| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
(November 30, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the article ‘Democracy High-jacked: Neo-Colonialism on the March’ by J. Jayasundera, published in Sri Lanka Guardian.
The author says ‘More and more people are revolting against being marginalised in terms of job opportunities, etc., but hardly ever are people mindful of the real culprit, which is the predatory world economic system. Democracy is the cry falsely implying that it means equality, fair play and morality. What is needed is Genuine Democracy and Human Rights. For that the politicians must be made to be morally accountable and that has to be enforced by the leaders of moral authority, especially the religious leaders and civil society.’
As per my experiences here in Australia which enjoys higher status than Sri Lanka as a practitioner of Democracy (rightly so) majority desire Democracy. They do not work for Democracy. As I was saying recently to a Tamil preparing for a job ‘The job will not come to you because you have a degree certificate. You need to make your own job.’ To me 9/11 and the Sri Lankan civil war happened due to lack of commitment to practicing Democracy. The former happened due to ‘saying the right answer’ to get Democratic status. The latter happened due to receiving monies thus earned by the West by merely showing majority votes and without even ‘saying the right answer’ once the position was occupied.
Australian Public Service organizations are claiming to move towards ‘Business Unit’ approach. This naturally promotes measuring through money rather than hierarchical status. The greatest difficulty is experienced by academics who are used to ‘special status’ in society due to their so called Higher Education. Once they get their ‘certificates’ they are so attached to it, that they stagnate at that level. I discovered this through my simple email system, which many academics tried to block by asking ME to stop sending emails. I discovered also that Truth always has the solution/opportunity to every problem. In the case of academics – either their systems did not facilitate blocking sender or they did not know how to use such a facility. If they had power of democracy – they would have helped themselves through their Budget Proposals (which had been democratized by me at the University of NSW Medical Faculty) to buy one.
It started with my democratic ‘feedback’ to communications and actions from Central Administrators of the University of NSW under the leadership of the Vice Chancellor. By the time I joined the University, I had earned a reputation for democratizing Public Service Resource Management systems. The mistake I made was to ‘expect’ that the University would be better than the Australian Public Service. It was worse! It was worse also due to my admiration for academics, thinking they were philosophical. Most were NOT. To my mind, they were more difficult because they wanted money (strongest show was during budget time) but they claimed to be academics who did not do money-business. One who seeks money must reduce status for the same level of work as before, if the standards are not to deteriorate.
My belief is that an academic is the parallel of a Guru in the Hindu system. A guru places her/himself in the students until the two are One. Towards this, the guru became the subject through which such sharing happened. The parallel of this in the University system is Research. Which academic has carried out Research in Democracy until s/he is that Democracy? When a true friend of mine who is also a graduate of the University of New South Wales, first heard about my bitter experience at the University – his first reaction was ‘John Niland is an ‘Industrial Relations Expert’. But Professor Niland as per my knowledge did not claim to be democratic. The problem with our Universities is that Academics refuse to accept Administrators with actual experience – as their Equal partners. Like men with higher education certificates looking for brides with higher education certificates, these academics also seek academics with higher education certificates in Administration or continue with their old Administrators/wives who would do their bidding during first half of the relationship and then start dictating them during the second half. UN does it all the time, calling for custodians of higher education certificates to work in Sri Lanka and other third world countries. Local workers pretend to be obedient first and then they start dictating to the UN workers! This is also the case with expatriate Tamils and academics of the University of Jaffna.
The University hierarchy ‘told’ me to stop my emails all of which were due to my experience at the University –i.e. confirming my actual practices. They threatened to sue me. Like with most migrants I did not know whether there were laws against sending emails. I knew that the substance of my emails were lawful and I was in fact criticizing their conduct which to me was not lawful. Unlike most migrants – I was driven by my Truth more than the threat of punishment. To me, receiving at least the lawful benefits (money and status) of my work – would have upheld the fact that I had done my job as per the lawful requirements of my position. To be obedient to my supervisors – despite my disagreement with what they wanted me to do – would have been unlawful. This I did not know consciously when I refused to blindly obey. But now that I have cleared myself of false expectations and am able to identify with the Truth more quickly than previously, I know/believe that they were the ones acting unlawfully.
Even recently, a few academics – who actively sponsor Sri Lankan academics – asked me to stop my emails to them. I declined and asked them to take legal action against me. They are yet to do so. In the process, I learnt from one of the nicer ones that his system did not have
‘block sender’ facility. But he could have pressed the delete button himself – as per ‘DIY’ – Do It Yourself method. But he did not. Likewise, other academics. One migrant academic from Sri Lanka, of Sinhalese origin, said to me ‘he would list the names of those to whom I should send emails!!!!’. That migrant spoke against the Government of Sri Lanka – claiming they were undemocratic and acted in breach of Human Rights!!!!! Democracy is a Human Right of every member of minority who is not believed by a member of majority.
The way to change over to Democracy – without losing the value of our work in the past is to match theory with experience. Each one of us needs to have 50% theory and 50% experience to be democratic, when we are following a regulated path. Democracy has allowed those from lower positions to express themselves and also to ‘show and tell’ as per their work/experience. But often, young ones ‘tell’ equally as their seniors and hence the claim. This is what happened with the LTTE also. Had the LTTE shown only its practice of Democratic Governance and not matched eye for eye and tooth for tooth – the unlawful and undemocratic practices of the Government, it would have been supported by true practitioners of democracy. Even one such practitioner would have been enough for LTTE to have the moral authority to rebel against the Government.
The problem often with migration is that the migrant is considered naturally to be of a lower status than the citizen of the country that the migrant is migrating to, until seen or known otherwise. Immigration is big business these days. Managed cleverly, Immigration could be profitable money business. When migrants accept without protest – lesser pay than their real entitlements – at that place at that time – they contribute to a profitable migration business. This is ok – so long as they do not claim that that is democracy. What usually happens through the autocratic systems is – migrants accept meekly and then they expect later migrants to give them higher status. Once we migrate – we are of Equal status in the new country except for those with whom we migrated as a group – for example if we migrated as a family or through family sponsorship.
Today I received news-report from the UN about the UN’s Human Rights Chief ‘“I am pleased to see this latest shift in policy, bringing in individual assessments of asylum seekers for release into the community,” Ms. Pillay said. “I welcome these steps towards a more human approach to asylum-seekers in Australia which can only help to strengthen the tolerance and understanding necessary in a modern multicultural society,” she said.’
The word ‘tolerance’ reveals that Ms Pillay is not a Guru in Democratic Management of Refugees. The Australian Government needs to show its investment in theory of asylum-seekers. The refugee applicants and their families and their community – together need to show Equal experience that would match the practice of that theory. In terms of the Tamil community, we have demonstrated such Equal value from our side. Hence there is no need for tolerance. If we do not show such value – we need to be sent back or risk the consequences of mere tolerance to get a good name for Australia and the proponent which in this instance is the UN. In terms of the law, we have earned migration to any UN member country which has signed the relevant convention. In terms of Truth – we have earned migration to any country where the community we feel a part of – feels a part of that nation – in this instance Australia. Given that I feel Australian – every refugee who feels Tamil and/or Sri Lankan is entitled to come here as an Equal to those who are already here – until known otherwise through their own conduct. It is similar to us being assessed as per our surnames until known otherwise.
When we share our status with others in a group – we are seen to be a part of that group. When our sharing is more than the sharing of another – and yet we treat that person as an Equal and/or as a part of us – we lose consciousness of ‘I’ and ‘Mine’ and therefore the ‘form’ of our benefits – as in PhD. This helps us travel to the root – which caused the problems – pain and losses. At that root – those who has share benefits and opportunities find the higher bliss of Oneness through such sharing which is called Love and Truth. If one is sharing opportunities and the other problems and the former would identify with the solution at the root for the latter if the former had had previous experience. If this is our first time having the experience – we would recognize the opportunity to derive the solution once WE own the problem.
Truth is the Universal Power and has all the solutions for all of us who live in Truth. Realizing this is the ultimate goal of all systems – including autocracy and democracy. Once we become part of the environment – we naturally lose consciousness of the system because no system is of greater value than its parents.