17 August 2019
TOURISM vs SECURITY
Yesterday at the hotel, my bag was checked by a lady security officer from the Prime Minister’s team. I was satisfied that my complaint had been heard by whoever was responsible. My complaint was that the previous night my bag was checked by a male officer. After me was a family – and the lady said words to the effect ‘there is …. and some vibhoothi’ (holy powder). The accent said that they were Malaysian Tamils. The dynamics were different. The security officer seemed more official with them whereas with me the lady officer was friendly in her attitude.
This morning I read the article ‘Diaspora not spared in Sri Lanka’ published by Lankanewsweb.net. The following excerpt is of interest to me:
[Journalist from Norway arrested
The latest victim is a journalist from Norway, Mr Nadaraja Sethuruban. He attends the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and reports news concerning Sri Lanka to media in Norway and other countries. He visited Sri Lanka on 17th July to have his daughters ‘age attainment’ (puberty) ceremony in Jaffna. Unfortunately he was arrested on 3rd August by the Police in Point Pedro on a fabricated accusation and produced in a Court in Killinochi. He was remanded in the Jaffna prison and released on bail on 6th August.]
All those who take part in UN proceedings without strong institutional backing and speak out against a government that is accused of extra-judicial actions against citizens – need to expect such returns. I myself was so arrested in Australia for peaceful assembly against Central Administrators of the University of NSW. One who is deeply affected will have the courage to face any injustice and establish the way of Dharma/Righteousness. So I do from time to time expect government officers to be hostile towards me. Unlike in Australia, here in Sri Lanka I am able to quietly communicate with most of them – for most at individual level do identify with me. In Australia only a few do. But in Australia more follow the law than do Sri Lankans.
As per the above article - Mr Nadaraja Sethuruban came to Jaffna to celebrate the puberty ceremony of his daughter. One of the false avenues through which members of the Tamil Diaspora ‘show off’ their wealth is this puberty ceremony. The origin as per my understanding was to announce to the wider world that there was a young lady eligible for marriage. If Mr Nadaraja Sethuruban felt the need to so celebrate today – then one is entitled to conclude that his daughter is being groomed to live as a homebound home-maker for which he would need to give her a dowry. The introduction below to my book ‘Jaffna is my heritage and NOT dowry’ includes the note that as per Thesavalamai Customs of Jaffna Tamils Dowry does not include any liability but heritage does.
Those who continue to indiscriminately mix the money-making and home-making roles confirm lack of blessings from our ancestors in Northern Sri Lanka. I write practically every day and I am not backed by any group power. I rely on the universal power of truth. If I am genuine in serving Jaffna and Sri Lanka – the land looks after me. The first step is to position ourselves vis-à-vis the other party – as junior, senior or equal. So long as such positioning is true as per our conscience – it is the duty of the system of truth to deliver. One who goes to UN about unlawful conduct of Sri Lankan soldiers if s/he is genuine – would be a ‘foreigner’ if s/he is celebrating at family and community levels.
It is when we share in the pain of other Sri Lankans – that we are morally entitled to question those who seem to have caused that pain – as internals. The families of Sinhala soldiers who died in combat are entitled to the same honor as families of Tamil combatants who were in a disciplined armed group such as the LTTE.
The Island editorial headed ‘Drinking tea with suspects’ states as follows:
[The yahapalana leaders, came to power promising, among other things, legal action against those who they said had bribed the LTTE to engineer the 2005 polls boycott, but nobody has been sent to jail for that. President Maithripala Sirisena has started drinking tea with the Rajapaksas!]
That debt of honor created by the LTTE – became part of my group’s inheritance of Jaffna. If we settle the debt – through contributions to good governance during the period Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe – the victim of the 2005 coup – is in power – we clean Northern Sri Lanka and save it from sins that unsettled debts become. The fact that I happened to be here at North Gate by Jetwing hotel – when the PM was here – not once but twice – confirms that Jaffna is now free of that debt. We are now equals and so long as Mr Wickremesinghe is genuine about Jaffna – Jaffna will return his investment exponentially – including through Diaspora that is free of debt to Jaffna.
Tourism is important to Jaffna where many self-employed workers – starting with tuk-tuk drivers to hotels by Jetwing group are affected through violence including in Colombo. Orderly conduct by every citizen and visitor would make this a sustainable activity. Whether the Diaspora come as tourists or contributors – they need to ensure that they conduct themselves accordingly. Yesterday I noticed a couple of young scout guys in uniform chatting when the priest was chanting. After the main procession moved on from the spot – I walked up to the boys and said that they were in uniform and it was unbecoming of them to ‘chat’ when the priest was chanting. I said we needed to respect others’ work for us to develop our own employment opportunities. The boys nodded and I felt they had understood. They would if they considered me as a ‘senior’. I was satisfied by their response. The discipline that LTTE instilled does live through genuine workers.