Wednesday, 24 June 2020


Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

24 June  2020


Suicides – Public or Private

On 13 June, when I learnt about Rajeewa Jayaweera through Island news report I shared my grief as follows:
From: gaja param [mailto:gajalakshmi_param@bigpond.com]
Sent: Saturday, 13 June 2020 12:30 PM
To: 'prabath@unl.upali.lk'
Subject: Death of Rajeewa Jayaweera

So sorry to learn about Rajeewa. I got to know him through Sri Lankan Airlines issues. Feel so sad. Thank you for your tribute to a good man
Gajalakshmi
Since I did not hear back from the editor, I mourned alone – like an orphan that Rajeewa confirmed to have become. Faadhila Thassim and Saman Priyankara Nammunige of Ceylon Today have asked the question about Rajeewa:

Public Tragedy or a Personal Egress?

To my mind, it was both. What we – the public relations of Rajeewa can do to make amends is to identify with the reason why? – without being judgmental. Towards this have to become Rajeewa through his public position. That effectively is to take Equal position at structural level. When I wrote to the editor of the Island it was written to an official senior in media structure. When I did not get a response back, I concluded that the editor did not care as I thought he did.

On 06 April 2020, I responded to Rajeewa as follows:

[In his article ‘Empower The President To Manage Covid-19’, Rajeewa Jayaweera highlights as follows:
[Despite these early signs, Sri Lanka geared itself for parliamentary elections and made merry without introducing necessary preventive measures. Mandatory screening of incoming Chinese, South Korean, and Italian passengers did not commence till March. Chairman Civil Aviation Authority announced strict screening for all incoming passengers without exemption only on March 12.  
That was one day after the first Sri Lankan, a tourist guide, was diagnosed with the virus on March 11. He had contracted the disease from a group of Italian tourists he had accompanied earlier on. 
A ban on Italian tourists from entering the country was not implemented until March 13 despite Lombardy being in Stage 3A (Cluster stage) by February 21.
Meanwhile, we were busy playing ‘big matches.’ One is unable to fathom why the President did not issue a directive to cancel all cricketing encounters scheduled in March. ]

To my mind,  the above was a criticism of the government responsible. It was further confirmed as follows:

[Unlike western countries (even they are reeling under the virus), our country’s health system is not geared to cope with the virus in the communal stage. What we would do with 2 ICU beds per 100,000 persons when Italy could not manage despite having 12.5 ICU beds per 100,000 is mind-boggling.
The worst affected countries have not introduced curfew but have opted for strict lockdown mechanisms. Citizens are permitted to visit supermarkets and pharmacies in the vicinity. ]

The above news report indicates the Public reason for Rajeewa’s death:

[He noted how he suffered from a herniated disc, a defect in the spinal cord, and was afraid of the post-surgical recuperation process he was undergoing, while his vision was also deteriorating, adding that he did not want to continue to live with such issues.
“I no longer have the will, nor the desire to undertake such an exercise at 64, but I have lived my life and I look forward to my departure,” the letter reads.
There were also sensitive personal details that led to Rajeewa’s decision, as mentioned in his letter, in which he states that he trusted his family, including his three sisters and brother, to understand the reason for his choice to end his life.
Jayaweera admits he considered his life from 27 March up until the day of his death as being on ‘borrowed time’, as he had initially planned to commit suicide on 27 March and had made plans accordingly, which included that of meeting his family for the last time for dinner a few days prior to this.
However, as he mentioned in his letter, he could not do this as curfew was imposed.]
The above if true, confirms loss of confidence in Sri Lanka’s Healthcare Service – as in ‘2 ICU beds per 100,000 persons’ in his article of 05 April. Together they confirm loss of faith in the Healthcare system. The Sri Lankan rate of infection as per published figures was exponential from 15 March. Given that Rajeewa had ‘pre-conditions’ as per his ‘projection’ he would have had to rank last to get treated.

As per my recollection Rajeewa was in the UK when he first responded to my article on Sri Lankan Airlines through which we were both contributing to institutional values in Sri Lanka. That relativity also would have contributed to loss of ‘sight’ that he would get overlook the physical pain through mental satisfaction that he was contributing to strong institutional values. This is something that all members of the Diaspora returning physically and/or mentally to Sri Lanka to live as Sri Lankans,  need consider. Dual citizenship develops duality. When one is idle the other becomes active. When we merge the past through its truth – the past empowers us to regulate ourselves in the present. When we become idle in the present – the past overtakes and controls us. This is reflected as strong debilitations in the horoscope. They remain passive so long as we are active in the present and/or are fully conscious of Truth which is eternal and exponential in value.

To the extent we failed to identify with this need in Rajeewa we are all responsible for the Public aspects of Rajeewa. By remembering and adding our truth to his – we make him an eternal part of our Public life.

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