| Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
(October 29, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I was in the middle of my analyses based on Mr. Pandukabaya de Silva’s ‘Ramblings on god and the white man – (Reply)’, when I received from a Tamil who obviously does not consider my work ‘ramblings’ an email with the following heading ‘President Obama’s message on Diwali to the Hindu Community’. I listened to the message on ‘youtube’ and said ‘thank you’ to President Obama and Americans, from my heart. To me it was a confirmation of our belief in common values, which have a way of coming to energize us when we need to be energized. I believe that through such, my work would empower President Obama and President Obama’s work would enrich me. Mr. de Silva, despite living in Sri Lanka where Deepavali (the way of Light) is a Public Holiday, lost that opportunity to connect to my heart and enlighten himself.
Instead, Mr. de Silva has provided evidence of how unjust discrimination happens regularly in Sri Lanka, through lowest level of thinking. It is appropriate that my analyses in this regard are published through the values celebrated during Deepavali period. Hindu elders have effectively divided the Universe into three worlds :
1) People of the Underworld known as Asuras / Demons live close to animal world (they were the ones killed on Deepavali day)
2) Divine Angels of the Higher world called Devas live up above us in the sky
3) We the Humans in-between live on Earth.
An individual has all three in her/himself. Using Mr. de Silva’s own description of my work we could say that one’s writings could be classified as:
1) Ramblings based on hearsay
2) Intellectual Analyses
Deepavali, the festival of lights is about the killing of Ramblings by Philosophy. Often, those who themselves ramble see themselves in the mirrors of philosophy but think that the rumblings are coming from the mirror. Mr. de Silva says about fellow Aussie Mr. John Dowd ‘I regretfully cannot answer her in depth since I simply cannot understand what she is saying as she has confused someone telling her that God is a White Man with what I wrote regarding Mr John Dowd’s arrogance in trying to teach Sri Lankans about their own country, which (probably) he himself has never set foot in.’
If Mr. de Silva had had the intellectual ability to analyze the work of Mr. Dowd, he would have used ‘rights’ and ‘wrongs’ as per (2) above and not adjectives such as arrogance for the highly placed John & confused for this lowly Gaja – to describe the person. It’s those driven by hearsay and emotions assuming positions higher than they have earned – that would resort to such expressions. To the extent they use hearsay without belief – the adjectives belong to them and not to the other person who is not connected to them through common faith.
One does not need to physically set foot in Sri Lanka or live in Sri Lanka to care about Sri Lanka. Intellectuals / Devas / Angels do not have ‘feet’. They travel mentally using their wings of intelligence.
In addition, Humanitarian workers who have lived physically with other victims of war in any part of the world, including Australia, would feel and know the pain of victims.
Mr. de Silva explains further ‘Both incidents have no relationship to each other and are, mind you, the exact opposite of each other. This is something that is quite obvious to all except a confused mind.’
True. They are each other’s opposites. We call that democracy. At the physical level – one from the ‘other side’ has to complete the picture / facts and hence is allocated Equal Opportunity to describe their picture – as they see it. The higher the level at which the picture is completed on even playing field – the greater the benefit coverage.
It was because autocratic leaders could not see the ‘other’ side due to weak intellectual abilities, that the system of democracy including majority vote was born. Mr. Dowd to my mind, was adding his status to Australian Tamils so the picture would be elevated to the global level – matching the official height that the Government of Sri Lanka has. It is certainly more positive than having no outlet at all. When suppressed, these grievances would lay the foundation for the next Eelam War. Readers may take it as insight (as it was/is described by many intellectuals including from the University of New South Wales) or like Mr. de Silva insult it as ‘ramblings’. I believe that Mr. Dowd for sure would not have insulted my work. My dear friend Dr. David Garlick, the founding Director of Sports Medicine at the University of New South Wales, stated in a public document, that I was almost a genius. Even one such genuine valuation is enough to keep me going with my educational work. Those who believe are natural sharers – be it good or bad.
As a Sinhalese, Mr. de Silva is entitled to express his belief about Mr. Dowd within his circle of belief – his ‘home’. That is how they lead their home people to think of Australia. The person who called me on the phone, as per my assessment was still a Sinhalese, not yet an Equal Australian in his mind. He was the one who had the social responsibility to hear what Mr. de Silva wrote in regards to Mr. Dowd to give it community value and a response based on that – a true response and not one that would get him the ‘grades’. To the Sinhalese residing in Australia, Mr. Dowd’s parallel in his environment is ‘god’. After all, when we get benefits beyond our earnings, most of us ‘thank god’. To most Sinhalese in Sri Lanka ‘Aid Donors’ would be ‘god’. Hence as per majority opinion from within his own community, Mr. de Silva ‘lost’ in saying that Mr. Dowd did not have the right to ‘tell’. All I did was to send Mr. de Silva back to his Sinhalese ghetto where it belonged. The opposites thus made the full picture for the Sinhalese community driven by the seen and the heard.
Those who receive Aid – Summa Money – need to follow the ‘system’ of the Giver to be one family and therefore there is no debt owed in money or status. This is a core part of my work in Tamil Areas of Sri Lanka.
Mr. de Silva continues to confess ‘What baffled me most was her final salvo which asked as to whether I think that lions should not have sought refuge in the kangaroo pouch?
This question is baffling since it has no relationship at all to the original article which I wrote exposing Mr. John Dowd. However, let me gently correct this confused lady that I am certainly not among those who have sought refuge in the Kangaroo pouch even though she has.’
First of all, since Mr. de Silva does not seem to be tall enough to ‘see’ from the other side – let me clarify that I left Sri Lanka before the ’83 war, in pursuit of higher income – but only after reaching in Sri Lanka, the highest professional status I felt was possible and needed by me in my particular environment. My husband was sponsored to Australia by the University of New South Wales on the basis of his performance there, when he was a student. No, we were not refugees as per Australian authorities.
In any case, a refugee is one who submits to the new elder. When this is done on the basis of belief – there is immediate common status. That is the case with civilized groups which practice these values at family level – especially through marriage. Australian authorities are committed to these practices much more than Sri Lankan authorities in Colombo – the parallel of Australia for Tamils.
A migrant coming in on merit basis – including economic merit – on the other hand becomes a refugee when s/he fails to take Equal status, but compromises to take a lower position with a traditional Australian, until ‘proven’ otherwise. As per my assessment – that Sinhalese caller is a refugee even though the authorities may say otherwise.
Mr. de Silva says about himself ‘I have been educated abroad but chose to come and work in my country, currently being involved in bringing children of the South together with the children of the North which is far more effective than all the hate mongering that is done by people living overseas and safely writing articles.’
Unless Mr. de Silva was educated in another Buddhist country whose belief he shared with, he owes that ‘foreign’ country for the ongoing credit he takes without being a citizen of that country. The citizens of those countries including Australia have to work harder than Sri Lankans to maintain their higher status at the International level, compared to the status of Sri Lankan qualifications. The other alternative is to renounce and forget the higher status from those foreign qualifications and thus lose the ‘arrogance’ that goes with them. That is what I do when I work in rural areas of Sri Lanka. That is what I did when I connected youth from North to Sri Lankan trainers of Sinhalese origin in Colombo. That is what all those seeking to help Sri Lankan Public at grass-root level need to do not only from western countries but from urban Sri Lanka.