Channel 4 Report – True or False?

The Sri Lankan Government has the responsibility to restore the facilities available to all victims to believe that they have the basic freedom to express themselves on the basis of their belief until proven wrong through the laws of the Nation.
by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam

(July 04, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I refer to the article ‘False Propaganda Countered : Lanka on solid growth path’ by P. Krishnaswamy published in Sunday Observer.

According to this report ‘Minister of Irrigation and Water Management and Chief Government whip Nimal Sripala de Silva who was a member of the Government delegation that visited the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) last month said in an interview with the Sunday Observer that their delegation effectively countered the charges levelled against Sri Lanka on the basis of the Darusman Report and the Channel 4 video footage, impressing the international community and the Council's member States that the documents, based on falsehoods, were unauthentic. ‘

The question that comes to my mind is whether the Hon Nimal Sripala de Silva ‘believes’ that the Channel 4 video footage was a manifestation of the producers? Unless we would do likewise, we would not believe that someone of our group would do that particular act. To believe, there needs to be common faith binding that group. In this instance Channel 4 and the Hon Nimal de Silva. Anything above that line of belief needs to be on objectively measurable merit basis.

As I realized through my battles to free myself of the Maya (delusion) of Racial Equality here in Australia, one could say ‘I believe this is the reason’ but one could not legitimately say ‘I believe this is not the reason’. One could therefore say legitimately ‘I believe this to be true.’ One could not legitimately claim ‘I believe this to be false’ We may vote for one candidate but not vote to say no to that candidate. All belief based votes are valid.

Belief is based on Truth. The more we work for a particular value and / or the more we sacrifice benefits we think are ours, the more we start believing to the extent of net costs. Hence one’s investment needs to be of net positive value, for one to able to believe. This net positive value needs to be shown before one expects to be believed in a public forum.

The title ‘Honorable’ – is carried by an elected member to confirm that s/he believes her/his people believe in her/him, All decisions based on this belief would be valid for internal purposes. For external purposes one needs to produce objective evidence.

Yesterday we discussed this issue in our Sri Lanka Reconciliation Forum Sydney - by examining the question – ‘whether or not caste based belief is to be accepted in decision making’. Similarly, race based belief. One well respected senior member stated that a person could get employment through political connections and that could not be taken as race. To my mind, if that political connection was due to election by a particular race – others are likely to attribute race as the reason. Those who have worked and/or sacrificed to win that position/status on merit basis – would attribute their loss and pain to be due to racism. That is when they start believing that racism is the reason.

That is how I started believing – but only after exhausting all forms of merit based reasons and I could ‘see’ no other particular reason, after searching and searching year after year – through position after position. Saying I was a ‘nuisance’ (the parallel of terrorist label given to the Tamil Tigers) was generic. To be that meant that I was not important enough to warrant a genuine hearing of my grievances – at the level I had earned through my performance.

As an Australian migrant, I believed that I had the responsibility to contribute to Racial Equality where there was no other merit based system available to discriminate and distribute benefits including status. Racial Equality is not an option in Australia. It is the law. Given that there was no Administrative structure or process through which I could prove myself on the basis of racism, I had to believe that I was discriminated against because of my race. This belief could be because of my personal experience as an individual and/or through a group in whom I have faith. Mine was through personal experience.

In relation to the above response to the UNHCR, the Minister needed to produce their alternate claim by all elected members of parliament. For example to take a vote that all elected members of Sri Lankan parliament believed that their armed forces followed Laws and Common Processes as per their positions and rules. If majority in this said ‘yes’ then – the Channel 4 film is automatically dismissed unless it is backed up by individuals present at the scene.

The Minister says in his interview with the Sunday Observer ‘Our country is producing the best doctors and engineers who have a big demand in the private sector and in foreign countries.

They get lucrative salaries. My Ministry is unable to get the number of engineers it needs for its Departments’

As per my observations of Sri Lankan Engineers, there is a lack of professional belief. I attribute this to their lack of faith in their elders. They work more for a living than for life itself. I shared this as follows in yesterday’s reconciliation forum:

‘A pro Tiger Tamil Diaspora leader asked me after reading about the topic for today’s meeting – as published in the Sri Lanka Guardian – ‘Why are we now turning to caste?’

There is a part of that leader in me – through various common structures, protocols and common faith. So I asked myself that question why?

The response was that from the revelations that have come to the common International forums – both sides are guilty of violence and I do not like violence. To me, violence is not about just physical fights. It’s more about violation of one’s earned rights through which common belief is expressed. There is a difference between living and life.

Before the end of the war – there was much talk about LTTE Terrorism at the International level. Now there is much talk about Violations of fundamental rules of war by the Sri Lankan armed forces. To me both are about living and not about life itself. ‘

Seeing this through myself – living - to me is about basic physical well being such as enough food, housing, health and education. The levels at which we seek these is usually relative to the environments in which we live.

Life to me is about ‘freedom’ on the basis of which we experience the above living. ‘

The Sri Lankan Government has the responsibility to restore the facilities available to all victims to believe that they have the basic freedom to express themselves on the basis of their belief until proven wrong through the laws of the Nation. Until then they need to close their minds to economic growth except through victims of war. During yesterday’s meeting – members were actively discussing and sharing. Some of the discussions were not directly related to the topic of the forum – which was about ‘The politics of caste in post conflict Sri Lanka’. All were relevant one way or the other. One of our founding members – Prasanna Athukorala – asked me a question which confirmed to me that Prasanna had been listening through his belief. One who listens through belief – already has the answer. The question Prasanna asked about the disenfranchised castes in Northern Sri Lanka was words to the effect ‘Would they function well in a business environment?’ I was happily shocked. That was the solution for the disenfranchised groups in Northern Sri Lanka. Not free/easy money but business move which would keep us actively involved in an environment promoting equality between buyer and seller. I confirmed this and stated that to my mind, this was why Australian Public Service was also moving towards ‘Business Basis’.

I believe through my Australian experience that the Sri Lankan Government needs to facilitate this move towards Business Basis in Public Service – starting with Northern Sri Lanka, before focusing on general economic growth through the private sector. When this happens, the Ministry would have the services of engineers through the relevant Departments. At Ministerial level, we do not need many but just a few higher level thinkers for policy maintenance and improvement.

As for Channel 4 Report - I understand that our ABC’s Four Corners program tonight, is about ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’. When I listen through my belief – not only in the victims who were physically tortured – but also my belief in the work done by the media to bring it to our National level – that would naturally connect me to all other believers – including families of victims who do not have answers and therefore do not have closures. To the extent the Channel 4 Report helps me connect more strongly than I do already – it is true for my purposes of helping the victims believe and become functional again.

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