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April 17, 2009
Tamil diaspora rises in protest of Sri Lanka conflict

Tamils protesting in Brussels.

The United Nations has warned of a possible “blood bath” as the Sri Lankan military encroaches on the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), who are now cornered in a small piece of coastal territory — along with up to 150,000 civilians.

The Tamil Tigers have long fought for an independent state for Sri Lanka’s Tamil ethnic minority. The civil war is one of Asia’s longest-running conflicts, and the U.N. estimates that more than 60 civilians are killed every day — caused by firing on both sides. Human Rights Watch reports that both sides are violating the laws of war, with the Tamil Tigers preventing civilians from leaving as the government fires indiscriminantly.

Against this backdrop, protests are rising up around the world — from London to Oslo to Ottawa — as Tamils living abroad demonstrate against the Sri Lankan offensive.

Nirmala Rajasingam is a Sri Lankan Tamil activist who lives in exile in London. She is a member of the steering committee of the Sri Lanka Democracy Forum (SLDF), an international network of progressive diaspora voices. Her younger sister, Rajani Thiranagama, was murdered after she broke with the Tamil Tigers and criticized their violent tactics.

She writes at “OpenDemocracy” to argue that Tamil protesters abroad need to face difficult truths about the Tamil Tigers and their tactics.

The Tamil diaspora: solidarities and realities

The Sri Lankan Tamil community may not be the largest of the diaspora communities represented in London or other such greatly diverse cities around the world, but the numbers and conviction they have mobilised in recent days to highlight the plight of their brethren at home have been exceptional. The demonstrations by Tamils in the centres of London, Toronto and other cities have been spectacular, defiant and spirited displays of grief and anger: men, women, and many young people have gathered with colourful flags and banners, staged sit-ins, and chanted slogans, while several of their number have promised to fast unto death.

Their slogans are simple: “Genocide!”, “Pirapaharan is our leader!”, and “We want Tamil Eelam!”. These references to the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the aspiration to an independent state in northern Sri Lanka are accompanied by the touting of images of this figure and the waving of flags showing the Tiger emblem. Several parliamentarians in Britain and Canada have voiced support for the demonstrators.

The humanitarian situation in parts of northern Sri Lanka – especially in the narrow strip of land around Mullaitivu – is indeed desperate, as the Sri Lankan army’s advances have continued and as they lay siege to LTTE redoubts where approximately 100,000 civilians are confined – the latest stage of a long war that has persisted since 1983 (see “Sri Lanka’s displaced: the political vice”, 8 April 2009).

The cries of genocide have risen with the intensification of the military campaign and a sharp turn for the worse in the fortunes of the Tamil Tigers. They have spread too beyond the official Tiger propaganda stream (radio, TV and newspapers); the blood-splattered images and messages have inundated cyberspace: via Facebook and YouTube and other cyberspace outlets, via a torrent of emails, the drenching claim is simple, direct and frightening: genocide. This campaign has mobilised even those who had never been politically involved before.

The genocide alert is at heart about the trapped civilians in Mullaitivu. But the truth about the horrific circumstances in which civilians are stranded there is not stated in full. They are caught between two armies, each of which seeks to use them as pawns in this war. The government forces have shown no inhibition in bombing and shelling indiscriminately into crowded civilian areas, schools and hospitals as long as their military objective of crushing the Tigers is achieved. But the civilians are dying not only as a result of such bombardments or in crossfire; for credible reports indicate that Tigers are not allowing civilians to move out of the line of fire and escape to government-controlled areas, and may be going further to prevent attempts to flee.

It is striking, however, that in all the demonstrations not a single cry, slogan or placard seems to demand that the Tigers should let the civilians go or cease their own assaults on them. The silence of the diaspora community on this issue is deafening. The general support for the Tamils’ cause has in the public arena collapsed into one soundbite. There is no recognition in these demonstrations of the fact that the military objectives of the LTTE are no longer reconcilable with the safety of the trapped civilians. There is a disjunction between propaganda and reality here that reflects the way the logic of Tamil Tiger propaganda has become internalised by much of the diaspora. This does nothing to help Sri Lankan Tamils.

Such spectacular demonstrations have the potential to send a powerful message to the international community about the true nature of the predicament of the trapped civilians. Why then do the demonstrators fail to highlight this. Why have they not also raised their voices against Tiger atrocities as well as the government’s? Why do they elide the horrifying predicament of the civilians with the political interest of the Tigers?

What makes these questions even more pertinent is that the huge demonstrations in the west that endorse the LTTE are in direct opposition to the waning popular support for the LTTE amongst Tamils in Sri Lanka itself.

To read more, see the original post.

The views expressed by contributing bloggers do not reflect the views of Worldfocus or its partners.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user quarsan under a Creative Commons license.

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To whom it may concern
Requesting a donation as unhappiest Tamil man in sri lanka
I wish to make an appeal to our community who lives world over to listen to my sad life story and help me and my two innocent children to live.
I am Mr.Vardharaja Perumal of vavniya in sri lanka, was living with my wife Mrs.dharshani Perumal and two daughters Miss.Diwya 8 years Miss.Bhanu 4 years in vavniya till December 2006.War situation was start again and in order to make some living I and my family came to horana. I bought a house and worked in a bakery and my wife worked in a privet rubber factory. But due to kidney failure of my wife, I had to mortgage our house to a money lender for some of rupees 1.2 million and I tried to rescue of my wife and the mother of my two daughters ; but my efforts were lost as she scarified for a long period and passed away by keeping a impossible liability ahead of mine.
As I have no any relation to help because the war loosed everything from us. I am lost to understand as how to and which precautious I should take to release my house from the money lender and how to make the two children educational and livings.
As the interest of my house mortgage has arisen areas; I was asked to handover the house and leave. But Oh .god where am I to go: with my two children. We are a small community people who get harassed and if I don’t get any help from there sinhala community people. I have no option other than succeeding with my children.
I very humbly and sincerely request the very kind people to help me by contributing some money in possible manner to get establish in our own house by releasing the faced to the money lender which will be a very great help for my family in this junction.
Here with I am forwarding my coordinator’s e-mail address for your very kind references; and may I request you to contribute at least 10 $ if possible
May I pray you all very prosperous and healthy life in future.

You’re sincerely,
Vardharaja Perumal


depend on you people Tharumaseelam Thangavel (27) and Arunan Thanabalasingam rapists, arm dealers, drug smugglers you peple are terrarists bad to the society. should be hang and kill. never support you people.. scum of the earth! go back to your country..


the srilanka governmeant is the terrorist governmeant and the ones killing the people and we have to keep protesting to save our people who depend on us and they have there trust on us . i am not a supporter of the LTTE but i dont also hate the LTTE so if there helpin to save our families i trust in them!


number one they are doing tis in order to save the tamil civilians who are in the clenches of the srilankan….we are the ones who have to speak up to save our people !!!!! our cousins brothers sisters aunts uncles and even our parents so were ready to do anything!we have to save the tamils in there clenches STOP THE GENOCIDE!!!!


We should stop calling LTTE as Tamil LTTE. LTTE does not represent the Tamil nation. LTTE is just another mafia group which feeds on Tamil people. LTTE leader has proved it internationally with its own actions.
When it comes to raping & killing, will there be any place safe for women where there is no rape or violence. Is there any country where there are no monsters? Is there any country where little children are safe from rapists? Is there any country in the world that there are no psychopaths? It’s everywhere. Don’t tell there have been no rapes involved with LTTE. Monsters are hiding every where. It doesn’t have to be only Sinhalese. Rapist can be a Sinhalese, Tamil, Muslim, American, Canadian, Brit, or an Australian. Sinhalese can also say how LTTE has killed & rape innocent Sinhalese and Tamil civilians & children by attacking villages and burning them down. Whether it’s done by Tamils or Sinhalese violence should be stopped.
Also what about LTTE killing their own Tamil people? The terror of the LTTE started with mass extermination of TELO members. Their parents and loved ones had to watch how their children were murdered for supporting other Tamil organizations which also fights for freedom and rights of Tamils.
Democratic leaders like Mr.Amirthalingam, Padmanabha & his associates (which I had the honor of personally knowing) were brutally assassinated by LTTE who pretends to protect the rights of Tamil people. By assassinating the former Prime Minister of India Rajive Gandhi, LTTE has once again proved its international terror ability by confirming that LTTE is an organization with a leader who has turned maniac.
LTTE Mafia has instructed and trained their bottom men to kill its opponents ruthlessly to terrorize other opponents and Tamil civilians. These kinds of terror tactics are applied by maniacs who have no logical thinking to justify their conducts and who has no accountability to its own people.
We are glad that this maniac’s terror is ending. Sri Lanka government is doing a big favor to peace loving Tamils, Sinhalese and all the other countries who have been terrorized by LTTE.
As Sri Lankans, we all should give our support to help the displaced Tamil families in north & east to rebuild their lives after this war. Tamils & Sinhalese, we all should work together to put away our bitter memories and hate which has been fertilized by LTTE & Sinhala politicians. We should build the trust which has been lost for many years.

After winning the war, Rajapaksha government will be facing the biggest challenge of the Sri Lankan history. It is to find a genuine political solution to dissolve power between Tamils and Sinhalese. If we want Sri Lanka to be one united country, we all should work together and find political solutions which can bind us together once again as one great nation.


Tigers born with many such grps but ‘brutally tailored’ as SOLE by assassinating all other representatives whoever cud be get competitor for them even if there is a democratic structure…

who fed and who nourished LTTE for separate nation..? no one fed… the LTTE sole supremo boldly said in stage that “whoever divert & feed diff thot against gaining separate nation, will be killed.. so we killed amirthalingam.!!!”.. yes not only him there was so many leaders & their 1000 of supporters, family members got killed…! u says this someone fed them for separate nation..??? no… they made no choice for ppl than depending their strategy by erasing all other representatives, even tho if ppl likes only & equal rights & peace.. not a separate nation adamantly! It is prabhakaran’s sole decision that he need separate nation and only he must be SOLE LEADER of the nation… so that he can escape from all the murders punishments of local & foreign diplomats.. for that he has bargained 75,000 innocent lives by trapping them in crossfire.. and now also keeping ‘hostage’ to achieve what he has in mind for last 25 yrs!

in which world we living..? we living in a world where no any single armed grp can achieve any piece of land from any nation in approval of UN… thus.. as long as the diaspora ( who never going to come back to lanka even if own land achieved..) supporting LTTE, UN never going to help making any permanent solution for the crisis! in current situation.. a halt and devolution or separate nation wud just only favor LTTE, who as usual wud never allow any other tamils to be competitor for them. u ppl want UN to negotiate for this kind of political life for tamils? u ppl shud think that this will be a example for all other terrors who have arm power! Taliban can do the same in any nation and claim at UN to make ‘freedom to rule’! a ‘halt’ in current military action may help LTTE to regroup or rearm by diaspora.. and the crisis wud never end!

if we want UN’s support for tamil’s aspirations and permanent solution in this crisis, then it is must there shud not be LTTE active and all tamil representatives shud be fearless to take part in open politics..! so it is must to ask LTTE to change their current ‘hostage’ brutality which trapping innocent civilians in jaws of death! There will be a definite solution for tamils by India or UN if LTTE fused. Already India in discussion with other lankan tamil parties regarding post-LTTE movement if racial singhala ppl denies rights for minority tamils in post-LTTE move! u diaspora ppl can still justify etc etc favor to LTTE, but their 25 yrs ‘experimented’ strategy is a complete failure one & fatal too.. so there must be a change now..! Instead of clapping for ‘cheap hostage brutality terror politics’, plz let us ask the UN or India to confirm with srilankan govt of their drafted realistic ‘freedom package’ for tamils in post-LTTE movement..


Decent Human beings should speak up and take action against the atrocities perpetrated on the Tamils in Sri Lanka. We cannot remain silent, when young children are raped by the Sinhala Sri Lanka Army. Please visit this website for more info >


Again the world fails the morality test: What is in the best interests of the fellow humans wanting to live in their native land. Kruds, Basque, Tamil they are all wanting freedom from oppression and outside exploitation. As we fail the morality test our so called, “cardinal human values” are flushed down the toilet.


“It is striking, however, that in all the demonstrations not a single cry, slogan or placard seems to demand that the Tigers should let the civilians go or cease their own assaults on them” cries the author. Where did the Tigers come from? Are they aliens as the author implies? Can the “trapped civilian” now disown the Tigers who they fed and nourished to secute their homeland?

In which planet are we living???


Everybody is talking about Tigers are terrorist and they should release the civilians trapped there.. but they are not thinking about the civilians them self, why would the civilians want to be in the hands of their own killers which is the government of Sri Lanka? Its not the Tigers who are killing the innocents civilians it’s the Sri Lankan army. Raping young teenagers and force abortions are just the few tactics the Sri Lankan armed forces uses to combat terror.. Even when the Sri Lankan army was sent to Haiti by UN for peace keeping mission they were convicted of Rape; so what are they capable of doing in their own country? so now tell my why would the Tamils be in the hands of the state terrorist government? Please if people are interested in the atrocities including raping of innocent girls done by the Sri Lankan army read this article or (Sri Lankan army rapes in Haiti peacekeeping mission (BBC S Lanka troops ‘abused Haitians’) The fact is that Sri Lankan government cannot be trusted. They are responsible for killing and torturing so many Tamils even before the war started. If GoSL doesn’t want to hide anything then they should stop the ban on NGO’S, MEDIA’S and International Aid Workers in the warzone. What they can’t hide is the genocide.

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