| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( December 28, 2012, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to Sri Lanka Guardian Editorial ‘ Is Natural Justice Nigh?’ by Helesingha Bandara
The article is based on the mass grave in Matale – believed to be evidence of atrocity by the Government during JVP insurrection in 1987 about which the Mr. Bandara quotes as follows: ‘During the second insurgency, the ruling United National Party (UNP) launched a counter-terrorism campaign in the south, resulting in an estimated 60,000 people who died or disappeared during the 1987-1989 revolt. (The Economist 15-21 Apr. 1995, 37).’
First we must feel the authority to punish others. If we react to the perpetrators – we stagnate at that level and the problem revolves in different forms as per the reality of its environment. If official governments are punished for punishing rebels – we endorse governance at the level of rebels.
These are painful experiences and Tamils also went through similar experiences. The world pays greater attention to Tamil experiences due to the ‘gap’ between Government and citizen being greater in the case of Tamils who do not have majority power to elect Government at the national level. To know the way of Natural Justice, one needs to have had the total experience – Under the vertical system of autocracy – from the oldest point to the latest point; Under the lateral system of democracy – from the most remote victim to the closest victim. In the alternative, one could limit one’s world to the area of one’s true experience. Hence the power of sovereignty. Once we claim power of sovereignty we need to not only find our own solutions but also share our discoveries with other stakeholders who respected our privacy and kept their distance.
To the extent the Tamil Community allowed LTTE to rule, the Tamil Community has the responsibility to find its own solutions and not blame it all on the Government. This responsibility is greater for the Sinhalese who do have the power of majority vote to elect Government. The basic principle of Nature is that in terms of ‘seen’ causes one should limit the area of responsibility to the ‘seen’ world and not beyond. Hence Tamils who claim Eelam have to look within for the causes. Those who blame the Sri Lankan Government are really stating that they are either Sri Lankans or are part of the Global Community. The rules are different as per our grouping. In each case, we need to feel part of that group to have the natural power to influence others in that group. We need to feel for the group more deeply than any other member over whom we take up authority.
The JVP insurrections confirm that Sinhalese who elected Government did not feel part of the whole Sinhalese Community and therefore there was a big gap between the consolidated power of their belief and the votes through which they elected government. To the extent of that gap – the Government elected by them was not naturally influenced by them. To fill that gap, the Government had the responsibility to have in place, systems driven by objective measures – as if, like the UN, it was governing from a distance. The bonus from such a system is the ticket to global governance at high levels if influence.
The system of democracy facilitates manifestation of beliefs at lower levels of authority. Hence we ‘count’ and accept as per majority. Once we manifest outcomes as independents we no longer have the protection of a higher authority. This often limits vertical growth and therefore depth when we interact with more mature participants. This happened with the Sinhalese Government after independence from the British.
Under the vertical hierarchical system, the manifestation at lower levels was ‘banned’. This often helped participation at lower levels without needing to show individual outcomes. Hence the younger participants had the experience without the individual credits. The deeper our experience – the stronger our feelings for the whole. The earlier we merge our small investments with the higher ones – the deeper our feelings of ownership. When the time was ripe for us to take over leadership – we were then ready to manifest outcomes at the higher level. This is an opportunity cost in terms of those who use democracy to express themselves at the lower levels. The natural influence in under the vertical system was stronger due to the contribution by the younger ones, being known and/or felt as a force rather than being in mass form – to be counted and included at surface level as Equals. Until therefore manifestations are limited to beliefs – governments elected by majority vote would not influence or be influenced by natural forces. One would not therefore be able to connect directly the effects of their actions/silence to their causes.
A parent driven by popularity rather than disciplined responsibility as per parental position – is breeding rebellion when the child loses interest in the benefits in the custody of the parent. Likewise, a Government driven by desire for majority vote is breeding rebellion once the citizen / voter loses interest in the benefits in the custody of the Government. In both – Tamil as well as Sinhalese – the respective leaders driven by majority vote beyond their own belief / feelings of ownership – were breeding rebels. Hence JVP followed by LTTE.
Mr. Bandara states [This government should not have such illusions or divided loyalties. Perhaps the discovery of the Matale mass grave is a timely reminder that justice still awaits for those who were murdered. After the Second World War Nazis were relentlessly chased. The last case was as recent as 2009, after almost 65 years. “The Last Nazi, aged 89, finally faces justice as he goes on trial accused of helping to kill 28,000 Jews”]
First we must feel the authority to punish others. If we react to the perpetrators – we stagnate at that level and the problem revolves in different forms as per the reality of its environment. If official governments are punished for punishing rebels – we endorse governance at the level of rebels. JVP Government would not be acceptable to global minded Sinhalese any more than LTTE Government being acceptable to global minded Tamils. We need to seek through our own experiences and find the root causes of the pain we feel. The less we manifest for public consumption at that stage the stronger our experience. Once we go to the root – we would not ‘see’ any physical manifestations but merely experience the cause and the effect – as if one part of us as the cause and another part of us was the effect. Together – we are the wholesome solution and the path we traveled is the law for the next generation’s harmony. We survived the holocausts in our own environments so we would share our Truth – so that the next generation would not suffer like us. If we insist on punishing at local levels – we lose the opportunity to participate in global governance. If on the other hand we register our experiences and show our discoveries to all at risk – beyond time and space borders – we would feel the satisfaction of having achieved the purpose of having survived our own holocausts.
Again, the Sri Lankan parallel of the Jewish Holocaust is not the JVP victims – who were Sinhalese with the priority powers to influence the Government directly through votes and through their natural powers to influence their Community. Nor is it the LTTE and its supporters who preferred the armed struggle and quicker access than the political path to leadership positions. It’s the Tamil and Muslim civilians who consciously prevented any investment in armed retaliation from getting into their minds and who did not have the power to elect national level government through majority vote. They are the only group with the natural authority to claim devolution of powers. Their survival and growth in this warmongering that Sri Lanka has become – is the only real solution as per Natural Justice. Their mere association would cure the warmongers. A system that respects such powers has the blessings of Natural Justice.