘show’ their support to their side. The Chief Minister of Northern Province – the Hon Wigneswaran is reported to have done just that – not only in meeting with the families of the prisoners but also handing over a written submission to the President, in person along with members of the Northern Provincial Council Cabinet. As per Uthayan report – the President has promised a response by Monday, regarding Amnesty.
The treatment that Mr. Sumanthiran received from Tamil victims of war – confirms further that we the Tamil Community are also suffering from the weaknesses in the Sinhalese Community. The fundamental reason is that lawyers who are part of the judiciary are also law makers as politicians. One who makes is at the beginning and one who concludes at national level is at the end. Except in individuals of high mind-order – the two need to be strictly separated to prevent stagnation – of the kind demonstrated by Mr. Rajapaksa.
If Mr. Sumanthiran came here to Australia as leader of the Sri Lankan Tamil Community – then he should not have met with the Australian Government in their territory. The Australian Tamil Congress which seems to have organized the meeting has erred in this regard. The Colombo Gazette which publishes Sri Lankan news highlighted the meeting with the Australian Government but not the meeting with the Sri Lankan President.
It is more and more obvious that Mr. Sumanthiran is failing as a Politician due to his interests in ‘international affairs’. The same way there needs to be Separation of Powers between the Executive and the Judiciary – there needs to be Separation of Powers between Local Politics and Foreign Politics. I have lived as Australian Tamil and have not faced this kind of attack. From time to time, I receive expressions of appreciation from such groups whom I comforted during their difficult times. I do have different interpretations to most of the Tamil leaders with position and I do express them at common meetings especially with the Australian Government. They are however at policy level. Mr. Sumanthiran’s is seen as being at Business level.
The Separation of Powers between Rights based Authority and Outcomes based Business is important. Those of us with strong Business skills – including through the legal profession – need to renounce the comfort of judgmental positions and v.v. Hence in a ‘free’ world those who are business driven would stay away from Rights struggles. The problem often is that leaders want both. This Australian experience is necessary if Mr. Sumanthiran is to challenge the Government on Budgetary issues now that the Government has moved towards a Zero Base Budgeting system – which is another way of describing Business base.
Majority leaders of the Australian Tamil Community are driven by position power and hence get lost when it comes to minority powers trying to express their views. They continue to make speeches as if they are politicians. The Truth came out during this meeting organized in honor of Mr. Sumanthiran. The Truth is that the Australian Tamil Community is not bound by common institutional values. We continue to carry the ‘attitudes’ that we had when we left Sri lanka. This was also Mr. Sumanthiran’s problem. The gap between haves and have nots – was highlighted through these minds. To them Mr. Sumanthiran with Leadership position in Sri Lanka has what they do not have here in Australia nor are they able to go to Sri Lanka to enjoy it in their home-environment. A Tamil Congress member said to me that he was advised by Australian authorities not to go to Sri Lanka yet.
Instead of meeting with the Australian Government, Mr. Sumanthiran would have been better off meeting with the very individuals who accused him and shared his new status with these refugees who have left behind their own contribution to self-governance. If this is not possible due to his own circumstances then he must stay in Colombo – where he is naturally accepted. This kind of living in the past is not unique to Australian Tamils. Malaysian Tamils practice some ceremonies that are more traditional than those practiced in Jaffna. Likewise, the value of Tamil struggle for self-governance in the mind of today’s Australian Tamil is different to that in the mind of Jaffna-Tamil. That’s our diversity which Mr. Sumanthiran failed to recognize.