| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( November 12, 2012, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘The Bridge between the Diaspora Youth and their Country of Origin ’ by Mr. Thisara Devasurendra
For whatever reason, I registered that the author was of Sinhalese origin. Like our physical looks – these are first impressions and they do play their role in our assessments. I wrote as follows in regards to this in my book ‘Who Am I ?’:
‘Friday 23 November 2007 – judgment day in matter Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam (GLP) v University of New South Wales (UNSW), at the Full Australian Federal Court of Appeal
I walked into room 21A – a majestic-looking room. At the computer below the Judge’s chair was a young man. There was no one else in the room. I bowed to the Judge’s chair and seated myself. I thought of Lawyer Todd Golding (from the Office of the NSW Crown Solicitor) who asked me earlier in the year as to why I was bowing when there was no judge in the chair. I said ‘I am bowing to the god of Justice’. Justice is part of me. Justice comes with me everywhere I go. Hence in a way I was bowing to the god of Justice inside me. Each time I judged as per my conscience I brought into me the god of Justice. The Judge’s chair was the mirror image of the god of Justice within me. I have been trying to reconcile that god of Justice with the ones I ‘saw’ and ‘heard’ on the outside – telling me who I am. This is an account of that reconciliation process. Justice gives me inner balance / peace. When I find it on the inside, others from the outside need me to give form to their own sense of justice. Some did identify but none had the courage to say so publicly on the basis of his/her own conscience. Most needed external verification and therefore confirmed lack of faith in me. To me, lack of faith in me is lack of faith in justice itself in that environment.
Such expressions of worship and prayers help me focus within me. Hindu legends speak of god ‘appearing’ to the devotee. I said prior to my UNSW experiences, that we must have sinned more than our ancestors for god to not appear now in this Kali yuga (era). It was my way of saying that I did not really believe that god appeared but that it was said to help others ‘see’ someone’s merit. Now, after my UNSW experiences, I feel that god does come but only sometimes in direct human form, to reward us in the material world. He does come when there is no one else available and when we are in genuine pain. He continuously sends signals sometimes directly and often through people – people with whom we have reconciled with whom we are connected through faith/trust. I felt that most of the time I was praying to myself – to the Truth in me. This helped me raise my work to ownership level. At ownership level I did something because it was natural to me – that something is a part of me – so that I did not need to ‘see’ the final outcome to feel satisfaction. The action originated from my heart rather than from my body or head. That something is me. I discovered that Body, Mind & Soul in the language of ‘work’ is ‘Money, Goodwill/People & Ownership’. The Seen, the Thought and the Felt. ‘Small body, big heart and great mind’ is the introduction I like best identifying with’. It came from an Australian academic. Some Sinhalese in public forums (for example Lankanewspapers.com) have declared that they find me physically unattractive. Around the same time Tamils in public forms (for example Unarvukal.com) declared that I was good looking and that I was a renowned Tamil. Sinhalese went mostly by the picture published on the net by Patrick Harrigan – an American Religious Scholar living in Sri Lanka and helping the needy’
To the extent we are active in a world of young ones and/or those who are driven first by looks – we need to include ‘looks’ / ‘names’ in our assessment. This was one of the reasons why I took action against Mr. John Howard when he was Prime Minister of Australia. If the White Australian Accountants at the University of New South Wales had treated me as an Equal and therefore stayed away from Democratic Resource Management system that they were not familiar with – the problem would not have risen to the level of Prime Minister and we would have been saved a big part of the Bali Bombing pain. Death in itself is a reality. It is how we die that makes all the difference. Our inner mind, when we are alone with ourselves would indicate to us – what our next stage / life is going to be. The young need to think in terms of next stage of life and the old – in terms of next life – life after death itself. The way the two groups relate to the war would be different externally.
Mr. Thisara Devasurendra states ‘As far as I remember, like the majority of my Sri Lankan friends born during the eighties, I have always known my parents’ country as a country in war. And even if the conflict is over since a few years now, I frequently get reminded that there was a war. Especially when I meet someone new, and they ask me where I come from I naturally respond to them – Sri Lanka.’
I as a parent born in 1950 – just before the conflict surfaced – would state the parallel of this as follows: ‘As far as I can remember, like the majority of my Ceylonese/ Sri Lankan relatives and friends born during the fifties, I have related to Australia as a country of migrants preferring British-Looking migrants. Even though Australia now recruits Asians like myself more willingly than it did before the war in Sri Lanka – I get frequently reminded that until 1975 Australia officially carried the ‘White Australia’ policy. When I meet someone new and they ask me where I come from – I respond ‘Sri Lanka’ and follow this by my own question ‘Where do YOU come from?’
I conclude that Mr. Thisara Devasurendra is yet to realize the values of Equal Opportunity – except when it is mandatory to do so. The war was only a show that Equal Opportunity was lacking in governance. The conflict will continue until one or more of the following happen/s:
(1).Tamils either lose consciousness of Sinhalese being their government – (as I have here in Australia in relation to White Australians) – through true self governance independent of any structured system – inherited or otherwise – or
(2). Clear Devolution of Power in areas where the minorities are in majority. – or
(3). Majority Sri Lankans (Legal) use merit basis in multicultural areas to judge each other
Majority Tamils are using options (1) & (2) above – option (1) being led by Diaspora Tamils and option (2) being led by Resident Tamil leaders. Only a few are using option (3) above. Option (3) practitioners become global faster than either of the other two. Hence it is important that Dual-Citizens (the real ones and not necessarily those carrying legal stamps) use option (3) as a preference. That way we enrich also our current countries of residence to whom we owe at global level, just as much as they owe us at global level. In relation to Sri Lanka, I myself use a combination of all three – option (3) most of the times now when I work for myself as per my conscience. At other times I use (1) with ordinary members of either community and (2) with management members of either community.
Mr. Thisara Devasurendra states ‘Truth be told, I have lived in Sri Lanka, and I go there as much as few times a year since birth, yet I have only been to the Northern part of Sri Lanka during the summer of 2011, and before that the most Northern point I had been was Trincomalee in 2005. It is when I went to Jaffna in 2011 that the feeling that something wasn’t right started growing in my mind. Witnessing all the chaos that ravaged Jaffna and seeing this for the first time gave me chills in my spine. I was then on a family holiday with my parents, aunts, uncles and my grandmother who also lived until the mid-60’s in Jaffna and left like many others during the 70’s. Then I thought to myself, war is certainly over politically speaking, but what if my family background had its roots in Jaffna, and it was the first time I was able to visit my grandmother in Jaffna?’
The conflict is not resolved. That part of the war that is based on true pain and loss will continue to manifest from time to time until one or more of the above solutions are practiced by majority Sri Lankans and their subjective supporters from either side.
As per the above, Mr. Thisara Devasurendra’s family lived in Jaffna largely for economic / material purposes. They were the parallels of Diaspora Sri Lankans using exclusively option (1) and/or (2) above, in the Sri Lankan issue. Until they come and work in their places of origin – directly and/or through those who carry their values ‘current in current format and past as consolidated belief that would be the principles for the next generation of that area’, these Diaspora Sri Lankans on either side are like Mr. Thisara Devasurendra’s grandmother.
Truth being Universal, is ‘told’ only when 360 degree view observations of facts are presented or when one is able to connect through oneself to the cause and as well as the effect – with a still mind – i.e. when one is ‘cause’ at one time and ‘effect’ at another. At each stage one needs to facilitate the natural path – without influencing actively the intake or the outcomes. At least to the extent the Sri Lankan government suppresses the juniors/ordinary citizens in its own ethnic group – they carried the trait /guna to suppress any minority. The current problems with the Chief Justice and the Judiciary confirm this. When an internal problem/disease surfaces and is given only an external treatment – i.e. treatment of the symptoms only it would lead to the disease changing form and/or damaging inwardly where there is no avenue for it to manifest in alternate form. The deeper the disease/problem, the deeper the cure needs to be. This is the way for most poor countries that tend to use ‘belief’ to cure themselves internally.
Those driven more by ‘what happened’ than by ‘why it happened’ – are outsiders and hence would not have the ability to cure themselves. It’s those who own the problem that have the cure. When they take leadership – their groups will be healthy in terms of Equal Opportunity issues in this instance.
Mr. Thisara Devasurendra states ‘to show change, it will need certain commitments and life choices from a group of individuals who are determined to carry on this will to make things better. This will require them to live in Sri Lanka and reach influential positions in society, but they will have to accept that they probably will not see the fruit of their work and choices.’
Yes – they would need the power to influence but no that they have to live physically in Sri Lanka and a stronger no to having the achievement of influential positions in society as a target/goal. Sri Lankan positions must be preserved for Sri Lankans – resident in Sri Lanka. Diaspora members are the parallels of UN – and their own High Commissions in Sri Lanka – and they have to uphold their positions in those countries. Otherwise – the colonization mentality would grow and we are likely to join 9/11 activists on both sides. Until there are Equal and Opposites on both sides – no act of Terrorism could manifest itself at that place and time. That is the law of nature. Human laws that seek to prevent wars – need to ensure that the two forces – for example the Sinhalese rebels (even if they are in uniform but act outside their official boundaries) and the Tamil rebels – are kept away from each other if the government’s Administrative system is not equally applicable to both sides.