Tamils - a Trans State Nation..

"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Home >   Tamils - a Trans State Nation  > Struggle for Tamil Eelam > Indictment against Sri Lanka > Black July 1983: the Charge is Genocide - Preface, Prologue & Index  > Remembering Black July '83 - Anniversaries: 1984 todate  

Black July 1983: the Charge is Genocide

On 10th Anniversary of Genocide'83 - London

24 July 1993

[see also  "No inquiry, leave alone an impartial one, has been held into the admittedly planned violence against the Tamil people"  - Letter to UK Prime Minister from International Federation of Tamils, 24 July 1993 ]

More than two thousand five hundred Tamils and friends of the Tamil cause marched along the crowded streets of Central London on Saturday 24 July1993 to mark the 10th Anniversary of the July'83 genocide of Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka. The march, organised by the International Federation of Tamils, commenced at about 1.30 p.m. at Portland Place and proceeded via Oxford Circus, and Piccadilly Circus to Trafalgar Square where a rally was held. At the head of the procession marched Natheswaram musicians in their traditional dress. Amongst the slogans were: "Aid to Sri Lanka spills Tamil blood"; "Genocide creates refugees - Stop the Genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka; "Condemn Sri Lanka's War Crimes" and 'Recognise Tamil right to self determination".

The BBC Tamil Service reporting the procession and rally at Trafalgar Square, interviewed some of the processionists and asked why they had joined the march. One replied: "By our participating in this march we give our people back at home some strength to face the tribulations heaped upon them by the Sri Lanka government. We tell them that we have not forgotten. We are marching to let the world know what is happening to our brothers and sisters". Another said: "We cannot forget that we are a part of the Tamil nation." "I am 70 years old. As a Tamil this is the least that I can do for those on the ground. I am not directly experiencing the pain and suffering back at home but at least I can show my sympathy and support by joining this rally."

Around 70 Tamil shops in London closed their doors in support of the rally. Interviewed by the BBC Tamil Service, one shop keeper declared: " My businesses were destroyed in 1983 in Colombo. By closing today, we have lost about �1000 but we do not regard this as a great loss when compared with the losses suffered by the Tamil people during the past several years at the hands of the Sri Lanka government and its armed forces. Another said: "We closed because we want to show our solidarity with the struggle of our people." A Third shopkeeper said: "The main thing is that when our people are suffering so much back at home, we must participate and this march gives us an opportunity to give expression to our feelings"

Speaking at Trafalgar Square at the rally organised by the International Federation of Tamils to mark the 10th Anniversary of the July '83 genocide, (photo alongside), Mr.Neil Gerrard, Labour M.P. for Walthamstow said:

 "I wish to say to you this afternoon that they are many British MPs in the House of Commons who do support the cause of the Tamil people who will support them, who will continue to support them, who will argue their claim for justice and for self determination."

July 83 is a symbol of what is still going on in Sri Lanka, the continuing attacks on human rights of the Tamil people. The attacks in July 83 have never been investigated, leave alone by an independent commission of inquiry. Today the the conflict continues. The bombings, the colonisation, the re drawing of the maps, the economic blockade and the genocide still goes on in Sri Lanka. But this is all ignored by the media and governments.

This march and rally sends out several messages. Certainly to the government of Sri Lanka the message is that what is happening is not forgotten. To the Tamil people in Sri Lanka, who have suffered so much, and are suffering today, the message is that there are people across the world, and people in this country who remember and recognise what is happening and that there are people who will suport their demand to end the abuses to human rights and their demand for the basic fundamental right of all - the right to self determination of their own future."

This march will also send a message to the British government. There is the question of arms sales. The British government is resuming arms sales to Sri Lanka. Is a trade in arms more important than peoples lives? Does anybody actually believe that those arms are not going to be used for internal repression? We should stop those arms sales now. We should be saying clearly to Sri Lanka: 'Our governments policy is that aid is linked to human rights. If you do abuse human rights you will not get aid. and that message should go out clearly and firmly.'

But that is not what is not happening. Early this year I asked in the House Commons about arms sales because there were suggestions that the Ministry of Defence was negotiating with the Sri Lankan government to resume arms sales. They (the Government) simply refused to answer. When I put a written Parliamentary question I was told that these negotiations were confidential. Now, I do not think that is good enough. "

Labour M.P. Jeremy Corbyn: "Stop Arms Sales to Sri Lanka:Recognise Tamil Right to Self Determination"

Speaking at the rally at Trafalgar Square at the end of the procession on 24 July, labour M.P., Mr.Jeremy Corbyn, (photo alongside) said

" We have to more than remember all those who have died demanding human rights and demanding justice. We must demand a stop to arms exports and arms sales to Sri Lanka. We must demand that the many violations of human rights be thoroughly investigated by international agencies. We must demand that the Tamil people should be allowed to live their lives in peace; that they should be allowed their right to their own self determination because at the end of the day unless people are allowed to live in the way that they want, allowed to live with dignity, then peace will not be achieved."

Dr.Victor Amaya, UK Representative of the EL Salvador Liberation movement SPUN addressed the rally. He said: "I come from a small country. We have a lot of things in common with the struggle of the Tamil people. In the name of our movement I say to you: we support your struggle for self determination. We are with you. The rights of the Tamil nation must be secured. We are together. Long live the struggle of the Tamil people"

Ms. Estelle Schmid, Kurdish Workers Association in a warm tribute to the Tamil struggle for freedom said: "We extend our warmest greetings of solidarity to the people of Tamil Eelam led by the Liberation Tigers. We also pay a special tribute to your leader Velupillai Prabhakaran and to the late Colonel Kittu whose martyrdom remains an inspiration to national liberation fighters and patriotic struggles everywhere and especially in Kurdistan. Tanks, planes artillery cannot prevail over a nation armed with an idea whose truth has come: national freedom based on ethnic and cultural identity. The Tamil people, like the Kurdish people in their struggle for unify and freedom will not only survive but will triumph over all the forces of oppression."

The International Federation of Tamils inserted a large quarter page advertisement in the prestigious London Guardian to mark the tenth anniversary of the July '83 Genocide of Tamils in the island of Sri Lanka. Over five hundred thousand readers who read the London Guardian on 24 July 1993 learnt of the urgent need to stop the genocide in Sri Lanka and support the call of IS non governmental organisations at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in February this year for international recognition of the Tamil right to self determination. A reduced version of the Guardian advertisement appears below:


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