Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 14 April 2015
I am Australian
Stopping the Boats
Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 14 April 2015
Today is the first day of New Year for Sinhalese and Tamils in Sri Lanka. The first one to wish me is a Sinhalese auto-rickshaw driver in Colombo. I believe that to him it was a way of sharing his feelings of appreciation with me. He did not need the law to tell him how to reconcile with a Tamil. Neither did I, to bless him.
I did not feel this oneness with some young Tamils who have applied for Refugee / Asylum status here in Australia – and who recently presented their difficulties to Australian politicians. I did not feel that a couple of them were genuinely in need of refuge - even though they may think they are genuine applicants.
I believe that given that I BELIEVE I am Australian, my identity with the Truth of the applicant is the real assessment of her/his eligibility to become Australian. This is natural recruitment towards global community. This identity with Truth is the highest and most reliable assessment of all. Truth is Universal and hence this common identity is the empowerment of immigration laws. Such recruitment would strengthen both nations.
One Tamil speaker referred to the gift of Navy Boats by the Australian Government to the Sri Lankan Government as a quid pro quo for stopping the refugee boats. In Australian Government’s shoes I also would not want ineligible refugees coming into Australia. How does an Australian immigration officer measure the eligibility of an applicant from rural Sri Lanka?
Often the cases are structured to suit the Australian Administrative and Judicial structure by specialist groups and finally through lawyers. The above ‘deal’ between the two Heads of Governments confirms that all of these groups have failed to keep the immigration route strong and reliable. The Tamil Community in Australia is one such group over whom I believe I have direct influence through common culture. The way I believe I am Australian, I believe I am Tamil and I believe I am Sri Lankan. These groups are all pathways through whom I travelled to realize self-governance. Ultimately the real experience has no form.
Mention was made of the high esteem that the First Singapore Prime Minister – the Hon Lee Kuan Yew had for Tamils. The Singapore Prime Minister must have learnt this through Singaporean Tamils and their contribution to development of Singapore. Since to Mr. Lee Kuan Yew – he was Singapore – he was able to identify with the high value of Tamil contribution to Singapore and recognize it officially and beyond. That is healthy for Singapore. Likewise any Australian to whom s/he and the nation are One.
The best contribution we Australian Tamils can make to Sri Lankan Tamils continuing to reside in Sri Lanka – is to believe we are Australians and we are Tamils. Each one of us needs to pay our Royalties to both groups in Common or Equally to be healthy contributors to global values. Our status as citizens should not be taken from one and ‘given’ to the other through clever presentation. Australians – with or without official portfolios must pass the matter through their feelings of ownership before subjectively certifying an applicant as being eligible. Those with official portfolios contribute to the Structure of the immigration system. Those without portfolios contribute to the empowering life of the immigration system.
How the Truth comes out naturally is illustrated as follows: Today, a member of a Sinhalese Diaspora group wrote when participating in discussions under the topic ‘How Sri Lanka won the war’ – about the current Prime Minister the Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe and the immediate past President of Sri Lanka – Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR) :
[Ranil was a stupid puppet in 2002 and MR was stupid idiot after May 2009. This is the truth]
I responded to this as follows:
[That is an expression of opinion. For it to be Truth – the person ought to have had the experience in that position. If XY did have the experience (in his mind) then he is saying ‘I am a stupid puppet and a stupid idiot’]
This would be useful in identifying with the experience of applicants seeking refuge in Australia.
Out of the three young Tamil applicants who presented their cases at a recent community meeting – one was honest /transparent and said he was looking for economic opportunities. To my mind, that is a valid reason to seek refuge provided his EARNED opportunities of considerable value (money plus human) were blocked directly due to the war and/or racial discrimination. Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a global policy and hence one who believes that considerable loss happened due to racial discrimination which is believed to be the root cause of the war – by both sides – is a valid reason for refuge by someone to whom economic self-sufficiency is a fundamental value in life. Most Jaffna Tamils of my generation qualify under this category. Hence they and those who believe in them would make good and reliable contributors to Australian economy. Economic value and Human value cannot be rigidly separated in the case of working class.
The second applicant kept talking about how the war had gone on for years and years and that here in Australia they (his group) were proving how clever they were at playing cricket and yet in Sri Lanka – they would not have had those opportunities. I could not identify with this – given that I travel to Sri Lanka and stay with disenfranchised groups to know their real needs through shared living. They do have the opportunity to participate regionally and nationally as local groups and they do play regularly at those levels. Whether they would get the opportunity to be part of the National team – is highly doubtful. But as I pointed to some young leaders after the meeting – I did not believe that a Tamil would find it easy to be part of the Australian National Cricket team. Forming local groups to develop our skills and realizing the experience of the game for itself is natural devolution. After I was punished for trying to contribute to the highest level of Administration in Australia – I identified with the limitations of Racial Equality in Australia – and hence used my contribution to professional structures and systems – to structure systems in a small village in Northern Sri Lanka. It was duty to fight to include my work in the national team managing Australia. Where this was blocked – I was free to share it with others – especially those others close to my birthplace who lost the leadership of my generation due to emigration. Through those systems – I settle the debt owed by Australians who abandoned these home groups once they physically left Sri Lanka.
The third applicant complained that lawyers were charging excessively. If he relies on lawyers – that means he does not believe in the Australian Immigration system nor in Tamils who believe they are Australians. I wanted to go back to Sri Lanka in 1998 and later in 2006. But my belief in Australia through my life as an Australian kept me back.
Our Truth is the real power which works independent of our body and intellect. Those through whom we identify this Truth are our real family. Where this is strong – it brings the Human Resources we have earned and the money we need at the times of our need. That is a Universal network which transcends body and mind.
If I were the Immigration Officer – I would have knocked back the latter two Applicants and considered only the first one – for temporary residence visa of one form or the other – but one that allows him to do paid work. Such an applicant would add value to Australia’s economic independence.
The latter two were using ‘Rights based’ approach – as if they were global citizens. But neither demonstrated investment in global principles and values to self-assess and know that they were eligible to claim refuge outside Sri Lanka.
Refugee applicants taking the ‘Rights based’ approach need to communicate their cases to the UN and not to Australian Politicians. Those hearing the case need not be UN officials but they need to be practicing UN laws, principles and values in regular life.
Those presenting their case as it happened – as per their experience back in Sri Lanka and leaving it to Australians to apply the relevant laws and make the decision are eligible on the basis of experience. But their presentation must not be indiscriminately mixed with policy as they understand it. They are the ones who qualify to be assessed by Australians – especially through the Australian Political system.
Using our common resources equally on all applicants is likely to bring about negative value to Australia. One who believes in an Australian would not demand as per law – especially International law adopted by Australia. Even if an applicant did not technically qualify – a believer becomes eligible through her/his belief in an Australian. Often Community leaders become bridges between Australian Officials and Refugee Applicants for this reason. They need to be Equally committed to Australia and the Community they are part of – to be reliable bridges.
I identified with the falsity of the two above mentioned due to my BELIEF as an Australian as well as Sri Lankan. There is also policy facility through which one could reliably assess whether an applicant is genuine or not. When an applicant starts ‘demanding’ as per Rights – it means s/he is taking advantage of the common events that happened and not those that were particular to her/him. Where such demands are based on her/his observation of those around her/him in the community – then the applicant needs to be assessed by an Australian mind – on the basis of whether s/he would benefit Australia’s status in the Global Community.
The common events which caused deep damage to human values of a particular person do render the person who experienced them, to live in another part of the world – on the natural value that the world is One. Such a person would keep expressing through her / his experience particular and not through the general state of affairs. It is important that we – the Community Leaders – ‘educate’ refugee applicants and would-be refugee applicants – so that there are no ‘Rights based’ expectations as per the interpretation of young ones who are yet to experience ownership and therefore ‘Citizenship Rights’ in any country.
Where an applicant who has invested in Global Governance uses the ‘Rights Method’ the Australian Government has the responsibility to allocate a Global minded Australian Officer to evaluable that applicant and/or accept the assessment of the appropriate UN agency as reliable. The Common Events are likely to affect the mind of a person with investment in Global Governance much more strongly than one who is yet to invest in Global Governance.
The Sri Lankan Government has reopened Dual Citizenship pathway for those of Sri Lankan origin, living in other countries. The question we need to ask – for the sake of applicants as well as the government are :
1. whether those who renounced Sri Lankan citizenship because they could not live there – are eligible to apply again for citizenship?
2. If yes, should there be a time based criterion? i.e. whether Sri Lanka should be open to issue of visitor visa to such applicants within a short period after they apply for refuge in another country?
Often applicants think they are eligible for refugee status under global principles as interpreted by those physically close to them. Governments have to accept such shortcomings – where they are genuinely held beliefs. But it is also the responsibility of both governments to ensure that the applicants become global before they are entitled to move back and forth. One who has had a deeply painful humanitarian experience in Sri Lanka would not want to return there for some time. Sri Lanka would be a mental prison for such a person. One who does return to Sri Lanka after such traumatic experience would accept Sri Lanka also as a Home Nation - so for better or for worse and shares strong governance values with both nations. Those who sacrifice and struggle for independence are the true Governance Power in any area they call their Home.