Douglas Devananda Vs. Rajasingham Jayadevan

by Dr.T.C.Rajaratnam

(November 25, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) I refer to the article written by Mr.Rajasingham Jayadevan on November 24, 2008 which refers to the two articles under the captions of ‘Jayadevan has no Moral Right to Challenge Minister Devananda’ and ‘Do not abuse the Country’s sovereignty’ published in the Sri Lanka Guardian written under two questionable names. Indeed, I do not contest the inference of Mr.Rajasingham Jayadevan in regard to the questionable names. I submit further, that these two fictitious names have been used by two individuals afraid to disclose their respective identities. It certainly seems that these two individuals have perhaps had some insinuous motive to write in such a way to convince the reader that they actually exist and perhaps by the contents deliberately lean towards me so that I am at the receiving end. Whatever these two individuals tried to do has in no way helped Douglas Devananda. I am not surprised as I have had a sordid experience myself by these episodes.

All my articles relating to Douglas Devananda have been from what I considered correct and these articles were written with the best of intentions. I wrote about him and not the EPDP which is alien to me. However, on Thursday November 20.11.2008,I received a two page printed letter addressed to Douglas Devananda referring to him as ‘comrade’ and signed by a person who feared to be identified criticizing my articles of him to him. This letter was unsigned but had the writer’s name printed as “Sutharsan” and the faux pas was the fact that the initials of a V.I.P Typist in the V.I.P’s Office was printed at the bottom. This conveyed mixed messages to me. I was shocked, disappointed ,disgusted and humiliated. It clearly indicated an inside job. After all what I did, published a book titled ” Some Selected Essays & Tributes on Douglas Devananda” edited by me which consists of articles written by me, His Excellency Ambassador Dr. Dayan Jayatillake Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva, Sarath Wijesinghe and M.K.P.Chandralal ( the Lawyer of Douglas Devananda) and having openly written several articles (perhaps 6 or more) in favour of Douglas Devananda, this “Sutharsan” had to be protected because Douglas Devananda is an upright man who cannot be won over by ‘praise’. But I was dismayed because I do not like the hole and corner methods of “Sutharsan”. I can understand the reason for anonymity. Clearly, “Sutharsan” was agitated by my articles. It is for me to write and the readers to judge. It is people like this “Sutharsan” who create embarrassing situations for Douglas Devananda by their hole and corner methods. In logic as in life, neither can one start from flux, nor continue to defend.

I am not prepared to argue the metes and bounds of "the full moral dimension of things," but I suggest that such an approach leaves one in a moral quagmire.

Inalienable rights require a constant (non process) human nature, and norms of human dignity that do not alter with every change of existential perception or contextual situation. When men thus instructed clash on all sides with the impossible, they came to believe in the bankruptcy of the rights of the human person. Some have turned against these rights with an enslaver's fury: some have continued to invoke them, while in their inmost conscience they are weighed down by a temptation to scepticism which is one of the most alarming symptoms of the present crisis. A kind of intellectual and moral revolution is required of us, in order to reestablish on the basis of a true philosophy our faith in the dignity of man and in his rights, and in order to rediscover the authentic sources of this faith.

Yet, cycles of humiliation do not only mar international and national peace. Organizational and private life is affected as much. Bullying and harassment, for example, entail much of the same logic. Not least ethnic and gender relations are beset with acts and feelings of humiliation. Even intrapersonal dynamics can be deeply shaped by processes of humiliation.

Globalization is central to newly emerging feelings of humiliation. As soon as people move closer to each other, expectations rise and disappointments are bound to occur. Human rights ideals with their notion of dignity and respect are equally deeply interlinked with the concept of humiliation. The first sentence in Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights reads, "All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights." Thus, the central human rights message stipulates that every human being has an inner core of dignity that ought not to be humiliated.

Wherever the human rights message is heard and accepted by people around the globe, people feel that their humanity is being humiliated whenever their dignity is violated or soiled. Human rights ideals squarely oppose hierarchical rankings of human worthiness that once were regarded as "normal" - and still are "normal" in many parts of the world. In the cross-fire between both paradigms, particularly hot feelings of humiliation emerge.Current analysis of terror and violence, both in their local and global expressions, usually lacks the element of humiliation. If not pure unfathomable evil, then poverty, deprivation, or marginalization are often pinpointed as driving people into terrorist activities or other forms of violence, somehow automatically. However, why do we then see well-to-do and highly educated terrorists organizing and perpetrating atrocities? Why do poverty, deprivation, marginalization, ethnic incompatibilities, or even conflict of interest and struggles over scarce resources sometimes lead to cooperation and innovation and only sometimes to violence? When there is too little bread, we may share and not fight. Thus, all so-called "hard" explanations for violence and war may falter, because at times the very same conditions lead to innovative peaceful solutions instead of violent confrontation.

Humiliation is maybe the "missing link" that explains why conditions at times are perceived as illegitimate violations justifying counter-violence; at other times not, and why wealthy people may organize and perpetrate terror. It is perhaps possible to claim that humiliated hearts and minds are the only "real" weapons of mass destruction, particularly in a globalized and interdependent world that embraces the human rights ideals of equal dignity for all.

It seems timely and urgent to focus on the phenomenon of humiliation and the prevention and alleviation of its destructive outcomes. The phenomenon of humiliation should be studied, prevented, mitigated and healed in the context of globalization and human rights, culture differences and inter-group conflict, cooperation and violence, competition and negotiation, and power and trust.

I think I made it clear that I am not a member of the EPDP. I wish to further reiterate that I have neither been a member of any Tamil Militant group nor Tamil political party and I don’t intend to be one of them. Moreover, they have been nurtured not to trust persons like me who have been closely associated with the SLFP and PA. It is not very pleasant. There are strangers amongst associates.

Mr.Rajasingham Jayadevan should cease to humiliate Douglas Devananda. It is futile to address his questions to me.

Mr.Rajasigham Jayadevan has been kind to refer to me as an eminent Lawyer but Douglas Devananda does not consider me so.

I am in no way connected to these two articles referred by Mr.Rajasingham Jayadevan.

Flux still breeds flux. A nation's deepest convictions as to human worth are far more important than its particular constitutional mechanisms and the greater the shared value system the more effective the human rights protection. Thus, a stable and solid concept of human dignity is the most important factor for success in human rights.

Let me leave it to the readers to Judge.
- Sri Lanka Guardian