| Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
(November 17, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I refer to the article ‘Tamara affirms : “There is no single model of development valid for all peoples, at all times”, published in Sri Lanka Guardian.
Of particular interest to me is the UN Declaration of the Right to Development. As per the report ‘Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam, as Chairperson/Rapporteur of the United Nations Working Group on the Right to Development, reminded the international community that the Declaration recognizes “the human person, both individually and collectively, as the central subject of development” and that “there is no single model of development valid for all peoples, at all times.’
The question that arose in my mind was ‘to what extent does Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam remind herself and therefore her country – Sri Lanka?’
Ambassador Kunanayakam says ‘For newly independent States, political independence from colonial rule had not brought with it the promised economic independence or social wellbeing. Externally driven development strategies focusing on growth rather than on people and an international division of labour that favoured the dominant powers had further exacerbated socio-economic disparities and the external dependence of developing countries.’
These States have the legal certificate of independence but unless they are truly Independent, such Declarations of Sovereignty would be useful only to remind other states that they should not interfere – as the Sri Lankan Government did before the Battle of Vanni in 2009.
All statements have value at three levels – as per (1) Wishes (2) Discriminative thinking using Common Principles and Laws (3) Belief.
At level (1) – we add and takeaway likes and dislikes and go ahead if the net balance is positive and discard / reject, if the net balance is negative. To those who viewed the UN’s declaration at this level – there are no lasting effects. The words are forgotten with environment change. Sri Lankan Government’s words of post-war Development seem to be of this level. This then does raise the question as to whether the Battle of Vanni was conducted as per likes and dislikes and NOT discriminative thinking nor Belief.
I learnt from my Guru – that the more we repeat something the greater our surface memory of those words/statements/mantras. It’s like habit. Hence when we speak/respond without conscious thought – the net balance of this surface memory comes out. The majority vote system is based on this. If most of the voters were driven by likes and dislikes not connected to Belief nor discriminative thinking on the basis of common principles, the outcome would be unreliable beyond that time and/or place. Those outcomes would not naturally connect even the minds of the opposition/’other-side’ in that environment, leave alone those outside the circle.
Ambassador Kunanayakam’s reference to Colonial rule confirms the presence of this mantra in the mind of Ambassador Kunanayakam and the Government of Sri Lanka. If reference is being made to colonial rule – then the form that confirms Independence is based on Colonial forms. As I wrote recently ‘A nation is self sufficient and does not need an ‘opposition’ to recognize itself as being part of the Whole – the Globe.’
Ambassador Kunanayakam has confirmed that the Sri Lankan Government continues to ‘need’ Colonial Form to think they are independent at that level. Just because we live away from our parents does not mean we are independent of our parents. Those who do not believe in their parents/colonial masters – need to rely on themselves alone – even to explain why they are not developing. One who says ‘My parents did not educate me’ is not independent of the parents. That person is merely separated from her/his parents. That person still needs the parents to relate. The democratic way is to say ‘I educated myself’. The autocratic way is to say ‘My family educated me’ (we then become the parent who educated us – the children).
In the Hindu legend regarding Tamil Deity Murugan – Murugan renounced all His wealth from the parents when according to His interpretation of the rules – He had won the prize mango by going around the world (global observation), which was awarded to His brother Ganesh through Belief based action. All those who have Murugan in their hearts – would be independent of their parents / governments – by renouncing the wealth (including status) that came through the parents. To the extent we need our parents / governments to ‘show cause’ we are dependent on them. This is the case with Ambassador Kunanayakam as well as members of the Tamil Diaspora who actively need the Government of Sri Lanka to state why their Tamil areas are not developing.
Like Murugan’s elder Brother – Ganesh – who went around His parents claiming they were His world – those who rely on their parents/colonial rule – need to Believe. Once we believe – everything is taken as being ‘right’ in that world. To the extent we do not believe, we need discriminative thinking – using common principles.
Discriminative thinking where at least one side confirms ‘alienation’ needs to be not through ‘local’ laws and principles but higher – in this instance through Equal Opportunity Laws of the United Nations. Given that the war in Sri Lanka is believed by majority victims to be due to racial discrimination– we need to ask whether the leaders of the Tamil Community were officially present when the Government was taking action – behind closed doors. Given that they were NOT – the pain and suffering of civilians is taken to be due to the dislike of the Government of Tamils.
Once there is a clear division and therefore Equal Opposition, Sri Lanka has the opportunity to move towards Democracy and Independence through Democracy. On that basis, the Government of Sri Lanka needs to use the UN as a facility and draw on the basis of Development work that ‘shows’ clearly fifty percent participation by Tamils – including Tamil Diaspora members who have demonstrated Investment in Global Values. This Equal Sharing needs to be visible at all levels – right down to manual workers.
When this is achieved, Ambassador Kunanayakam or her Government would become independent of their Colonial masters. I renounced my ‘position’ status from my Colonial Masters – the White Only Australians in our system of employment and became Australian in Common. Now current White Only Aussies are my current opposition and I am independent of the excesses of the past. True Governance of the past including by White Australians and Sinhalese – continue to a part of me – as confirmation of my current Independence.
Sri Lankan Government would truly be independent of its colonial masters, at their level, only when it carries forward their values of Good Governance and renounces the status (including as victim of colonialism) that represents their Bad Governance. Once this funeral takes place – the Sri Lankan Government will naturally use the West as its Current Opposition – Equal Opposition. British would be the first to respect and value that, because they would see themselves through their colonial children and grandchildren.