Thursday 27 October 2016

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
27 October   2016

Youth Rebellion and Democracy

[I have been both a university student activist and a university teacher. I am therefore doubly appalled by the killing of two students at Jaffna University and am heartened that university students all over Sri Lanka are demonstrating in protest against the killings and in solidarity with their counterparts.] – All Lives Matter: Northern Killings & North-South Protest by
Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke

Being doubly appalled is an intellectual expression. Feelings  based expressions are exponential in value. That is the difference between how the two groups – Northerners and Southerners would receive the information. A Southerner like Dr. Jayatilleke would not share in  the Experience of Northerners as I would, unless Jaffna is home to him or the issue of Sovereignty is a home-issue to him. One logic is based and the other is experience based. Where logic is not broad enough to cover the whole – one needs to resort to Experience to identify with the Truth which is the true base of all real solutions. After the repeated declaration by the Lankan President that Sri Lanka was a Buddhist country – one has to be logically  blind to expect a Common solution to the main Sri Lankan problem which is conflict of interest between systems – cultural and official.

Dr. Jayatilleke who has had global training has the duty to use global language. The other alternative is to use his experience in common at the local level which is NOT with the students but is with politicians. Student experiences when extended to politics – lead to double dipping into Common Resources in the name of Democracy.

Democracy works when those with higher status renounce their consciousness of higher knowledge – even when it was duly earned by them and being with the junior / minority to have the same sight as the junior / minority. But towards this, the other  has to be current junior/minority and not past junior/minority. One who identifies himself through his lower position in the past – is living in the past and is stealing  the space from others who have the right to that space. During Colonial rule we were all juniors. To keep claiming that Buddhists fought for Independence along with the allocation of Buddhism foremost status in the Constitution is to live in the past. Such leaders must renounce all benefits through the system of Democracy unless Affirmative Action is taken to compensate minorities – in another area.

To my mind, University students all over Sri Lanka protesting has happened only because Southerners also have had their share of difficulty due to seniors of Dr. Jayatilleke’s generation being ‘attached’ to the benefits of power rather than valuing the Structure that worked for us. Just yesterday Mr. Vaithilingam Sothilingam – an Australian of Vaddukoddai origin expressed yet again his deep appreciation of his father from whom he inherited shares in famous Pathrakali Amman Temple in Vaddukoddai. This young guy hardly goes elsewhere but goes every year to take care of temple activities. That is how ancestral powers are carried forward as motivating Energy.  

Dr. Jayatilleke who shared in the benefits of power of the Executive by being sent to the UN – is using his local youth experience to relate to this matter and not UN principles and values. As per the information so far available to us, the two youth were killed not because they were  University students. The deeper issue through which we have to investigate is whether the Police used excessive force and if yes – why? This was raised  by the Northern Chief Minister and rightly so.

If we the Northerners find the Truth – that will help Southerners also. But towards this we need the young and the restless to not react prematurely. Truth is the only redemption available to us now that we have abused our intellectual powers and shrunk our mental capacity to remain local only.  To think at UN level – we need to use the fundamental values of UN’s  ‘International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination’ which to my mind was strongly influenced by the Sharpeville Massacre on 21 March 1960. The genesis of the above convention is presented as follows:  “In December 1960, following incidents of antisemitism in several parts of the world, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution condemning "all manifestations and practices of racial, religious and national hatred" as violations of the United Nations Charter and Universal Declaration of Human Rights and calling on the governments of all states to "take all necessary measures to prevent all manifestations of racial, religious and national hatred” – Wikipedia

If therefore even one citizen of Jaffna allocates the reason to be racial – it is healthy for us to probe through that avenue rather than generalize as Dr. Jayatilleke has done. If we do generalize, the youth would copy each other.  The lower the order the easier it is to react and produce more of the same. Youth have the responsibility to present their Truth and not provide alternate logic as per their own generation’s culture. Democracy facilitates this. But when Governing leaders  who have the responsibility to share their Truth through Policy structures and language – take the easy way out and express their personal Truth as per their personal Conscience – they steal the junior’s allocated space. They also make juniors of themselves, relative to others who have used the higher Common pathways.

Dr. Jayatilleke for example states ‘This is an opportunity to cut across ethnic barriers and build North-South solidarity which can evolve into a common identity as Sri Lankans.

Why should Tamils cut across ethnic barriers in a Buddhist country? Why should we dilute our Diversity and accept a weaker Secular pathway – except when it is specifically spelt out in the law. As per latest news – TNA has had to specifically ask for a Tamil version of COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises)  report on the Central Bank Bonds matter. TNA Leaders can read English. But the way we comprehend would be different as per our own ethnicities. The way I am likely to interpret the Tamil or the English report is likely to be different to the way the Hon Sampanthan would. It’s like various users reading a company Balance Sheet. Those of Common Interests using one particular pathway would comprehend in Common. Yesterday for example a lady whose name was recently added to my email list wrote to me:

[You obviously have a deep knowledge of the subject, but find it difficult to express your meaning in a few well chosen words; as a result, this reader finds herself thrashing and struggling in the murky mishmash of anecdotal reference and metaphysical motif - used too abundantly and indiscriminately - to get a firm grip on the ideas you try to convey.  This is a great pity.  
Another point I would like to make is that however biased and emotionally tied you are to a topic, your credibility suffers when that fact is too obviously positioned.  Raise interest by allowing the reader to think you are clear headed and unbiased. 

Your aim should be to kindle sufficient curiosity in the reader to encourage reading the entire article.  I am truly interested, but, I cannot be bothered sieving through all the detritus to get to the nucleus.]

To this, I responded as follows:

[Thank you for recognising that I have deep knowledge of the subject. I am sorry if  my presentation is making it difficult for you to  get to the core of my message. I do tend to be philosophical as well as express at grassroots level.   I work with both groups and hence the difficulty.   But I do get reasonable responses from those who like philosophy – including academics. I worked closely with academics and they are the first group in my email list. I am also regularly invited by Australian Government to contribute to policy – general as well as specific to Sri Lanka. I would however like to improve to cater to your mind group also and would thank you to provide me with specific  areas that you could not grasp – so I could improve.
As for being emotional – I am personally not that emotional in these issues.  But I do present on behalf of those I work closely with at grassroots level. Hence the emotional angle – so those interested in policy and management of Human Resources would know the ‘other’ side.
I guess that at this stage of my life I am more interested in sharing my Truth as per my experience rather than capturing readership. It’s too difficult to reconcile the two and my choice is with the experience as is. Sorry if that turns you off.
Thank you again and looking forward to further feedback from you]

In this instance, to my mind  that lady’s interests were general in terms of the issues I was writing about.  Mine is specific to my need which is closely connected to Sri Lankan Common interests and how best Tamils at grassroots level could participate in this Commonness that I enjoy. In addition, when I write from Australia I am empowered by my contribution to Australian commonness in language as per the average status I was allocated by the pundits at my workplaces. I expect that relative to my style the style of Dr. Jayatilleke would be more attractive to the lady and her group. But as per my belief and the feedback I receive in terms of substance – mine is of exponential value.

As a Tamil – my intuition is naturally connected to Tamils – especially from Jaffna. I am also able to invoke the Educational Energies in Jaffna due to my own contribution as an orderly high performing student of Jaffna. The likes of Dr. Jayatilleke have the responsibility to first hear our ownership feelings before he takes leadership and recommends his logic as per his obsolete junior position outside Jaffna.

As for cutting across ethnic barriers - why did Dr. Jayatilleke not cut across ethnic barriers and accept LTTE as rebels or call JVP also Terrorists? The labels of outsiders would be different to the labels of insiders due to the above mentioned intuition which leads to natural Commonness. Using Terrorism label one cannot wipe the slate clean and start from zero base while at the same time carrying forward Buddhism foremost. The Government which proposes to use Zero Base Budgeting system – has much to do to get rid of the head start through Sinhala reports and  Buddhism foremost. Otherwise the expenditure into restructuring the Public Financial system – would be a waste.

It is my belief that when god comes down to earth – god assumes the form of the environment in which god is born. When one believes through a god at the temple/church – one needs priests and / or follow the rules of that temple/church. Such followers often do not specifically identify with god’s share of the outcomes. But those who believe in god in human form – would be able to relate to god without going to temple/church – due to their own experiences. I was of former category but from time to time did allocate god’s share. But when holy powder manifested in the picture of Sai Baba we had at home even though I was not a devotee – when I was hurting deeply due to unjust discrimination at the University of NSW – Sai Baba to my mind was god on earth. He was able to do something that I could not through physical and/or mental powers. That is Divinity which we are all capable of but only few achieve at the highest level. There are components in problems and opportunities that are beyond our physical and mental capabilities. Knowing that is important in finding real solutions. For starters – one needs to ask as to why Buddha did not protect Sri Lanka from the war – despite majority being Buddhists (physical power)  and Buddhism being the foremost religion  of Sri Lanka (mental power) ? Think Dr. Jayatilleke , Think! – Think by looking within and going into the roots -  Truth known to you about your home community. Your first duty is to yourself as part of  your home community. Whether it is acknowledged or not – Tamils who have suffered more than Sinhalese are the owners of this ethnic issue and of their homelands – to the extent they accepted their losses and are carrying on with life. In those areas – theory / law exercised by those to whom Jaffna is not home – must come AFTER the interpretation of the locals is shared. That is Democracy as per Customer is Right principle and that is Dharma as per Laws of Truth. 

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