Tuesday 24 February 2015

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 24 February  2015

True Sri Lankan Heritage 

As per the latest news – Sri Lankan Prime Minister the Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe has accused our Australian Prime Minister the Hon Tony Abbott as follows:

Wickremesinghe said former president Mahinda Rajapaksa had agreed to help stop boats carrying asylum seekers leaving for Australia if Canberra kept quiet about alleged abuses committed by the previous regime. In an interview with the Australian newspaper, Wickremesinghe said Australian prime minister Tony Abbott’s close relationship with Rajapaksa, who was voted out of power last month, was “a mystery” to Sri Lankans.’

No evidence has been produced by Mr. Wickremesinghe in making this claim – nor has Mr. Wickremesinghe referred to any source close to the Australian Prime Minister as his witness. The only justification for such a serious allegation could be Mr. Wickremesinghe’s investment in Common International Laws and their pathways – which renders him the insight to read the mind of our Australian Prime Minister – as if the latter were his junior in International Affairs. Given the reputation that Mr. Wickremesinghe is a well educated person – one would conclude that he would not be emotionally driven in making such a serious accusation without objectively measurable evidence in support.

This then requires Mr. Wickremesinghe to actively facilitate a war-crimes inquiry – not at the domestic level but at the International level. After all, if Sri Lankan leaders have the confidence to find fault with world leaders – there ought to be no difficulty facing war-crimes investigations in their own backyard. In fact it would make Sri Lanka more global.

As per the above report Mr. Wickremesinghe stated:

Some other countries must also, that fully backed the Rajapaksa regime,” he told the newspaper. “When human rights were being trampled, and democracy was at bay, these countries were silent. That is an issue for Sri Lanka.

This certainly is a statement of gross injustice. Just today, we, the Tamil Diaspora shared the following achievement by a young migrant from Sri Lanka as follows:
[He came to Australia barely two months old with his family fleeing war in Sri Lanka.
Now 31, the Tamil migrant with a broad Aussie accent acquired in Homebush, NSW, wants to give back.

Rangan Srikhanta wants to ensure every child has a free, modular computer to last throughout primary school, in the process teaching them self-reliance and allowing Australia to contribute to changing the world……..….."With war ravaging in Sri Lanka, Homebush was Tamil central. That was a massive influence with many of my friends. They were very vocal, seeking independence for the Tamil people. Much of it influenced me: what if similar things were happening to a minority in Australia – to indigenous people?," Srikhanta recalls.
"We came to a country where people had open arms. As much as we wanted for Australia to do something for the Tamils, [we asked] what could we do for Australian society?
……"I wouldn't have been provided [this opportunity] in Sri Lanka. To have met Kevin Rudd, Julia Gillard, raised $20 million, spent time with senior CEOs. I feel an obligation and gratitude to Australia," he says]

That feeling of ‘gratitude’ is very much part of Tamil culture. Compare that with the above statements by Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. Our mind is influenced strongly through our cultural systems. The closer we are to occupants in high positions the stronger the influence – even if  one or the other is not conscious of it. At least one must be true to the relationship or the position. A mind influenced by Australians of Tamil origin interacting closely with duties of  governance positions is not likely to influence the Sri Lankan Prime Minister to make such a statement. It is my understanding that Rangan’s father is a contemporary of  Mr. Wickremesinghe at  Law School in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  The following is an account from a Tamil Diaspora Leader in relation to Rangan’s father Janakan’s services to Sri Lanka’s Harmony:

In July 1977, after the riots, we had asked for special trains to take the refugees to Jaffna and the Government had agreed. Mr. K. C. Nithyananda, Mr. Kandasamy and myself negotiated with the then GA [Government Agent] Colombo Mr. Wimal Amarasekara when he came to see us at the refugee camp at Bambalapiya Hindu College.

I was leading a batch of refugees to the Fort Railway station to be transported by the first special train to Jaffna. It was early in the morning. The refugees reached the Railway station in buses. Along with Mr. Thanabalasingham (Senior officer in the Income Tax Department) I went to the platform. We saw the train. There were persons already inside the compartments. 
Mr. Wimal Amarasekara and few police officers were at the platform. Both of us went to the GA. We told him about the presence of passengers inside the special train, meant only for the refugees. He did not take us seriously. He asked us to get the refugees board the train. 
We requested him to clear the train meant only for the refugees. We told him that the refugees, already in a state of fear, will not be comfortable in the presence of persons of unknown background. GA did not listen to us. So we went to the buses and asked the refugees to stay inside the buses.

GA became furious. He asked the police officers to take us away. They came and pushed us towards a waiting police vehicle. 
We protested. While we were being pushed, I heard a voice, "Annai, what is the problem?". 
It was Janakan. He had arrived there leading a contingent of army men to escort the train.
He came to us. We told him of the situation. He told the police officials to release us.
We went along with Janakan to the train. He asked his men to clear the train of the occupying persons. Thereafter the refugees were offloaded from the buses to board the train.
Janakan took control of the situation, ignoring the GA and the police. I do not miss meeting Janakan whenever I visit Sydney.

When I read about Rangan, I was pleased. From Mr. Mailavaganam through Mr. Sri Kantha through Janakan, an inheritance of illustrious courage is Rangan.
Congratulations to the flag carrier of the lineage of futuristic innovators and administrators.  
Off springs of Rangan will perform better. Tamils are proud of you Rangan. So am I.

The above riots happened during the time when Mr. Wickremesinghe’s party was in power. As per the news report:
Wickremesinghe said he was not against the Australian government, but urged them to learn from their experiences.’

The new Prime Minister of Sri Lanka needs also to learn from those who have continuously held the natural Leading Opposition position of the Sri Lankan Government – the Tamil Community who did oppose Mr. Rajapaksa even when he attended CHOGM in Australia. Mr. Wickremesinghe  as the official Leader of the Opposition failed to do likewise when Prime Minister Abbott visited Sri Lanka for CHOGM and promised a donation of two Navy Ships to Sri Lanka. 

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