| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
( February 29, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the article in Sri Lanka Guardian ‘How great is the US human rights recond’ by Shenali Waduge.
Ms Waduge says in conclusion ‘Shame on you, America! And despite all these guilts you are pointing fingers at Sri Lanka?’
Sri Lanka pointing the finger at US would seem the parallel of – me a migrant of Sri Lankan origin, suing the Prime Minister of Australia. Our Public records would show that I did sue Mr. John Howard when he was Prime Minister of Australia. The similarity is largely in style. In substance, I was pointing the finger at Mr. Howard the same way American Government is pointing the finger at Sri Lankan Government. My investment in Equal Opportunity was / is much deeper and stronger than Mr. Howard’s. Hence in substance I had the moral authority to find fault with him, using the Court system – the only system I had available to me to establish and give form to my investment in Equal Opportunity values. I did it as an Australian, using Australian systems and therefore Australia’s authority is elevated to that extent. Likewise, the authority of America through every American (including of Sri Lankan origin) who gives form to the principles and values of Global life. In those areas where Sri Lanka as a whole has invested less than America, Sri Lanka has the responsibility to take up lower position as a younger sibling of America, in the human rights issue.
If the Sri Lankan Government had been more committed to human rights in Sri Lanka, Tamils of Sri Lanka would not have added the value of their investments in democracy to Western countries led by the USA. Tamils as a community have used the Democratic structures of the West to give form to their losses in Sri Lanka, which would not have happened if the Sri Lankan Government’s investment in Democratic structures and systems had been stronger. It matters not for the purpose of identifying status, whether they actually believe in Democracy. Every member country of the UN has the responsibility to have democratic structures to the extent it derives benefits and takes up opportunities due to being a member of the UN.
In the UN family, America certainly has earned the right to higher position of Big Brother to Sri Lanka. Part of the responsibility of Big Brother is to discipline young siblings who keep truanting. Leaders need to have the confidence to allocate status for internal purposes. Otherwise we may end up claiming that Sri Lanka with its war record is Equal to America with its strong intake of migrants from war torn countries.
Higher education in which Ms Waduge also has obviously invested, helps us include others physically distant from us – in our thinking. To that extent we live with them mentally. Living with those biologically close to us promotes habitual / repetitive thinking. But unless we use discriminative thinking beyond our senses, using common principles and laws– we would not be able to include others beyond our physical circles and therefore would not invest in global principles and values. Hence, our investment in higher education would not spread beyond the level of our physical circles but would be used largely for money earning purposes and internal status. This develops naturally when we include ourselves in a government that is driven largely by majority vote rather than by independent logical thinking, using discriminative thinking (rights and wrongs) using the substance of an issue. Tamils of Sri Lanka have largely been protected from this infection, due to their losses and suffering as minorities. Law and Order problems in Sri Lanka are on the rise also because of those higher thinkers of all races, leaving the system.
Ms Waduge states ‘The US may like to play the role of human rights champion while totally ignoring its atrocities over the past decade and foreign Governments should be far more courageous to even diplomatically remind the US that it has violated the Nuremberg Principles, violated the 1949 Geneva Convention relating to the protection of civilian prisoners of war, wounded & the sick, it has committed serious war crimes & crimes against humanity, it has purposely destroyed civilian infrastructure, it has used biological, chemical & depleted uranium – which are weapons that violates international laws but more importantly violates moral & humanitarian code of conducts expected of a civilized nation’
Our parents may not be the best known to us but they are our parents and the faces through whom we relate to our work and status as children. The way we relate to our parents would be as per our family structures and values. This may not easily be comparable with the way children of another family relate to their parents. If within our family, one of us children – makes a stronger contribution to the common family than the parents – then we are entitled to be treated as parents in common with those who officially hold that position. This has been the case largely with the USA in UN. A family that shows its status through such a contributor is a progressive family.
Which member country of the UN has contributed more than USA towards structuring Democratic systems of Global standards? That member country has the right to take up higher position than the USA to discipline the USA. All others have the obligation to limit themselves to their official status. Those who contributed more but do not want the responsibilities that go with higher status, have to wait for their opportunity through majority vote. They do not have the individual power of higher status.
I developed much appreciation for this through participation in a Testamentary case in Northern Sri Lanka, using Thesawalamai (Customary Laws of Jaffna Tamils). Males inherit father’s wealth and this represents the status the family holds in society. Daughters are given dowry when they get married and therefore do not have the right to claim share in inherited property. Their dowry in fact helps them focus more on their acquired wealth (after marriage) as well as the status and inherited wealth from their husband’s side. Unless therefore, the work and discipline of sons is given ‘form’, the younger generation is not likely to feel motivated to maintain the value of previous generations.
USA by its conduct is a son and Sri Lanka is a daughter who has been given dowry when it chose to partner China in the ethnic issue. Sri Lanka chose to lose its status with the West led by America, in this issue. The steps being taken by the USA to discipline Sri Lanka is a confirmation that USA is seeking to preserve and maintain its own investments in Human Rights so it would continue to have priority access to UN status and facilities. This is healthy for all Global citizens, even though it may taste bitter to some of us.