Australians playing politics in Sri Lanka

| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

( April 12, 2012, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) When I first heard about the disappearance of an Australian of Sri Lankan origin (my son drew my attention to the news) I thought from the name that the person was a Tamil. It mattered to me whether he was or not – to identify with the natural forces that would influence the outcomes – for my own purposes. If I considered it to be a manifestation of a political issue, as opposed to an Administrative one, the depth at which I interpreted the events would be different. The depth is proportionate to my investment in the respective discipline. By the looks of it, this is a political matter in which case one needs to ask whether the person felt supported by Australians or Sri Lankans. Sri Lanka Guardian has published Mr. Gunaratnam’s statement “I have no doubt that if I didn’t have the Australian government’s support I would have been killed just like my brother and hundreds of other political activists and journalists have been killed,”
I interpret this as Mr. Gunaratnam attributing credit to the Australian Government to work the system more effectively than himself. Hence, it is understandable that he would not be safe playing politics in Sri Lanka. Even though Mr. Gunaratnam has dual citizenship, he seems to not be able to work the combined system to protect himself. He is rather being ‘given’ the protection of the Australian Government – leading one to conclude that he is not yet a fully fledged independent Australian, able to work the Australian system naturally and independent of special attention of the Australian Government – thus requiring special allocation of resources. Mr. Gunaratnam’s work in Sri Lanka would not have directly benefited Australia because of its political nature . Administrative and Humanitarian Services would have. Not political work. Political work particular to one country should be kept separate from political work particular to another country. Otherwise we risk interfering in the internal management of another country. This is because Politics is driven by subjective power without conscious separation between different areas of ownership. Administration in a democracy is required to be driven by Objectivity and Transparency – so that we interpret the outcomes for our own purposes.
Premakumar Gunaratnam says he is certain his captors in Sri Lanka planned to kill him. Photo: Anthony Johnson SMH

Those driven by subjective power would tend to attribute the blame for their pain and loss, to the nearest available person who seems to disagree with them. After the UN Resolution against Sri Lanka, every person of Sri Lankan origin, claiming global status and is active in contributing to post-war reconstruction and development, has the responsibility to produce outcomes that are objectively measurable. For example, if Mr. Gunaratnam claims that the Sri Lankan Government had abducted him and there is no objective evidence of it, then his statement has no validity in Administration and legal paths. It could of course warn / put fear into others like himself but that seems fine with the Sri Lankan Government. It works against Reconciliation – a stated reason for the recent UN Resolution.

Grateful … Premakumar Gunaratnam,
 who says he was kidnapped in Sri Lanka,
with his wife, Champa, at their Dural home.
 Photo: Anthony Johnson

To my mind, Mr. Gunaratnam was acting contrary to the UN Resolution and hence needs to be denied any assistance by the Australian Government that co-sponsored the UN Resolution. The Australian Government has the special responsibility to provide us with guidelines in regards to assistance in areas where the risk involved is assessable by the ordinary traveler to Sri Lanka. In a subjective system we keep directly monitoring subjectively, before outcomes are produced for external consumption. In an objective system we need to ‘wait’ until the individual produces her/his outcomes before we use the common rules to judge whether or not that person is entitled to assistance. In this instance, the matter appears to have been of some urgency due to apparent threat to the life of Mr. Gunaratnam. The question is – was the help rendered by the Australian High Commission in Sri Lanka within the guidelines of Accountability and Transparency that is required in Administration? If not, would the Australian Government be requiring reimbursement from Mr. Gunaratnam – the money equivalent of Australian Government’s status which those of us who provide Administrative and Humanitarian help in Sri Lanka have not been given a share of when working in Sri Lanka? In Democracy – anything ‘given’ or ‘taken’ needs to have an objectively measurable value. Hence ‘confidentiality’ of the subjective system has been replaced with ‘transparency’ in the objective system of democracy.

I call on the Government of Australia to convert into objectively measurable input, the subjective assistance provided by the Government of Australia to Mr. Gunaratnam who acted as a Sri Lankan in Sri Lanka, and not as a dual citizen using the higher of the two standards, and recover this amount from Mr. Gunaratnam. The monetary value of the assistance provided was NOT free but that of the Public and accountable to the Public – even if only one member of the Public had deserved more and received less. That’s when the Natural Forces of Dharma / Righteousness would work with the Government of Australia and therefore to strengthen Australians through this issue.

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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