14 April 2021
JAFFNA NEEDS TO LISTEN TO ITSELF
During one of the discussions at the Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum, Sydney, Ms Annathaie Abayaskera said that we needed ‘listeners’ . More recently when learning through the ‘Crown’ – more about the British government structure, I felt that the queen played that role – which to my mind, was a structured confession by the Prime Minister to the Queen who was god’s representative in government. I learnt that Reconciliation Forum, Professor Daya Somasundaram had stated that ‘Oppari’ was also a release. Oppari is presented by Wikipedia as follows:
[The oppari is typically sung by a group of women relatives who came to pay respects to the departed in a death ceremony. It is a means to express one's own grief and also to share and assuage one's grief for the deceased.]
What is that power that helps a family heal itself? When we invest in a relationship – we invest in the whole structure that represents its sovereignty. A traditional structure that has withstood the test of time and place changes confirms its sovereignty. In looks – it would not look the same. But in fundamental values it would. Those fundamental values are recognized in Common as Human Rights at global level.
In his Island article ‘Need in New Year is to heal the divides’ Dr Jehan Perera states:
[One of the definitions of reconciliation is to move from a divided past to a shared future. The arrest of the Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan came as a reminder that unhealed issues from the past continue to threaten peace in the present and the future. According to people I spoke to in Jaffna, this arrest has revived memories that were no longer in the people’s consciousness. Nearly 11 years after the end of the war, the people were no longer thinking of the LTTE police and the uniform they once wore. The bailing out of the mayor de-escalated the crisis that was brewing in Jaffna following his arrest. There were reports that a hartal, or shutdown of the city, had been planned to protest against the arrest.]
Must say that I expected better from Dr Jehan Perera. In terms of visible support – Mr Manivannan failed to Oppose the protestors against the abolition of the war memorial at University of Jaffna. It effectively meant support for those protestors. The question I raised was whether that war memorial was a lawful structure in a civilian University. One does not need a written rule of law to work out the lawfulness. One can work out the lawfulness through the core purpose of the institution – a kind of de facto Objects clause.
Strangely, the pattern in which Manivannan was arrested seems to come from the same base on which that memorial matter was interpreted. Mr Sivagnanam, who was Chairman of the Jaffna Municipal Council from 2004 to 2010 and later was Chairman of the Northern Provincial Council, is reported to have stated that the initial action of the Council in deploying the men was not lawful. If that is the case then that was the parallel of the war memorial within the University, being erected without due approval.
It is also interesting to note the following report under the title ‘Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists seek alliance with India’s Hindu-chauvinist BJP:
[There are signs that Tamil nationalists’ pro-BJP rhetoric may have gone too far, from the standpoint of Washington and New Delhi. On February 24, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Alaina Teplitz met with TNA officials Mavi Senadhirasa, S. Sritharan, and C.V.K. Sivagnanam. She also met Jaffna Mayor V. Manivannan of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF). Manivannan reportedly hailed Vice President Kamala Harris for her Tamil ancestry and appealed for US assistance. After these meetings, several of their online videos of the Hindu east-to-north march were taken down.
The Tamil nationalists’ endorsements of the BJP are nonetheless a warning to workers in Sri Lanka and internationally. The workers and toiling masses do not and cannot forget the horrific trail of blood and pillage left behind by the Indian army in 1987-90 in areas of Sri Lanka it occupied, but the Tamil nationalists are seeking allies in New Delhi. However, the bourgeois nationalists are pressing on to the right, as international class and geopolitical tensions reach explosive dimensions.]
This strongly indicates the reasons why the US Ambassador wrote effectively in support of Mr Manivannan after he was arrested. Dr Jehan Perera’s claim ‘According to people I spoke to in Jaffna, this arrest has revived memories that were no longer in the people’s consciousness’ is misleading. Truth is always there. The pain of the People who did NOT take revenge becomes Ownership Energy. This ownership Energy is the basis of Sovereignty of the place. When this is awakened by a currently active medium in government or as opposite force, the other side also automatically manifest itself if there is no external force involved. This is why it was/is necessary to close borders during covid19 spread when it was exponential.
If indeed India were to intervene directly in Jaffna through local politicians – then we as a community would lose our ability to self-govern and self-cure.
Dr Jehan Perera laments [ If the uniforms that the Municipal workers were wearing too closely resembled those of the LTTE, he could have been informed that this was not appropriate. It would have been possible to ensure that the uniforms were immediately removed and replaced with ones that were more appropriate while taking into consideration the sensitivities that three decades of war would bring. As the Mayor is most closely associated with government Minister Douglas Devananda such a request would most certainly have been complied with. As leader of the EPDP, Minister Devananda was at the forefront of militarily fighting against the LTTE.]
Mr Manivannan is associated with TNPF . If he is a member of EPDP led by Minister Douglas Devananda, then he would be taken as being anti-LTTE. Then his status as a Tamil Nationalist needs to be openly renounced out of respect for those who risk their lives for Tamil Nationalism at all levels.
When we listen to ourselves as the Queen of England listens to the British PM – we would restore or Sovereignty and close our borders to infections from outsiders – including members of the Tamil Diaspora who value their new governments more than themselves as elders.