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Balancing the UN Equation

| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam

( April 9, 2014, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) The latest UNHRC Resolution needs to be taken along with the earlier proscription of the LTTE. One who takes only the latest UNHRC resolution is dividing and separating and is operating at Cost – Benefit level. Such a person/group is not part of the structure from which Benefits flow – in this instance the UN structure. In some ways – the Sri Lankan Government was reminding us of that proscription when it recently proscribed pro LTTE groups and individuals – but only to the extent it operates as per UN values and structures. To that extent it confirms and upholds its participation in global governance through global structures.

As a parent and grandparent, I relate to the value of this through my family position. I am known to be a strict disciplinarian (stricter than the UN) with even my grandchildren – but not as often as I was with my children. I don’t need to – because my children do their jobs to my satisfaction. I am more relaxed about disciplining my grandchildren because I know that I have not lost my children because of that discipline but rather have kept them included with me and together with each other. To that extent they confirm that they have accepted my discipline.

The countries/groups that gave refuge to Sri Lankans on both sides are the children of UN. All those who drew / draw benefits from either side are the grandchildren of the UN. Within the Sri Lankan Government as well as the Tamil Community – there are both – the children as well as the grandchildren. There are few grandparents who have earned respect equal to that of the UN. They keep all participants bound together.

Now, through my grandchildren, I realize that discipline applied in common actually brings the disciplined together. Later the disciplined merge also with the person disciplining, through respect; – genuine and natural respect. Just this week I disciplined my granddaughters when they kept asking to go over to their friend’s home next door to play. Their parents were at work and I said ‘no’ and spoke to them more firmly than I usually do. Both of them (5 and 6 years of age) were unhappy with the decision but the result was that they played together in their room, even though they stopped playing with me. After a while they came out and asked whether we could play ‘joker’ – a popular card-game in our family. That outcome happened quickly because they accepted the discipline instead of taking it as punishment.

Sri Lanka’s two ethnic sides are like grandchildren to the UN. When the LTTE was proscribed, Tamils who were already part of the Structure of the Community (as parents are) felt disciplined. Those who were deriving benefits due to the LTTE (including ego pleasures when the LTTE had wins in the battlefield) would have felt punished.

Likewise now, with the latest UNHRC Resolution – those who are part of the Sri Lankan Government structure would feel disciplined. Those who benefit from the Government would feel punished. Those who feel disciplined have earned higher respect than those who feel punished. Those who were physically part of the LTTE-living in Sri Lanka – far away from the UN – the proscription would not have been a major problem. Next are those who use the events that were manifested largely through the LTTE. Likewise, the Sinhalese in relation to the latest UNHRC Resolution. Those who have naturally used the subjective authority of the Sri Lankan Government as the ultimate authority – would be immune to direct UN actions. They would naturally go up and down with the decisions of their elected leaders as if they themselves made those decisions.

The real value from all this is the RESPECT we earn from ourselves and from wider society. To many, my legal losses – against high Australian officials may seem like punishments. But if they had been part of the experience they would appreciate that majority present ‘respected me’ for doing what I was doing – and this often included the lawyers representing the other side including the Prime Minister of Australia, the Vice Chancellor of the University of New South Wales and the Managing Director of Australian Broadcasting Corporation. More recently – this was also the case with Mallakam District Court in Northern Sri Lanka – over the proceedings in a testamentary case where I was disciplined by the Judge for disciplining the opposition lawyer in the public area of the Court. Lawyers present in that Court, demonstrated much respect for me after the event, away from the eyes of the judge. Likewise Court Officials. That is the way the subjective system works.

Those physically present – without direct vested interest in the outcome usually are the primary level folks to demonstrate that respect. Through that respect they acknowledge our place in the structure. One judge who did fail me stated in his judgment that I ‘would not be told what to do’. Many officers of the Court – including officers with the responsibility to search me as part of Due Process – showed their approval through demonstrated Respect. At that time, I myself was still hurting from my losses to value this. But now that I realize that I did not actually lose the value – but raised the benefit to value level. The outer representation (money and status) – of the negative energy present in our system – became Cost of Membership in the structure – paid through the common process. I am able to recognize and value the Respect extended to me including by most judges. Those to whom the Court system was largely for benefits – would have punished me through their ‘judgments’.

One way to recognize the respect - is through the demonstrated respect by the third person including the judge at around the same time, at that place. At that level – the judge is also one of the primary level participants. It is the basis of majority vote. The side that is respected more is promoted to the higher structural level – even if that side is declared the loser in that matter – in my case often due to lack of subjective influence with the judges. The real structure is made up of all without any official status but just ordinary membership/citizenship/shareholding. Wins and Losses on their own – without this structure – are temporary and get lost as quickly as they came.

The Tamil Community similarly lost when LTTE was proscribed by the UN followed by other countries. But since then many who are part of the Community Structure, have facilitated for the world to learn that Tamils are a respectable community. I believe I am one of them. This was needed by the average person including Sri Lankans of other ethnicities who would judge in haste at cost benefit level – to take advantage of a Tamil without apparent higher status – like how the Australian Police kept listing me as Sri Lankan despite my protests that I was Australian by law. Once we submit – it is easier for them to dish out punishment. We are then punishing ourselves. Often disciplinary actions become punishments due to mental resistance by the independent party.

Those Tamils who consider the UNHRC Resolution as a ‘win’ are yet to earn the Respect of the Community and therefore recognition as part of the higher structure. To them, the proscription by the Sri Lankan Government would feel like punishment to the extent they elevated themselves due to showing more benefits and not because they sacrificed earned benefits. Those who are already part of the governance / parental Structure of the Tamil Community, would take it as disciplinary action needed to redeem the lost status of the Community as a whole. Likewise, Sinhalese who ‘benefit’ more from the government than they have paid as costs – would tend to consider the UNHRC Resolution as punishment. Others would accept it as discipline needed by their Community towards becoming part of a Respectable Government Structure. To the extent we accept both – the Proscription and the latest UNHRC Resolution - we come together as Sri Lankans and beyond as part of global governance – because the discipline has come from the higher body – UN.

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