mirrors the soul of our nation,
And shows the price it was willing to pay,
To secure our freedom, knowing if it was lost,
That soul would sicken, and would wither away"
ANZAC Day - 25 April -
is probably Australia's and New Zealand's most important
national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major
military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces
during the First World War. ANZAC stands for Australian and New
Zealand Army Corps. The soldiers in those forces quickly became
known as Anzacs, and the pride they soon took in that name
endures to this day.
Australians of the past
era were well aware of the evils of a war. Darwin and Sydney
experienced aerial bombardment during the Second World War.
Australian soldiers went to the war theatre in Europe and Asia
Pacific. The above verse written by an Australian perfectly
illustrates the significance of the war clouds clearing and dawn
of peace in 1945.
Australian youth came
forward in droves enthusiastically to defend their country. The
following story illustrates the patriotism and dutifulness of an
Australian youth who came forward to serve his motherland.
An Australian youth
called Alec Campbell was barely sixteen years old. On 2nd July
1915, two months after the landing at Gallipoli was reported in
the Australian newspapers, Alec presented himself at the
recruiting office where he gave his age as 18 years 4 months. He
was at that time, he stated, a clerk in an insurance company,
and had served three years in the Senior Cadets at Launceston's
Scotch College. He was 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighed 135
pounds. Parental consent was necessary for anyone between the
ages of 18 and 21 to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force,
which should have presented an obstacle to enlistment because
Alec had in fact lied about his age, raising it a full two years
above his actual 16 years and 4 months.
He met the problem of
how to show the authorities he had his parents' permission
head-on; he simply got it from them. His mother and father
signed a letter in which they give their consent to his
'enlistment for the front', unwittingly reserving a special
place in history for their son, No. 2731 Private A. W. Campbell,
15th (Queensland & Tasmania) Battalion, 4th Infantry Brigade,
Australian Imperial Force. He would be nicknamed and known by
his comrades as 'The Kid.' The famous picture of Alec Campbell
with a rifle justifies his nickname "The Kid." In that picture
one could see the adolescent face of Alec and the rifle he is
carrying is taller than him. During the First World War more
than 324,000 Australian men enlisted themselves to defend their
country and approximately 60,000 of them attained martyrdom.
Kid" Alec Campbell was 103 years old when he died on the 16th of May
2002. The Australian Prime Minister immediately returned home from
his trip to China. The Australian nation went into mourning. The
national flag flew at half mast. Australian media paid tribute to
"The Kid." A state funeral was held. Australia's present and past
Governor Generals, Prime Ministers and the who's who of the
Australian political spectrum joined thousands of mourners to say
farewell to "The Kid."
Alec Campbell had a very
large family. He is the father of nine children from two
marriages (both to women named Kathleen), 30 grandchildren, 32
great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild. Australians
bowed their heads to Alec Campbell, not only as a good husband,
not only as an exemplary father, not only as a kind grandfather,
but as a national hero. They came together to honor a kid who
overstated his age to enlist himself in the Australian forces
and defend his motherland.
The Australian nation
and the Government paid tribute to "The Kid" who went to the
battlefield to safeguard the nation and its peace-loving people.
government issued a commemorative stamp and a MINT coin in
honour of "The Kid" Alec Campbell prior to his death. The MINT
coin was embedded with the image of "The Kid with the Rifle."
The Australian nation
honors the patriotism of the late Alec Campbell when it
celebrates ANZAC Day every year. Australia is celebrating "The
Kid" as one of its national assets. The Australian nation
recognizes and appreciates the sacrifice made by this juvenile
towards his country and its prosperity.
Every year on ANZAC Day
Australians appreciate and remember the sacrifices of the
martyrs and soldiers who laid the foundations for the peace and
prosperity they enjoy today, even though decades have passed
since the war came to an end, a ceasefire agreed and normalcy
restored. Tamil people are able to appreciate this gratefulness.
The Tamil nation could rightly feel the Australian sentiments
expressed by the Australians during ANZAC Day.
Tamil Nation has started to honor its martyrs and freedom
fighters, even though the nation is yet to attain independence.
The Tamil nation honours its Heros whilst pursuing their
struggle for independence with permanent peace yet to
materialise. We, as a nation, do recognize and remember the
sacrifices made by these young martyrs towards the liberation of
the motherland and its masses, even though the liberation
struggle is still in progress.
understand the significance of ANZAC Day very well.
Tamil, people both in
Tamil Eelam and overseas, do appreciate that it is the selfless
sacrifices made by the martyrs which
· Safeguarded the
Tamil people from Sri Lankan state-sponsored terrorism,
· Defended the Tamil
homeland from the occupation forces of the Sri Lankan
· Enabled the
International community to recognize the issues faced by the
people of Tamil Eelam as a "national problem" which needs
international mediatory efforts
· Forced the Sri
Lankan government to negotiate with the Liberation Tigers of
Tamil Eelam, accepting them as the sole representatives of
the Tamil nation.
Tamil Nationalism is
flourishing today. The Tamil Eelam liberation struggle has made
its presence felt through its fundamental concepts of
self-determination, nation and homeland. The Tamil nation is
yearning for a political solution for the Tamil national problem
However, the newly
elected Government of Mahinda Rakapakse does not seem to be
interested in peace. Rather, he seems to be more interested in
securing his political future. His actions are very obvious
towards this selfish end.
It should be noted that
successive Sinhalese governments have never attempted to find a
political solution to the Tamil national problem through
negotiated means. The primary objective of these Sinhalese
governments has been to crush the upsurge of Tamil nationalism
through military means.
The historical lessons
for the Tamil people have been very sour. Even though they are
sour that is the truth, the unpalatable truth. Therefore, if in
the future where the people of Tamil Eelam are denied an
honorable and justifiable solution, as the sole representatives
of the Tamil nation, the Liberation Tigers of the Tamil Eelam
(LTTE) will be forced to act upon the election mandate they have
received in the last general elections. It should be remembered
that the 2004 TNA election manifesto reinforces the 1977
election mandate given to the Tami United Liberation Front
Maveerar Resting Place
The 2004 election
manifesto, whilst recognizing the LTTE as the sole
representatives of the Tamil Nation and urging the Sri Lankan
Government to accept the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA)
proposals submitted by the LTTE on behalf of the Tamil nation,
states that "If the Sri Lankan state continues to reject the
legitimate aspirations of the Tamil people and continues to deny
them an acceptable political solution; and if military
occupation and state oppression continue instead, then
establishing the sovereignty and independence of the Tamil
nation on the basis of its right to self-determination would
become an inexorable reality,"
has already echoed the same sentiments in his 2003 Marveerar Day
message. He said, "We cannot allow the life and potential of our
people to be systematically destroyed in the spider web of
Sinhalese chauvinism. Having renounced violence, we have been
making every effort through non-violent means to promote peace
and reconciliation. The international community is fully aware
of this. But if the Sinhalese chauvinistic ruling elites
continue to deny the rights of our people and oppose
reconciliation and if the conditions of oppression continue, we
have no alternative other than to secede and form an independent
state invoking the right to self-determination of our people."
Therefore, Tamil people
all over the world should prepare themselves to execute their
part at this historic juncture to fulfill the dreams of our
martyrs and establish peace and prosperity in our beloved