Gajalakshmi Paramasivam- 15 June 2016
American Tamils’ Fear
I am no fan of Mr. Sumanthiran due to him not giving recognition to my work on equal footing as those carrying grand titles. But I could not identify with the claim by American Tamils that according to their vision ‘Mr. Sumanthiran is going to play a second fiddle to the Sri Lankan Ambassador’ – (Colombo Gazette article – ‘Leading Tamil diaspora groups in the US slam Sumanthiran’)
The way we picture something that is commonly visible to all, confirms our mind order. As Americans, one would expect the above groups to appreciate that the way they interpret the visit by Mr. Sumanthiran may not be the way Mr. Sumanthiran himself would interpret the purpose of his visit. Given that it has been established with the aid of Americans also – that the Sri Lankan mind order is different to that of the American, one would expect there to be differences in interpretations. But all genuine interpretations as per the conscience of the person/group – would reach a common destination. The pathway taken in this instance by the American Tamils is likely to lead them to Tamils as a global community. But Mr. Sumanthiran, as part of the leading Opposition in Sri Lankan Parliament - has the responsibility to take the pathway to becoming global – not as a Tamil only but as a Sri Lankan. Towards this, he is entitled to use Common Sri Lankan facilities – including those in the USA. If the groups could call themselves ‘American’ then they must respect at Equal level the right to be ‘Sri Lankan’. In addition, to this general value – Mr. Sumanthiran has the DUTY to use the facilities of the Government as his so long as he takes the position of Opposition to the other half.
Mr. Sumanthiran may or may not confirm his adverse position to the Government in the forthcoming meeting with American leaders. But to judge one must wait - until his contribution either way is published. Premature judgment is often the way of those who take higher position than the judged – but by avoiding the official pathway. That was the Tamil contribution to the war. If these Tamils are doing likewise in America also – then they are Abusing the ‘freedom’ they have now that they did not have in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka may be less than America to them but it should not be to Mr. Sumanthiran. If it were – he would be demoting his own position in Sri Lankan Parliament.
As per this report:
‘The statement said the non- official body that invited Sumanthiran to the US is called the “Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka”. This group has no influence or standing in the US Congress or with the US Government and is run by a junior Member of Congress and occasionally one other senior member shows up for a short time.
Tamils for Obama and American Tamil Forum claimed Sumanthiran used the group to get himself invited to Washington DC to meet other policy makers to convey to them his views on the new Government.’‘
The influence of a true American is far more valuable than that of member of the US Congress or the US Government who holds such membership for individual benefits – of money and/or status. It’s not different to taking the lower Community pathway of Tamil only or Sinhala only to feeling ownership of Land and Culture. Mr. Sumanthiran – who demonstrates his higher educational values – may be preferring to take the higher common Sri Lankan pathway rather than the Tamil only pathway. If the Truth he discovered as a Tamil is mover valuable to him and his group – that the values he is developing through the Common Sri Lankan pathway – then the Sri Lankan pathway would work against him realizing Independence. If the Truth he discovered as a Tamil is more valuable to him and his group than the values he thinks he enjoys through the Sri Lankan pathway – then he would be wise to take the Tamil Only pathway to becoming global and independent. No person/group that calls her/him/itself American has the right to think of another without such National affiliation. When they do – they are taking position above the official Tamil Leaders and that has the effect of diminishing the self-confidence of the Sri Lankan Tamil Leaders. This works against Independence.
The Common destination is Independence. It is most appropriate that one who has had the Sri Lankan Experience shares the wisdom with Americans who continue to struggle against the gap between Independence and Freedom. The Diaspora’s pathway by definition would be different to that of the pathway of Residents. One does not have the right to enforce its ways on the other. We are all entitled to use the Common outcomes to strengthen our own Experiences and structures through which we are developing our heritage. To be valuable to the next generation and / or to wider world – such heritage needs to be the Truth we discovered as individuals and/or as members of a group – be it Community, Nation or the Globe.