Norway’s Project and Sri Lanka’s Program

Migration from Sri Lanka/India to Australia and other Western Countries, needs to be like rebirth for those above the age of 30 – i.e. – we need to forget what happened but remember the essence of the experience. The wider the cultural gap between the two countries, the greater the need to ‘forget’ details and carry forward only the essence of our experiences. This is especially important in the case of refugees. Without this ability to lose consciousness of the physical memory, they would be refugees only at body and economic levels. Likewise the countries that went/go to Sri Lanka, need to forget their own identities but carry only the substance of their investment in the issue, when they go to People rich countries.



l by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam

(December 09, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) As a Hindu, I accepted without question, the concept of re-birth. This cannot be proven objectively but could be felt through deeper inquiry into one’s nature. Now I believe in rebirth. This has in many ways helped me better appreciate immigration issues.
As per the theory of rebirth – we do not remember details of what happened in our past births but we do carry forward the essence of our past experiences – as Paava-Puniyam (Sins &Virtues). Migration from Sri Lanka/India to Australia and other Western Countries, needs to be like rebirth for those above the age of 30 – i.e. – we need to forget what happened but remember the essence of the experience. The wider the cultural gap between the two countries, the greater the need to ‘forget’ details and carry forward only the essence of our experiences. This is especially important in the case of refugees. Without this ability to lose consciousness of the physical memory, they would be refugees only at body and economic levels. Likewise the countries that went/go to Sri Lanka, need to forget their own identities but carry only the substance of their investment in the issue, when they go to People rich countries.
Migrants below the age of 30, need to do Balance Sheets and consciously carry the net asset / economic value of their past into their lives as migrants. This needs to be the case with economic migrants – so they could ‘show’ that they came with a ‘Seethanam’/’Dowry’ from their Mother countries.
The Norwegian Embassy in Colombo states about its involvement in Sri Lanka – ‘Norway is one of the first countries to evaluate its own efforts in a peace process in another country. It was Mr Solheim who initiated the independent evaluation.

“The responsibility for losing the peace lies with the parties to the conflict, just as they should have the credit for the several good years that followed the ceasefire. When the parties chose war, there was little Norway or other countries could do. The Sri Lankan authorities won the war. Now they need to win the peace,” said Mr Solheim.

The evaluation team has been headed by Gunnar Sørbø from the Chr. Michelsen Institute (CMI) and Jonathan Goodhand from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). It tells the story of the peace process in Sri Lanka and draws lessons from the process that can be used in other peace processes. ‘
This Lesson from Sri Lankan experience is the essence of the experience of Norwegians. Veterans in this field would not pause to calculate. Young investors – like migrants below 30 – need to calculate and ‘show’ the net balance.
This self-evaluation helps us identify the net effect of our work by offsetting rights against wrongs and finding the net balance – as in end of year financial statements – Operating Account and Balance Sheet. Insiders don’t need to publish at all. They just need to keep going on program basis – driven by their inner needs rather than need to show others.
Service Oriented enterprises did not have the need to calculate profits and hence it was customary to use programs supported by cash accounting. This is also the case if we stayed at one place most of our lives. The core purpose of programs is to bring minds together through service. The wider we travel, the greater the need for Accrual Accounting showing beginning and end of projects. This is what the Norwegians have done.
By stating ‘The Sri Lankan authorities won the war’, Norwegians have confirmed the use of ‘project’/accrual basis. But to Sri Lankans their ethnic conflict, like their Public Service, is an ongoing ‘program’. By declaring victory, the Sri Lankan Government was confirming that it was also using ‘project’ basis – which to my mind is copying the West and demonstrates lack of feeling at the roots of the issue. The ‘root’ is the Truth where there are no wins or defeats but just the experience.
Those who ‘show’ details from distant past – are confirming that they are surface investors wanting to ‘win’ through the work of their ancestors. A good example is author Gam Vaesiya of the article ‘ Were the Buddhists in Ore-Christian Lanka pure catikkaran “Tamils” whose mother tongue was Sinhala?’ published in Sri Lanka Guardian. For example this author says ‘G. G. Ponnambalam was the first politician to drag the Mahavamsa into the political arena, in the 1930s. He and his supporters began to claim that it is a false document with no historical value, while at other times the names occurring in it were tamilized (e.g., Vijaya → Vijayan, Kasyapa → Kasi-appan etc.) and a Thamizha-vansam was presented. In reacting to this S. W. R. D. Bandaranaike began a Sinhala Buddhist campaign and the ‘communal politics’ of the 1930s came into being. However, what was happening in Ceylon was a pale shade of the racist ideologies of Hitler or Stalinist idologies fanning Europe at the time. We inherited the racist ideologies as well as the Marxist ideologies planted into Sri Lanka in the 1930s, and grappled with two insurrections arising from them, to wit, those of the LTTE and the JVP.’
When expressing conclusions objectively, we need to use ‘facts’ born in our immediate past. Otherwise, we need to leave it to those Subjects who have the confidence of being believed and therefore do not need to produce objective evidence that something happened in the distant past. For example, GG Ponnambalam’s claim of 50:50 in parliament could have been used to claim that GG Ponnambalam was unjust as per the author. To Tamils – that claim of 50:50 is today’s Equal Opportunity in Democratic Administration. It is also another description of Devolution of Power on the basis of demonstrated ability to function independently. That would have been better for the whole country. Instead, Tamils are suffering due to the desire of the Government to please their voters.
There are no profits/wins or losses/defeats in Public Service. People rich countries need to use program basis in all services where Human Resource is greater than Cash Resource. By declaring ‘victory’, the Sri Lankan Government is confirming that this was a cash/arms rich affair – where the cash resource was greater than the people resource. To that extent their actions were driven by winning rather than towards Peace. Peace happens. It cannot be bought nor won through cash in a people-intense activity.
The authors of the above mentioned Norwegian report confirm this cash influence by stating ‘there were important changes in the international positioning of the Sri Lankan government. The effort led by the United National Front (UNF) government to internationalize the peace process through security guarantees, donor funding and politically sensitive economic reforms sparked a Sinhala-nationalist backlash.
This contributed to the emergence of a nationalist-oriented administration, with a commitment to a more hard line position towards the LTTE and greater scepticism towards Western involvement. The new administration constructed its own version of an international safety net, by drawing on the financial support and diplomatic
cover of Asian powers. This allowed the Rajapaksa government to pursue an ultimately successful military ‘solution’ to the conflict.
As a weak, soft power mediator Norway was not in a position to counter or transform these dynamics. In the absence of a strategic road map, or a robust network of international actors, the peace process failed to lock the parties into irreversible concessions and commitments. To some extent this can be attributed to limitations of Norway’s ‘ownership’ model, which provided both parties with the space to avoid core political issues, while continuing to pursue incompatible goals.’
The two goals were incompatible also because – the LTTE’s actions confirmed that theirs was a project and not a program. They needed to ‘show’ wins to remain in power. To the extent the Sri Lankan Government ‘reacted’ to the LTTE, it was also taking a ‘project’ approach and thus blocked / abandoned its own program.
Ethnicity based conflict in Sri Lanka is on-going. It’s in our genes and we need to go deep and find a solution at the root of the problem or learn to live with it in others while ensuring that we do not lie to ourselves that we are not part of the problem. Those of us who actively use the system of democracy need to consciously override our thoughts of inferiority or superiority on the basis of physical looks – to strengthen our investment in democracy. When leaders are not able to find fault with themselves – we need democracy in which there is an equal and opposite to every leader. Hence instead of thinking inferior or superior – we need to become that ‘opposite’ side of the other. It is the responsibility of the custodian of powers to do this at the beginning of an interaction.
By producing the first lady Prime Minister and the first lady Executive President of the world, Sri Lankans had shown they were capable of Democracy and Equal Opposition in Politics. Similarly, the LTTE also demonstrated elimination of caste-based discrimination through its leaders. If LTTE is accepted as that Equal & Opposite in Defence forces – we would naturally accept each other as Equals and would not get carried away with ‘winning’ through armed forces on either side. Until the Sri Lankan armed forces are recruited on merit basis – we Tamils need our own forces to defend when attacked by the majority race. Likewise Muslims in areas where they are in the majority. These are based on the claim of ‘sovereignty’ which when translated into democratic language would mean ‘equality’ with another group. Those who live near the roots of their group are living in the Truth of their group and are therefore living independent of others. They thus uphold our Divine value of being ‘born free’.
Migrants who lived close to this root in their Mother countries would demonstrate this sense of Equality in democratic countries such as Australia. Likewise, those from Democratic countries practicing Equal Opportunity values would demonstrate the importance of ‘sovereignty’ when they work in local areas in countries that practice the vertical system of autocracy. Sri Lanka is such a country and hence Norway could not have worked to ‘show’ harmony. To the extent, Norway was genuine it is efforts – it would get its return from Sri Lankans – especially those who have invested in Democracy. With those who have the responsibility to show ‘return’ but have failed to do so – all that Norwegians have to do is – continue to show opposition at the global level – to preserve the essence of their own work.

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Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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