| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( January 8, 2013, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke’s interview, with Harasha Gunewardene of the Sri Lanka Mirror , published by Sri Lanka Guardian. Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke has been described as ‘one of Sri Lanka’s leading intellectuals, ex-diplomat, Political scientist, university don and raconteur’.
There is no doubt in my mind, that Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke has made significant positive contribution to lead Sri Lankans of his culture and also towards setting the example to emphasize the need for Sri Lanka’s self realization.
Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke states in his interview ‘From a strategic standpoint, Sri Lanka can no longer be successfully defended internationally without renewing its stock of moral capital and re-taking the moral high ground which it has lost in the postwar years. Defending Sri Lanka internationally now requires reforming and democratizing Sri Lanka domestically. The struggle to defend Sri Lanka in New York and Washington, Geneva and Delhi, Pretoria and Brasilia, and in the court of world opinion, now requires a struggle for democratic transformation as well as a struggle against undemocratic measures and the dominant political culture at home.’
The question that came to my mind was what Dr. Jayatilleke’s contribution to this deterioration has been?
To the question ‘Your greatest achievements in both spells as Ambassador?’ Dr. Jayatilleke responds:
[In my first spell, as Ambassador in Geneva, they were:
• Firstly, preventing the EU from being able to table a resolution to stop the war before it had ended in victory for Sri Lanka.
• Secondly, after the war had been successfully concluded, preventing the same group from passing a critical resolution calling for war crimes investigations and accountability at the UNHRC in May 2009.
After the sessions, two people immediately sent text messages of congratulations to a member of our delegation and through him to me while we were still in the UNHRC hall after our victory in the vote. They were the (then) Army Commander Gen Sarath Fonseka and Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda.
The recently released Charles Petrie Report on the role of the UN during the Lankan war and its last stages has almost two pages on the UN Human Rights Council April-May 2009. It reveals or rather, confirms, that the West had tried to get a Special Session on Sri Lanka through the UN Human Rights Council in April 2009 in order to stop the war, but failed to do so because it was thwarted from obtaining the requisite 16 signatures by the efforts of the Sri Lankan delegation.
As to the second achievement, it is better quote from hostile sources in the interest of objectivity:
• The Cage by Gordon Weiss
“On 27 May at the Palais des nations in Geneva, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanetham Pillay, addressed the Human Rights Council and called for an international inquiry into the conduct of both parties to the war. While the EU and a brace of other countries formulated and then moved a resolution in support of Pillay’s call, a majority of countries on the council rejected it out of hand. Instead they adopted an alternative motion framed by Sri Lanka’s representatives praising the Sri Lankan government for its victory over the Tigers...” (p229)]
The above statements confirm that Dr. Jayatilleke used his skills and international status to facilitate the Sri Lankan Government to take credit at the international level for the victory over the LTTE. Dr. Jayatilleke is confirming that through this move, Dr. Jayatilleke prevented an international inquiry into the conduct of the LTTE as well as the Sri Lankan Government during the last battle. An Administrator, Manager of global standards would have promoted such an inquiry – especially because it was towards inquiring into the conduct by ‘both’ sides. By suppressing such an inquiry – Dr. Jayatilleke was doing in his environment the parallel of the Parliament of Sri Lanka ‘blocking’ the Judiciary’s Administration of Justice – something he refers to as ‘A Perfect Blunder – 2’ . As a Scientist, he would use common principles and group his own blockade to be due to the same ‘cause’ – desire for political superiority over Judicial power.
At global level, we need to identify the returns of our own actions through what happens – as perceived by us directly. Hence the requirement for objectivity, at global level. Each one of us then looks at what it means to us and us alone and would not need intermediaries – be it the LTTE or the Government of Sri Lanka. As Lord Krishna says in Bhagawath Geetha, if we ask genuinely by standing under the wish-fulfilling tree (Katpagatharu) we get the fruits we ask for. But with the fruits come also the stomach aches. Dr. Jayatilleke stood under the global wish-fulfilling tree – the UN - and asked for the sweet fruit of victory over the LTTE by his Government and therefore himself - to be considered as victory over terrorism. He got what he asked for but also came with it the stomach aches – delayed by time. The stomach ache that Dr. Jayatilleke experienced after the war was the imprisonment of General Fonseka which was like imprisoning a part of himself. The stomach ache Dr. Jayatilleke is experiencing now – is the Judicial Impeachment and the debits that go with it at the international level – where Dr. Jayatilleke has earned membership – to allocate as well as to receive credits.
To me Dr. Jayatilleke acted through his political side and not as a diplomat driven by Truth on behalf of the whole of Sri Lanka. The way he did not want Sri Lankan Government to lose credit, he ought to have recognized that Tamil leaders would have been disadvantaged if LTTE were condemned at International level. Had there been an international inquiry – at least some of the Government’s weaknesses would have surfaced and the threat to the independence of the Sri Lankan Judiciary would have prevented or at least reduced.
To me – once we practice the law and reach its highest point of practice within our environment – we need to move towards using Truth to judge – including ourselves. The parallel of this in Public Service is Diplomatic Service. One who has reached the highest level of practice of law in her/his country – would naturally be that country’s Ambassador. In his interview on 21 November 2008, with Udara Soysa, Mr. Robert Blake stated ‘The most important factor for success in the Foreign Service is strong people skills. Everyone is intelligent and hard-working. But the most successful diplomats must have the ability to work easily with others, to take their concerns seriously, and to treat everyone, from the janitor to the Ambassador, with respect, humor and dignity. It is also important to not take yourself too seriously!’
When one is naturally able to think with respect about the Janitor as well as the Ambassador – one feels part of the whole. Hence my saying that the Pariah (toilet cleaner) and the Vice Chancellor of the University of New South Wales – (where I was arrested when seeking to share my wisdom in Resource Management ) – were equals. We are equals until known otherwise through merit basis. We are equals once we have successfully graduated through the merit based system. One who has practiced the law/merit basis at its highest level of practice in that environment has earned the right to represent the whole of that environment in that issue, through their own Truth.
When influencing the UN – did Dr. Jayatilleke act out of that true authority to represent the whole of Sri Lanka – including Tamils & Muslims? Or did he represent naturally only his group ? Every appointment by a politically driven Government that does not use merit basis openly / transparently – needs to be taken as a political appointment. Hence effectively, Dr. Jayatilleke was appointed to represent a Politically driven Government and not the whole of Sri Lanka, including the Judiciary and groups that do not have direct voting power to elect government at national level – due to their beliefs as minority groups. . Good politics works successfully when used on the basis of belief. One driven by her/his belief would respect and value the other’s belief. A Politically driven Administration would not have the commitment to appoint one who is more committed than themselves to use merit basis. This often is the case with groups/countries with low common resources. If one who is appointed happens to have greater commitment and skills to use merit basis – they are self-appointed to the extent of the ‘gap’. The ‘excess’ represents their authority to develop structures on the basis of their experience. This happened to me as a migrant Accountant here in Australia. The levels at which Australian employers were ready to give me (with my Sri Lankan qualifications) credit was as per their assessment of my value to them. Since I needed the jobs I quietly accepted their levels of assessment. But when I performed, I performed at my true level. The gap between the two helped me feel greater ownership especially in areas of democratic systems where Australian employers especially in Public Service were still at the elementary stages at that time. It also helped me not wait around for benefits from the old system – but developed my determination to structure new systems as per my experience as a minority. This is the path of democracy.
I sacrificed my earned opportunities to take actions against Central Administrators of the University of New South Wales. My sacrifices strengthened my determination to continue along the path of Truth instead of the ‘false claim of merit basis’ used by those employers. That which is True represents the whole. That which is false does not. Hence I truly believe that I represent the whole of Australia in democratic resource management. This is now helping me work with minority groups in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. I am helping them appreciate that it is better to get ‘even’ in our mind, for our purposes - than to fight against those in higher positions who are yet to graduate through the merit system of assessment.
Dr. Jayatilleke has worked with the Sri Lankan Government for some time now. It is now his ‘family’. Dr. Dayan criticizing openly the Government at his time of retirement is like criticizing our parents once we become independent of them. If those parents are strong reasons why we had/have the opportunities to enjoy credits that we currently enjoy, then by criticizing them we are enjoying credits that do not belong to us as individuals. What was created collectively needs to be given collective credit. Any individual credit must be limited to the work done after we officially resigned from that group/family and renounced all benefits and opportunities from that system. So says Dharma/Righteousness. Lord Muruga personification at Palani Hill depicts this philosophy. On that basis, Dr. Jayatilleke needs to use only experiences where he ‘lost’ due to the actions of his employers and not where he gained with them – as was the case with his Geneva experience. This is the reason why I could not identify with the criticism of the UN by Gordon Weiss. If we are fighting to improve the system inside we need to maintain confidentiality. To fight from ‘outside’ one needs to collect one’s own experiences and evidence – as an outsider. To use knowledge as an insider amounts to ‘insider trading’. Some call those who indulge in ‘insider trading’ traitors.