Where our Truth is stronger than the rights as per the local justice system (including cultural system) of the environment we are in – that Truth will support us – even in prison. That way this young prisoner would also be a war hero. Otherwise no one is a Tamil Eelam War Hero. Also, no armed officer of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces is a war hero after General Fonseka was imprisoned.
l by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
(November27, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Asian Human Rights Commission has shared with us, the readers of Sri Lanka Guardian, the report of the ‘Committee against Torture at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’. I find many areas of this report most valuable in understanding the problems in conflict areas in Sri Lanka and also pointers towards developing to prevent such problems in future. It is a global level observation and to that extent is taken as being less biased (conscious as well as subconscious) than those of local bodies including the LLRC – especially for the Diaspora. Once we come to the higher level systems, we need to use Truth in the environments practicing lower level / local systems. The LLRC report to that extent could be used to confirm the findings of UN Committee Against Torture – so International participants including members of the Diaspora – would be confident in the common areas and ensure that the higher standards are maintained in these areas. We need to consciously apply our Truth when we are yet to be independent of the local system. Otherwise we are likely to start ‘telling them’ as if we are higher. This happened to both side leaders from foreign agencies. In those areas where they were ‘told’ we need to use our own Truth which naturally empowers all those who share Truth. Everyone who tortures is a Terrorist and v.v. To the extent our side tortured, we have social responsibility to make amends to the victims.
I believe, through my own experiences that the ‘system’ that we invest in will support us each time we are with another who has also invested in that system. Investment is the excess of costs (physical and mental) over benefits measured through money and status. Laws at all levels help us protect these investments so all investors would derive dividends and eventually feel part of that system until they feel they are that system. Once this is achieved – we naturally influence this system – often invisibly. The needy intuitively identify with us. Global systems help us realize this ownership power in one generation. Local systems help us realize this by valuing our ancestors. Work values and sacrifices/investments – of those who have not felt ownership in the family/community, would not get carried forward beyond their time. Hence, those who talk of ‘nationalism’ at local / racial levels – would be false without this ancestral value. We have them in both sides of the Lankan war.
Allegations of widespread use of torture and ill-treatment
At paragraph 6 of the Report, the Committee states ‘Notwithstanding the new circumstances prevailing since the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the end of the military conflict that has consumed the country for nearly 30 years, and the State party’s public commitment to the Committee that it has a zero-tolerance policy on torture as a matter of State policy and practice, the Committee remains seriously concerned about the continued and consistent allegations of widespread use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of suspects in police custody, especially to extract confessions or information to be used in criminal proceedings. The Committee is further concerned at reports that suggest that torture and ill-treatment perpetrated by state actors, both the military and the police, have continued in many parts of the country after the conflict ended in May 2009 and is still occurring in 2011’
Today, is Heroes’ Day for majority Tamils affected by the war. It is my understanding that it started off with celebrations of the birthday of the LTTE Leader. When I was working for NSW Government Information & Advertising, with Ms Colleen Moore as Director, we celebrated successful completion of the year’s operation on Colleen’s birthday. Hence, to me, it is understandable that Tamil Tigers and their supporters would celebrate the death of their war Heroes on that day. Even this year, there are many such celebrations all over the world. Hence, the Truth is that the Tamil Tigers are not defeated. They have just changed form.
This morning I received from an Australian Sinhalese – email regarding the article by Canada’s Stewart Bell in the National Post – almost two months ago – on 29 September 2011 – under the title ‘Reject violence,’ jailed Tiger arms broker urges’. The article is about a Tamil Youth imprisoned for 25 years for brokering a $1-million arms deal for the LTTE. It is reported that this 31 year Tamil youth qualified as a Software Engineer. As per this report – the former President of the Tamil Youth Organisation in Canada says ‘For the past five years, I along with other fellow youths am serving sentences in New York. To add to the suffering, my family has been banned from visiting us under certain sections of the law’
Unless this young adult has actually become independent of the status of independence, his prison sentence would not liberate him. It is shocking that this has happened in the land of Mother Liberty. This is evidence that our Young Tamil – has been treated through the local system in New York – the city of 9/11 karma. Australian Tamils arrested here in Australia on similar charges were released with much lighter sentences. To me, a major influence is the latent powers of the supporters of these Australian Tamils who had also invested deeply in the Australian system of Justice. Such spiritual powers seem to be lacking in Canada and America.
Using the UN Committee’s above report against torture – to my mind, this young guy is also undergoing mental torture. To me, it is wrong to punish so severely an individual in a foreign culture – for doing something that was actively promoted by a Community – often with the help (express and implied) of their Governments driven by votes. Even recently, I received from an Australian Sinhalese strongly supporting the Tamil cause – including in academic and political circles – email advice as follows: ‘As I have indicated to you on several occasions, these emails sent to people who do not want them are doing an incredible amount of damage and turning off people who could be of value to the struggle of the Tamil people which is something I am sure you do not want to do.’
To my mind, this person is asking me to compromise to adjust to these influential persons with global status. This email alone is enough to confirm that the person is ready to compromise for the direct benefit of a vote without belief – i.e. – pampering. Will the Justice system of Australia who is a part of the ANZUS treaty with America, punish any of these persons – including our politicians and academics who promote such emotions in young ones? At their age – they need to share their wisdom only with young ones.
The young Tamil serving a sentence of 25 years in New York prison – is a victims of Politicians – especially Canadian Politicians also and not just the LTTE. Other young Tamils including the Hon Rathika Sitsabaiesan, Member of Canadian Parliament representing Scarborough Rouge River and who herself was Vice President of Student Associations in Universities – would have benefited from the one minded work of Tamil Youth Organisation of which the prisoner was President. When we come from third world to first world countries – there is illusion of ‘freedom’ often promoted by politicians in the case of refugees. Our traditions – especially the ones that were practiced to satisfy custodians of cultural benefits – especially status – are ‘forgotten’ to be replaced with new ‘benefits’ including money benefits. Those who carry forward their elders at least at family level – would be immune to money benefits beyond their earnings. Their children would naturally integrate with more money affluent communities.
It is reported in the UN Report that ‘the Committee remains seriously concerned about the continued and consistent allegations of widespread use of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment of suspects in police custody, especially to extract confessions or information to be used in criminal proceedings.’
This is also due fundamentally to the same reason why the above youth is now a prisoner and why the LTTE were labeled Terrorists by foreigners. The LTTE are NOT Terrorists to any Tamil known to me. Personally they showed me respect and even called me Gandhi or Krishna when they realized that I disagreed strongly with them – especially about religious belief. If these young ones also had had my kind of independence at family levels – they would also have been immune to any temptations to contribute to independence through the LTTE way – which was driven by wins – the same way the Sri Lankan Government also was driven by wins when using its armed forces. They owed their chosen professions and cultural paths for the support to get status. In contrast – the LTTE qualifications were as per their performance within their organization. The two should not be mixed indiscriminately at the surface level. If they want/wanted the LTTE status – then they should first renounce all other status – consciously and openly. THAT RENDERS THEM DIGNTY OF INDEPENDENCE.
The Lesson we need to learn from this is – if we have NOT invested strongly in the Human Justice system of our environment – be it the LTTE’s Vanni or America’s New York or the Tamil Culture in Sydney or the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti – we need to rely on the stronger of the two – our Truth or the rights of our actions as per that Human Justice system. Where our Truth is stronger than the rights as per the local justice system (including cultural system) of the environment we are in – that Truth will support us – even in prison. That way this young prisoner would also be a war hero. Otherwise no one is a Tamil Eelam War Hero. Also, no armed officer of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces is a war hero after General Fonseka was imprisoned.