| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
(November 07, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I read over the weekend that the Sri Lankan Government had moved to block ‘Sri Lanka Guardian’ in Sri Lanka. I felt upset by this because to me Sri Lanka Guardian is a Democratic Sri Lankan. As if to comfort me – I received this morning from a Global citizen of Lankan origin – the following message ‘I open the Sri Lanka Guardian first thing every morning to be educated by the learned articles therein, especially written by you.’
Then I received from the UK – further news about the ban as reported by world media – including the BBC.
I read the related Sri Lanka Guardian editorial on this issue – ‘LTTE practices followed by democratically elected Govt.’,
My mind immediately recalled similar observations by a Vanni resident when he returned home after the war. He said that the Government was continuing with LTTE practices.
Hence I identified with the above Title.
The Sri Lanka Guardian says ‘The LTTE was an undemocratic non state actor and its pursuit cannot be like that of responsible state actor. The circumstances of fighting a massive state machinery makes a non state actor to indulge in extra-ordinary activities that are seen unacceptable in the present geo-political context. The degree of what LTTE did may be in variance with the ANC during apartheid regime but LTTE earned the wrath for being an undemocratic and anti-democratic force that compounded the sufferings of its own people to the advantage of the extremism of the Sinhala nationalism that has gloated even further to a disproportionate scale since its defeat.’
As we were discussing over the weekend, the LTTE did not have the capacity to govern the Tamil Community as a whole. Prematurely declaring authority by bringing down elders/seniors in higher positions has become a reality in pseudo democracy. The question that we asked ourselves yesterday was – if LTTE were not democratic who in Sri Lanka was in this issue? Is democracy the right path towards a lasting solution? If yes, then is it the True path? The ‘right’ path gives us relative credit. The True path becomes the lasting solution through which we feel good about ourselves.
If one traveled the path of Truth – as if one were the LTTE – one would know that to the LTTE leadership – intellectual leaders were a threat – even if they were Tamils. Likewise higher thinking politicians with wisdom. As part of the intellectual group, I do believe that the ambitious amongst us would have used the LTTE to get power and then would have tried to get rid of the LTTE leaders themselves or v.v. All those who seek to be above others, through enforcement, are confirming lack of confidence in their higher positions. Hence, they resort to external means to ‘show’ powers greater than they really have. LTTE as well as the Governments of Sri Lanka – resorted heavily to this ‘showing’ of power. The one that showed more was confirming higher degree of anxiety.
When I entered Vanni in 2003, I also went through the ‘visa’ system of the LTTE. To me – their system was not different to the Sri Lankan Government’s system. I raised this with Karuna Ammaan when I met him in Batticaloa. Karuna did listen and asked me for a report and delegated the matter to Mr. Kousalyan – asking him to submit it to ‘Annan’ – as the LTTE leader was referred to. I did submit my report including to the UNDP. There concluded my work in that environment. Back then I could not ‘see’ any value for that work of mine. But now, I am able to use the essence of it to appreciate the real needs of Sri Lankan Public Administration including in Tamil areas. My current work in Sri Lanka is based on this True assessment. I am not surprised that others are now coming to the same conclusion as I did back in 2003. I started with the Sri Lankan Government’s Administrative system and identified with the LTTE system. Sri Lanka Guardian is starting with the LTTE and is identifying with the Government’s system.
Tamil or Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Administrative system that suited pre-war Sri Lanka – was established by Ceylonese / Sri Lankans. Tamils who are more conscious of being Tamils than being Sri Lankans – would not be able to connect to the minds of these Founding elders. Likewise, Sinhalese. Only those who respect and value their elders would be able to feel the root and see the height of such a system. As stated in the Guardian editorial, the LTTE did not hesitate to get rid of its opposition. Many of them were our Tamil Community elders and intellectuals like Neelan Thiruchelvam. By getting rid of the subjects, the LTTE got rid their own opportunity to grow into those positions. Those who ridicule, find fault with or get rid of their parents publicly – are reducing their own self confidence to occupy those positions. The Government of Sri Lanka keeps ridiculing the British ever since Independence was declared. Every time a politically influenced decision was taken to deprive the earnings of an administrator, that position was getting assassinated. LTTE’s was swift. Sri Lankan Governments’ was slow and more painful.
It is to accommodate genuine deservedness beyond the parental position, that the system of Democracy has been developed – so that we would all have the opportunity to Govern ourselves. All of us who live within our Truth – our true earnings – are governing ourselves. Even when we are physically in other environments through which we receive more than our earnings, if we in our minds, limit our enjoyment to our earnings – we are governing ourselves.
The report : ‘(November 06, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Sri Lanka receives nearly US$ 5 billion a year from foreign remittances from citizens working abroad and this goes directly to the underprivileged of the country. This amount eclipses the US$ 2.5 billion International Monetary Fund bailout package that was used to get the domestic economy back on track. So, all the country’s problems can be dealt with if the nation can raise the current 1.6 million Sri Lankans working abroad to 3 million, according to Dr. Sarath Amunugama, the country’s Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation.’
The above report confirms that to the Sri Lankan Government, the systems underpinning the money is of little significance. I compare that with the value of our group’s work in Sri Lanka which is highlighted as follows in our latest Thunaivi Newsletter.
‘There are also some less enthusiastic women, who due to their past are not able to project into the future and tend to resign themselves to ‘fate’. We try to bring them together through activities that they find attractive and interesting. One such activity was the sale of clothes at a very nominal price. As per our Common Principles and Values, unless it is humanitarian need, we do not handout anything ‘free’. We encourage each participant to earn the value they derive from the activity, so they would feel independent. If nothing else is available, we help them invest in Common Processes through which they could pay their respects to Service Providers and thus own their share of the activity, through the principles and laws covering those Common Processes. We believe that we all have the ability to own through payment, work and/or by paying respect at least to equal the income/benefit we derive. Hence we develop common processes suited to the environment – so that respect to those processes would be respect to the ‘system’ through which Service Providers facilitate these activities – especially Service Providers from Australia. Thunaivi is especially focused on Mothers in the Community because majority currently living in Northern Sri Lanka are driven more by their belief and feelings than by logic and intellectual analyses. Given that mothers are feelers, we feel the importance of strengthening our Mothers.’
As stated above – paying our respects to those from whom we ‘receive’ without having worked for it – takes us into a ‘family’ environment and actually helps us remain independent and yet included. Independent because we pay what we can anyway we can and thereby complete our experience. Included because we bring the essence of the Service Provider’s work into ourselves when we pay our respects to them. That is the value of hierarchical system. In Hinduism this is known as Pitchai/Bhiksha – practiced in the olden days by Brahmins. It was towards minimizing our ego so we could merge with the Public. Buddhism promotes this through the practice of monks receiving alms. Here at the University of New South Wales, after I was persecuted and I resigned from my substantive position, I asked the smaller Business Units for Bhiksha – employment Bhiksha. The best Bhiksha I received was from Dr. David Garlick, the founding director of Sports Medicine. With the help of David, I was able to complete my University experience as an employee and now I enjoy status as Channel Partner of University of Technology Sydney -Insearch. Those who believe that they are stronger than their parents / leaders – need to first become independent of their parents by completing their current responsibilities and paying off their debts – and then move laterally – parallel to the parents and not above their parents who were under a different system.
By commenting as he did above, Dr. Amunugama was showing lower level valuation of his parent – the IMF. The money from IMF needs to be valued by being used through global processes and structures of global standards. When it is thus valued – the users and beneficiaries automatically become part of that family. If we accept Dr. Amunugama’s thinking – then we need to conclude that his government’s claim that LTTE are terrorists is false – because if we who are a huge part of expatriate community are terrorist supporters – expatriate money is blood money. In fact all monies from those who used the war as the reason to live outside Sri Lanka – even if they are Sinhalese, is blood money. Money from them would go towards more wars. Sri Lankans practicing Democracy – are Sri Lanka’s UN – and they may live in Sri Lanka. Monies that come through them is Sri Lanka’s earned Global Funding. If LTTE are Terrorists – war money is terrorism money. If war money is good for economic progress – LTTE are rebels and not terrorists. Likewise information and education through the media.
We can’t have it both ways – can we?