| by Gajalakshmi Paramasivam
( April 30, 2014, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) I write in response to the article ‘The Need For Caution And Space To Heal’by Dilrukshi Handunnetti.
The author analyses the effects of the ban by the Sri Lankan Government on Tamil Diaspora Organizations & individuals. As per my observations since the ban, the said groups do not seem to be seriously affected by the ban and understandably so. To be affected – they must share common Belief and/or Administrative systems with the party imposing the ban. Hence in this instance – one would not expect any serious damage to the organizations concerned.
The author writes, "there are several aspects that make this decision debate-worthy. First, Sri Lanka is said to be pursuing a path of reconciliation. Five years after the end of the war, when there are various programmes that are aimed at achieving that end, it may not be the most prudent path to take. Why? Listing of these organizations as a 'collective' can prove counterproductive and alienate those who may feel desirous of making some contribution to post-war Sri Lanka."
The programs promoting Reconciliation – are yet to ‘show’ real effects on the victims and/or would be victims of war. The real contribution to post-war Sri Lanka could come from the Tamil Diaspora only due to their belief in post-war Sri Lanka. Those who are not able to so believe, would continue to focus on their own local Tamil communities to develop a Political and hopefully Administrative system within the boundaries of their current countries of residence. Tamil Community in Sri Lanka is the common nucleus for this ‘development’. The risk in this is that the Tamil Community in India is likely to take the lead at various levels – especially socially.
The ban was used by Sinhalese individuals also – to warn me – a Tamil. It’s not new. I previously received threats of ‘white-van’ abductions from time to time when communicating through the electronic media. The strange discovery I have made is that at the emotional level – both groups collude – albeit intuitively until they have the opportunity to express that natural partnership in exchange for common benefit. This happened when the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka got together against the IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force) and later when Prabaharan colluded with Mr. Rajapakse to defeat Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe in the 2005 Presidential elections. Such collusion happens when two culturally different groups assimilate instead of integrating. I became the enemy of both Tamil as well as Sinhalese individuals after the ban.
Those of us who have the ‘experience’ due to such measures – would naturally influence outcomes. That is the law of Truth / Nature. To the extent we believe we belong to one side or the other or in common – we influence accordingly. The common ones get attacked by both sides. They are the representatives of moderates at the emotional/voter level.
Those who contribute to their own cultural structures would integrate. They are common owners and they show genuine diversity independent of the other. The diversity shown by them is healthy for the whole. They are natural opposition of each other – and in partnership one would be an Equal partner of the other.
The author states :
Designating these organizations swiftly, appeared, even to the most pro-government elements, as an emotional reaction as opposed to a well-considered decision to curb terrorism.
Assimilation happens with those driven by emotions. The two sides copy each other to alternately separate and collude for benefits. They are not capable of developing structures that would support peace and harmony. One gets these elements on both sides. The word terrorism used in this context is also an example of this emotional expression. That word when used to refer to Tamils would be offensive to the banned groups and individuals. It would be offensive because without the LTTE – these organizations and activities would not happen at the global level. If the LTTE are terrorists to the author then so are these groups that include LTTE supporters. If these groups are not Terrorism promoting organizations – then LTTE are not Terrorists. One cannot have it both ways.
The author states:
By clubbing some of these organizations which have by now, mainstreamed themselves and forming an integral part of the civil societies of Western democracies, would be unfair and this labelling can only cause further divisions.
Countries where Governments have expressly criticized the Sri Lankan Government over war-related conduct – would tend to be more inclusive of these organizations. These organizations give them the mandate to criticize another Government at the global level. These groups are having the last laugh.