Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 03 November 2015
The Sri Lankan High Commissioner in Australia announced at the recent gathering of the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum, Sydney – that the Australian Government has promised some funding for Reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Given that the Forum is Australian and given that many Australians of Sri Lankan origin are actively working to raise the value of our Sri Lankan Heritage – I believe that the Australian Government has the responsibility to not directly empower the Government above the Citizen, in a country where rebellion against the Government is a continuous expression of dissatisfaction. Given that Australians of Sri Lankan origin have actively worked towards Reconciliation or Diversity as the case may be – and done so without major conflict - the Australian Government’s allocation of Resources ought to be to train the Sri Lankan Government on how to become a Reconciliation Facility. It could of course start with us Australian citizens training the Sri Lankan Government’s Representatives in this. Otherwise the Australian Government could be contributing to the next rebellion in Sri Lanka.
A retired senior officer in the Sri Lankan armed forces wrote to me in response to my yesterday’s article ‘Remembering Tamil Heroes’ :
[There are people in Germany who still praise Hitler. VP gives Hitler a close run as a beast.
What about caste? Your views?
Are the lower castes still not allowed to bathe at high caste wells or is it globalized now?
What about the dress of low caste women. Can they wear jackets with their sarees now?
Yes a cancer hospital in the South would upset people like you.. Naturally.]
To my mind the first part was un-reconcilable and hence I took it as an expression of preserving Diversity. I responded to the rest as follows:
At our Temple in Thunaivi – higher caste always provided water facilities to all. They were not happy for users who were mostly of lower caste to abuse the well by failing to take certain measures of hygiene. To the extent it was hygiene based – caste now is part of the secular system. Status is accepted when attributed by the lower caste. That is a facility that our family actively provides in Vaddukoddai. Would you allow a street person to just walk into your garden and use the tap? The fundamental principles are the same. There are abusers in this system as well as that system. Hence the ‘private’ protection. Can you just walk into the President’s house?
Young ones in lower caste, dress more daringly and more attractively than I did at when I was their age. At Kathirgamam the women of highest status – do not wear tops even today. They are Sinhalese!
If the reasoning is that I am Tamil – I accept that. I have a duty to be upset because – it dilutes the value of Reconciliation program
It is perhaps not very easy for the average investor in Democracy to appreciate the above structure. To my mind, Project approach in Democracy replaces ‘Status’ approach in Autocracy. Most of us need to ‘see’ to be able to think. Under the Subjective system of Autocracy – this was facilitated through status. Under the Objective system of Democracy this is facilitated through Independent Production of Outcomes as per Positions taken. This includes the Citizen’s rights to interpret the Law AND Express it without disturbance by the officials.
The responder above, refers to the Caste system. This is now a weakness in the Tamil system not because the Caste system itself is/was wrong but because it was abused by those less committed to employment principles and values than was required by their higher status. During the above mentioned discussion organized by the Sri Lankan Reconciliation Forum – there were questions about getting rid of the PTA – Prevention of Terrorism Act . To my mind, the questions were raised in support of Tamils. A legal expert of Sinhalese origin quietly confirmed at the end of the discussion that the PTA on its own was not abusive and that it had all the protection needed and hence there was no ‘sunset clause’ included. To my mind, that was a Sri Lankan speaking and not a Sinhalese. This person through his understanding of the Sinhalese mind, on a previous occasion, identified with my reference to ( abuse of ) caste system also contributing to the Tamil rebellion. But a strongly ethnic minded Sinhalese suppressed further discussions on this stating that the Southern rebellion was due to lack of employment. It’s not the policies or laws but the mind that uses it or abuses it that matters here. We have Equal Opportunity Laws here in Australia, but majority do not ‘practice’ it consciously. The principles are built into institutional values. The Government balances the deficiency through the welfare system.
Tamil Activists in that gathering raised questions about the banning of Tamil Diaspora organizations and individuals by the previous Government of Sri Lanka. To my mind THAT banning was an abuse of power and one without a sunset clause. As a Tamil associating with fellow Tamils irrespective of their legal status – unless needed by the POSITION taken by me at that time – I am also affected by the listing. This is because one does not know how such ruling which is without protection and without sunset clause would be interpreted by the officer at the airport. I myself pray to Lord Buddha to help the Buddhists identify with my Truth. I thus invoke Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution. So far I have not been found fault with. But when others more closely associated with preserving Tamil Diversity share their concerns with me – I acknowledge that there is still that risk for them – not only because of the officers – but also because these Tamils do not EXPECT the officer to value Article 9 and uphold Buddha Sasana. Article 9 states:
9. The Republic of Sri Lanka shall give to Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the State to protect and foster the Buddha Sasana, while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).]
To uphold this at the airport and other official areas of Administration – we need the 50:50 principle espoused by Tamil Leader the Hon G.G.Ponnambalam. We therefore need a pool of officers of all other religions likely to use the facilities, the numbers being Equal to Buddhist officers manning those positions at that time – i.e. – Measure for Measure.
The above mentioned retired army officer has confirmed the continued risk from Sinhalese officials who are not yet Sri Lankan. The mind to mind connection happens naturally at the lowest as well as the highest levels. Government to Government connection therefore needs to be matched by People to People connection – so we become the UN in Australia and/or Sri Lanka.
As per Stated Policy – the Sri Lankan Government has the responsibility to take Project approach . This requires not throwing away the lessons learnt through the war but becoming a ‘facility’ for those who followed the law above the level of the government. One of the groups banned by the previous Sri Lankan Government was the Global Tamil Forum based in the U.K. But the current Government is reported to have invited the President of that group to go to Sri Lanka. THAT is a continuity of breakdown in law and order. The citizen / victim could interpret the ruling independently and travel as per such interpretation. But one in Government position has to first reverse the ruling through due process before extending invitations that would have been unlawful as per the previous occupier/s of that position. By failing to take such measures – the Government is rebelling against itself. One who has firm position should not take de facto status. If a government does that – that government confirms that it was / is the root cause of rebellion.
During a recent conflict with the Electricity Board officials in Northern Sri Lankan – when I was threatened with disconnection of supply to our seminar room at our Vaddukoddai training center – I claimed that when my neighbor was able to use the One connection for his two businesses within the same building – I saw no reason why I could not do likewise. The young official then said words to the effect ‘If they are acting illegally – would you also act illegally?’ That brought a smile to my face on this side of the phone. I responded by stating words to the effect ‘I am working out your Policy – on the basis of what you have allowed to prevail over the years. I have not been shown any written Common Policy confirming your threat to disconnect service to me; nor that my actions are in breach of the customs of this area (Vaddukoddai) at this time.’ That brought the officer and his deputy to the premises for the first time and they withdrew the threat of disconnection! This could not have been achieved had I spoken to the guy in English – through a system of Hybrid languages proposed by a senior member which seemed to be well received by those groomed by the British system.
Citizens who have practiced the law above the level of the Government Officer on the other side – must be facilitated to act as per their Truth.
A White Australian legal expert raised the issue of detainees adversely assessed by ASIO largely on the basis of the Sri Lankan Government’s assessment. Now that we are getting to know about the abuse of Law by the previous Government of Sri Lanka – the Australian Government has the moral obligation to reassess these detainees after discounting the previous charges by that failure rate of the previous Government.
We Australians have ‘imported’ Sri Lankans for our own purposes. Our first duty is to become a facility to them – be it for Reconciliation or Diversity – as per their Truth as Sri Lankans. I have done this with members of our family ‘imported’ by us to Australia. Accordingly they are in the Diversity Group and we are in the Reconciliation Group. In my yesterday’s article I stated:
[The High Commissioner made a statement that it was only his conscience that he would take with himself when the call came from the Lord. To me it is the Truth that we Share – i.e. - take, as well as leave behind. That is the way of absolute values/powers.]
Like rebirth - Immigration especially through refugee process is also dying as citizens of one country and becoming citizens of another. It’s only when we bring our Truth and nothing but our Truth that we are of value to both our Nations. In Australia that Truth could be known only through an officer who has practiced the applicable laws above the level needed by his position. A policy based on the discoveries of such an Australian would lead to just rulings in Administration. Just rulings are continuously supported by the system of Natural Justice. We would recognize this only when we pause from time to time to learn from our Experiences.
When we are young – our brains must regulate our body – so the body is trained to be healthy. But as we age – we need to pause and listen to what the body also says through experience, so that we do not push the body beyond its limits through new theories. Likewise the Government and the Citizen. The latter part of Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution which states “while assuring to all religions the rights granted by Articles 10 and 14(1)(e).”
These rights are the parallels of Equal Opportunity Policies of Democratic Nations. But to put that into practice in Sri Lanka – would be to damage the bodies of all Sri Lankans of British origin to whom English is the first language, which came to Sri Lankan through Christians. They are without apparent roots in Sri Lanka but assimilate more comfortably in Western Nations including Australia when it had White-Australia policy. In Sri Lanka, even English Law is applied by those who feel little connection to the origins of English Law. Where Diversity is stronger than Commonness – Democracy without Devolution becomes a White Elephant – as the Sri Lankan Government has become.