Unitary or Federal State?

| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
(November 20, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I refer to the communication to President Rajapakse entitled ‘Plea of a patriot for a permanent solution’ by Mr. Anandasangaree, published in Sri Lanka Guardian.
The essence of this letter to my mind is in the paragraph where Mr. Anandasangaree says ‘In conclusion I plead with you to consider the Indian Model as an alternative to a Federal Solution, if you still won’t support the Federal Model which was to your liking once. The SLFP convention also once approved it. Our people should be told that “Democracy” is not merely the rule of the majority. But Democracy is rule of the majority with the consent of the minority.’
Whilst registering this, I recall the essence of the message from Sri Lankan Government’s Tamil Representative – Ambassador Tamara Kunanayakam in regards to Development – which in Sri Lanka is part of the development of a post-war Governance Structure. Ambassador Kunanayakam reminded us that according to the UN “the human person, both individually and collectively, is the central subject of development’. Based on this, the Ambassador said ‘there is no single model of development valid for all peoples, at all times.’
The workable solution would start on the foundation of the ‘experience-based’ components of both the above messages.
The message by Amabassador Kunanayakam was from the Sri Lankan Government, on behalf of Sri Lanka, to other countries – as individual countries and collectively (known as the UN). It is also from Sri Lanka to global minded individuals who have invested in Sri Lanka. When we are able to apply this principle at our local levels where we are the Governors – we are Global and therefore equal in status to any parallel part of the UN. When we realize the value, we become Universal. When we are Universal, we naturally influence each other. This subconscious/natural sharing is a blessing from Nature. When we are in our natural environments, all such sharing is good for us. It strengthens our belief in each other. But the moment we come out of our natural environments – that sharing is diluted – often through enjoyment of unearned benefits. This is the root cause of the problem in Sri Lanka – affecting both sides of this ethnic war.
At the Global level, Ambassador Kunananayakam’s message is taken as that of Sri Lanka’s – irrespective of whether the Government believes it or not. A true Ambassador represents the Government as well as the Citizen. A person would naturally represent both only through their Commonness. Hence, the Ambassador needs to be above the Government also – not in apparent position but in substance. This is achieved by adding to her/himself the belief of the citizen where one is not able to share in common with the Government. Global participants often would have difficulty sharing in common with a Government driven by majority vote – especially one that wins by large majority. Global participants would tend to naturally share beliefs with those who have invested in global values through Common Principles and Values applicable at the Global level.
President Rajapakse’s representative in UN is saying something that is NOT being practiced in her country. If it had been practiced, the Sri Lankan Government would have worked through Tamils to eliminate violence in North and East. In some ways they ‘showed’ they were doing that – by buying over Karuna – the Head of Eastern LTTE. That was seen as surface level action – to be used and thrown away – the same way Karuna was thrown away by Northern LTTE Head Office.
Given that even now, there are Sinhalese armed forces in majority Tamil areas – one has the duty to conclude that the ‘Rights’ of the individual, based on ‘Belief’ have not been attributed preference over alleged ‘Rights & Wrongs’ by those without Belief. The Right of an armed soldier to punish, educate or advise – outside common rules of her/his position is based on her/his Belief in that other person being punished, educated or advised.
Within common laws and rules – the Right is limited to the Belief of the Officer in the Common Laws and Rules of her/his position. Hence those officers with weak investment in their position responsibilities would not have the Right to punish even when they are in uniform.
Excesses during the war from both sides happened due to lack of this belief in Common Laws. Out of the two, the Government’s side would have committed more excesses than the LTTE – if the action / punishment was by a Sinhalese soldier with weak investment in her/his position. LTTE did not have position responsibility outside their group. To outsiders they were ‘Terrorists’. To Sri Lankans they were Tamil extremists seeking nationalism through Separation. Hence there were no position responsibilities on the side of LTTE. Theirs was moral responsibility to the people they claimed to represent. To the extent they believed in the people – their actions would be accepted by the people driven by Truth as their actions. To the extent the LTTE acted in Defence, its karma was protected by Nature who often worked through Tamil citizens. Nature’s laws allow one to act even to kill in Defence, when on believes that one’s home/family is being attacked. Beyond that the LTTE was on their own.
So long as officers who are committed to their positions are in Tamil areas – they are Sri Lankans. We need to take that as the starting point. Every officer who has acted to punish, beyond her/his position needs to be sent to their ‘home-areas’ in punishment. Likewise Tamils Government employees in Sinhalese areas when they act to benefit themselves or punish Sinhalese outside their position limits.
Whether it is Tamils or Sinhalese – even officers have the authority to punish and/or reward, as per their beliefs – but only after official position authority has been exhausted. This Natural sharing is needed where the practice of Common Law & Order is weak. This is now apparent in South more than in North or East – because Southerners did not ‘prepare’ themselves for post-war deployment / repatriation – back to their home bases of soldiers who were not committed to their positions.
Tamils in Sri Lanka, in turn, need to work to cure their own of the wounds – just or unjust – through their Belief system. Without this Common Belief – the Federal system would fail – and we cannot afford that. It would be unjust to those of us who have renounced deeply to Believe and share our credits with the Community including with the LTTE.
Tamil Diaspora, needs to actually practice the message from Ambassador Kunanayakam – as if they are in that UN position representing Tamils in Sri Lanka – not just the LTTE but also the Tamil citizens in Sri Lanka. Each of us is entitled to develop on our own – parallel to others. Yesterday, my husband and I of the Australian Tamil Management Service – attended the AGM of AFTA – Australasian Federation of Tamil Associations – here in Sydney Australia. We were invited to such a meeting for the first time and the invitation came from Mr. Logathasan who reads about my work regularly through the ‘network’. I was happy to note that pluralism was being encouraged by AFTA. I feel confident that we as a community would achieve self-governance during my lifetime.
If Diaspora works harder than the Locals in both Communities – we would achieve the status of Unitary State of Global standards. If Local Communities in their respective Natural areas develop belief faster than us – we would achieve Federal Status – which would benefit all Communities. What matters is the status we give ourselves – as individuals, community or country. When others recognize it – it is a bonus. This is also the Spirit of United Nations. This is also Nature.


Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

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