Tuesday 29 September 2015

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 28 Sept  2015

LTTE Leader – the Sole Leader of SRI LANKA?

At first glance of the Colombo Telegraph article ‘Daham Sirisena Responds To Nepotism Charge’, I thought I was disappointed that the son of the current President of Sri Lanka was following in the footsteps of the former President’s son. But when I looked inside myself a bit deeper – I was no longer disappointed but realized that that behavior was to be expected due to the infection in his environment. This confirmed to me that wherever the current occupant of that position took leadership – we would need to strengthen our leadership contribution through other positions – in this instance the position  of Prime Minister through Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe. That is what self-governance is about. As per the above article:

[Daham Sirisena, son of President Maithripala Sirisena, who came in for a lot of flak for accompanying his father to the UN General Assembly although he had no official representative status has posted a ‘rebuttal’ on his Facebook page (where he describes himself as a public figure). The following is the full note posted by the young Sirisena;
Dear friends,
What is nepotism? The real meaning behind it is the abuse of power with influence favoring one’s children, relatives and friends especially by giving them occupations. Open your minds to this definition and take a moment to think whether this is being practiced in Sri Lanka now. Many have been criticizing my visit to the Delegation, saying that it is nepotism and that i am unjustifiably abusing my father’s power. Let me put my friends’ minds at rest, by firstly saying that i was officially invited to the Delegation since my mother couldn’t attend. Secondly by attending the event i got the opportunity to attend the youth-led event of SDG which made me understand the goals which is needed for the country to be more prosperous. How could my attendance be a negative effect to the country? How could my attendance be the downfall of the country? I urge you all not to compare me and my family with the past regiments as we are far different from them.
At the event The officials stated that, next time to bring in more youths with more innovative ideas which could in turn enrich our country by seeing my presence. I believe that this is a great opportunity to give positive recognition to our country.]

In contrast let’s look at the feelings of appreciation for the Prime Minister’s wife, quietly  shared within the Diaspora:
[Sent: 26 September 2015 21:24
Subject: Re: Prof. Maithri Wickremesinghe
 [Exemplary act by PM’s wife!]
 A function took place at committee hall A of the BMICH yesterday 12  September 2015, to launch a compilation of articles of P. Malalgoda,  compiled by Dr. Hansamala Ritigahapola. The keynote lecture was  delivered on the occasion by Prof. Sunil Ariyaratne. As Dr.
 Ritigahapola is a lecturer of mass communication at the Sri  Jayewardenepura University, lecturers and professors from universities  across the country were in attendance.

 As participants were having refreshment following the book launch, they   were surprised to find Prof. Maithri Wickremesinghe, wife of prime   minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, among them. Prof. Ariyaratne asked her,   “I didn’t see you in the front row. You came just now?” In answer,  Prof. Wickremesinghe said, “I arrived a bit late. There were no vacant  seats in the front row. So, my friend and I went to the balcony and  watched the entire programme. Professor, your lecture was very good.”

  Surprised by her answer, the guests talked among themselves, “This is   what you call “the filled vessel makes no noise”. Had a previous VVIP   lady been present, two rows would have been reserved for her and her   security. The ceremony would not have begun until her arrival. Ignoring   the writer of the book, all the media would have shown her. This is the
  difference between then and now.”]

 In a Democracy, Families of Public Officials have the duty to not only know that they are independent of their family elders but also Demonstrate it in action if they seek to be in public life. Bringing the spouse to public functions is an inclusion of family to relax the mind of the leader. In the hierarchical system, this is often reserved for the wife who supports the husband who is often officially ‘lonely’ at the top. But the current President through the makeup of the Governance structure already has such an Equal Spouse in the Prime Minister. Mr. Wickremesinghe was the only person entitled to be present at equal level as the President at the UN. By going to India to work out the real solution – through the concept of ‘Community of Nations’ Mr. Wicremesinghe confirmed to us that he was the real leader of  Democratic Sri Lanka – acceptable to Tamils.

The President’s son is reported to have stated:
 ‘Let me put my friends’ minds at rest, by firstly saying that i was officially invited to the Delegation since my mother couldn’t attend. Secondly by attending the event i got the opportunity to attend the youth-led event of SDG which made me understand the goals which is needed for the country to be more prosperous. How could my attendance be a negative effect to the country? How could my attendance be the downfall of the country? I urge you all not to compare me and my family with the past regiments as we are far different from them

In one stroke this young guy has undone the good name earned by the current President as a humble leader. True humility is born in the home of Truth. Gandhi’s Sathya Graham (Home of Truth) was confirmation of his humility. Such humility at public level happens when one renounces benefits earned from a higher position to become common at the lower level. This in a subjective environment is made up of People – and hence Government takes Equal position to Opposition ;  and in an objective environment is as per the measures/laws used.

 In Truth – Mr. Wickremesighe who was denied the position of Presidency back in 2005 due to collusion between the Tamil Tigers and Mr. Rajapaksa did not lose his earned status. It was ‘in-waiting’ earning interest until Tamils could be facilitated to vote – free of LTTE influence. Without Mr. Wickremesinghe – the current Sri Lankan Government would not have the support of self-governing Tamils. Self-Governing persons naturally influence their environments by their mere presence.

At a recent meeting of the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum – Sydney – a young Sinhalese participant stated in relation to Sri Lankan elections - that as per statistics a significant percentage of young voters did not vote. But there was claim that youth influenced the current outcomes. As a person investing in seeking Truth I attributed the cause to be a true feeling of identity with global education – including through war related activities. This young participant however went on to state as part of this youth-group – that the country had suffered for 30 years and that all they (the youth group) knew was war. I could not believe that someone could make such claims – having some of us Tamils in the group. I was acutely conscious of the difficulties Tamil youth had to go through relative to Sinhalese youth to preserve and keep our tradition going. I recalled how young ones had to cross Kilali lagoon to cross over to Jaffna to do their exams. I recalled how medical students who were running away from Jaffna were rounded up and shot dead in front of their colleagues. I was conscious of the loss and pain suffered by some of us due to this particular war, participating in that forum.  I felt really offended by the presentation of that Sinhalese youth leader without depth of experience but wearing the status as if that person was an authority. On the way home when I shared  this pain with my husband he said that his batch-mate had shared with him similar experience – when he took his baby from Colombo to Jaffna, to get the blessings of his mother. They covered the babies and some babies died due to choking. These are experiences – real experiences that have earned almost every Tamil family in Sri Lanka’s North & East the entitlement to govern themselves.

The following media coverage confirms the above youth’s ‘attitude’:

[Wednesday, 12 August 2015
The youth vote is crucial in this election.
Currently there are 2.4 million or so youth between the ages of 18-24. The oldest among this group turned 18 during Mahinda Rajapaksa’s first presidential term.
This group witnessed the cruelty of the LTTE and the war that brought devastation to both sides. They also experienced the relief that came with the demise of Prabhakaran, the LTTE leader. During the 2010-2015 this group also learned to accept, by choice or otherwise, Mahinda Rajapaksa as the uncrowned but seemingly unassailable king of the country. ]

The above group is not inclusive of  Tamil youth. To Tamil civilians – LTTE was an army government and no Tamil would think that LTTE was capable of  being CRUEL to the whole of Sri Lanka!  This kind of blaming it all on LTTE – if it were genuine – would have influenced the Sinhalese to stay away from any war-related activity. Instead, they are now trying to ‘tell’ Tamils – even self-governing Tamils like myself – that they were the victims of war !!!!!  LTTE if it were so powerful to Terrorize the whole of Sri Lanka, then only a Tamil who has the Trust of LTTE qualifies to lead Sri Lanka. Otherwise Sinhalese would continue to have greater fears of invasion from LTTE than they had before the war!

We do not need any Truth and Reconciliation Commission to know this! A senior participant who spoke on behalf of rural Sinhalese – stated that there was always the fear of India taking-over Sri Lanka. Those who are driven by majority would be fearful of a majority greater than themselves. This fear as per this participant increased after they had knowledge of Indian Government’s support of the LTTE. But it was not strong enough to turn the tide of Tamil Nationalism to Sri Lankan Nationalism. It’s an emotional reaction that isolates them if they fail to raise it to intellectual level or join forces through true humility.

A Tamil participant stated that we needed someone like Gandhi to develop a common National identity. This cannot happen from youth participants who think faster than their belief nor Political leaders with commitment to Representation of the electorate as is ( before personal Truth). It is more likely to happen from within the Tamil Community of the Generation that suffered most. If the civilian deaths within the Tamil Community is taken as being due to LTTE – and ONLY LTTE – then no Sinhalese is entitled to be part of the solution. We are capable of developing our own solution with the little we have – based on the same principles of ‘Community of Nations’ through which Sri Lankan Government escaped International scrutiny. Only a true Sri Lankan Tamil can turn the tide of Tamil Nationalism towards Sri Lankan Nationalism which would by its very nature preserve and promote Tamil Diversity which would be attractive to Sri Lankan Sinhalese who stay within their earned borders of self-governance and not ‘Tell’ Tamils including Sri Lankan Tamils,  Jaffna Tamils or Batticaloa Tamils or Hill Country  Tamils that they – the Sinhalese have suffered in the war – as if they were the sole-representatives of the war-victims!

The young one highlighted that we now call ourselves – not Sri Lankan but Sri Lankan Sinhalese or Sri Lankan Tamil.  This is our reality and it honors those who suffered due to the ethnic war. I then asked the senior who presented the rural Sinhalese mind – as to how he would describe himself. He said ‘Sri Lankan’. In that case – the presentation was more intellectual than being based on shared-feelings. I said in turn that before the war – I described myself as Sri Lankan. But now – I describe myself as Sri Lankan Tamil. If I identified with the other person – there would be no reason to expressly state it. But in the position I have taken in this issue – Sri Lankan Tamil is the most appropriate description and that would also distinguish us from Indian Tamils.

A senior Tamil married to a Sinhalese demonstrated this beautifully – through her experience at one of the conferences organized by the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum. The lady said that during the event a young Australian Tamil had helped her take down notes and comfortably participated in the event. When it came to talking about Reconciliation the young lady had protested and said ‘NO’. When asked by the senior as to why? – the young lady had said words to the effect - ‘I would be dishonoring all home folks who suffered’. It is the Beautiful Truth that has evolved and stated so comfortably by young one and heard with belief  by a senior.

Recently, a young Sinhalese artist claimed that the performing arts in North was not as well developed as in South. One example given was the poor attendance at special screening of films during the recent  film festival in Jaffna. I pointed out that Tamils usually follow Indian leadership in Performing Arts. In terms of their war pain Tamils were more likely to share it with Indian Tamils than with Sinhalese. Given that our own experiences (including through family and community)  are often the basis of Performing Arts – it is more likely that Indian films would depict our pain more Truthfully those made in Sri Lanka. I pointed out that there were already such films available to the Tamil Public. They have deeper meaning not only because of Sri Lankan Tamils but also due to the large intake of Refugees by India – on emotional links which lead to Political bondage.  I pointed out that Truth was the basis of real art and stated that my art was my ‘writing’.

The war experience would be shared by parents with their children over many decades to come.  It’s part of the healing process and needs to be facilitated more at the private level through small groups at village level.  I listen to war widows and observe orphans through such community network. In turn I share my strengths with them. My children who are themselves parents now – remember with appreciation that I told them stories of Krishna and Rama while feeding them as children. I seek to contribute to such heritage development based on our Truth. Some such legends may show up  Tamil Tigers as heroes and that also would be healing in all its sadness – once we have an alternate less violent pathway.

It would be difficult for Tamil Professionals to lead Sinhalese and v.v. – without this kind of common belief.  That was one of the main reasons why I had to take the Administrators of the University of New South Wales to Court through Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. I did not know it then but now I believe that my investment in Professional Dharma/Ethics was accumulating and was in-waiting to empower me to redeem myself from a system that was not true to itself. When leaders – be they Australians or Sri Lankans - get their remuneration the easy way – they do not have the motivation to change. From the time we realize their limits, we need to become Observers of the system and not be providers, beneficiaries or perpetrators or victims of the system. When we cease to expect even our earned benefits – we know we have crossed the border to be entitled to ‘free-observer’ status. That’s when we make Policy contribution that would strengthen the old values and restructure the pathways for young heirs of the system. All others need to stay within their Institutional structures when speaking and sharing publicly. That is their PROTECTION from being infected by the diseases in their environment – especially that of mental instability – hallucination for the perpetrator and depression for the victim.

Separation of Powers is needed when we are in a subjective forum. In a forum of Sinhalese and Tamils we need to arrange separate seating for Sinhalese, Tamils and ‘others’. No Sri Lankans. Within Tamil only forums – the seating needs to be men on one side and women on the other. As an honest member of the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum declared ‘ All Senior, Sinhalese, Males’ must effective ‘retire’ ! But then there would be no active participants who have had the experience of perpetrators of Subjective Discrimination!!! I would say seating arrangement to remind us what we are dealing with, lest we forget when we do not ‘see’.

Most of us do not know the causes of the suffering during the war.   Yet  blame is attributed by both sides on each other. The reasoning by those with status in that group – is taken as the ‘right’ reason by those without deep investment in the issue – as confirmed by the President’s son who explained how his presence at the UN was beneficial to Sri Lanka! One must have the dignity of one’s own contribution to the UN to be physically present there – above anyone else who is not going, and known to that person in that person’s group – the youth group in this instance.  To my mind it is not different to the young Sinhalese participating in the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum, Sydney - explaining the war situation to those of us who have had the experience and still carry the pain.

Where it is difficult to identify through the Causes – one has the duty to identify through  the Effects – as the UN has finally done. Where the Sinhalese are claiming that  the Sinhalese Community suffered more than the Tamil Community – due to the war with the LTTE – then they are claiming that their Government which despite majority power could not bring under its control an armed group of Tamils who are only a small proportion of the Tamil Community in Sri Lanka – is indeed a weak Government. It’s not about numbers. It’s about the mind. The more consolidated the mind, the higher the thought-order. Those who rely on majority power defeat themselves unless they stay local. Sinhalese soldiers in Tamil areas with strong Tamil mind would be open such weakness if their government has received money and status on the claim of Democracy. All Tamils have to do is to continue to pursue higher education and develop strong minds – minds that not only Indians would be attracted to but wider world too, to help Sinhalese defeat themselves.  

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