SRI LANKAN DIASPORA’S DEBT
Does a child owe its mother? If yes, how is that debt settled? What happens if the debt is not settled?
When we have our own belief-based answers to these questions they would apply also to the motherland. These questions came to my mind when reading Sunday Observer Editorial ‘Engaging the Diaspora’ at http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2022/09/25/editorial/engaging-diaspora
As per the editorial:
[President Wickremesinghe understands perfectly well the need to engage with the members of the Sri Lankan Diaspora, most of whom would like to “pay it forward” as far as their brethren in Sri Lanka are concerned. After all, most, if not all, expatriates have received free education and free healthcare in the land of their birth and are duty bound to help their countrymen back home who funded their education.
Hence the President’s timely invitation in London to the Diaspora to invest in all areas of Sri Lanka, not just in the North and the East. He painted a true picture of the rather dire situation at home in extending this invitation. We hope that the Diaspora will take up this offer and help their Motherland in its hour of need.]
Whether one owes the land one is born in is the key question here. What happens if one were made to feel like a Terrorist in one’s Motherland? Does that Mother also become a Terrorist and does the land also become Terrorist Land? Recently, a young Australian law student shared with us her University experience in this regard and asked the question as to what picture came to mind when one heard the word ‘Terrorist?’
Let’s analyse through the following passage from the editorial:
[It has been 13 years since the battle against terrorism ended and now it is time to give up these discriminatory labels for good. As President Wickremesinghe has repeatedly said since assuming office, the Sri Lankan Diaspora means just that – all Sri Lankans of all ethnicities and religious groups living abroad. It is in this context that the President met the Sri Lankan community in the UK.
Prior to that, soon after ascending to the Presidency, he had ordered the de-proscription of certain Diaspora groups which had given up their separatist sentiments and aspirations to all intents and purposes. This has been welcomed by the Sri Lankan Tamil community all over the world and many such groups have since vowed to work together with the Government of Sri Lanka to achieve lasting peace and reconciliation.]
If there are no Terrorists in Sri Lanka, then why do we need the Prevention of Terrorism Act that was activated by President Wickremesinghe ?
In terms of the LTTE, the Tamil community taken as a whole, would classify them as armed rebels and not as Terrorists. The editor of Sunday Observer refers to them as Terrorists.
13 years ago, the Sri Lankan government took the path of Retributive Justice. This meant that every Tamil who felt that the LTTE were rebels was alienated.
The Sunday Observer has published an interview with Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ali Sabry (http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2022/09/25/opinion/sri-lanka-confident-chances-geneva-vote-ali-sabry )which includes the following:
[Q: Has Sri Lanka made any tangible progress with regard to the human rights situation in the country as demanded by the Core Group and other countries at the UNHRC?
A: Yes. I mean not because anyone demands it but we have done that very well. If you look at it after the battle against terrorism, 12,194 LTTE cadres surrendered and all of them were rehabilitated and reintegrated.]
As per Wikipedia:
[Retributive justice contrasts with other purposes of punishment such as deterrence (prevention of future crimes) and rehabilitation of the offender.]
Additional rehabilitation on top of taking an ‘eye for an eye’ through the war – is double punishment. Do members of the community that was so punished, legitimately owe the Motherland at the same level as those members of another community NOT listed as Terrorists for identical actions?
When a government punishes a citizen unjustly, that automatically causes debt owed to that citizen by the government and does so exponentially. Where such citizens fled Sri Lanka for that reason, they do not owe Sri Lanka. Their new Motherland is the new Nation that adopted them. The Tamil Diaspora has a good proportion of such folks who have no debt owed to Sri Lanka.
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