Navi Pillai a Racist says Sinhala Racist

by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam

(July 16, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the article ‘UNCOHR Ms N. Pillay unmask her true identity’ by Malin Abeyatunge, published in Sri Lanka Guardian with the comments – ‘Views expresses in this article are author's own.’.

They certainly do not seem to come with the Goodwill enjoyed by Sri Lanka Guardian including from Tamils.

As per my assessment – the author seems to want to establish that Ms Navi Pillai is an LTTE supporter and hence is not fit to be the UN Commissioner for Human Rights. The author starts by stating ‘When I first read the news that one Ms Navenetham Pillay (Navi Pillay) from South Africa has been appointed as UN Commissioner for Human Rights, I was skeptical thinking another LTTE supporter in the UN to back LTTE appeasing Ms Radhika Coomarswamy who is the special representative for children and armed conflict.’

This confirms to me that the race of a person mattered to the author and that all Tamils are likely to be LTTE supporters. This meant that I too would have been an LTTE supporter to the author – just by my name until proven otherwise. Given that the author refers to the LTTE as terrorists – I also would have been a terrorist supporter to the author. Given that I believe I ‘recognize’ commonness before differences – I conclude that the person labeling me as a racist is the racist. As Lord Buddha said – if it does not fit you – return to sender. I have, as an individual sacrificed deeply to eliminate racial discrimination in Australia and am using that wisdom towards self governance in Sri Lanka. I therefore consider myself a higher authority than the author in assessing racial equality.

I sent also a paper before the Battle of Vanni, to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. This paper was based fully on my own research and was presented under the title ‘RACIAL DISCRIMINATION – A ZERO BASE APPROACH - Discussion Paper Presented to the United Nations to be included in the UN ANTI RACISM SUMMIT – April 2009’. If Ms Pillai had been like the author, she would have responded to me using the paper as an excuse. I did not expect a response from the UN. I do the work at UN level (as per my expectations of UN standards) but do not expect direct returns from them because I have learnt through direct experience that they do not have the wisdom to recognize individuals without portfolio. Through my experience, with higher authorities including Australian Government, I believed that the work I had done had already produced outcomes, ‘waiting’ to be picked up by the right person at the right time. Ms Pillai confirmed this through her personal visit to Australia and was highly critical of the Government’s refugee policies. To me that was a positive outcome that I was able to ‘see’ due to my contribution on the issue, at UN level.

When an issue becomes global – it is so very complex that it is highly unlikely that one would get a direct response or see a direct link between cause and effect. This is why when we get to that level, it is important to pool our work in common and use that common pool as a facility. We then draw from that pool as per our earnings. The Sri Lankan issue has become so deep – that it is not possible to see one direct cause. Hence the best avenue available to us is to find our own freedom through the highest level at which we have contributed. When we feel free – the community that we feel a part of is enriched by that feeling of freedom.

The author states ‘Ms N. Pillay had unmasked her true identity with her recent statement and the question is whether a person biased towards a terrorist organization should hold such a prestigious position in the UN.’

If indeed Ms Pillai feels for Tamils and therefore the LTTE – it is of deep value to the UN. Where a problem has lasted a long time – there is no clear answer and one is often left to rely on one’s belief. I took this as being the reason why the Sri Lankan President keeps his brothers close to him – especially in charge of armed forces. They are NOT merit based assessments and hence to that extent the President has lost the moral authority to criticize another for relying on belief in preference to objectively identifiable assessment. The author who apparently is on the side of the Sinhalese in this issue does not have greater authority than the president to criticize others until the author has criticized the President and dismissed the President’s actions based on personal belief and discretionary powers.

The author says ‘The Sri Lankan Government totally rejected the Darusman report which she has based her comments on as “ totally biased and flawed “ and made without the mandate of the UN Security Council or the UN Human Rights Council.’

It is understandable that the Sri Lankan Government would reject the Darusman report because the actions of the Government were made not on the basis of Common Global Principles but on the basis of personal belief. Until therefore Ms Pillai’s belief based expressions and actions produce worse problems that the President’s has - no one taking the side of the President in this war – has the moral authority to criticize the other side.

I myself often become part of one side and then other to get a feel for the problem. To the extent our heads are still – and our minds start with zero base – those experiences contain the real solutions.

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