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REACH

1983 BLACK JULY


TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

REACH Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

Those who can agreeably set forth their acquirements before the learned will be regarded as the most learned among the learned.

To work towards the en-

Thirukkural - 722

hancement of the Tamil Nation and to provide an avenue for the betterment of the Tamil youth in Canada

- TYO’s Vision

INSIDE - REACH Black July - P 3 YOUTH Submissions - P 8

Dear Treasured Youth, Welcome to the fifth edition of REACH, an e-newsletter created to enlighten youth of those pressing issues of concern to them. This month marks the 25th anniversary of Black July. Twentyfive years ago thousands of Tamil civilians were killed in a brutal pogrom. Thousands more were left homeless and forced to flee the country. The Black July riots are a horrific example of man’s cruelty to man. Turn to pages 3 - 7 to read more on what happened during one of the darkest times of the plight of the Tamil people. Pages 8 -9 features youth reflection on the Black July riots, and its significance to them. With the summer months upon us, it is easy to indulge in the wealth of free time. However, it is important to stay updated with the latest news, latest events and stay proactive. Enjoy a safe summer.

YOUTH Submissions - P 9

To ensure you receive all emails from REACH, please add reach@canadatyo.org to your address book or list of safe senders.

YOUTH in Action - P 10

In solidarity,

Get Involved - P 11

TYO – Canada

For Next Month - P 13

Message from TYO - Canada


TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

REACH Black July 1983

Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

Black July Preface:

Sri Lankan Governments officials categorized the violence as uncontrollable race riots instigated by the killing of 13 Sinhala soldiers on the night of July 23. However, history and the course of events during Black July illustrate the Sri Lankan Government’s undeniable involvement in the genocidal acts against Tamils.

1983

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TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

REACH Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

July 24 (Day 1): •

• • •

1 A.M. hundreds of Tamils in Trincomalee, Mannar, and Vavuniya in the Northeast rounded up by the army Army kills 51 Tamils in Jaffna Navy shoots at civilians and burns Tamil properties in Trincomalee Evening – Colombo – thousands arrive for the state funeral for the soldiers but the bodies do not arrive

he crowd dissipates and another crowd arrives (identified as government gangs)

Anti-Tamil cries become dominant, arson and murdering of Tamils break out

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TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

REACH Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

July 25 (Day 2): • • • • • • • •

Mobs use voter registration lists to identify and destroy and loot Tamil homes and businesses Traffic is searched, identified Tamils killed, maimed, or burned alive Police authorities stand idle and passive to surrounding violence Curfew set late afternoon after worst of violence disperses Tens of thousands of Tamils left homeless, seek refugee in schools and places of worship Welikade prison – 35 political prisoners, detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, massacred by Sinhalese prisoners with complicity of the jail guards Violence hits towns Gampaha, Kalutara, Kandy, Matale, Nuwara Eliya and Trincomalee One town completely wiped out - the Indian Tamil town of Kandapola, near Nuwara Eliya.

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TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

REACH Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

July 26 (Day 3): • •

Government imposes strict media censorship

Word spread of Sri Lanka’s state of disorder as eye witness accounts and photographs taken by returning tourists illustrated the scale of violence

International Airport in Colombo closed

July 27 (Day 4): •

17 more prisoners at Welikade Prison hacked to death

July 28 (Day 5): •

President J.R. Jayewardene addresses nation for first time since the riots commenced

States that anyone who advocates for separatism would lose their civic rights

Vigilantes set up make-shift roadblocks in villages across the island, search cars and buses for Tamil passengers

Sinhalese mob burns 20 Tamils to death on a minibus

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TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

REACH Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

July 29 (Day 6): •

Tamils in Colombo begin evacuating by cargo ship to the Northern city of Jaffna

July 30 (Day 7): •

Violence begins to dissipate

Extreme food shortage

Post-Riots:

Tamils fearing persecution, flea their homeland for Western countries. Tamil began to seek refugee in places such as Canada, Europe, Australia and the U.S. Canada introduces a “Special Measures” program for Sri Lanka allowing family members of those affected by the Anti-Tamil pogroms to join relatives already in Canada.

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TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

REACH YOUTH Subimssions

Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

I By: Ghormathie Thevaraajah

I sit here Waiting for things to change Only to realize That I am the change I wait here Hoping to find someone to join me Only to realize That I don’t need anyone but me I stand here Expecting someone to notice what I’ve done Only to realize That I really am not done I change I am the change

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TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

REACH YOUTH Subimssions

Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

Spontaneous Backlash

Sr i Lanka Denies Premeditation Sri Lanka commonly referred to as the “pearl of the Indian Ocean,” is rather paradoxical in its state of being. A more fitting label would read: the “tear drop drenched in a sea of blood.” For over two decades, there has been on-and-off conflict between the State and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). The conflict commonly referred to as a civil war, or a war against terrorism, is but a cover for the ugly deeds occurring beneath the surface.The charge is genocide and war or even the mere rhetoric of war has the ability to disguise genocide to those on the outside looking in. The ’83 Genocide better known as Black July is one of several premeditated, government planned acts of genocide. Contrary

of thirteen Sinhalese soldiers by the LTTE.” These excuses or rather remorseless responses to the systematic killings of human beings are unjustifiable.

to the failed excuses of genocide’s gruesome past, genocides do not simply occur.They are meticulously planned policies executed by a government. The Armenian massacre was described as a “spontaneous unplanned act of violence.” The start of the Holocaust was explained as “the spontaneous outburst of an enraged nation.”The massacre of the Tutsis was an act of “sudden irrational lunacy.” Black July, no differently was a “spontaneous backlash by the Sinhalese people in response to the killing

arrests and detention, labour camps, ill-treatments, and bombardments. If these genocides all follow a distinct system, an outline, a script, perhaps evidence of such should serve as an alarm for action. The solution is public willingness to act. If we could see ourselves in something of a public guardian role, it could work. Maybe then we will not have tragedies to compare but have solutions for prevention

Each has its own story behind the horror; each has its oppressed and the oppressor but one common, tragic ending. The parallels between the events are startling. How the world can stand by, ignore the warning signs even more so.The violence orchestrated by the government in north and east Sri Lanka is comparable to the atrocities committed in other parts of the world that sparked thirdparty intervention including but not limited to the raping of civilian women and children, arbitrary

Lakshine Sathiyanathan

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JULY 2008

TYO - Canada

Vol - 5

REACH Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

YOUTH in Action

PONGU THAMIZH

Pongu Tamil, translating to Tamil Upsurge essentially is a resurgence of suppressed emotions. The first Pongu Tamil held at Jaffna University in January 2001, organized and comprised predominately of university students sought to voice the disregarded concerns and aspirations of Tamil people. Pongu Tamil establishes a clear mandate that any political solution to the conflict should encompass the Tamil people’s right to self-determination, their traditional homeland and the distinct nationality of Tamil people. The peaceful, democratic protest provides a means of creating awareness in both the Tamil Diaspora and the non-Tamil populace. Read more

“In Search of Our Roots” YOUTH CONFERENCE

TYO in partnership with the CTC and TACT held a youth conference titled “In Search Of our roots” on July 27th at UTSC. TYO with the support of a lawyer Harini Sivalingam facilitated the workshop titled “Addressing Negative Portrayal of Tamil Canadian Youth”. The workshop was informative and tackled the current issues that the Tamil youth and the general Tamil community face with the media, as well as within the

Read more

BLOOD DONATIONS

Read more

Education and Justice system.

CRICKET TOURNAMENT

Read more

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TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

Get Involved

Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

ATTN: GRAPHIC DESIGNERS We are currently seeking graphic designers for layouts, designs, HTML coding, etc. for TYO – Canada. Qualified candidates must have a working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop, HTML, be able to communicate design concepts visually and verbally and work well in a group environment.TYO – Canada is strictly volunteerbased. We are looking for a passionate, committed and responsible individual. Interested candidates please submit the following to contact@canadatyo.org

• • •

Your name with contact information Availability

A brief description of qualifications and relevant experience in graphic design

Sample of work

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TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

REACH Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

For our next month’s issue:

Get Involved

Open Forum – What’s on your mind? Please follow the guidelines below. Don’t forget to add re a c h @ c a n a d a t yo. o r g to your e-mail safe list. We appreciate all of your time and effort. TYO - Canada

Guidelines: • • • • • • • •

All submissions must be in English You may create your own title for your work Written work should be within 750 words (or 2 pages letter sized), 12 pt font (Times) Can be written in any form (article, research essay, poem, story, etc.) Include your name, contact info, and University/ College/ High School (If applicable) Submit before August 15th, 2008 Must be e-mailed to r e a c h @ c a n a d a t yo. o r g with the subject ‘Reach-August 2008’ Please attach a word file or copy and paste your work in your e-mail

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TYO - Canada

JULY 2008

Vol - 5

REACH Get Involved

Official Newsletter of TYO - Canada

k a e Sp

t u O As

Canadian-Tamil youth, we have the ultimate duty of educating others, as well as ourselves of the history, plight and suffering of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. Understanding is crucial. And with understanding comes awareness, the most essential step in the path to progress.

Ignorance is not bliss.

Join T YO Tamil Youth Organization is always looking for hard-working, dedicated youth who would like to join in serving the Tamil community, both here in Canada and abroad.

• • • • • •

Stay updated with recent news Write to your local politician Attend rallies Enlighten non-Tamil peers Write a poem, article, essay Research, understand and recite

As an organization with the interests of Tamil youth at heart, TYO provides opportunities for Canadian Tamil youth to network, contribute, and develop their skills in various areas. Interested in getting involved? Please contact us at contact@canadatyo.org. Or visit us at www.canadatyo.org

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REACH- July 2008