| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
( March 08, 2012, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the article ‘Sri Lanka: Global Road Map versus the Great Indian Roadblock at Geneva’ by Professor Ramu Manivannan, published in Sri Lanka Guardian.
I registered also with interest Shenali Waduge’s statement in the article ‘Those who commit Human Rights abuses cannot preach to Sri Lanka’:
‘A lesson we can learn from this silence is that all these nations enjoy watching US bully countries like Sri Lanka for when such countries fall into a vulnerable situation internationally & locally the other nations eagle in on countries like Sri Lanka to advance their own agendas. India is the perfect example.’
I was able to identify more comfortably with the former than with the latter. The reason to my mind is that that the former is showing wisdom in Administration, through discriminative thinking possibly due to his official position whilst the latter is demonstrating emotional attachment to her country, but is still attracted to external benefits outside her country.
Given that to my mind, Ms. Waduge is the ‘outsider’ of the two, I seek to use affirmative thinking and action and hence respond to her first before responding to Professor Manivannan. To my mind, Ms Waduge would continue to be an outsider to the Sri Lankan war issue, so long as she does not share in the pain of war victims as if the loss and pain had happened to her. Ms Waduge may not feel enough for those who died in the May 2009 battle where strong force was used by the Government forces in the exercise of which civilians got killed and imprisoned. Many widows are still in Chettikulam camps. Some others who have been resettled, go through dusty roads regularly, to earn a living in areas which were once their ‘home’. Mrs. Rani Karthigesan Sinnathambi and I travelled by government bus through Mangkulam Mullaitheevu Road in relation to our natural sharing with the victims. When we returned home and I ran my fingers through my hair – there was dust in my hand. Then I appreciated why most of those young ladies in the bus were wearing scarves! We need to participate in their pain at least now, if our work is to reach them. Otherwise – we are merely arguing in competition with each other – from the comfort of our homes. The way one receives what happens varies according to one’s Truth. No Truth no experience but mere facts for external purposes.
Professor Manivannan summarizes ‘It is the brutality of the truth that hurts India more, not truth as it is.’
Truth when it seems unpleasant / brutal is no longer an inner force. It is beginning to manifest Itself and becomes fact/s. Tsunami for example was a fact to most of us. Those who ‘experienced it’ are part of the Tsunami itself. Without any knowledge of outside help – they would find their own solutions. This is the ‘sovereignty we are born with’. Likewise, when we do not attribute rights and responsibilities, the Sri Lankan war is Truth to those who had the experience. It has become a ‘fact’ due to us attributing credits and debits; rights and wrongs from the outside. We need to until we are independent of others external to us. To the extent the Sri Lankan Government took it outside the country borders, it has the responsibility to face international ‘facts’ being posed as questions regarding its administration of the conflict that led to the war. Those who shared their international status with the Sri Lankan government, to list LTTE as a terrorist organization, are now demanding the return for their investment and the Sri Lankan Government is saying ‘I did it all by myself’. Ms Waduge confirms this as follows ‘Yet, given the limitations within our scope we have done an admirable job from the time the military took up the challenge to eliminate the LTTE to the present where people do not have to fear terrorism. Sri Lanka is not going to apologize for succeeding to achieve what the majority wanted just because it leaves a minority disappointed. Our message to the world is : First hold LTTE accountable for its crimes & then move on to accusing Sri Lanka. This is the order of “accountability”.’
Recently, a relative of ours who was sponsored by us to migrate to Australia, stated in a social forum where I was present ‘I made it’. I thought of all those whose work went into his current wealth and status – with my husband and I having earned a big share of it as per our calculations. Like the American Government we are suing those relatives who expressly disowned us. We owe it to Australian/Global Governance.
To my mind, Sri Lankan government is acting in the same manner as this above relative. This is a common dilemma faced by those who sponsor their relatives – including parents. To my mind, Australians who sponsor relatives are the Government of Australia to those relatives, until the sponsored is able to pay her/his dues directly to those who hold the official position at country level. It’s no different to parents being the children’s government until children are 18. Parents who fail to respect their sponsoring children tend to make a mockery of the hard work by their children to become Australian. Parents who become dependent on their children are devaluing the Community’s investment in the higher parental position. Those parents who continue to remain independent of their children are the higher level leaders in family issues. Similarly, countries where the Government is independent of its citizens. THIS is the difference between Sri Lanka and America. This is also the difference between the two writers above.
Professor Manivannan summarizes ‘There are three basic options that India is likely to explore at this 19th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva. First, scuttle the submission of any proposal that would demand even the slightest of political obligation on Sri Lanka. Secondly, to absent itself from voting after participating in the debate with its remarks on record. Lastly, to vote against Sri Lanka after enforcing moderation of the demands on the Sri Lankan government. The last option entails considerable political risks of witnessing the Sri Lankan display of China card in public.’
India is a close relative of Sri Lanka. With greater efforts at globalization, India is also needing to elevate its own status with the global community.
1. Supporting global leaders in racial equality by voting in favor of political independence would help India elevate its own status as a democratic country.
2. Absenting itself from the vote would weaken India’s claim to common faith with Tamils who currently need to preserve their investment in democratic leadership.
3. Voting against Sri Lanka would require more preparation to deal with China
To the common Tamil whose participation is based on the true experience the above three would translate as follows:
1. Greater investment in global standards contributing to realizing independence through global activities
2. Remaining silent and becoming indifferent to the war issue which would contribute to future wars
3. Getting even with the Sri Lankan government which is needed to live with Sinhalese as equals until known otherwise through merit.
Professor Manivannan says ‘the Indian government may not miss an opportunity of carrying earthen pots to Geneva, like our Foreign Minister S.M. Krishna did in Colombo in January this year to observe Pongal, in order to demonstrate our love for the Tamils of Sri Lanka and their cultural traditions. There are no myths left and all our pots are broken.’
During Pongal 2012, I was in Vattukottai district where the first official declaration of Tamil Nation was born in 1976. We celebrated Pongal at our family temple, with the most disenfranchised group of that District. The following day, I was facilitated through teleconferencing facilities to participate from the little cottage, in a meeting that Ms Robyn Mudie & our Federal Government, held in Canberra with the Tamil Community leaders. I do not know what stand our Australian Government is taking on the UNHRC proposal. But, I know for myself that the Australian Government is sharing in my work and the work of my groups in the Sri Lankan issue, towards preventing future wars and at the same time facilitating the disenfranchised to elevate their social status.
In Colombo, we spent much money on clothes and material from India, through businesses employing those of Indian origin. This was a confirmation that we appreciated the common Indian who facilitated Tamil refugees during our time of need. Each one of us needs to get our inner balance, towards which we need to not express ourselves prematurely nor remain silent as if it is not our business. The more we speak beyond our earned limits the more indifference we develop when we and/or those in our care do not have the support of official powers. None of us got here all by ourselves. Let’s pay our dues as per our conscience and that will show the true picture formed of facts from 360 degree views – the way Lord Muruga with 6 faces is showing us.