Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 14 Sept 2015
|Nallur Chariot Festival 2015|
UN Report & Diaspora Response
The much awaited UN Report is the hot-topic within the Tamil Diaspora. This morning I was directed again to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRWO97vKtAk, by a member of the Tamil Diaspora in Canada followed by a Leader of the Australian Tamil Diaspora. Painful as it was – I needed to watch it again to feel the experience and base my reading of the UN report on that experience. Like Wikileaks material – Channel 4 film also comes on de facto basis and therefore without the endorsement of a higher authority/higher common law. It needs to be taken on the basis of ‘what-happened only’ and not why it happened as per those who are part of what happened. Why it happened would be as per each of our beliefs is we have experienced pain and loss through this war which is not limited to the last battle.
In fact – I discount the value of the story when such ‘judgments’ by those who were physically present during the last episode, are not edited out. Once we accept others’ judgment we would stop using our own discriminative thinking and v.v. Those close to one side or the other would tend to be ‘emotional’ at the time of the event and hence their assessments as to ‘why’ would not help policy development on the basis of Truth. Truth alone will answer to all sides. Like Politics, emotional judgments would not hold ground once they are outside their local environments. I went directly to the camps in 2009 – after following step by step the official requirements and then praying to Lord Buddha. This was possible only because I believe I am Sri Lankan. The need of the victims was deeper than any other force that would prevent me from praying to the Opposition’s form of Belief.
Along with the above emails came the video footage of Nallur Murugan Chariot festival on 11 September 2015. To me, it was no coincidence that this year’s Chariot festival fell on the anniversary of the day Americans woke up to their reality in relation to Racial Discrimination. The commentator in the Nallur story stated that the Chariot festival symbolized ‘Elimination’ of the Enemy. He said also that the enemy was the enemy within. He said therefore Lord Muruga was all about eliminating the inner lowly desires within oneself. As Sri Lankan Saint Yoga Swami said – Murugan is the Lord who redeemed the Asuras (animals) within who had imprisoned the Thevar (gods/saints) within us.
As a devotee of Murugan, I identify with this as follows:
The five senses and our surface brain that registers the seen and the heard etc. – are the doorways through which desires enter our mind. Hence the 6 faces of Muruga. If these sesual pleasures are equally enjoyed we have balanced enjoyment without favoring one organ over the other. Like the Global view – this is healthy for the physically active. The other alternative depicted by Muruga’s elder Brother Ganesh – is raising the activity to the higher level through heritage values – starting with parents – as in the Subjective system. Once we cook we work for our food taste enjoyment and therefore do not desire food taste as much as when we were ‘provided’ with identical food by another. Where we work more and enjoy less and are comfortable with it – we naturally develop opportunities and structures. Such a person would no longer be driven by ‘what happened’ only.
How valuable is the UN report to the Tamil Diaspora – especially for the next generation at ground level? How would the value flow from the UN to Ground level?
The UN listed the Tamil Tigers as Terrorists and this affected almost all parts of the Tamil Community. It should if one considers UN to be a Global power. As per our knowledge, the UN was influenced by the Sri Lankan Government in whom majority Tamils had lost faith. The UN failed to balance its judgment by listening to and including the ‘other’ side on Equal footing as the Government of Sri Lanka – as if they were the Leading Opposition. In Politics which is Subjective one needs to have Equal Subjective Opposition to complete the picture. Due to Tamil faith in Divinity – this was manifested in 1977 as well as in 2015 through Parliamentary elections.
Yesterday, at a Tamil Diaspora meeting in relation to the UN Report, one of the speakers gave us an example: [A person entering another’s home noticed a dog at the entrance and asked the owner of the home whether the dog would bite. The owner of the home said ‘No’. When the guest entered – the dog did bite – and when the guest questioned the owner of the home he said ‘the dog is not mine’. ] The narrator completed his story by stating that the guest was the International community. One member of the audience asked him to specify who the other two were? The narrator stated words to the effect ‘The dog is the Sri Lankan Government’ . I was impressed that the narrator specifically stated ‘Government’ and not ‘Sinhalese’. One could therefore conclude that according to this narrator the Government of Sri Lanka has bitten internationals and that Sri Lankans to whom Sri Lanka is home - do not feel that the Government was theirs.
This narrator stated also – that we needed to raise our individual purposes to Governance level. Later using the example of a School in Vaddukoddai area where parents protested against the transfer of existing principal, I asked about the impact of ‘protests’ blindly copied by young ones in Sri Lanka – he shared his own experience about how one could go on personal basis to the official concerned and rectify the wrong. I could identify with this also through my own experiences including in 2009. I concluded that he was in Truth for all Sri Lankans and not just for Tamils. Likewise, I believe that TNA Leader Mr. Sampanthan – who is now the official political leader of the opposition – is for all Sri Lankans. We have to work through our angle – the angle through which we had the experience. This would vary within the Tamil Community also. All of them must have Equal status.
This is not easy for oldies in Tamil Community and therefore I take it – the Sinhalese Community also. Tamils due to their hierarchical structures – including through caste as well as work activities, tend to be top-down. The only Diaspora group known to me to do otherwise is the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum, Sydney – made up more of young ones. In my case – I ‘take a position’ through self-assessment as per my depth of investment in a subject matter. I then identify with the other person who places me – according to that assessment of mine – not physically but mentally. Given that I do not have official positions in these forums – I use my position as the audience and ‘distance’ myself to the extent of that gap as assessed by me – thus reversing the wrong on the person in my mind. Recently when I was ‘told’ that I could not ask a second question on the basis of projects in Sri Lanka – in which I have deep experience – deeper than any other member of the Diaspora known to me – I lowered the position of the moderator. When it came to his specialty – I quietly walked out of the meeting. That to me was non-violent non-cooperation in the footsteps of Gandhi. When we then went to Homebush known as the Tamil suburb – a well educated professional said that he had received from Sri Lanka, my articles. He said in appreciation that they had gone all the way around the world and come to him in Australia. THAT was to me valuation from Lord Muruga Himself. I got over the emotion of being ‘told’ by that senior in age moderator who lacked the substance to manage democratically.
To my mind, this person – who spoke good English – was not different to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa – not only in terms of top-down orders but also in terms of giving those around him more time than the audience – especially women and youth in the audience. Such seniors do have their place – but only a place Equal to the minority with least power in that forum. No more.
Had we developed this attitude after the 1977 Political victory in Parliament – we would have prevented the war. The Tamil Tigers by their very makeup – reversed this desire for ‘Ordering’ by using arms. If the UN Report is used by Tamils towards reverse discrimination – then they would have neither Lord Muruga’s support nor Lord Ganesh’s support. Our first duty is to use the report to eliminate our own inner desires which we have not earned. That way we would use the report to get even with the United Nations and honor the dead – all of them as war-heroes. One who takes greater responsibility for what happened is the true owner of Sri Lanka as well as Political Freedom in Sri Lanka. When this is done – Sinhalese would flock to Nallur to learn true Democracy through genuine faith. Thousands gather within that small space in Nallur and manage themselves. As the commentator said – Nallur Murugan Temple was not one that followed ‘Traditional Pathways’ but was Common. The time was as per the Common time and not the auspicious time. The tickets for special participation are standard at minimum affordable by the lay person. Tamils do not need any other confirmation / proof to know that they would govern themselves so long as there are Common Values leading to Equal Opportunity for all cultures.