| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
( February 23, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) Having returned from Sri Lanka just a couple of days back, and in the last stages of recovering from the ‘flu – I started reading the article entitled ‘21st Century UN Human Rights Mechanisms and the Tamils in Ceylon’ published in Sri Lanka Guardian on 21 February.
To a large degree, I felt the same experience as when I learnt that the Hon Siobhain Ann McDonagh, Member of Parliament for Mitcham and Morden, UK together with our Senator Lee Rhianon of Australian Greens Party, released the statement dated 01 February 2012, nominating the team that produced ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ for Nobel Peace Prize 2012. In both cases I felt that Sri Lankans were being sidelined by Westerners. As Gandhi is reported to have said about Indian Political leaders – ‘they seem to want to step into the leadership positions’. Is that true freedom or are we switching leadership?
As Gandhi said ‘there is a place for all of us’. The communications from the above two groups is largely about how the wider world would like to see us – as per their own investments in Sri Lanka. We owe the wider world a duty of care to return their investments of global standards. This is driven largely by our intellect. But majority Sri Lankans, like majority Indians, are driven by their local faith and cultures. Reconciling the two is needed if we are to derive real value from the work of such forums. Otherwise, we are limited to the local experience and the local avenues to experience Justice.
As I said recently to a fellow Tamil – we need to seek our own Justice. This is through a combination of administrative, legal, social and political avenues. To the extent we are true to ourselves, any combination is right. That’s when we experience Justice. Groups such as the above are important. Some lose their lives in their work – the latest such loss being Sunday Times journalist Ms Marie Colvin. The essence of the work of such persons is part of the foundation that supports our ongoing work.
How much of the value of this work is experienced by those who are at the root of the issue? – i.e. Sri Lankans? What is the parallel of Nobel Prize in Sri Lanka? How many Tamils in Sri Lanka have been nominated by Tamil Political leaders parallel to the Hon Siobhain Ann McDonagh of UK and Senator Lee Rhianon of Australia. These are the structures that we as the Diaspora need to help develop and maintain to make up for the weaknesses in Sri Lankan Government. Irrespective of whether Tamils achieve devolution of Political Powers, we need these structures and systems in various arms of Justice – including at family level. When we fail to address problems at family / local level, they migrate to wider world through various avenues. The legal avenue is just one them. The above two groups are more social avenues through which we could experience Justice. Only those who have invested in these paths would have the confidence to access them independent of others.
As per my ongoing observations, the legal system in Jaffna is not enough for its people to experience Justice. We need to find other ways through which to seek and find our own Justice. So long as we genuinely invest through belief in a system, the return will come through that system as well as others. One such return happened when I was facilitated on 16 January 2012, by our Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, to participate from Sangarathai-Thunaivi, Sri Lanka, in a conference at Canberra, with the new Australian High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Ms Robyn Mudie. To me, that was confirmation of successful connection between Australian work and Tamil work NOT blocked by any Sri Lankan political authority.
All those who seek genuinely would find and experience Truth. Experiencing Truth is experiencing Justice.