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Home > Tamils - a Nation without a State > Canada > February 4 1999 - A Day of Fasting & Prayer > International Frame of the Struggle for Tamil Eelam
Tamils - a Nation without a State
February 4 1999 - A Day of Fasting & Prayer
"Over a half century, the Tamil nation has been subjected to severe oppression by the Sri Lankan Sinhalese State. Systematic discriminatory legislation and violent atrocities against the Tamil people have continued since independence from the British.
For over 30 years, democratically elected Tamil leaders protested against such oppression through non-violent, democratic and peaceful means. The just demands of the Tamil people were answered with military repression and state terrorism. Promises were made, but never fulfilled; the agreements and pacts entered into became dead letters.
The friction between the two peoples (the Sinhalese nation and the Tamil Eelam nation) finally emerged as a major conflict leading to the demand for secession at the 1977, Parliamentary elections. The Tamils overwhelmingly voted a mandate to create the state of Tamil Eelam. The Sri Lankan Government, however, continued its repression, state terrorism and flagrant violations of human rights. It is this brutalisation that led the Tamils to take up arms to defend themselves. The Sri Lanka government has banned both domestic and foreign media from visiting the war zone and reporting independently. The world at large is kept in the dark with only the news put out by the Government, which is one sided and biased. This war is a war without witness.
70,000 innocent Tamils have been killed and a million Tamils became refugees, of which 200,000 have sought political asylum in Canada. We call upon the Government of Canada to intervene to end the genocidal war launched by the Sri Lanka government against the Tamil people and bring a just and peaceful solution to the conflict.
To remember this Black Day, the Tamils will observe Thursday, 4 February 1999 as a Day of Prayer and Fasting.
Brief Historical Background - Why
Sri Lanka’s Independence Day, February 4 1948 was and is a Black Day for Eelam Tamils
Tamil Eelam is the Tamil’s homeland comprising the North and East of the Indian Ocean Island of Ceylon, renamed Sri Lanka in 1972.
From the beginning of the 13th Century to the 17th Century AD, the Eelam Tamil Nation had its own sovereign Kingdom ruled by Tamil Kings. Likewise the Sinhala Nation with its contrasting language, culture, religion etc. had its own sovereign Kingdoms in the West and Central parts of Ceylon.
From 1505 - 1948, the Portuguese, Dutch and finally the British colonial powers came as conquerors and ruled the whole Island in the above order of succession, while still maintaining the territorial integrity of the Tamil Eelam Nation.
In 1833 the British colonial government amalgamated the Tamil Nation and the Sinhala Nation for administrative convenience into one central state.
On Feb 4, 1948 the Island gained independence from the British. However, the British left behind their legacy in the form of a highly centralised unitary state whereby the Tamil Nation, ipso facto, came under the hegemonic rule of the majority Sinhalese.
For almost a half a century after the so-called independence, the Nation of Tamil Eelam has been subjected to severe repression and oppression It took the form of violent atrocities perpetrated against a small nation by the national chauvinism of a big nation – the Sinhala Nation – the ruling elite which pursued a disastrous policy aimed at destroying the ethnic identity of the Tamil speaking People and threatened their very survival.
For nearly a quarter of a century Tamil Parliamentary political parties launched a series of non-violent campaigns in the form of "Satyagraha", civil disobedience etc., seeking the restoration of the basic human rights of the Tamil Nation. Yet the legitimate political demands of the Tamils were met with savage military repression while the promises given to the Tamils were never fulfilled and the agreements and pacts entered into became dead letters. The national friction between the two peoples finally emerged as a major contradiction leading to the demand for secession by the oppressed obtained by a plebiscite in the parliamentary election of 1977.
To the world community the Sri Lankan ruling class portrays the country as a tranquil island, cherishing the Buddhist ideals of Peace and Dharma and adhering to a harmless political doctrine of non-alignment. Paradoxically, behind this political façade lies the factual reality, the reality of national oppression, blatant violations of human rights, racial crimes, police and military violence, rape and genocide.
Oppressive measures in the form of ethnic cleansing, discriminatory acts of Parliament in the sphere of citizenship, franchise, language, land, higher education, employment etc. are many to list. A few of them are, however, listed below:
Presently the Eelam Tamil Nation is subjected to such oppressive measures unimaginable by civilised society nor has the international community any means of knowing them because of strict press censorship has been imposed. The following are a few such measures:
(i) More than 250 army camps are dotting the landscape of North and East and daily artillery shelling and aerial bombardment are killing and maiming innocent Tamils in their hundreds;
(ii) In 1990 the Sri Lankan government imposed an inhuman economic blockade of the North and East virtually denying the Tamil people adequate food, fuel and even medicine. Innocent Tamil children, women and aged have been the worst sufferers.
(iii) Due to constant military offensives launched by the army, about 400,000 Tamils are languishing in the Vanni jungles as refugees under deplorable conditions and international NGOs like MSF(Doctors without Border) are severely restrained in providing relief to suffering Tamils.
(iv) Jaffna the cultural city of the Tamils is under the jack-boot of the Sinhala army since 1995/96;
(v) The Sinhala army during search and cordon-off operations rounds up Tamils living in the North and East as well as Colombo. Thousands of Tamils arrested by the Sinhala armed forces are languishing in prisons, some over 4 years, situated in the South without charges or trial;
(vi) The Sinhala government continue to drag its feet giving one excuse or other to open up the Chemmani mass graves. According to Amnesty International, more than 400 innocent Tamils have been buried, after arrest, torture and murder by the Sinhala army of occupation during 1995/96.