Friday 10 August 2018

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

10 August 2018

The Diplomat who ‘Won’ Discord

Yesterday, the title ‘Devananda’s Dissent & The Country That Never Was’ - caught my attention. I was more intrigued because the author was Dr Dayan Jayatilleke who as per my mind is nowhere at one time  and everywhere at another, in terms of the Sri Lankan ethnic issue.
In the above article, Dr Dayan talks about his father’s (Mr Mervyn de Silva’s) prophesies. Below is an example:

[I refer of course to Black July 1983, 35 years ago. That horror did not come out of nowhere. It had a matrix in which the ideology of Cyril Mathew was a significant part. Mervyn describes it thus:
“…Industries Minister Cyril Mathew, the most consistent and uncompromising champion of majority Sinhalese rights… Mathew told the conference he was opposed to the TULF because it was ‘not a political party but a communal organization that supports terrorism.’ The history of Sri Lanka, he added, was the history of the Sinhalese, ‘and nothing else.’ His resolution to the national question was ‘to settle Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims in all parts of the country on a system of proportional representation.’ It is this sort of polarization and distrust which, running through the whole tragic history of the Tamil issue, now permits the past to hold the future hostage.” ] - Mervyn in  ‘Paradise & Hostage to the Past’, Far Eastern Economic Review, January 1984

Isn’t that also Separatism that the LTTE are being accused of? Was Mr Mathew seeing himself through the Tamil Politicians at his level? Both Separatist groups to my mind, were seeking to rule by majority.

Dr Dayan continues as follows about his father’s insight:

[Difficult as it is to imagine, Mervyn in even more precisely prophetic and speaks of a situation which exists today, constituting the matrix of contemporary neo-Mathewism and its components:
“But, as in the Shah’s Iran, suppressed dissent has found refuge in an impregnable forum, the temple, and an articulate spokesman whom nobody dares to touch, the monk. Having co-opted the clergy, can militant Sinhalese-Buddhism rely on support from the armed services, too? Now regional councils are coming up for air for the third (and last?) time. All the political parties are discussing the proposal, a shrewd Jayewardene move to gain endorsement from a national consensus. But has political power already slipped out of the hands of politicians?”] Mervyn in  ‘Paradise & Hostage to the Past’, Far Eastern Economic Review, January 1984

It is this confluence identified almost 35 years ago by Mervyn de Silva—‘the temple’, ‘the monk’, ‘militant Sinhala-Buddhism’, ‘the armed forces’ or in this case the ex-military, and the disempowerment of the politicians–that gave birth to the Alt-Right turn. It did not arise from the Nugegoda platform of February 18th 2015, the womb of the Joint Opposition (JO) or of the later phenomenon, the Pohottuwa.]
Separatism is in the genes of majority Sri Lankans who seek to lead those who are dependent on others to lead them. During  post-colonial period, the seeds of separatism were widely sown by Sinhalese-Buddhists leaders. In terms of Tamils have little knowledge of multiculturalism  – the dependence is permanent – due to Big Brother Tamil Nadu being always there to run to. When Colombo Tamils are attacked by Sinhalese and they run to Jaffna – they intuitively come close to Big Brother who is always in waiting – to merge or to takeover.
As a Sri Lankan who feels Sri Lankan, I believe I am able to identify with the causes of  manifestations more deeply than the likes of Dr Dayan Jayatilleke – not because of our respective ethnic origins but due to the level of  respective investments in common structures rather than in outcomes. The Nugegoda platform did not originate in 2015. But it strongly invoked the Separatism genes in Sinhalese-Buddhists – a weapon that has become self-destructive especially in terms of  globalization.
Like Mr Mervyn de Silva who was prophetic, I also intuitively felt problems more than any Tamil known to me in Northern Sri Lanka or of Northern Sri Lankan origin. I shared this regularly through my articles, well before they came to the attention of wider public. Some are:
1)    The cultural gap between indigenous Tamils who isolated themselves and Tamils who are becoming more and more global in terms of gender based pleasures. Now we are reading reports about rape of young children. The causal  reason I highlighted was lack of family level structures and commitment to positions within families.
2)    ‘Give us your money but not your advice’. That is sure confirmation of Separation from global cultures of Service/ Support’ Providers. This has resulted in excessive enjoyment of pleasures of the flesh on quid pro quo basis – pleasure  for status deal
3)    Punishing those who go to the Police including through stoning which is now being discussed by local politicians who failed to listen to true owners like myself.
Most of the problems were passive during the LTTE period due to fear. Now when they feel more ‘free’,  the weaknesses are being reinvoked and more speedily  so – due to ‘free money’.
Like Dr Dayan and Mr Rajapaksa, the LTTE – also sought to ‘show’ wins. The more those genes are activated – the more we would invoke those Energies that happened due to our negligence of family and organizational values inherited from our ancestors particular to that area. These are the negative values reflected in our horoscopes through particular planetary structures at the time of birth. If we let them be undisturbed – they would remain passive. Blaming others excessively can also invoke those Paava Kirahangal / Debilitated  characteristics.
Dr Dayan states in this regard:
[One of the most distressing moments of my turbulent life was a fleeting episode at the Shangri-La conclave some months ago organized by Viyath Maga. It was something that was generated by the ideological atmosphere and social semiotics of that event. It was when a well-known and respected name in the IT industry, who operates from both Colombo and Jaffna, an articulate, cosmopolitan Sri Lankan of Tamil ethnicity, Mr. Mano Sekaram, thought fit to open his presentation by thanking the organizers for “the gesture of inclusivity” they had made by inviting him to speak. I didn’t think he meant in his capacity as an IT magnate. He meant that it was a “gesture of inclusivity” in that precise milieu of a grand event organized by that grouping. He meant it in its ethnic or ethno-regional sense. 
That came as a shock to me, because in the Ceylon I was born into and the Sri Lanka I chose to study, remain citizen of and live in, such a remark would never have been made; never thought necessary to be made. Certainly Neelan Tiruchelvam and Lakshman Kadirgamar would never have done so, still less my father’s schoolmates, campus friends (of which “LK” was one) and club-mates from diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. ]

I also identify with many in that cultural group. But the problem is that like Mervyn who does not seem to have an official heir in his son – these intellectuals also do not have their direct heirs in today’s Sri Lankan society. Like the junior castes that got isolated – they also became disenfranchised in a society that is driven strongly by Separatism. This happens when economic  value is greater than policy value in outcomes. Likewise, when ‘showing’ becomes more important than ‘being’.

This urge to ‘show’ was manifested by Dr Dayan at an early age:

[Jayatilleka had become involved in radical politics at a young age and whilst studying Advanced Level at Aquinas he was "picked up" by the Intelligence Services Division and questioned at their headquarters in Longdon Place, Colombo. At Peradeniya he was a member of two radical groups - the Lanka Samaja Adhyayana Kavaya (Lanka Social Studies Circle) and Samaja Adhyayana Kavaya. Whilst at Binghamton he was involved with solidarity movements in support of El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua. He returned to Sri Lanka in 1982 to observe the presidential election but, having gotten involved in militant Sri Lankan politics, never returned to Binghamton and dropped out]
I learnt this morning that the Sri Lankan President has decided to appoint Dr Dayan Jayatilleke as Ambassador to Russia. The French Government voted against 2009 UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka whereas Russia voted in favour:
[If the Sri Lankan resolution, opposed tooth and nail by top dogs US,UK, EU and France, was passed, with 29 voting for, 12 against and six abstaining, it was undoubtedly because of the doggedness, energy and creativity displayed by Dayan Jayatilleka.  
Though a first-time diplomat Jayatilleka had a vast and deep knowledge of world history. He also had a background of left-wing political activism. With such a background he came up with out-of-the box ideas and implemented them with awesome energy.  
The strategies that he employed to enable a small and weak country to successfully resist the hegemony of the Big Powers are now a subject matter of study in some universities under the rubric “Asymmetric Diplomacy”, the book says.]
P K Balachandran in his review headed - New book tells untold story of Sri Lanka’s 2009 victory at UNHRC
Dr Dayan asked for discord and he is getting  the Russian posting?

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