| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
(November 08, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) I refer to the article ‘ SRI LANKA: The truth at Nandikadal needs to be part of a wider process of justice’, Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, published by Asian Human Rights Commission, and forwarded to me from the UK.
Ms Jayawardena says in this article ‘there appears to be an extreme disconnect between varying public perceptions of what accountability means to Sri Lankans in the post war stage. To Arunachalam Jegatheeswaran, (an LTTE ‘sympathizer’ as introduced on Lateline, Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 25th October 2011 or a known LTTE operative according to government statements) who filed a suit in Australian courts against Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa, accountability appears to be limited purely to holding the Government responsible for the deaths that took place during the last stages of the conflict. Post 2009, the LTTE appears to be whitewashed by these individuals of its murderous complicity in killing its own civilians.’
If this is Jegan’s interpretation of Accountability, then that would also be interpretation of Accountability to majority LTTE supporters in Sri Lanka as well as in Australia. Unless other Tamils express otherwise, we have the responsibility to conclude that to majority Tamils Accountability in this instance – would have similar meaning.
Recently a fellow Sri Lankan of Sinhalese origin wrote to me, ‘You present your arguments sincerely and logically and I admire you deeply for this. Please keep the debate going. We need erudite and intellectual people like you’.
That made me think about Logic and Observation. In relation to Nanthikadal – which in Tamil means the Ocean of Nanthi – (Nanthi represents Intellectual path as seen in the logo of University of Jaffna as well as Australian Tamil Management Service) – both sides and indeed the wider world is using mainly Observed facts and not logic.
Facts from 360 degrees confirm transparency and transparency confirms Independence through the path of Democracy. The dignity of facts in a conclusion/decision/judgment, comes from the sense of independence with which they are used. Facts belong to the environment in which they are born. Given that Mr. Mahinda Rajapakse was not present at the time and place where the facts were born – he is not a primary custodian of those facts. Jegan was physically present and hence is a primary witness. The Australian Public would see him as such. Each one would use it as per our needs. The value is proportionate to the sense of independence with which facts are used. Majority Tamils would use Nanthikadal facts to like or dislike those who had control over the birth of those facts. They help the Public vote on an issue. Jegan’s vote is also the vote of majority Tamils. This is merely confirmation of the side they are on.
It must not be confused with ‘logic’ – the tool /weapon of the intellectual. Jegan used facts to express dislike and he used the avenue available to him – which is a known path to many Common Australians who are not committed to Logic. It is the parallel of votes through which politicians get their seats in parliament. Our former Prime Minister, Mr. Howard himself dismissed my complaint against him – by using this method – the political method. Sri Lankan government is known to do it all the time in Sri Lanka. They use the overblown popularity path instead of the Logical path.
This Observation path works by simple sum of our surface memory. The memory itself could have been through prior work that went towards the birth of those facts, statements by those we believe in plus hearsay – statements from those we do not believe in. The closer we are to the birth of facts – the more we need to use the logical path rather than facts path.
To those who do not know me and/or my work – Jegan and I would have seemed similar in our approach. As an individual, I take the path of Logic as much as I can and complete the experience through belief at that highest point. If Jegan had taken action against President Rajapaske in Sri Lanka, he would have been doing what I did – use the logical path. Jegan was using the legal avenue as if it were the press. The judges were the Australian Public – each for their own purposes. It would also have given Jegan the comfort and relief he needed and hence to that extent our legal system is also therapeutic.
To my mind, logic is about Accountability. It gives life to Facts and connects to our inner Truth. Logic tells us what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ as per that inner Truth. Laws and Principles help us discover that Truth and register it within as a part of ourselves. Without facts – that Truth is Belief and is Subjective power. Those who rely heavily on facts are not very strong in this Subjective Power which helps us know the ‘insides’ and therefore develop solutions to the problem. Those who rely on facts are able to produce answers. Unless they are able to give life to those facts – they would not contribute to the development of the solution from the root.
Ms Jayawardene says:
‘What CHOGM 2011 made very clear was that international support, in regard to Sri Lanka’s complex problems of accountability, must be carefully planned and deliberately executed if it is not to be spectacularly counterproductive. When such support is offered sensitively, it is undoubtedly useful. On the other hand, grandstanding in foreign courts by LTTE sympathizers or operatives as the case may be or engaging in publicity drives for propaganda effect by organizations and individuals, achieves precisely the opposite effect. These points need to be reiterated not merely for effect but for their central value in the accountability discourse in Sri Lanka today.’
The Australian Government’s role in this Sri Lankan issue is different to that of Jegan and other refugees of war. They have the responsibility to use the logical path of rights and wrongs and to the extent they are ‘outsiders’ due to lack of involvement / experience at the root level – they cannot express themselves as freely as Tamil Political leaders in Sri Lanka or Tamil Diaspora leaders. More and more young Tamils including Jegan’s relative Brahmi Jegatheeswaran are investing in Australian Governance through Politics and it is the duty of the Australian Government to facilitate recognition of that investment – over and above that of foreigners. Our Prime Minister drew a good balance between the two in this instance. The outcome confirms that our Prime Minister did sensitively support Jegan also.
Sri Lanka has become an Global Problem due to the Government of Sri Lanka also. The International Section of the Problem needs to be dealt with through Accountability and Transparency. The Domestic Section needs to be addressed confidentially between Sri Lankans. It is their sovereign right to do so. Each one of us has the ability to complete the experience through belief in someone who is truly Sri Lankan. If the domestic part is not separated – the issue would be hijacked by foreigners. Sri Lankans who are part foreigners – even if they live in Sri Lanka as Tamils only or Sinhalese only – have to use the Observation path if they kept their distance from the issue or submit their work and pain to Sri Lankan they believe in or leave it to God. Sri Lankans are accountable to themselves. At the global level – the Government is Accountable to other Governments whose status they have the opportunity to share with in common and not individually to other foreign citizens – even if that individual were the Prime Minister of Australia.
The way this issue is going – those directly concerned would become the losers, due also too irrelevant theories of Accountability and Transparency in a country that is moving away from Democracy. Responsibility and Confidentiality are the key criteria required of an autocrat. If this is not acknowledged – there is likely to be chaos in the country which would be like cutting off the nose to spite the face. Neither party to this armed conflict is/was democratic. Neither has the moral authority to ask for Accountability and Transparency.
The worst culprits in this issue are those who are indifferent. They neither use logic nor observe facts as independents. The likes of Jegan and Meena have to be allocated credit for their active involvement. They could be opposed to match that involvement but not demoted below the indifferent.