Expatriate Sinhala Buddhists

Sri Lankan Government wanted quick credits on welfare basis and thus has made itself the puppet of powerful members of the UN. This is the Truth I see within the Government through my own Truth in similar circumstances. The Truth they are not able to see despite having Buddhism as the first religion through their Constitution.

l by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam

(March 31, 2012, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the article ‘Turning the searchlight inwards – a reflection’ by Dr. Ruwantissa Abeyratne, published in Sri Lanka Guardian.
The article to my mind in essence is about a trial/experiment to regain lost status by using Lord Buddha’s inward search. Dr. Ruwantissa Abeyratne says in this regard ‘An infinitely superior solution would be to recall the Buddha’s words “by oneself is one defiled” and “turn the search light inwards’.
If the current regime did turn inside the way it is now, there would be no room for the positions such as the ones held by Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka nor for the Sri Lankan parallels of the position that Dr. Ruwantissa Abeyratne holds at Global level. The individuals need to look inside and then take their position accordingly in wider forums. With all due respect to Dr. Abeyratne as well as Dr. Jayatilleka, I am NOT able to find their local parallels in Sri Lanka. As per their published work, they both write from far and this has the risk of them ‘telling’ the government to do something that they themselves are not doing.
I received this morning, mail from fellow Diaspora leader living in the UK with headlines ‘William Hague faces legal action over Sri Lankan diplomat war crimes claim’. The email says ‘The Global Tamil Forum has instructed the law firm Birnberg, Peirce and Partners to bring a judicial review against the foreign secretary for his refusal to declare Major General Prasanna Silva – now the military attache to the Sri Lankan High Commission in London – persona non grata’
That made me smile – recalling my own legal action against Mr. John Howard, when he was Prime Minister of Australia. It ‘happened’ due to my search within me. Global Tamil Forum is doing now, what I did as an individual in 2001 in the High Court of Australia. Likewise, I am doing now as an individual, in Sri Lanka, the actions that the Diaspora is taking outside Sri Lanka as a group. The outcomes may be more impressive at group level – but unless they are structured and practiced regularly, they would not add real value to the individual – that ‘human story’ that Dr. Abeyratne seems to be looking for. I am taking action against the Sri Lankan Government, not through the position of President but through the position of GA Jaffna, effectively for breach of Trust when my family donated land for the purpose of War Rehabilitation. I am doing so because I care about my family’s ancestral investment and what it means to me and therefore my family’s valuation of itself. 
If I were not a practitioner of racial equality, I would have taken action against the highest possible Sinhalese Administrator and earned credit with Diaspora Tamils. The difference is that I am driven by common principles and values whereas these groups are driven by collective power. The former strengthens the Administrative system and the latter the Political system. The two must not be indiscriminately mixed even in an individual’s mind.
If Expatriate Sri Lankans of Sinhalese origin now recommend looking ‘inside’, to my mind, it means that they are looking for the Administrative path, now that the Political path has failed at their level. To implement this, they need someone with Administrative wisdom through global systems, to live as Sri Lankan and Sri Lankan only and share themselves with those lacking in Administrative knowledge and/or political clout. Right now they are the orphans who need help. It’s towards this that I live in Sri Lanka – a few times a year with least interaction with those outside Sri Lanka, lest I enforce myself on those who have little knowledge of the outside world. The side I add myself to, has the opportunity to draw freely on my wisdom. Those who think they know it all fail to draw on my wisdom. In fact they start ‘telling’ me what to do, once they have custody over benefits. Then I keep a distance with them by separating myself through the highest system available to the locals in that area. The structure from my path would then be given the face of someone who believes in me – however small their position may be in that structure. Better the faith from a small position than deceit from a high position. That was how I declared myself to be persona non grata in the Australian Administrative system. They were refusing to use the law at the level at which I had practiced it which was higher than theirs and hence I had to declare myself persona non grata – as I do regularly with various sections of my family. I am then ‘free’ of my expectations from the structures over which they have control. Even one Sinhalese expatriate doing this, would have added real strength to the Sri Lankan Government in Geneva. I believe I did to the Tamil side. This to me is the essence of Lord Buddha’s message to renounce desires. The environment in which Lord Buddha lived would have been naturally empowered through his presence.
Dushy Ranatunge says in his article ‘Huge credibility issue of Rajapaksa presidency is that no one believes them anymore’ – “Unfortunately, most of the Sinhalese population got carried away by the “terrorist” branding of our own propaganda, and failed to appreciate the underlying issues relating to the Tamil cause and its moral high ground. Tribal thought processes consumed both communities.”
I said to Dushy in my mind ‘ Too little too late Dushy’. As per my assessment of Dushy’s judgment, the LTTE were Terrorists to Dushy. He would therefore naturally have influenced all those who believed in him and / or invested in the positions he took in society – including through his regular work through the media. One must have courage to take responsibility as an individual and that would be the beginning of the inner search for Truth. One who keeps shifting the blame lacks the courage to look within.
When the Government of Sri Lanka claimed that the victory over the LTTE, was victory over World Terrorism, it was taking far greater credit than it had earned. Educated Sinhalese did not discipline the Government but even now they keep referring to the LTTE as Terrorists. If they believed that the LTTE were Terrorists, that would have been as individuals and therefore would have helped them in their individual interactions and rightly so. But when such labels are indiscriminately used at public levels, they damage their own Administrative and Judicial structures and the opportunities to invest through such structures. If they are able to label someone a Terrorist without going through the Administrative process and worse, get rid of them privately through armed power, they must be ready for the downgrading of status by higher classes who invest in those standards, whether they believe in them or not. The Sinhalese Community thus damaged its own collective political and/or consolidated administrative path to discover its own Truth as a Community. Hence it needs Tamils as its opposition to draw up the picture that others see. When the Sinhalese Community is transparent, it would accept Tamils including LTTE and its supporters as Opposition rather than its enemy. Given that they were secretive, they assumed the high moral ground without having earned the status, but by reducing the status of Tamils by making out that the LTTE were terrorists. Whether they were/are not depends on each one’s Truth. Only those with status have the official authority to state so in public.
To my mind, what Sri Lanka needs right now is to firm up its reliable structures that would confirm the consolidated work and sacrifices of all concerned. We as a nation are being seen as a divided country with serious violations of human rights. The way a local Sri Lankan would assess her/himself through these issues would be very different to the way an expatriate Sri Lankan living in the West would. Similarly, the way Sri Lankans at various levels would assess themselves and therefore the country would vary as per the criteria used by them. There is no common measure that fits all.
Dr. Abeyratne quotes Lloyd Axworthy, a former Canadian Foreign Minister, from his book Navigating a New World : “the true narrative of politics is not the soliloquy of the State but the human story”.
In my language, good politics is the manifestation of common belief. When this is given Administrative form – through laws and policies, we share with others beyond our time and space based environments, a strong and reliable structure that would carry the values of our work and sacrifices. If we seek to realize the dividends of our work from wider world, we need to broaden the structure to include other cultures different to ours. Sri Lanka as a State has failed in both – the time based vertical investment as well as space based lateral investment. Those who are not ready to ‘wait’ for the returns are not suited for the vertical path. They need the lateral path where the returns are immediate from those outside our physical group. In other words, costs and benefits are seen immediately. Hence the Business Unit approach in Modern Public Service.
Had we been truly independent at the time the British left, we would have preserved our lateral investments and included the essence of that in developing local structures for future generations. Those driven by votes are driven by desires for benefits. Hence their expenditure would be high and their investments would be weak. This results in shortage of those who would bring us and those around us, the returns of our work. Our children may not ‘give’ us benefits. But when we are able to see ourselves in our children – we would know that we have been effective parents. When we see ourselves in others’ children we know that we have been broad parents. When we see ourselves in our grandchildren, we know that we have been deep parents.
The Sri Lankan Government gave up the opportunity to see itself through its own citizens when it stretched out its hands for outside help – especially to list its own citizens as Terrorists. Then itself it lost its claim to ‘sovereignty’. It therefore needed to invest actively in global principles and values – especially when it was dealing with LTTE and Tamils. That was the unwritten condition that any State adhering to common principles, gives when receiving resources from other countries. If the Sri Lankan Government had honored this Dharma it would not have lost in real terms, at UNHRC. What happens on the outside is the outcome of net forces at that point in time at that place. When I went to courts, I lost apparently due to excessive use of position power by custodians of benefits. But in real terms I won the opportunity to know the true limits of our judicial system and therefore limit my expectations from them accordingly. Sri Lankan Government wanted quick credits on welfare basis and thus has made itself the puppet of powerful members of the UN. This is the Truth I see within the Government through my own Truth in similar circumstances. The Truth they are not able to see despite having Buddhism as the first religion through their Constitution.
According to the Indian Express Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister, the Hon G.L.Peiris says ‘the resolution adopted in Geneva “would not change anything”.’ This means that the current government is against broadening its structures towards including global standards. Hence the responsibility falls on the shoulders of all those who have openly opposed this government to develop their own structures at the levels where they are accepted as leaders and use their inner Truth to develop reliable structures of Administration and Justice at the local levels. This to me is self devolution even if one were to become persona non grata in their current official systems.


Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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