Thursday 12 November 2015

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 12 November  2015

Non-Violent Non Cooperation with the UN?

The matter regarding Tamil Political Prisoners becomes complex once it goes to Courts due to theories that the prisoners cannot reconcile with – largely due to lack of knowledge about the way of wider world. The Prisoners who are largely activists  do not want Rehabilitation. The way I read that is that they are not able to reconcile their assessment about themselves through the laws  they were exposed to, with the judgment of the Armed Forces and the Courts. The successful escalation of war-crimes charges to the UN level happened due also to the suffering of these prisoners shared by the Diaspora Activists.  

Leaders amongst these prisoners have demonstrated greater order of the mind than many ministers in the current government who keep changing their views. It is the duty of the Tamil Community to support the actions of these prisoners who uphold their self-assessment. Fasting with belief that one has been wronged steadies the mind of the person abstaining and all those who feel the pain of that person. Given that these prisoners have blamed TNA also – one could conclude that the first group targeted by these prisoners is the TNA.  

TNA now has the responsibility to work towards a Policy level solution to the – Application of the PTA – Prevention of Terrorism Act. Activists would continue to produce outcomes at their level. A Political answer would rob us of the opportunity to contribute to National and Global policies. Our contribution to policies strengthens our mind-order towards real self-governance.

The example that comes to mind is a common family related one. Recently, when I was minding two of my granddaughters, one of them announced that she was making tea for herself. Usually I make tea for her at her request and if she said ‘please’ – but this time the seven year old wanted to make it herself. I did not object but when she failed to make one for me – I pointed out that she had demonstrated poor hosting skills. The little one said ‘You should have asked’. I said ‘the policy of this family is for the host to ask the guest’. As grandmother I had the position responsibility make tea for my granddaughter – provided she respected my higher skills. But in their home when she took the ‘self-governing’ position – I had to use her position to place myself as an equal and therefore it was a question of  whether offering or asking was of higher value.  The Political answer would have been for me to turn a blind eye to the actions of the seven year old and be popular with her. But that would meant a lost opportunity to uphold policy and bring upon the little one the blessings of all good hosts. The Lesson - I did lose popularity to invest in Policy; I dismissed selfishness to transfer the net value to Commonness – beyond the individual to the  family and through family to wider community. Once we are natural at this level – we invoke Universal powers and that is the real power that would bring us the help needed to lead a life in harmony with our environment. At the primary stage we directly enjoy benefits – for example the taste of tea by ourselves. At the secondary level we enjoy others physically related to us enjoying the benefits we produce – the tea we make. At tertiary level we enjoy benefit/tea making itself – whether we make it or someone else makes it. At that level when we are wholesome and when we bless a junior and the junior receives it humbly – the mind order of the junior is connected to us and our Policy automatically supports the junior from within.

Applying that to the TNA’s positioning in this issue – I go to the following example as reported by Daily Mirror Editorial of 11 November - Democratic Rights of Prisoners and the National Security :

[On November 6, one day prior to the deadline, a high level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe decided to release some suspects straight away and a ministerial committee would study the cases of the others and find ways to release them. Accordingly, the Justice Ministry had announced that 32 out of more than 200 suspects would be released on November 9 and another batch of 30 suspects on November 20.
It was against this backdrop that the LTTE suspects have started a fresh hunger strike. They demand that all LTTE suspects irrespective of their alleged offences be released forthwith

Under these circumstances – the Prime Minister when he released the first group through due administrative processes – was taking the position I did with my granddaughter. We were Service Providers. When the prisoners declared they were fasting – they were helping themselves to the position of judge – which meant the Prime Minister was treated as an Equal – a Guest in their territory. If that were endorsed by the TNA without taking a position or without stated policy base – then it Naturally dilutes its power as Leader of the Opposition – in National Parliament –a higher position that the Tamil Community has invested in. By adding itself to the Prisoners through that position - the TNA is raising the issue to the National level. Then the TNA is the Guest and the Government led by the Prime Minister is the Host.

As per the above editorial:

[Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran while speaking in Parliament last week said that some suspects had already spent 20 years in prison for alleged offences for which they would be sentenced, if convicted, only to a few years imprisonment. However, in spite of the presidential intervention for the first time in this issue, authorities seem to be facing legal constraints in releasing all the LTTE suspects as cases have been initiated with regard to some of them. Only a political decision at the highest level would resolve that matter. ]

The Prime Minister has the responsibility to uphold the Doctrine of Separation of Powers and allow the Judiciary to follow Due Process. In a subjective system –  Judges have high level powers to be used at their discretion and the Judiciary must be trusted to use them with care. Where Political answers  are delivered in breach of the Judicial process – those prisoners are denied the blessings of the Judiciary and the wider world that respects the law. If TNA supports this – then we have the responsibility to return the UNHRC decision – through commitment to Non-Cooperation with the UN. THIS is the real solution if one wanted Eelam only opportunities. If one sought opportunities in wider world – then the TNA must state its policy that would be applicable to all Sri Lankans – including JVP members arrested for their actions against the Government. The above statement by Mr. Sumanthiran is that the punishment is excessive. To my mind that is advice to the Judiciary – inappropriate in Parliament.

TNA needs to educate its side – especially the prisoners by sitting down to listen to them as if their problem is the TNA’s problem. Then explain that if the Prisoners were released without Due Administrative Process – the TNA would need to renounce the global opportunity to participate in the solution to the ethnic problem. Separating the two would effectively mean using the UN for our selfish reasons. We must first invest in the UN at policy level – before having ‘rights’ – as per the system of Democracy. UN must not be used as a doormat for selfish self-rule. 

Our personal Truth must be stronger than the outcomes of the Administrative and Judicial systems for ‘fasting’ and ‘non-cooperation’ activity  to go directly into policy. Given that we now have the UN’s support – TNA must connect its statements to Global Policy and do the needful to become the sole representatives of the prisoners. Political actions at the local level by the prisoners should be raised to the global level by those who are dissatisfied with the Government’s Administrative actions. That ball is really in the Tamil Diaspora’s Court. 

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