Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 07 April 2016
Sri Lanka indebted to Australia?
A Hindu Diaspora leader forwarded to me the media release by Friday Forum to ‘ Halt Prefab Steel Houses Project for war-affected’. I thought back about my own ‘protest’ published on 27 March under the heading ‘Lifestyle Choices by Jaffna – their Sovereign right?’ – in which I state as follows:
[In an area that has been strongly damaged by war – such modern amenities would tend to cover up the Truth. When I first went to reside in Thunaivi – there was no electricity or running water facilities in most parts of Thunaivi which as per my observations was treated by the Sri Lankan armed forces as a high risk area. I myself took it step by step – as if I was native of Thunaivi – known as Toddy Tapper village. Most of them accepted their caste and practiced a similar hierarchy within their village. We in turn are developing an institutional system that would gradually override the caste system but without damaging the investment in its core values. ]
Hence when I read the above email this morning – I felt that my message had reached the ears of the Cow with the Bell – the Friday Forum. They may or may not have read my article. But to the extent we are genuine in relation to the issue of prevention of war – the system of Truth connects our minds. The Friday Forum explains its role as follows:
‘The Friday Forum is an informal and self-financed group dedicated to democracy, good governance, human rights and the rule of law. It has for over five years sought to alert the public on issues concerning the rights of the citizen. We work on a non-partisan basis and have been critical of both the Government and Opposition. ‘
In my case – the words ‘ rule of law’ would be replaced by rule of conscience. The ‘ rights of the citizen’ may not be always covered by law. That which is ‘right’ by law need not be ‘right’ in the system of Truth.
One who is ‘dedicated’ to the rule of law therefore would not be able to serve the vast majority of victims of war who have little knowledge of law as stated in ‘parliamentary ledgers’. Majority victims of war would have lived by their Customary pathways and the law applied theoretically would be Double Dutch to them. When was the last time the Friday Forum explained to a citizen in Nainatheevu – that as per Article 14 (1) (e ) s/he was entitled to reject the name ‘Nagadeepa’? Or to the Government that to have two different names for the same place is in breach of the principles underpinning the law of majority rule? A right needs to be activated to deserve recognition at Common level.
The Friday Forum seems to be limited to Government circles. To become a People’s Forum – one must have the courage to bring out the Truth about a system at the end of Due Process as per the law as practiced in that environment by the members of the Institution. One could therefore practice the law at a level above the government – and then criticize the government if the government opposes it or tries to suppress the value of it. I endured punishment for presenting my Truth here in Australia. Many Tamil Leaders did that in Sri Lanka and to the extent rebels respected them and they included the rebels as part of the community – the rebels became the armed forces of the Tamil community. This is likely to have happened in South also. Those who come to Colombo driven by its money and status, tend to take the place of Colonial rulers to whom rural Sri Lankans/ Ceylonese were largely ‘working class’ who needed to be ‘told’. To the extent that group accepted being told – they were relatives. It is the inalienable right of the citizen to choose her/his leader / higher relative or distance her/himself from another and produce independent outcomes.
As explained through my yesterday’s article ‘Governor or CEO?’ – if one is not to be limited to the Administrative system, a governor driven by Truth needs to be the head above the CEO in a hierarchical system. In a flat system of Democracy – this is the Citizen without portfolio. When such a citizen follows Due Process as per the structure – and then declares the Truth – the Governor has the Responsibility to uphold that Truth until proven by the Administration - that the citizen was wrong as per the law. Both Chancellors of my time at the University of NSW – Sir Anthony Mason and Dr. John Yu – did confirm value for my complaint against Central Administration. Dr. Yu had the courage to go a step further and write as follows:
[Dear Gaja, Thank you for your note about the Dean of Science. You would appreciate that it would not be proper for me to discuss any details of this with you but I hope you might have some reassurance in the fact that the Vice Chancellor discussed the matter with me at every stage….You and I are always concerned about people and I know that these factors were also given every consideration.]
Yet, as per the Administrative records – I am a criminal to the University of NSW – because of the gap between the applicable laws and the pathway of Truth traveled by that University. Had the Chancellor’s position been structured laterally with the power to uphold the Truth about the institution – as presented by the employee/citizen - the judgment would effectively have been that I am a Guardian Angel of the University. There are many Sri Lankans of this category – especially amongst minority communities.
Where an institution has this independent and Equal position as the CEO – a genuine victim would be able to complete the cycle of her/his experience within the institution. Once it leaves the boundaries of the institution – it goes into the system of Truth which cannot be influenced directly by either side. After my experience, I have become that Governor to many in my areas of activity – including in Sri Lanka. Along this path – I realize/d that the more I used Article 9 of the Sri Lankan Constitution – through which to present my criticism – the stronger my identity with the Hindu value.
Buddha renounced the throne to become a man without portfolio. Jesus did not have any official portfolio in the then administration and yet He provided solace to the needy. Krishna took the position of Chariot driver to Prince Arjuna to lead the good side to victory. Once we contribute to the Common pool – we are entitled to Equal rights. But towards this one needs to contribute whole-heartedly – and where one has little that little must be submitted fully. A citizen who so renounces – is a Governor and when such a governor is overruled, the return happens through the system of Truth and the manifestations are known often as ‘Acts of God.’
The Friday Forum’s criticism of the Housing project is taken as follows:
[The Cabinet Decision in September 2015 that 65,000 houses be built by the government for war- affected people was commendable. However both the manner and the consequences of the awarding of the contract to Arcelor Mittal, a multinational company building prefabricated steel houses, have rightly attracted public concern and serious criticism.
Rising local and national opposition to this housing project has raised the following issues: transparency and haste in tendering process; manipulation by vested interests in decision-making; significantly greater cost of steel housing over conventional alternatives; colossal 1 billion USD national debt to be incurred; denial of the secondary benefits to local construction industry and local labour that would accompany a more customary scheme; culturally and practically inappropriate design that does not match community lifestyle and preferences; unknown durability of steel housing under Sri Lankan conditions, challenges for locally-sourced maintenance by residents, and over-hasty and confusing applications processes for this scheme being implemented at district level. ]
As per the news reports about the visit to Australia by the Sri Lankan minister for foreign affairs – the Hon Mangala Samaraweera :
[He pointed out that in recent years Australia has become the home of over 120,000 persons of Sri Lankan origin – with an eclectic mix of Burghers, Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese. Australia is also a favoured destination for Sri Lanka students: over 5500 Sri Lankans are studying at Australian universities. SriLankan Airlines opened its first office in Australia, here in Melbourne, in 2013 and airlines are exploring the possibility of re-commencing the direct flights between the two countries. Samaraweera also assured support from his Government for any investors]
The Minister did not highlight the Aid from Australia to Sri Lanka – published as follows by our Government:
[The Australian Government is providing an estimated $28.9 million of total ODA (Official Development Assistance) to Sri Lanka in 2015-16. That includes an estimated $19.9 million in bilateral funding managed by DFAT (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade).]
Australians of Lankan origin, to whom Australia is now ‘home’ need to be global minded in terms of their principles and values. Until they have demonstrated this value in action – their investments are private and should not be ‘counted’ by the Government, as its own. Likewise Australians to whom ‘Sri Lanka’ is good for Charity.
In the Tamil system of Thesawalamai – Muthusum (inherited wealth) is clearly distinguished from Thediya Thettam (acquired wealth). The former represents Belief in tradition and the latter represents current merit. If war is of heritage value – it becomes untouchable for activists on both sides. When the merits of a project are measured purely through economic yardstick – it could easily be hijacked by foreigners including for their own wars. Any development activity in war damaged areas needs to be after paying tribute to the traditional owners of that land – not as per the law but as per belief. A Sinhalese soldier from rural South is not likely to qualify as the receiver of such tribute. Nor does the government that employed him once that government is exposed of wrong doing at National level during the period covered by the war.
Within the Diaspora, the victims of war include those who were denied their Sri Lankan heritage due to Sri Lanka’s low status in the eyes of the Common Australian who has the higher donor status. Officially that must be transparent at Government level. We private citizens may override it with our Truth – but officially – Sri Lanka is a junior to Australia in International structure. If forgotten – Sri Lanka is an orphan needing charity from Australia. Such charity comes with the blood of those Sri Lankans who were suppressed and punished in their attempts to uphold their Sovereignty here in Australia. Free money without conditions is poison to Muthusum / Heritage.