| by Gaja Lakshmi Paramasivam
( July 29, 2014, Sydney, Sri Lanka Guardian) I read with interest the Sri Lanka Guardian article ‘We Must Fight For A Radical Change In Society’ based on the speech by Ms Tamara Kunanayakam, former Permanent Representative of Sri Lanka, to the United Nations. The question that came to my mind is ‘Is Ms Kunanayakam speaking as Sri Lankan or Global citizen?’ The parallel of that for a Sri Lankan living in Sri Lanka and working in Sri Lankan Public Service is ‘Is that person an officer or gentleman/lady?’ The parallel for me in Australia was ‘Am I an Australian Public Officer or a natural Migrant-Australian?’
The two are not likely to merge naturally where the system of law and order is driven more by personal thoughts and belief by the primary member (politician) rather than by discriminative thinking using Common Law and principles covering all groups beyond local borders. This is also a question that arises when we marry. ‘Are we members of the system we grew up with or are we members of the system we marry into?’ In the case of those who come to Colombo from Jaffna – the question is ‘Am I Sri Lankan or Tamil?’. Likewise in the case of those who come to Parliament from Hambantota the question is ‘Am I member of the local political system or am I member of the President’s team?’
At the primary (voter) level of a structure as well as at the tertiary (governance) level – members tend to act naturally. A good system would allocate responsibility to the primary member – through Due Processes and eliminate ‘showing’ of finished outcome directly to the Public. At the tertiary level – there needs to be no allocation at all to the member. Such a member would provide ‘service’. Where the primary member’s work through the standards of the processes fails to confirm this ‘service’ by tertiary member – a restructure is needed to change Due Processes used by primary members.
Where the difference is due largely to time based natural changes - a reconciliation is required prior to the restructure. Where the difference is due to lack of common belief due to indifference at one level or the other - devolution is needed. Where the lack of belief is at the primary level – separation and regrouping as per belief is needed – so there is least interference from primary level in the space of the governor. Where the lack of belief is at the tertiary level – demotion of the institution as a whole needs to take place to reduce the gap between the primary and tertiary levels – so the effects of one’s actions and words would be seen more quickly and addressed without delay.
Ms Tamara Kunanayakam states to the Young Socialists Union ‘I’m here because I’m Sri Lankan, and I’m here because I’m proud to be Sri Lankan! I’m also here because separatism and partition will not resolve the problems that we face. I am convinced that only a people united can combat exploitation and injustice and can defend the hard-won sovereignty and independence of the country that is under threat.’ The Union membership is part of Ms Kunanayakam’s inheritance from her father. There is a strong component of belief in that. Not so the position in the UN. Former leads to inner status that develops self-confidence through which we would take our places in a group. Latter is outer status – to ‘show’ our employer’s status to outsiders. So long as we receive money and status to be in a position – our ‘shown’ position needs to be stronger than our inner placement as per our belief. Hence Sri Lankan before Tamil / Sinhalese / Muslim.
Where primary level members are allocated status by appointments in high positions because they are ‘clever’ they would produce outcomes that would not include the work of those above the primary members in real terms. That happened in the case of LTTE which eventually ‘took-over’ leadership of the Tamil Community and wrote off the higher level contribution to governance by those using ‘common systems’. Those who ‘accepted’ LTTE leadership ‘lost’ their heritage from intellectual leaders in governance – including our ancestors from whom we inherited the laws of Tesawalamai.
To me Thesawalamai is about Diversity – on gender basis as well as on the basis of our work. A mother cooking and cleaning for her family – is therefore Equal to the father who uses his skills to earn money from outside the family. Where this status is not recognized by a Jaffna Tamil – such a person contributes to role reversals in old age – after retirement from money earning work. By allocating Equal status to the mother – the father shares his external status and therefore naturally earns Equal status when in mother’s territory. If the mother denies this – then she becomes a dictator and shows that more quickly in old age – where people tend to think that they are the bosses. Likewise migrants who accept lower status to be in favor with the employer.
Ms Kunanayakam is now revealing that she acted as a paid officer while representing Sri Lanka in the UN. Hence the failures to work the UN system. The UN system would have been worked by independently practicing UN principles and/or becoming an ordinary member once one as a self-governing citizen nominates her/himself to the appropriate Service position within the UN. If that had happened, Ms Kunanayakam would have in her own mind represented Sri Lanka at the global level – with or without an official position. Without a position, Ms Kunanayakam represents Young Socialists. That’s her inner self-allocated status.