Dignity of Victims

by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam

(March 25, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I followed the UN News report about the Dignity of Victims and found the article entitled - ‘Pillay: Fight impunity by protecting the right to the truth about gross human rights violations’.

What is Truth? What is the difference between facts and Truth? When are we entitled to facts? When are we entitled to Truth?

To me, Truth is the knowledge that gives me inner Peace. My knowledge from within me is my Truth. That inner knowledge is free of any external influences. Bringing knowledge to Truth takes a lot of work. Pleasure or Pain felt when we are on our own without even thinking of someone else is confirmation of this work. To me Pain is passive work and Work is active Pain or Pleasure. When someone else expresses their Truth I would identify with It through my own inner knowledge/Truth. If I do not – then at least one is not Truth.

Most of us seek Truth through facts and/or faith. The path of Facts is objective and we start from zero base – with a clear mind on what happened. Then facts as they register through our mind, help us have the experience supporting those facts.

The path of Faith is subjective and we start with inner knowledge of the self and/or the group we are seen to be a part of.

Ms Navaneetham Pillai, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says in her statement ‘Forty-two thousand six hundred and thirty-three -- this is the number of cases, of people who have disappeared and remain unaccounted for over the past 31 years, under consideration by the Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. Figures also show that new cases continue to emerge from all regions of the world on a regular basis. For every one of those individuals, there are many loved ones agonising over their fate, alternating between hope and despair and waiting for news – any news.’

The last sentence went straight to my heart – due to the mothers and wives known by me to suffer due to loss and pining with hope that their loved ones would return one day. When I meet with them they ask me whether their loved ones would return. I often say ‘Don’t lose hope. Keep praying and you will realize Peace in due course of time’. That is a faith based answer. If I project on the basis of ‘facts’ the answer would be ‘no’. If I expressed that, it is likely to depress them and influence them to neglect their children. Hence no ‘facts’ based answer for these folks who are driven largely by faith. They need leaders who can return their faith – their True investments in family structures through the ones that have disappeared. We need to help them preserve the positions and the structures those positions are a part of.

Most of us are driven more by convenience and benefits of a relationship – be it family or workplace. One needs a firm and reliable structure to regulate our investments in various relationships. Often when Love in family and Truth at workplace is overstated, we miss out on the opportunity to invest in the structured path. In the faith based system, the structure is usually hierarchical vertically arranged positions, as per commitment to the common pool rather than individual merit. A good example of our times is the system at Puttaparthi in India, which is the Home Town/Village of Sri Sathya Sai Baba at Whose feet even Presidents and Prime Ministers are known to have worshiped. The systems at Puttaparthi are very hierarchical but most reliable. This is possible only through strong faith. This is why I often say that Swami Sai Baba’s word would influence me much more than anyone else’s – including those in the UN or ICC. Most of us need Faith to complete our experience and become free of its pains and pleasures. At the higher levels, a reliable system is subjective and at the highest level – it is done only by the individual – who is the Judge as well as the Judged/ the victim and the perpetrator/ the abductor and the abducted. That’s when we become the issue / system and work it naturally to help other seekers. How do we become the abductor? By including ourselves in the community of the abductor as well as the abducted.

Ms Navaneetham Pillai, who is part of the United Nations’ structure has reported ‘facts’. How would Ms Navaneetham Pillai whose name indicates that Ms Pillai is close to Tamil culture and therefore Tamil Faith, interpret this in terms of Sri Lanka – whose Tamil rebel group LTTE, has been listed by the United Nations as a Terrorist group? Is the responsibility of the Sri Lankan Government in this regard, diminished due to this listing? On the other hand, does the Sri Lankan Government required to take higher responsibility to implement UN decisions due to the UN sharing its status with the Sri Lankan Government to defeat the LTTE?

As per an email sent by Good Citizen - Christopher Pulle (which surname to me is another version of Pillai), through Professor Arunachalam Sathananthan of Monash University who generously shares his work with us, TamilNet says about Sri Lanka, ‘Due to extreme poverty, over 3,250 children are working in houses and eating houses in the eastern province without attending schools. These children come from families affected by military conflict and natural disaster, according Provincial Education Minister Mr.Wimalaweera Dissanayake.

About 49,000 women have lost their husbands due to arrests, killing and abductions by armed groups and the Sri Lanka Army (SLA).’

To me, these statements generate more emotions that the statements by Ms Pillai, due to the subjects who communicated this to me after identifying with the substance of it. They are all community leaders who are our parallels of the UN. They form a Chain of Faith.

What is the requirement expected by the UN in regards to this – not only from the Sri Lankan Government but also from itself through its own agencies?

As part of the UN, Ms Pillai has the responsibility to be driven by facts obtained through systems of global standards and decisions by the UN. Ms Pillai’s inner faith may help her better appreciate the issue compared to many others within the UN. That understanding needs to be part of the decision making at the officer’s level. But when the decision is expressed, it needs to be one that all genuine investors in the UN would identify with and/or relate to. If the understanding does not facilitate this, it is not of global standards and needs to be set aside to be improved on.

To me facts, knowledge and Truth are the parallels of body, mind and Soul respectively. When we are driven by facts – our decisions would be reliable only when all facts giving a 360 degree (global) view of the matter form the basis of our decision. It is like saying that when all parts of our body are working well we have a wholesome body. This is often not possible especially at global level / when we cannot see all parts. Hence we use subjective assessments to complete the picture and own the experience. Once we own we work the system naturally.

Now, taking my home village of Thunaivi in Vattukkottai District in Sri Lanka, how would the loved ones in those families relate to the above ‘facts’ from the United Nations? They would not even be aware that this has happened. They rely heavily on their community leadership to help them keep-going.

Like the mind being a combination of our physical senses and the intellect/inner wisdom, Knowledge is a combination of Fact and Truth. The stronger the Truth the less facts we need to support us in our home environments and v.v. In money rich countries there are greater facilities to share through objective outcomes than in money poor countries. In People rich countries, we need to be encouraged to develop faith based leaderships through which we complete our own cycle of Truth. When we do – that would be the fact that global bodies such as the UN would need, to use to support its work in seeking, finding and realizing Truth, through our experiences rather than through information/facts only. Such decisions would naturally travel to communities driven by Faith.

We are all capable of completing this cycle of Truth as individuals and/or as communities. Every victim who is able to find his / her own Truth through these losses, is a Carrier of Dignity. We need to honor them instead of feeling sorry for them.
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