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War Crimes Day observed globally by Tamils
Tamil Guardian 02 June 2010 Print ArticleE-mail ArticleFeedback On Article
   

Tamils across the globe commemorated the first anniversary of the end of the Mulliyavaikkal massacre and marked 18 May as ‘War Crimes Day’.

 

In the US, more than four hundred Tamils held a remembrance rally in Washington D.C. "We had the event at the very heart of the Nation built on promise of freedom and justice; we demonstrated first in front of the White House, and after a one mile procession, at the reflecting pool adjoining the Lincoln memorial to symbolize and demonstrate our resolve that we will never forget this atrocity, and that until we bring the perpetrators of this dastardly crimes, we will not rest," Dr Jeyarajah, the main organizer of the event said.

 

"Today we stand united as one community remembering the Tamils of Sri lanka who were massacred by evil. What kind of evil murders over 40,000 civilians in one weekend? Over 100,000 Tamils in the last 20 years," Dr. Ellyn Shander, a key member of the US Tamil Political Action Group (USTPAC) who spoke at the event asked.

 

"Before their deaths, many of the murdered people begged, "Help us, save us, tell our story.”

 

"They sent their messages out in eyewitness videos, through the brave doctors during the siege, and through the occasional Tamil who escaped from the fighting. They wanted the world to know about their suffering, their horror and their sacrifice.. They held the hope until the very end that the civilized world would somehow come to their rescue. The truth of the premeditated genocide was inconceivable.

 

"They believed that the United States or India would stop the carnage.. But sadly no one came.. No one helped. No one responded to their pleas. And no one stopped the Sri Lankan government from burning their bodies and hiding the evidence," Dr Shander said.

 

Jan Jananayagam, British representative of US-based group "Tamils Against Genocide (TAG)" and who contested as an independent candidate in the the 2009 European Parliament, speaking to the attendees, noting that Vanni has represented to Tamil people "hope and freedom," said: "[i]n the final years as the Sri Lankan army came North, tens of thousands of Tamil people fled to Vanni, converging from every direction into this symbolic centre of Tamil Eelam.

 

"They too chose the hope of freedom over the certainty of repression. But the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has been cruelly betrayed,” Jananayagam said.

 

Dr. Ilangkovan, a retired physician, also appealed to Tamils in Tamil Nadu to join in masses to take the struggle forward.

 

While the conventional war has ended, the next phase of struggle has just begun in the many lands across the seas from the shores of Sri Lanka where the Tamils were treated worse than animals, Jeyarajah told TamilNet.

 

"The psychological trauma of witnessing their own relatives, friends and neighbors suffering, will linger for generations in Tamils' psyche and, the State's attempts at erasing the physical evidence will only firmly imprint the horrific images in expatriates' minds. We hope, this will propel all expatriate Tamils to unite and work towards exposing Sri Lanka State to international justice.

 

"Tamil expatriates should shun talks of development and reconciliation, which some of the powers are attempting to do, until accountability for the genocidal crime is established," Jeyarajah said.

 

In Norway, representatives of political parties participated and spoke in the gathering organized by the Norwegian Council of Eelam Tamils (NCET). The commemoration event took place on 18 May in Oslo, beginning at 18:00 with silent prayer in remembrance of those killed in the war on Vanni, followed by speeches on behalf of NCET on the needs of Eelam Tamils, the victims of an ethnic genocide.

 

In Canada, more than 15,000 people gathered in Toronto in front of Queens Park Parliament, where representatives of several humanitarian organizations pledged their support to the Tamils’ cause.

 

In Italy, a 25 km demonstration march commemorating the massacre began around 8:00 and ended at 17:00. More than 10,000 handbills were distributed during the march, which was organized by Italy West Region Tamil Youths Organization. Representatives of UN humanitarian organizations, Amnesty International, political parties, unions and other humanitarian organizations participated in the meeting that followed the march.

 

In France, a similar march organized by France Tamil Rehabilitation Organization (TRO) started at 15:30 and terminated at Humans Rights Square around 17:30. In the public meeting which followed the march political leaders Vovard Jacques, Jacques Fabres, Capitano and TRO coordinator spoke.

 

In Switzerland, more than 1,500 Tamils took part in the remembrance event named "Chivantha" May (Blood-soaked May), organized by the Switzerland Council of Eelam Tamils (SCET).

 

Switzerland representative of the Sudanese political movement voicing against the genocide in Darfur and Green Party politician Zefari Zidun, explained how his people experienced the genocide in Darfur and said there was no struggle that has been won without experiencing major political setbacks. Mr. Zidun underlined the significance of the awareness work engaging the global community in solidarity action.

 

A dance theatre presented the geopolitical injustice experienced by Tamils, depicting how the war against Tamils was abetted by the powers of the world.

 

Christoph Wiedmer, the project director of the Swiss based international human rights organisation, Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), addressed the gathering.

 

Twenty-six democratically elected members of the SCET took oath in front of the masses, who gathered at Helvetia in Zurich in an emotional remembrance event. The president of the SCET, Tharsika Pakeerathan, a computer science student coordinated the joint remembrance and inauguration event, concluded emotionally with the reggae song by Bob Marley: "Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights."

 
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