23 December 2018
Mirror, Mirror who is the most independent of all?
East or West; North or South – independence cannot be bought in the shop. We need to first conquer our own desires to be truly independent. The less challenging alternative is to be loyal to someone who has – even if s/he has no official status. Most of us do the latter through structures developed by our ancestors. In real terms they are the consolidated mind of those who developed the structures trough their realized Truth. Truth being universal would stand the test of time and lateral displacement. Truth is the consolidating power.
We all claim that sugar is sweet. But I do not know how it tastes to the other person. Whatever the experience, it is known as sweet by all those who have directly tasted the substance called sugar. Sweetness is the common language of that experience at the primary / physical level. But as we become more and more health conscious – the primary level is lifted to the intellectual level and the value of the taste is as per the Common mind.
Each individual would taste the cultural experience as per her/his contribution to that Commonness. The more we forego as individuals the wider the sharing. Wider the sharing, taller the structures developed on the foundation of sacrificial pain.
The more distant we become to that commonness – the greater the tendency to differ rather than to relate. Hence if we fail to treat minorities in Parliament as opposition – that confirms that we are treating them as juniors. By law minorities are of different culture to majority. An opposition that fails to clearly demonstrate this diversity – makes a junior of itself.
The lower the numbers the stronger the top-down telling. To deserve that Equal status – it is not enough if we are distant relatives. We need to be distinctly diverse in our approach – as in religion and be the physically closest group in leadership / government. When two political parties oppose each other – they are no longer related to each other. Where beliefs are different / diverse in form – we become outsiders to each other. Hence one should not use relativity. The output must demonstrate who won that round. Performance of a batsman cannot be directly related to that of a bowler. Likewise the Opposition. This is why Tamils become Opposition in National Parliament of Sri Lanka.
The difference between Democratic Parliament and the Judicial Courthouse is this Equal Opposition leadership. Individual participants in Courthouse do not have immunity from contempt of Court. Parliamentarians have this due to all beliefs being taken as true until proven otherwise. Voters who elect on belief basis would identify with high structures developed by their elected leaders. They would not be bought for money.
The most recent experience in Sri Lankan Parliament confirmed to me that – no government formed by majority race would respect minorities of diverse culture as Equals. This was confirmed when the Leader of the Opposition position was handed over to Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa by the Speaker. That confirmed that pleasing their own was more important than maintaining the higher culture of respecting the true opposition that becomes our mirror in democracy. If we stay high up as seniors – we would not be able to see ourselves through that mirror.
Maintaining that Diversity is important if we are not to become distant/poor relations. Otherwise, we would be a separate disenfranchised community – similar to the junior castes who prematurely disenfranchised themselves and were easily taken over by militant groups that needed physical power. Within political groups such as TNA – militant groups need to be taken as Equal Opposition and not as juniors.
There was hardly any expression of appreciation from within Tamil community on the substance of my contribution to the above outcome. But there has been active sharing of Dr Ratnajeevan Hoole’s participation as presented by Daily Mirror! : http://www.dailymirror.lk/article/They-must-be-tried-to-show-that-Tamil-lives-are-as-important-Prof-Ratnajeevan-H-Hoole-160099.html
Did the Mirror show Dr Hoole to himself? Was it Independent of Dr Hoole to be his Opposition mirror or did it become Dr Hoole’s intellectual junior? The following introduction strongly indicates lack of independence to be Mirror:
[Prof. Hoole, B.Sc. Eng. Hons Cey, M.Sc. with Mark of Distinction London, Ph.D. Carnegie Mellon, DoB, retired as Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering from Michigan State University in the US. For his accomplishments in electromagnetic product synthesis the University of London awarded him with its higher doctorate, the D.Sc. (Eng.) degree in 1993, and the IEEE elevated him to the grade of Fellow in 1995 with the citation “For contributions to computational methods for design optimisation of electrical devices.” His paper on using his inverse problem methods from design for Non-destructive Evaluation is widely cited, as is his paper on neural networks for the same purpose’]
Non-destructive Evaluation, as per my learning, means that we learn about the rights and wrongs of something without damaging its wholesomeness.
The Daily Mirror report for example is headed:
‘They must be tried to show that Tamil lives are as important - Prof. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole’
Was the method chosen by Dr Hoole non-evasive in terms of Tamils and in terms of Sri Lankans? Did I feel that my values of independence as a Sri Lankan Tamil were in any way damaged by such action? If yes, then the testing / evaluation was Invasive as a Tamil and as a Sri Lankan.
I do not have an official portfolio and hence my participation is unaffected by status allocated by others. Except for elected leaders - those Tamils who hold high status in Sri Lankan society are outliers. They are distant from the mean and do not represent the common member. In the case of Tamils, the common member would be one who feels with Tamils as a minority group. This is neither someone who currently holds high status in Sri Lankan Government Service nor those whose actions damaged Tamils using higher common pathways to become national and global.
My conclusion is that Dr Hoole, like LTTE is no sample of Common Tamils, nor is Mr Sirisena of Sri Lankans.
What has Dr Hoole achieved for Sri Lankan Tamil or even Sri Lanka by joining the legal bandwagon? The first set of question and answer is enough to give us reliable confirmation of negative value:
Q : Professor, you were one of the petitioners who filed a case against the gazette issued by President Maithripala Sirisena dissolving Parliament. Was this case filed in your capacity as one of the three Election Commission Members or was it personal? What was the reaction of the commission on your move?
A: It was done in both capacities, but primarily as a Member of the Commission. This was reflected in the Petition. When I told Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya, he simply shook my hand without saying anything. I interpreted it as a positive encouragement. My colleague Nalin Abeysekere has consistently maintained that we must never disagree in public even if we all do not agree. He therefore regards my action as unethical. I respect his position, but note that it does not leave room for wider debate on important issues and could lead to a tyranny of the majority. We moved from Election Commissioner to a Commission of three through the 19th Amendment so that we may have diversity of ideas.
Let us take a University environment – a home environment to Dr Hoole. If the Michigan State University in the USA for example is to take action against the State of Michigan would Dr Hoole as member of Central Administration be the Petitioner or would the President / Vice Chancellor of the University be the Petitioner representing the whole University?
Given that the petition was a fundamental rights petition - what fundamental right did the Election Commission suffer and more importantly was seen to have suffered due to the decision of the President of Sri Lanka?
What authority did Dr Hoole have, to state his personal belief as a citizen – as that of the Election Commission’s ?
Since he did combine them was he not acting in the same manner as the President of Sri Lanka?
Does Dr Hoole then have the moral right to sue the People of Sri Lanka when he is no better in this issue than the President?
When Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya of the Electoral Commission shook his head was it a nod in agreement or lateral move in frustration?
Dr David Garlick – the Founding Director of Sports Medicine at the University of NSW said to me during the early stages of our association - that we Sri Lankans had the habit of saying ‘yes, yes’ in words while shaking the head sideways as if it was ‘no, no’ in action!
Dr Hoole damaged the status of the Election Commission by stating that he was taking action in his official capacity. If he had developed the Election Commission from zero base or paid his respects to those who did – he and Election Commission would have been One. Then he would have known that such action was confirming militancy.
As an individual – he had every right to file fundamental rights petition – on the basis that his investment in the current government was damaged by the President’s decision to prematurely dissolve parliament. Proof of that would have been through his own independent contribution to development of democracy and/or post-war repair to his investment in democratic governance at his level – starting with his family.