Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 24 Sept 2015
Who is to Bell the Lankan Cat?
“When the General Assembly of the United Nations meets at the end of September, it will vote on whether or not an independent body should investigate alleged war crimes committed by the government of Sri Lanka during its 26-year civil conflict.” writes Jake Flanagin of Quartz. http://qz.com/504589/the-un-needs-to-help-sri-lanka-come-to-grips-with-its-26-year-civil-war/
As per published report TNA stated :
‘The most important recommendation of the report calls on Sri Lanka to establish a special hybrid court to try perpetrators of international crimes during a nine year period with the participation of international judges, prosecutors and investigators; and incorporating into domestic law war crimes and crimes against humanity so that these prosecutions can take place. The TNA has consistently called for these steps to be taken and welcomes the inclusion of these critical recommendations in the OISL report. We further welcome the entire gamut of recommendations of the OISL report, including those that relate to broader Transitional Justice and human rights concerns.’
The above structure indicated by TNA - is NOT a Court but an Advisory Council. The difference is like the difference between Love and Institutional Structure in a family. Love alone is enough for Emotional settlement. An institutional structure is needed for heritage development. This needs us to raise our investment to the structural level. We then start Relating through positions. The deeper the sacrifices made to confirm our Traditional structures the stronger the Relationship and shorter the time taken to become One family.
The TNA as Leader of the Opposition, says ‘Yes’ to the UN Report and the Government says ‘No’. That is the complete picture – giving us a firm base for local Administration. Since the TNA has consistently been calling for such inquiries we could conclude that it now sees the Report as endorsement of its own work at Global level.
If therefore TNA participates in such process – then it must also include the welfare of Tamils of Lankan origin all over the world – i.e. The Tamil Diaspora. As it stands now – there is very little common ground between local Tamils and Diaspora Tamils towards Heritage Development. Often when one side goes to the other – they compete with each other. The inquiring mind of Danish Academic through the Research Paper ‘Young Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu women in Denmark - How to find the right spouse?’ highlights this problem as follows:
[Also the education level, among the young Tamils, is high compared to other groups (Source: www.danmarksstatistics.dk, 2012). One reason for this can be found in the very strong working ethics that lies implicit in the Hindu-tradition, and the children are raised in an atmosphere where education matters. And it becomes clear that education is not only understood as an indicator for how to do well in society on secular terms, but also as a kind of token or offering to god. As formulated by a 55 years old first generation Sri Lankan Tamil Hindu father:
“I have raised my children to understand the importance of education. They have possibilities in Denmark for education that I myself didn’t have in Sri Lanka – they just have to fulfill them – from my point of view, God-given possibilities.”]
Reading this, I could not identify with the above statement through my own experiences. My identity as Sri Lankan is largely through my education. To the generation before me – it would have been British Ceylon education. To the generation after me it would be Tamil – provided they went to University of Jaffna. As per wise Tamil elders we must not forget the pathway through which we traveled to the current destination. That is our ‘heritage’. If Education is heritage to Tamils – then every Tamil leader must ‘dismiss’ from their mind those who give priority to other forms of investment – however meritorious and exciting those pathways may seem. These include business and armed defence of territory.
When we are attached to the physical we tend to look after ourselves and those physically connected to us. This is fine – so long as we remain ‘local’ – settling through emotions. That is the pathway of Experience. But higher education helps us to relate to wider world through broader mind – using common logic. This logic is missing in the above statement. If Education is important to Tamils as heritage – and we claim to have maintained it at high level - then the Tamil Hindu Father does not have grounds to claim that he did not have Education in Sri Lanka. The circumstances were far more challenging in Sri Lanka but it is NOT second to Danish Education. THIS was the basis of my fight as a lone woman in our Australian Courts – very very local to White Australian culture. To my mind – my Sri Lankan Chartered Accountancy was of superior value to Australian Chartered Accountancy. But for structural purposes – I state that they are Equal. It is not about the visible content but about the application in life. The rest has high component of plagiarism. When leaders refer to using the South African model or the Myanmar model – they are confirming that we have not suffered as much as they and/or that we Sri Lankans lack the intellectual capacity to develop our own solutions.
I therefore apply my own experience based wisdom to the war related Inquiry proposal and confirm that a ‘foreign inquiry’ would amount to invasion unless the ‘foreigners’ come with a ‘learning attitude’. When one is in Sri Lanka – one has to have Sri Lankan mind to have the moral authority to ‘judge’. It would be double tragedy if those of us whose Sri Lankan Educational qualifications were seriously downgraded by the West – have to witness those very Countries walking into Sri Lanka as if we lack the intellectual capacity. The UN could recommend the law but not send ‘foreigners’ into Sri Lanka as if we are inferior.
When I was in pain here in Australia, I wrote to the UN – but there was no substantive response. The couple of acknowledgments that I received referred me to Australian Authorities.
If the inquiry is to find the Truth – then the Truth of One ought to have invoked UN response in relation to Racial Discrimination. If it is structure – then UN also has its borders that confirm the need for relativity. Truth alone renders us absolute power. If UN is also a member of the Mice Council – then any Truth and Reconciliation Council must publish its findings about the UN’s role – as an Equal participant in the Sri Lankan war. Then and then alone would the UN mouse hear the Sri Lankan Terrorism Cat’s approach. Without this any inquiry would be the story of Three Blind Mice - with the US (the farmer’s wife with the Bush Knife) cutting off the tails of all three!