| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( March 29, 2012, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the report ‘Sri Lanka issue: Govt explains abstention’ by Patrick Lee, published in Free Malaysia Today News.
On 26 March, I wrote as follows in regards to Malaysia’s stand in the UNHRC debate – ‘ I learnt that Australia also co-sponsored the UN Resolution against Sri Lanka. I identify with that as an Australian of Sri Lankan Tamil origin and I thanked and blessed the current Australian Government for helping in the restoration of my international status closer than before to my truly earned status. I was disappointed that Malaysia abstained and therefore allowed itself to be ‘taken over’ by both sides. Likewise, all Australians of Sri Lankan origin who ‘abstain’ from at least having their say in public –as individuals and/or as part of a group. They are the parallels of idle voters who easily ‘sell’ their votes for immediate benefits.’
Objective and Subjective Judgments
To me the debate at the UNHRC was led by America on one side and Sri Lanka on the other. The issue through which the countries were connecting to each other at Global level – was war related violence. Those who voted in favor of America’s side were strengthening their status to relatively ‘judge’ in similar situations. In real terms – to the extent they felt with one side or the other, they were strengthening their own investment in the qualities/gunas relating to that issue and/or the subject itself – without looking at rights and wrongs of what happened. Likewise each one of us taking sides at our levels in this issue. Subjectively, we would see the issue through America or Sri Lanka. Objectively speaking we would identify more with the side that has invested on the rights and wrongs of the actions as per Global principles and standards. Those who do not already have those standards would lack the base to relate and know right from wrong and hence need to take sides as per the side they like more than the other. Hence subjective discrimination.
Obviously, America’s investment in the issue of war conduct and elimination of racial discrimination, is much stronger than that of Malaysia. Hence Malaysia’s vote either way would have been ‘subjective’ and not objective as per discriminative analysis based on standards that Malaysia itself has committed to. If Malaysia had used objective discrimination of its own investment in the issue, the outcome would have suited only primary level investors in this issue – as that of junior voters driven by rights and wrongs at their level.
When our investment in global standards is weak, we need to take subjective leadership through those with strong investment in the issue, to have the real experience at highest common level. That is the basis of elections at local level. We have Equal right to vote and beyond that to be progressive, our status needs to be as per the merits of our work and actions. If Malaysia fools itself that it is Equal to America in Equal Opportunity issues – it would continue to show two faces – one for global consumption on the basis of UN membership and the other for local consumption for the benefits that come with votes. Malaysians then would need to look to others for leadership towards global mergers, or be left to their own homespun systems – for better or for worse. But this may not be acceptable to Malaysia’s active minorities.
News dated 21 March released by FMT states ‘Hindraf Makkal Sakthi submitted a memorandum today to the United Nations (UN) office here calling the world body to help end institutionalised racism in Malaysia.’ This further confirms the identity that Malaysian Government is likely to feel with the Sri Lankan Government. Compared to America, both countries are weak in administering elimination of racial discrimination, through their regular systems. Both countries are heavily dependent on religion, Buddhism and Islam respectively, at government level. This is alright, provided we are honest about it and if Malaysia had been honest about it, it would have voted in favour of Sri Lanka instead of abstaining. If it had voted in favour of Sri Lanka, Malaysia would have confirmed that governments of countries with strong religious following, do not feel inclined to ‘understand’ the issue of religious/racial equality. When we are driven more by belief and less by thoughts – this would work positively. Not otherwise.
India is also a strongly Hindu country. But the fact that there were/are members of minority communities as heads of Indian government, confirms that they have truly practiced the merit basis through their common belief. To my mind, their religious belief would have helped them do the right thing by all. As per my observations, India is blessed with above average share of spiritual leaders of global status for this reason of being True to itself at the Government level. Most Indian leaders paid their respects to Sri Sathya Sai Baba, the Hindu Spiritual Leader of our times, not only during His life on earth but also when He passed away. I myself could not find ‘freedom’ / ‘independence’ through the structured paths, including the Australian University system, until I started looking towards Swami Sri Sathya Sai Baba’s Guidance in identifying with my inner Truth. That identification with the inner Truth is the real solution – be it for the individual or for the nation. India’s parallel of President Obama happened long ago, for this reason. Sri Lanka’s is yet to happen. Instead of minorities governing majority directly in governing positions, we have members of majority who were engaged directly in war activities, being appointed to governing positions in Tamil Jaffna and also in countries like Australia which have a strongly active Tamil population. Sri Lankan government is seriously lacking in Affirmative action and the Malaysian Government with weak immunity in this area, is infecting itself with the racism disease.
The UN Resolution is the opportunity presented by engaging through Global values and/or leaders. It is also a challenge to the Tamil community to raise their investment to global standards. Tamils also lost/lose that opportunity each time they accepted armed rebellion as the only way forward. It needs to be the ultimate after raising our standards of practicing Justice, ABOVE that of any other group in that environment, as illustrated through Mahabharatham – India’s great legend which beautifully combines Governance and Religion. Then too, it needs to be openly undertaken as per the highest laws the two sides are commonly committed to. Even now, those Tamils who take the UN Resolution as merely a win against the Sri Lankan Government are throwing away our hard earned investments in Global Governance. The successful passage of that Resolution helps us feel more confident about ourselves when addressing the Opposition – which currently is the Sinhalese Government. Any government driven by majority votes in Sri Lanka at national level is a Sinhalese Government. By abstaining and then giving the reason that they were in favor of homegrown solution, Malaysia voted in favor of the Sinhalese Government against Tamils who need outside help to elevate their status to that of the Government when engaging on the issue of Racial Equality. If this had happened when it all started – the war would have been prevented.
India’s fight against the caste system including through the law, has helped India feel confident in engaging through Equal Opportunity issues at global level. To me, the Malaysian Government, like the Sri Lankan Government, does not seem to feel the need for such investment, and through such investment to become world leaders. That indicates to me that they are not seeking to be independent members in global forums but like persons driven by majority votes they are seeking to support America’s Opposition in the UN, so that they would have stronger regional support. This is fine, if Malaysia where an LTTE leader K.Pathmanathan is reported to have been captured, had openly voted against the Resolution. In essence a vote against the Resolution would also have been a vote condoning the Violence by both sides of the war, for which the Sri Lankan Government is ultimately responsible to the world.
It is reported by FMT “ Riot also said that Malaysia had acknowledged Sri Lanka’s national reconciliation process as a domestic issue”
Each person/group would receive what happened as per their own investments and expectations. Some would have used this opportunity to reduce the power of America to criticize these countries in similar circumstances. But ultimately it is the inner Truth that connects naturally, to help us feel Peace and contribute to harmony through that Peace. Unless there is a domestic system through which Tamils could engage with the Government of Sri Lanka at the highest level to include all investors, the reconciliation process would be without any real substance. LLRC was NOT born naturally from within. The proscription of the LTTE using the UN was born naturally from within. Similar actions against Tamils rebelling against the government are likely to continue from within – but not genuine reconciliation by the Government. One driven by majority vote would not seek to reconcile. It would not need to if the majority votes were expressions of belief. If instead, they were for immediate benefits and handouts, then they would not have the ability to reconcile. As per my observations the latter is the case with the Sri Lankan Government. Hence when Malaysia is stating the above, it is actually abandoning the Tamils of Sri Lanka. Idle voters would cause their elected governments to change speedily from one form of reason to another – from racism to terrorism and v.v. They would thus contribute to the weakening of their credit with the intellectual knowledge bank.
If the Malaysian Government had on the other hand, actually believed in Sri Lankan Government’s claim that it was focused on war reconstruction and development, it would have sent Tamil Malaysians, including members of HINDRAF, to help lift the spirits of the war victims in North and East. That would have been a good opportunity through which to get a feel for themselves through a community common to both. Unless they are based on discriminative thinking of the substance, votes need to be on behalf of the People we represent and not as per personal beliefs and subjective thoughts of individuals. It was this Tamil power that was used by India strongly influenced by Tamil Nadu whose People are actively engaged in this issue. Likewise, Diaspora Tamils who have been strongly investing in this issue including through their own current governments. Compared to them, Sinhalese outside Sri Lanka invest less, possibly due to not feeling pain as strongly as Tamils do. By abstaining, Malaysian Government has paved the way for some other country in the region – for example –India to take over the governance of its Tamils – just like Sri Lankan leaders also have done. The loss in Sri Lanka has been positive power for these countries. When we integrate rather than assimilate we become global powers, adding strength to our new countries and their governments.