Monday 16 April 2018

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

16 April 2018                                         

What do we want ? - Money or Ownership Rights?

[Over 3,500 reformed LTTE cadres, who are now being employed in the Civil Security Department (CSD) in the Vanni District, pleaded with President Maithripala Sirisena to visit them.
The employed cadres who expressed their gratitude to President Sirisena for the decision he took in making them permanent in their employment, after being on probation for almost four years, believe the answer to Geneva Human Rights Council is with them.] – Ceylon Today article – ‘We have the answer to Geneva’
The question is – do the former LTTE cadres have the right to ‘certify’ their opposition, now that they are part of the opposition? The above is the parallel of the ‘trade’ between the then Presidential Candidate Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa and the LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran who suppressed the Tamils’ right to vote in 2005. As per published reports – the ‘compensation’ was money.
The sad karma of trading rights for money is visible to me in the following story that majority Tamils would relate to:
[A Sri Lankan refugee who could not speak English has won a legal battle against the NHS after her child was brain damaged after hospital staff did not explain the importance of feeding a newborn.
Nilujan Rajatheepan was in good condition when he was delivered by caesarean section at King George Hospital in Goodmayes, Essex in July 2009.  
His parents are Tamil refugees from Sri Lanka and his mother, Sinthiya, was 21 when Nilujan was born and spoke only very few words of English.  
When the community midwife visited the family at home after the birth, Nilujan was pale and lethargic, having not been fed for more than 15 hours.  
His hypoglycemic state resulted in catastrophic brain injuries. Nilujan, now eight, has cerebral palsy with severely impaired physical and cognitive function.  
On Friday in London, Judge McKenna ruled that Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Foundation Trust was liable.
He ruled midwives failed to hire an interpreter to tell her to feed her baby and the eight-year-old is now in line for multi-million-pound NHS compensation because midwives were negligent in failing to tackle the language barrier.
Judge McKenna said medics at King George's Hospital ended up "effectively ignoring" Sinthiya Rajatheepan's concerns about her crying baby.
Because she only knew a few basic words of English, she was never given proper instructions about how to feed her son.
The mother and baby were discharged home too early and, due to poor feeding, Nilujan suffered irreversible brain damage, the judge added.
Mrs Rajatheepan, 29, and her husband Sivarajah, came to Britain from their native Sir Lanka as refugees in 2008.
The judge said the young mother was "certainly unable to understand anything but the simplest of instructions" and only when accompanied by hand gestures.
He added the brain damage he suffered was "caused as a result of poor feeding".UK Telegraph
As a mother who still cooks for my grandchildren, I feel very dissatisfied with the above outcome which makes us pawns in the British system. Just the other day, when I said to my granddaughter aged  11 years that I was cross with her for ignoring my instructions when she was with her cousins. Kali smiled and said ‘you can make rotti (Tamil bread) for me’. That is the inheritance that keeps repairing any damage in the family relationships. If feeding her child was not natural to Mrs Sinthiya Rajatheepan – then her immigration is wrong for her as well as for her husband and for the community that she feels part of.
After reading the above article, I thought of another young mother in late twenties-early thirties. This young lady is short of hearing and is not able to follow a logical conversation with others outside her family. After her parents got to know me as part of our temple community in Thunaivi , Northern Sri Lanka and after I took the young lady with me to Nallur festival,  the mother of the above young lady arranged a marriage for her. The mother  borrowed money from me including for dowry and got her daughter married to a guy who was also short of hearing. After a couple of years – the young lady fell pregnant and delivered a son who was confirmed to be ‘normal’ in terms of hearing as well as intelligence level relative to others in the area. The grandmother of this young son, worked day and night mothering him in the areas where her daughter was deficient. This year, when the young son started schooling, the grandmother rang me to get my blessings. This happened despite me getting cross with her during my previous visit to Jaffna, over an incident in which I lost money. They do not understand ‘logic’ of the global system but they believe in the system of ‘respect’ through common cultural faith.
It is therefore upsetting to note that the Tamil refugee in Britain did not have her husband and/or community to help her learn English or be with her during the time of delivering her baby and thereafter to note that she was depressed. If the couple had suffered to the extent they could bear it no more – then that Truth would help them bear this loss. The judgment is good for the British system. Not good for the UK Tamil community.
The common reason for the two experiences is that the war did not happen due to genuine loss of earned rights in the minds of these parties concerned. It happened due to the rights being ‘sold’ for economic benefits. The LTTE cadre who now pledge support to President Sirisena are confirming a highly subjective system in which the leader they ‘see’ is their mentor. The faces of the leaders have changed but not the ‘habit’ of taking freedom prematurely into their hands. If they did ‘excuse’ breaches of the law by Sinhalese Army – then that means they themselves are ‘infected’ by this disease of premature exercise of power. It’s a common disease and if there was an internal division – within the Army – with one side following former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the other side following the current President – Mr Sirisena,  the former LTTE who are part of that dividing karma – would take the side of Mr Sirisena who gave them ‘jobs’.
Neither the former LTTE cadre nor the above UK Tamil couple carry the genes / heritage  of Tamils who sacrificed benefits for Independent exercise of their Governance powers in their ‘home’ areas. Both confirm assimilation. That is the way of those who take authority prematurely.
Sometimes White Australian leaders lament that our Indigenous Community’s lifestyles are primitive. But those who follow their ancestors would continue to be seniors to later migrants – even if they live in a remote part of Australia within their own system. When they come into wider society – their rightful place is Equal in position to the most senior white Australian in position. It’s that respect for seniors that completes the cycle of Independence. Money cannot buy this in one generation.

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