Monday 11 April 2016

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam – 11 April   2016

Tamil Relative or UN Relative?

One senior Tamil lamented with me that his proposal submitted to Tamil Political leaders was not receiving their attention. Now the Hon D. M Swaminathan , Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs is also accusing the Northern Provincial Council of -  No action, talk only

The minister is reported to have stated:

[Hon.C.V. Vigneswaran , Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council has sent a letter to Hon. D.M. Swaminathan, Minister of Prison Reforms, Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Hindu Religious Affairs informing  that the Northern Provincial Council unanimously decided to totally reject  the 65,000 housing programe. In his letter he further emphasized that the Government’s agenda for moving this project is to show Geneva and not for the Tamil community.Hon.C.V.Vigneswaran, Chief Minister presenting the a resolution to the constitutional reforms to the Northern Provincial Council has proposed to set up two states in the country, one by merging the Northern and Eastern provincial councils and other by merging the seven provinces.]

The Hon C.V. Wigneswaran’s mind would be naturally influenced by those from whom he learnt governance. Addressing issues particular to Northern Province is his current Responsibility to satisfy which his current natural influences would not be sufficient. As a Tamil, would Mr. Swaminathan endorse Ms Navi Pillay who is reported to have recently delivered the annual N. Sivalingam memorial lecture on international justice. York University explains this as follows:

[The award and lecture commemorate the life and work of N. Sivalingam, co-founder of the Tamil Eelam Society of Canada, and a lifetime advocate of Tamil language and culture.

 “Our family established the N. Sivalingam Award in Tamil Studies, with matching funds from the Faculty of Graduate Studies, to honour the legacy of our father who spent his lifetime committed to empowering the Tamil community in Canada and back home,” said Harini Sivalingam, N. Sivalingam’s daughter and a PhD student in Socio-Legal Studies at York University. “We hope to empower the community by encouraging students at York University to pursue graduate studies and research in the field of Tamil Studies.”

François Tanguay-Renaud, director of the Nathanson Centre, a co-sponsor of the event, explained why it was important for the centre to host Pillay’s lecture.
“As former United Nations high commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay brings with her a unique perspective on this intersection,” he said. “Her accountability role in relation to the Sri Lankan civil war and its aftermath also ties neatly with intensive research currently being carried out at York on related questions. Her visit to Osgoode and York will allow us to revisit some of these important issues, in dialogue with the scholarly community, Toronto large and engaged Tamil diaspora, and a vast array of other interested constituencies.”

In this instance – the Family of Mr. Sivalingam is the parallel of Northern Provincial Council (NPC) and York University is the parallel of the Sri Lankan Government. Given that Ms Pillay was accused by the Sri Lankan Government of being influenced as a Tamil during her investigations into the Sri Lankan war-crimes issue – one needs to ask whether speaking at a forum such as the above is appropriate for a UN high ranking official.  As I said to a Vaddukoddai person – my husband is testimony that Jaffna College of Vaddukoddai – even though run by Christian Missionaries – did not discriminate on the basis of religion, more than on the basis of merit. Given that my husband who won the best Science student prize when he graduated from high-school,  is still able to recall and be happy about his achievement there – he has the DUTY to highlight this experience,  above the Vaddukoddai Resolution which highlights the failure of the Colombo Parliament to eliminate unjust discrimination. The parallel of Jaffna College for Dr. Navi Pillay is the UN. The parallel of Vaddukoddai Resolution for Dr  Pillay is the Sri Lankan Resolution. Where one relates more as a Tamil than as a UN Human Rights Commissioner – this needs to be AFTER renouncing the status through UN position. One who holds a portfolio has duty as per that portfolio.

Dr. Pillay confirmed lacking wisdom in this kind of bottom up structure when she referred  during the above lecture – to Gandhi’s Salt March. Dr.  Pillay referred to the numbers and said also that it was to oppose the high taxes on salt. To my mind, Gandhi eliminated majority power from his mind – given that Indians would have been in the majority. The significance of  the ‘Salt March’ was that like Truth and Nature -  Salt was equally important  to the rich as well as the poor and its natural availability.

The ordinary folks understanding the issue is essential for bottom-up fights for ‘freedom.’ Whether it be ‘Housing’ or ‘Jobs’ – the issue in war-affected areas is earning the opportunity – so the ‘grants’ from the Government do not become ‘charity’ and the receivers do not become welfare-recipients as has happened to the Sinhalese with China - through their elected leadership. The Government must confirm its debt to the war-affected civilians first for damaging their property. If as per the government – civilians protected the Tamil Tigers and hence the Armed Forces had to attack indiscriminately – then it has the duty to leave it to the Community to repair itself of any wrong-doing to its own people. The self-governing would not take or give anything ‘free’.
The Minister states on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government :

When the Government has decided to give a fully furnished house with water supply, tube well, electricity, furniture with beds, fans, television, wi-fi facilities, gas cooker with cylinder at a substantial value, the Chief Minister opposes this project and wants to build partially completed house without any facilities to the people who underwent sufferings for over 30 years.

A Government that was allowed debt to become equity shares for  China,  would have difficulty appreciating a citizen whose dignity comes from self-developed ownership. Said on behalf of the Sri Lankan Government – the ’30 year suffering’ would make Tamils - relatives of Terrorists. The blame for wrong doing to the civilians ought to be first accepted to be that of the Government’s. One who is not responsible has no right to compensate.

Tsunami was an Act of god. If  post-war reconstruction is treated on the same basis as Tsunami – then the Government must first declare that the war was an Act of god’.

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