Thursday 30 April 2020

Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

30 April  2020

Australia Pinching the baby and rocking the cradle?

These days, I look out the window and thank all the customers waiting for their turn to buy coffee from the Driver Café across the road. All of them naturally contribute to social-distancing rule by the government. I do not physically participate in that process as one of them but mentally appreciate their  ‘good behavior’ as a senior in Coogee community. I follow the rules in my own area of activity – primarily because I am self-governing. When I make the connection with the government all those who are led by me connect to the government. That is the way the system of belief works. It often bypasses the brain. In democracy such natural faith of the citizen  comes first.

In terms of managing bottom-up, Dr Ravindra Rannan-Eliya compares the performance of Australia to be of higher standard than Sri Lanka:

[…For example, if home isolation doesn’t work, either mandate quarantine or bring in measures to enforce compliance. Australia realised this, so it made quarantine mandatory. ….If we cannot get self-isolation to work effectively, like Australia, we need to quarantine in the first instance. But quarantine has its own disadvantages. There is no simple answer to this. We have to think about how we get to an optimal mix of quarantine and self-isolation, which will require many other supportive measures, and our approach will need to adjust over time….
Australia and New Zealand, who had much worse initial epidemics than we did, are both likely to move soon to lifting lockdowns, because they did all the other things, including aggressive testing.]
– Economy Next article“Blaming the public is an admission of failure” – in conversation with Dr Ravindra Rannan-Eliya on Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 response

Health is a very personal issue and top-down management would not work in this current environment where we know very little about the causes. Human Rights issues have been of priority to Australia due to its global consciousness. In the one country one could alternatively have bottom-up relationship or top-down with the leader.

Let’s take the following disciplinary action by the ‘West Wing’ President Bartlett as a wishful  example:
While you may be mistaking this for your monthly meeting of the Ignorant Tightass Club, in this building when the President stands, nobody sits.”

The above would be a virtual reality in the mind of one who values the Presidency above himself.

In real life, as per my direct experience, the only current leader who commanded that kind of respect is Sri Sathya Sai Baba. In 2009 – when I felt the need to be with the victims of war in the camps and I had to get the approval of the authorities to go to Vavuniya – there was a long wait. Like with Covid-19 there were many who sought to ‘profit’ from the pain of others and tried to exert their authority unjustly. Then I went regularly to the Sai Baba Centre at Barnes Place, Colombo. There I consolidated naturally with the  feelings of others who also felt for the victims. I was intuitively looking  for guidance – as there was no clear demarcation as to who was right and who was wrong.  I received it – when the flower on the big picture of Swami Sai Baba fell at the moment the thought of 13 soldiers came to my mind. As per my culture – it was disrespectful of the Tamil Tigers to send the bodies of soldiers to Colombo – as if to challenge the government. Back then as per my mind structure – the LTTE did not follow Due Process to show respect for those who died in combat.  In 2009, my knowledge of the war was limited to my sharing through community. Now the information is more structured. By 2009 many Tamil politicians were assassinated by the LTTE and as a person who realized self-governance through Democracy,  I had the duty to separate and distance myself from the LTTE in its official form. I got to know many in the group as individuals – and they became part of me. What actually happened was mixed with a strong doze of political advantage by both sides to the war.

In Australia – the way I see it– that kind of structure in which the leader is venerated, does not work because we generally feel ‘free’.  To my mind again – this is because of the Free-Spirited Indigenous Australians who died prematurely due to invasion, as well as all those who have realised that Freedom in our own local cultures and electorates. We are also not over-ambitious to rule the world.

But Sri Lankan structure is more top-down except when it comes to the Indigenous groups. The Wanathamulla area was very much part of the 1983 Black July riots. Journalist  Gamini Akmeemana highlights their natural ways through his Daily Mirror article headed ‘Coronavirus Diary- Part 2: Wanathamulla and Hobson’s Choice’
For the record, Sinhala Buddhist leadership of Sri Lanka is also Hobson’s Choice to minorities. As Thomas Ward said:

Where to elect there is but one,
'Tis Hobson's choice—take that, or none.

Hindu Tamils of Sri Lanka express this as  – ‘Whether Rama rules or Ravana rules – our plight is the same’

The LTTE was Hobson’s choice to the People of Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. It became so due to neglect of lower caste areas  – the parallels of Wanathamulla. In 1983 – it was as if Tamil only indigenous groups  were empowering Sinhalese only indigenous groups  . To them Corona and  Dengue are more or less the same. The pre-existing condition / karma makes all the difference.

The book Experiences of a Relocated Community in Colombo : Case Study of Sinhapura, Wanathamulla, by the International Centre for Ethnic Studies,  presents the following picture:

[This report is about a relocated community in Sinhapura, in Wanathamulla, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Sinhapura is a government housing complex in two phases, each with 60 apartments built for relocating residents from two shanty communities in Colombo, namely 54 watta in Wanathamulla and 186 watta in Colombo 7. These relocatees have been displaced from their watta communities due to developmental projects undertaken by the Government of Sri Lanka.]

 The nature of the relationship between the indigenous groups  in Colombo and the current President is strongly indicated by the following report:

[Protest against abduction met with force
A white van abduction has taken place this morning in the Wanathamulla area in Colombo. A resident from the Wanathamulla housing scheme, Sunil Aiya, was abducted this morning in a white van, a day after Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and a senior Army officer had paid visit to him demanding that he vacates his residence.

Residents in the Wanathamulla housing scheme have posed a problem to the Urban Development Authority (UDA) under Gotabhaya since they have refused to accept the eviction orders issued by the UDA. The residents have instead resorted to legal action and have even taken the matter before the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.
Gotabhaya and a senior army officer had visited Sunil Aiya yesterday and asked him to vacate the premises along with the others in the area.
Sunil Aiya has however refused to give in saying that none of the residents wanted to vacate their houses since there was no purpose in them giving up their houses to live in rented flats, which are not suitable for people to live in.
Following Sunil Aiya’s abduction, the residents in the Wanathamulla housing scheme took to the main road protesting against the abduction and demanding the authorities to find him and bring him back alive.
Traffic on the Baseline Road was also affected due to the protest.
It is learnt that the authorities are trying to level various allegations against Sunil Aiya.
However, JVP politburo member K.D. Lalkantha who pledged support to the protestors said that people cannot be abducted according to the whims of some people. “There is a law in the country and if there is any issue, the law has to be applied,” he said. He also called on residents in housing schemes in Colombo who face the threat of being evicted to join the Wanathamulla residents to protest to safeguard what is rightfully theirs.]

We learnt through Daily Mirror report headed ‘Don’t belittle Navy personnel: Defence Secretary’:
[Defence Secretary Maj.Gen. (Rtd) Kamal Gunaratne today requested people not to belittle Navy personnel who were infected with COVID-19 while being engaged in rounding up virus-infected drug addicts and taking them to quarantine centres.

He said according to reports some Navy personnel and their families were being vilified in some villages, and requested people not to do so as they had fallen ill in the line of duty in efforts to prevent the spread of the virus not considering the health risks.]

If the abductions in the Indigenous area due to the power of the ‘Defence Secretary’ is true – then the current Defence Secretary from the same political side would naturally inherit that karma, when s/he fails to follow the current law. The Indigenous dwellers would relate through their own experiences. Likewise Sri Lanka as per its own and not as per Australia’s experience which happens though a totally different structure. The connections between various positions in our true structures are our laws. The law of the Navy officer is as per her/his Navy law.

On 22 April News 1st reported about the above officer:

Our military has already shown their expertise and professionalism in handling the emergency situation created under coronavirus threat,” Kamal Gunaratne, a retired major general, said in a statement.

But then yesterday, Adaderana reported:

Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka David Holly and Australian Defence Adviser Group Captain Sean Unwin handed over Australian supplied Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva, Head of National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak on Wednesday (29).

At the handover ceremony, High Commissioner Holly said “Australia expresses solidarity with Sri Lanka as we both face the impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis together. In particularly, the Australian Department of Defence is pleased to support Sri Lanka’s armed forces in their effort to counter COVID-19 by providing much needed equipment to protect those on the frontline in Sri Lanka”.

Is the Australian Defence Force hijacking the Australian People’s credit in their desire to please the Sri Lankan Defence Force led government? If there is a war between China and America, whose side would Australia take? As per the above – it would be China’s side due to this government being pro-China.

The connection between the Federal Leadership of Australia and the High Commission in Sri Lanka is the Natural law that applies here. As per that law, the Aid ought to have been handed over to the Health Minister who is senior to the Lieutenant General who participated in the war that resulted in boat arrivals in Australia. Pinching the baby and rocking the cradle?

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