Boat Karma

| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

( December 6, 2013, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) These days there is active discussion regarding asylum seekers. Some on temporary protection visas have rung us seeking to know what their plight would be? Here in Australia this issue is highly politicized and hence the karma of majority Australians would drive the real outcomes – which often are least visible at the top level. They are the root causes.

In her article ‘Australia's draconian refugee policy is built on myths’, Professor Jane McAdam, Scientia Professor of Law and the founding director of the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at the University of NSW, states:

‘Since every choice an asylum seeker makes involves risk, it is unsurprising that threats of detention or offshore processing don’t necessarily deter in the way policymakers might anticipate. We also know this from our experience of the previous policies on which today’s harsh responses are based. As former Australian prime minister Malcolm Fraser has observed, “No amount of deterrence can match the terror from which those who are genuine refugees are fleeing.” But alarmed Australians have another myth to turn to – the myth that most asylum seekers arriving by boat are not genuine refugees anyway, but economic migrants looking for a better life. The facts simply do not bear this out.’

Today’s migrant develops the real position that tomorrow’s migrant steps into. It’s not the government alone that decides tomorrow’s reality but migrants who have fled from those alleged ‘terror-stricken’ countries. The former is the Budget and the latter is the Actual. Those with little knowledge of actuals would tend to excessively use Budgets with little or no connection to Actuals – and hence the immigration myths. But then is the government alone in this? To a large proportion in Sri Lanka’s North and East – this myth of ours is a dream. Australians look at the cost side and Sri Lankans the benefit side. Both are economic approaches. In terms of Human Resources – Sri Lanka loses and Australia gains. To conclude only from one side would lead to anxiety for Australians and hallucination for Sri Lankans – both at surface level. At the body count level – both are even – in that Australia gains Humans that Sri Lanka loses. Where our immigration system is just and strong – we would gain the experience of the Human with the body. The missing nucleus for the surface reader is the experience of the two sides. The real value is as per that experience.

As a migrant of Sri Lankan origin, who went to prison for upholding at the University of New South Wales, my Equal rights as an Australian and who sponsored relatives and insisted on them towing the path of law, I carry the experience from both sides. The Judiciary is part of the immigration problem that we Australians face. They are often short-sighted and are driven by lawyers hired by surface migrants. The more impressive the lawyer – the more likely is the win for her/his side. Through all these processes – we the citizens – record our karma – through areas where we have sovereign power. THAT is the ultimate decider as to how we are affected by the outcomes of immigration.

Take for example, the above mentioned article by Professor McAdam, published in the Guardian. The expressions come with the status of the University of New South Wales (UNSW) which as per my direct experience has negative karma in the practice of Racial Equality. When I was arrested for alleged Trespass and listed by Police as Sri Lankan despite my strong protests that I was Australian, the UNSW earned strong negative karma in relation to immigration. It was made worse by the UNSW using armed officers to invade my home and remove family assets to recover legal costs. Every person who uses the UNSW status to publish their work – is naturally affected by that negative karma. It’s like children inheriting parents’ diseases.

It’s time, we paused and went into our own Truth – to identify with the structure/path we have developed – consciously or subconsciously – for our respective roles in this issue. That Truth is the real contribution we all make naturally through our regular life. Anything that fails to include that Truth is a myth one way or the other.

Our contribution to minimizing the damage from myth on both sides – is to replace ourselves in our country of origin – in this instance - Sri Lanka – by developing and showing the positions and structures that the next generation would step into. These need to be heavy on where we would have been, had we not left Sri Lanka – the country whose system supported us to become who we are/were before becoming Australians. It’s true that some parts of the country failed us and we suffered due to it. But each one of us has the moral duty to replace ourselves so the structures that supported us would continue. In my case, Australian government also failed me but that does not mean that I stop being Australian. I became that government from that point onwards. That to me is the path of every genuinely self-governing person.

Hence to me, every genuine refugee from Sri Lanka – continues to be Sri Lankan due to the experience they have had in Sri Lanka. That’s how we become global. At the physical level those of us who are already independent of our countries of origin would express themselves as per the side that has the deeper need. To the global citizen both countries are part of her/himself. On that basis – those who show forgetfulness of their debt to their origins are the bogus immigrants. When they do so for economic reasons, only the economy of the side they are seen to belong to is affected. When they do so for other reasons – such as fleeing the law – Australia’s structural makeup is affected. Hence the human trafficking problems.

The post-war investment of Diaspora Tamils, in their land of origin is very weak. It often seems as if they are strengthening their off-shore positions and are failing to replace themselves in the land whose systems supported them to be who they are.

Here in Australia, institutions such as the UNSW have to reconcile between their own policies and realities and become self-governing beyond the point the government officially includes them in national affairs. Each one of us contributes to the actuals and those who seek, identify with the karmic connection. Through migrants – Australia spends money to gain status. Sri Lanka loses status that Australia gains. If Australia desires status that it has not earned then the return is anxiety. Asylum seekers are just one form of that anxiety. If not for them – we would have more genuine migrants going to prison like I was sent to or there would be more revenge attacks through surface readers desiring the status of rulers including within their local communities.