| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( April 18, 2012, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I respond to the article ‘The failures of the Ministry of External Affairs – Encroachment or sheer incompetence?’ by Professor Rajiva Wijesingha, published in Sri Lanka Guardian.
Professor Wijesingha states ‘The government has after all argued that the Australian High Commission was remiss in failing to provide information about Mr Gunaratnam’s arrival in this country, whereas its reactions to his abduction made it clear that they knew all about him. It is claimed that the High Commission had not responded to an inquiry, but surely the correct thing to do when information is required, and there is reason to believe that any delay is detrimental to the national interest, is to call in the Australian High Commissioner and explain the situation and request active cooperation.
Unfortunately such calling in does not occur. Our Ministry of External Affairs had proved singularly incompetent in dealing with the international community, whether diplomats of Non-Governmental Organizations, despite the powers it has. I can think of several instances in which it should have called diplomats or others in and, very politely, indicated the serious implications of what was happening.’
Professor Wijesingha, for all his academic accomplishment seems to not know the pattern in which the political brain works. I learnt through my daughter’s education at the University of New South Wales – that there are deep learners and there are repetitive learners. To me they are the parallels of Vertical Hierarchical system and Lateral Democratic system of management. To me, the above statements by Professor Wijesingha appear to be a confused mix of the two.
As per my discovery, we naturally express the net registered memory, unless we consciously override it by current thoughts which need to be in majority, to override already existing memory. Hence the need for Principles, Policies and Laws. Hearsay which is not accepted in court of law is such registered information through our gross senses away from the environment in which an event happened and without any connection to our inner Truth. Often, with academics operating outside their natural academic areas, political information is hearsay.
Professor Wijesingha seems to classify the actions of the Sri Lankan Ministry of External Affairs to be due to incompetence. The expectation – for the current regime to ‘call in the Australian High Commissioner, explain the situation and request active cooperation’ fails to take into account the real status that the Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs holds in his mind vis-a-vis the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs who is represented by the High Commissioner. One could work out the cause from the effects. Hence, as per the published story, I conclude that the Sri Lankan Minister did not think he was Equal to his Australian counterpart, to expect active cooperation, leave alone calling in and ‘telling/requesting’. The Sri Lankan Minister would have had to draw on his Truth if the manifestation of that Truth would register a higher status in his memory about himself relative to that of Australian Senator Bob Carr, who is currently our Minister for Foreign Affairs. If this manifestation of Truth would register a lower status in the mind of the Minister, he would obviously not feel naturally comfortable to share the problem with his counterpart through the High Commissioner.
If on the other hand, the Sri Lankan Minister of External Affairs was to consciously use his official status through common UN policies, he would become unpopular with those who are condemning the UN Resolution. If this includes the Minister, then there is an inner conflict within himself – whether to draw on the UN status of equality or dilute Sri Lanka’s contribution to UN Policies by jumping on the bandwagon to criticize the UN. This is the conflict that most academics with Western qualifications, in Sri Lankan politics are likely to experience. It is the result of suppressing opposition on behalf of the West to complete the convenient view expressed through majority power. Transparency in democracy requires this completion from the other side.
All Sri Lankans with Western education have duty to ‘show’ opposition to majority view, to complete the picture for ordinary folks. During East v West conflicts – they are naturally the opposition of Sri Lankan politicians. I became this ‘other’ side against the powerful Australian Academics. I did so because I was true to my Sri Lankan qualifications and claimed that they were my highest qualifications. I kept it that way as per my own assessment of the two systems. Downgrading by Australian authorities helped me feel part of the lower level officers and hence I was able to structure systems that suited majority rather than minority at the top driven by status. Sri Lankan Public Service needs similar support, towards which one in disagreement, needs to become their open opposition. One would, if Sri Lankan Democracy was important to her/him.
Professor Wijesingha states ‘the Gunaratnam phenomenon should have been dealt with transparently, through open discussions with the Australians to ensure that they fulfilled their obligations to a friendly nation by revealing what they knew about the gentleman’s entry into this country, and any change of name that might have occurred while he was in Australia. Such discussions would need to be recorded and a letter sent confirming what had transpired, so that our position, and our belief that Australia too had our best interests at heart, would be established. In such a situation, any intervention by the Australian High Commission indicating knowledge that had not been shared with us would obviously have been inappropriate.’
Obligations/Responsibilities arise due to relationships and not friendship. If Australia were friends with Sri Lanka, all Aid from Australia to Sri Lanka needs to stop immediately. To the extent Sri Lanka accepts Aid from other governments without going through the UN, those other governments have earned higher status than Sri Lankan Government. If the Sri Lankan Government claims to be Equal to the Australian Government then it needs to specifically ask the Australian Government to cease providing Aid to Sri Lanka directly. If the Sri Lankan Government thinks it has higher powers because the event happened in Sri Lanka, then it is acting in breach of the laws of democracy according to which unless we use merit basis, we cannot be higher than any other member – even if that member were a child or dependent parent. Equal status is the highest level where no merit based common measures have been applied to allocate grades. Under the subjective hierarchical system – the rules were for the junior person to submit to the senior person and thus own the whole through the senior. This helped develop common belief.
Given that Australian Aid continues to be accepted by Sri Lankan Government, the question is whether or not the Australian Government considers it appropriate to share information with Sri Lankan Government. Often at Government level, there is much pretence. Professor Wijesingha for example kept claiming in his BBC interview that the attacks on hospitals in Vanni during May 2009 came from the LTTE and not from the Government. If Professor Wijesingha had actually spoken to a few of the victims – including soldiers who were seriously injured – he would know that according to the victims the Government soldiers did attack Vanni hospitals. Included in the ones who shared their pain with me was a family whose daughter was killed during aerial bombing by the Government and whose son lost his leg due to LTTE attack when he was trying to flee. The father was an ambulance driver and continues to drive ambulance. If Professor Wijesingha claims that just because there is no objective evidence to prove that the attacks on hospitals came from the Government’s side, then it is his duty as a global citizen to require such objectivity from his government especially when it is punishing Tamils. The above ambulance driver was taken into custody without any such objective evidence and was feeling very depressed and needed much tender loving care from his family to survive in prison and become functional again. Truth of one person without any expectations in return is all the evidence needed by the individual. Obviously, Professor Wijesingha is yet to discover this Truth about May 2009.
Going back to the following : ‘Such discussions would need to be recorded and a letter sent confirming what had transpired, so that our position, and our belief that Australia too had our best interests at heart, would be established’
One could be a relation in structure only. Sri Lanka to Australia, is largely a relation in structure and not in substance/belief. Australian Migrants of Sri Lankan origin would confirm this if they were true to themselves. To develop substance there needs to be common belief. As per my observations, Sri Lanka has the greater obligation to show respect for Australian system of Administration or at least believe through gratitude for Aid received. Genuine gratitude leads to belief. The onus is on the Sri Lankan government and not the Australian government to develop belief or at least show higher respect. Showing higher respect goes towards the structure. Genuine belief relieves one of all obligations.
It is on this basis that I am now suing members of our family who have failed to show respect nor develop belief but in fact tried to ‘tell’ us – their sponsors – what to do. Likewise, we are planning on suing the Government Agent of Jaffna unless Due Administrative process is established and followed by her Administration. On that basis, it is the Australian Government that needed to discipline the Sri Lankan Government if the latter had failed to fulfill its duty to an Australian. The confusion in the mind of Mr. Gunaratnam seems to be the same as that in the mind of Professor Wijesingha – neither seems to be able to identify with themselves as Sri Lankans through fellow Sri Lankans. Former seems confused due to dual citizenship and the latter due to dual intelligence.