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REACH OFFICIAL E-NEWSLETTER OF TYO-CANADA

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MARCH 2012


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MARCH 2012

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March 8th is recognized as International Women’s day and

armed forces is a grave example of the despicable treatment

on this day females are commemorated across the globe.

of women, especially Tamil women of the North and East

Women caught in conflict are mentioned in prayers and

of the island. The actions of the SLA towards Tamil women

women who have positively contributed to world are

have always been a significant factor for the involvement

celebrated on this day. Protests are held in cities around the

of women in our liberation movement. The likes of 2nd Lt.

world bringing together citizens concerned of the treatment

Malathy, the first female martyr, among many other female

of women, whether it is due to sexual or domestic abuse,

martyrs are symbols of female empowerment within the

gender inequality amongst other pressing issues. TYO-

Tamil community. Their selfless sacrifices remain as a

Canada condemns unequal treatment of women all over the

constant reminder of Tamileelam being the only permanent

world and stands in solidarity with global citizens to stop

solution to end the suffering faced by our kith and kin.

the abuse inflicted on women. The likes of the Sri-Lankan

- TYO-Canada


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REACH A [tamil history]

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Brigadier Thamilenthi

E [did you know?]

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Memory

43 B [world history]

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An examination of Slavery in North America Part 2 of 3

F [face-to-face]

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w/ Jessica Thyriar

MARCH 2012 CONTENTS C [youth canada]

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WATSA Women Empowerment

D [world youth]

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TYO UK - FIFA Tournament

CUTSA Kalai Vizha G [chef @ cheran]

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Making Souvlaki Wraps

H [youth reflection]

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Injustice for Citizens of Tamileelam Part 2 of 2

TYO

To work towards the enhancement of the Tamil Nation and to provide an avenue for the betterment of Tamil youth in Canada

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A [tamil history] Brigadier Thamilenthi

Brigadier Thamilenthi (Sabarathinam Sellathurai) was born in Jaffna on the 15th of February in 1950. He was in charge of the Liberations Tigers of Tamil Eelam’s finances from the very beginning of the organization. He completely dedicated himself and contributed immensely to the growth of the national liberation movement and had gained the respect and reverence of the Tamileelam National Leader, Hon.Veluppillai Pirapaharan, and the freedom fighters. He attained martyrdom when he sacrificed his life during an artillery attack on the 10th of March of the year 2009. Brigadier Thamilenthi was one of the few who had been with the LTTE from its beginning in 1976. He was called “Thamilenthi Appa� (Father) by everyone in the organization. He was the chief financial administrator of the organization in Tamileelam. He conceived numerous plans to generate finances for the growth of the nation-building project undertaken by the LTTE. This served as the foundation for various social and economic undertaken by the freedom movement to address the daily needs of people in Tamileelam. Therefore, Brigadier Thamilenthi played an instrumental role in addressing the concerns and plight of the Tamil people whose lives had been severely disturbed by the war unleashed on them by Sri Lanka.

He created various sectors in Tamileelam to create revenue. Some of the primary sources of revenue were poultries, dairies, agriculture, and factories. All these projects were the brainchild of Thamilenthi. This also created employment opportunities in Tamileelam. Though he headed the financial division of the LTTE, his activities were not limited to the finance department. He was a key member in organizing and supervising the infrastructure works of LTTE including security. Also, during the time of ceasefire, out of Tamil pride, he spearheaded the initiative of Tamilizing the names of management structures in LTTE. He also had developed plans to teach Tamil History to LTTE cadres in Tamil Language. As the war intensified during the final phase of the conflict in 2009, Tamileelam National Leader appointed him as the military secretary. He worked closely with the Leader to reorganize and build the LTTE. However, on the 10th of March, he was killed in an artillery shell attack. He was posthumously awarded the title Brigadier for his unparalleled service.


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B [world history] An examination of Slavery in North America PART 2 of 3

Many individuals were opened to a whole new perspective when slaves were being discriminated in society. These people were given the label as the Founding Fathers 7. The Declaration of Independence was put together by politicians whom consisted of many men from different states along with the author, Thomas Jefferson 8. Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner himself who believed that Emancipation would follow up the American independence 9. The document stated that the thirteen American colonies, then at war with Great Britain were now independent states. United States was founded on several fundamental ideals, which was firstly known as freedom 10. “All men are created equal,” and “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” were words of the Declaration of Independence, and this is what Jefferson tried to imply towards the injustice of slavery in America 11. The Declaration of Independence was publicized on July 4th, 1776 and was first published in newspapers on July 8th, 1776 12. The Declaration played a significant movement in the abolishment of slavery in the 19th century, and although Jefferson himself never freed his slaves, he was able to free slaves in the future time. Although many have spoken of the banishment of slavery, it evidently expanded due to economic developments and new technology in 1793 13. Firstly, slaves were imported from Africa to work on tobacco fields for cheap labour 14. As the revolution was over, and America was free from Britain’s rule, the developments throughout the country were extreme. Many new goods such as tea, iron, chains, and cloth were manufactured because of cheap labour . In 1793 the invention of the cotton gin was the turning point for America. However the amount of slaves had tripled 15. Five years later, after Eli Whitney’s invention, it helped expand slavery all throughout the south 16. As cotton exports grew dramatically in the early 19th century, so did the demand for slaves. After 1810, cotton production increased further as new agricultural lands opened up from Alabama to Texas 17. In 1800, cotton exports accounted for only seven percent of total American exports, but by 1820 that portion had risen to 32 percent. By 1860 it had reached an astounding 58 percent. The invention of the Cotton Machine let America open up new trades with other countries all across the world. This was one of the main

reasons to why America was one of the last Western societies to abolish slavery. The growth of the cotton economy had a direct impact on the spread of slavery in America. As the economy grew, the demand for slaves also grew and however, abolishment of slaves was out of topic for the time being. By 1790, the slave population of United States was estimated at 700,000, but by 1860, it had an exponential growth to 4 million slaves 18. Abolitionists wait for the banning of slavery patiently, however, the South institution of slaves had grown significantly 19. Most of the slaves on the plantations were considered as field slaves. These slaves typically labored all day and all year long taking out cotton seeds, tobacco, sugar cane, or rice. The slave market was a common sight in many towns across the South 20 . The translantic trade may have involved between eleven to twenty million 21. Slavery remained the foundation of the southern economy and the whites feared competition from the freed blacks. Many argued that if slaves were abolished then the industry would have been destroyed because slaves provided the economy with cheap labour 22. Slavery was extremely profitable to some masters. For instance, James Madison told a British visitor shortly after the American Revolution that he could make $257 on every Black man in a year and spend only $12 on his keep 23. Therefore, black men were not looked upon as men, but merely thought and valued as a source of income for the country, not as a human being. 7 - Vitale, D., (Declaration of Independence. United States of America: Archiving Early Americas, 1995), 37 8 - Ibid, 87 9 - Goldfield, D., opt cite. 172 10 - Ibid,173 11 - Ibid, 172 12 - Ibid 13 - Ibid,173 14 - Sadlier, R., opt cite. 92. 15 - Ibid, 149. 16 - Ibid 17 - Ibid,150 18 - Haverman, A., (The West and the World, Toronto: GageLearning Corporation, 2002), 112 19 - Ibid, 113 20 - Ibid 21 - Sadlier,R., opt cite, 72. 22 - Carter, P., opt cite, 175. 23 - Zinn, Howard., History is a Weapon,. 1 January 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010. <http://www.historyisaweapon.com>,6.


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MARCH 2012

C [youth canada] Women Empowerment Workshop UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO

In respect to International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2012, WaTSA welcomed both Waterloo and Laurier students to join them at their Second Annual Women Empowerment Workshop. This workshop was a collaborative effort with Waterloo’s very own Women’s Centre. The event will took place from 5 pm to 7 pm in the Women’s Centre located in SLC 2102 on Thursday March 15, 2012.

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CUTSA’s Kalai Vizha OTTAWA, ON

On March 31st, 2012, the Carleton University Tamil Student Association (CUTSA) successfully held their 24th annual cultural show “CUTSA’s Kalai Vizha ‘12” at Kalish Mital Theater, Ottawa. It was a night full of comical and musical performances, show casing the rich Tamil culture, language and heritage. There were over 20 diverse performances including BarathaNatyam, Kaviyadal (Tamil Poetry) Tamil Literature Stage Play, Villuppaattu, Comedy Drama, Fusion Dance and etc. There were also special performances from SM Ram Music, SE Boyz, and the Montreal Maniacs. The event brought together the entire community, who cheered and encouraged the performers throughout the entire show. To commemorate the event, CUTSA also released a book entitled “Thooral”.


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MARCH 2012

D [world youth] FIFA Tournament 2012 UNITED KINGDOM

TYO-UK held its first ever FIFA Tournament on Saturday, March 24th, 2012 at Kings College London. The event had over twenty avid participants however only one went home with ÂŁ50 of prize money. Kevin, the successful participant, emphatically beat Mathi 6-0 in the final game.

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E [did you know?]

Memory THE POWER OF THE HUMAN BRAIN

Its surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time. - Barbara Kingsolver

Memory is something that puzzles a lot of us. It’s relevant in our everyday lives and we’re always trying to find ways through which we could boost our memory power. We want to be able to remember names, faces, places, theories, concepts, ideas, etc. How powerful is it? Do we remember things that we should, or things that we want to? Why can’t we remember things on command? These are questions regarding memory that are always amongst us. We remember random childhood moments, or we remember some defining incidents that may have changed the course of our lives. But, we often come across times where we try to recap situations or events where something took place and we have a hard time doing so. There are many rumors and myths with regards to memory. One of the widespread remarks about memory is that it tends to worsen, as one gets older. The truth is that just like other bodily functions, even though memory could deteriorate as one ages, if one does memory exercises and trains their brain, then it results in better memory and it would be harder to be susceptible to memory loss. For instance, Alzheimer’s disease affects many elderly, however if they practice different memory exercises, it would help them offset symptoms of the disease.

Did you know that the memory consists of both short-term memory and long-term memory? In terms of short-term memory, the brain can retain around 4 types of new information at a given time, usually a matter of seconds. Long-term memory plays a role in the retention of new information because it is through long-term memory that one is able to make sense out of newfound information. There are many ways through which we try to train ourselves to boost memory power. For instance, mnemonic is a special technique that we use to boost our memory. They are ways in which we could make memorization easier through rhymes or sentences. For example, one way we do this is by remembering acronyms. The biological classification could be remembered by remembering this phrase: Kings Play Chess On Fine Grain Sand > Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species Likewise, the points of the compass could be remembered be remembering this phrase: Never Eat Shredded Wheat > North, East, South, West Just like there are different techniques that we use to boost our memory power, there are also different types of foods that we could consume that would aid our memorization. Did you know that foods such as fish and nuts that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, fruits and vegetables, and folic acid also helps memory? Likewise, exercising and getting enough sleep is also very important. Moreover, if you really want to improve your memory, make sure you do memory exercises. Being idle in any case would not help you enhance your memory. Challenge yourself and try to learn new information. Practice makes perfect, even with memory.


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F [face-to-face] JESSICA THYRIAR

YOU HAVE JUST BEEN ELECTED VICE PRESIDENT OF CAMPUS LIFE AT YORK FEDERATION OF STUDENTS. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF THIS POSITION?

The Vice President Campus Life is responsible for building and fostering campus community through open and inclusive events. Being a commuter school, York University faces unique challenges in fostering campus spirit and pride, so the VP Campus Life works to facilitate events and programs that make it easy for busy, commuter students to take part in York’s vibrant social life and build a campus community. Finally, the York Federation of Students recognizes that all of our advocacy, service and events work is interrelated, so the VP Campus Life also works on the political and service-oriented projects of the students’ union and work to strengthen those projects by integrating them into the events of the students’ union.a great bonding experience with my father. MANY STUDENTS AVOID GETTING INVOLVED ON CAMPUS BECAUSE THEY MAKE THE ASSUMPTION THAT IT MAY TAKE AWAY FROM THE TIME THEY PUT FORTH TOWARDS THEIR EDUCATION. HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE THAT YOU STAY ON TOP OF YOU ACADEMIC CAREER AS YOU PURSUE OTHER ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ON CAMPUS?

Today students face huge obstacles in getting involved outside of their classroom. Students today study full-time and work in order to finance their education, leaving little time for them to plug into campus life. Being this involved is definitely a balancing act, but one that I feel is often worth the sacrifice. I have learned just as much, if not more, outside of the classroom as I have inside the classroom. This involvement also gives me the hands-on experience that many students find they lack in their own programs. For me, staying on top of everything is about setting priorities, managing my time effectively, and putting my all into everything I do.

BEING A FEMALE, WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG WOMEN WHO DESIRE TO BECOME INVOLVED WITH THE STUDENT MOVEMENT IN CANADA?

I remember when I first got involved in the York Federation of Students, I saw a poster in the office of two women leading a rally with some text above it that read “A woman’s place is in her students’ union: get involved today, Canada’s student movement needs you.” I felt that the poster was really reflective of the strong women I know in the student movement, who have taken up huge leadership positions locally, provincially and nationally and really got things done. My advice to women wanting to get involved with the student movement here in Canada would be to just go out and get active! Students’ unions are always looking for new people and are really encouraging of getting members involved in their campaigns, services and events. I think many women would find that Canada’s national student movement is an extremely positive and progressive place that is reflective of the diversity of Canada’s student body.


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YOU HAVE BEEN HEAVILY INVOLVED AT YORK UNIVERSITY THROUGH VARIOUS CLUBS, NOTABLY THE TAMIL STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION AND THE YORK FEDERATION OF STUDENTS. WHAT ARE SOME MEMORABLE ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN BOTH ORGANIZATIONS?

The York University Tamil Students Association is one of the largest clubs on campus. While being the Vice President Events of the Tamil Students Association, I was able to be apart of preparations for the Multicultural Week festivities. In that year with generous help from the membership of TSA, we were able to secure 1st place overall in the competition. Through this event we educated over 50,000 students on campus about the uniqueness of Tamil identity, culture and heritage. This was a milestone that I am proud to have been apart of.

WOULD YOU MIND SHINING LIGHT ON SOME OF YOUR PERSONAL GOALS FOR THE FUTURE AHEAD?

Wherever I might end up years from now, I want to ensure that I am still in a position that allows me to be a community builder and an advocate. I have found how passionate I am about building bridges and supporting community, it’s exactly why I made the decision to run for VP Campus Life, because I believe firmly in the power of united, vibrant and strong communities to build movements and successfully demand social, political and economic change.

FAVOURITE QUOTE

As one of the largest students’ unions in Canada, the YFS has a reputation for being one of the most politically active students’ unions in the country. I am proud to have been a part of so many amazing victories here at York, including improving campus safety; winning women’s-only gym time; and pushing the university to phase out the sale of bottled water. This past year, at the Annual General Meeting of the YFS, students voted overwhelmingly to support a motion to support the Tamil people in their struggle for self-determination and to call for an impartial and international war-crimes inquiry in Sri Lanka.

It is my wish that a revolutionary society arises in Tamil-Eelam, where women receive the same rights, are liberated from all kinds of oppression, and live with equal rights with men and in dignity. - Honourable Vellupillai Pirapaharan National Leader of Tamileelam

HOW HAS YOUR EXTENSIVE INVOLVEMENT WITH EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES ON CAMPUS HELPED YOU DEVELOP SKILLS THAT YOU MAKE NOT INCUR IN THE CLASSROOM SETTING?

YOU ARE ALSO THE VICE PRESIDENT OF EVENTS AT THE CANADIAN TAMIL YOUTH ALLIANCE (CTYA). HOW HAS WORKING WITH THE TAMIL COMMUNITY SHAPED YOUR VALUES AND BELIEFS?

Through my campus involvement, I’ve learned so much – perhaps more than I have learned inside the classroom. I’ve been able to learn what it means to be an effective community organizer, how to be a good public speaker, how to get my issues across to people and how to effect political and social change. There’s a huge learning curve, but once you start to plug into your students’ union, you learning everything from how to plan massive events without too many hiccups, to the fine art of lobbying politicians of all political stripes. I feel like if more students can become connected and engaged in this way, we’d definitely be a force to be reckoned with.

Our community is strong, determined and very resilient. Even after the tragedy in 2009 where tens of thousands lost their lives, our community continues to remain strong spirited. Many thought that our people and their just call for self-determination could be silenced with genocide. However, our people continue to remain strong hearted and are continuing to fight for their aspirations. This courage, commitment and sacrifice have played an important role in helping shape my beliefs. It has made me fiercely determined to achieve my goals regardless of the obstacles and challenges in front of me.


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G [chef @ cheran]

Souvlaki Wrap INGREDIENTS

• 12 oz (375 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts • 1/2 lime • 1 tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil • 1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano • 1/4 tsp (1 mL) each salt and pepper • Half red onion, cut into ring • Half cucumber • 1/4 cup (50 mL) tzatziki sauce • 4 whole wheat pocket pitas • 1 cup (250 mL) shredded romaine lettuce • Half bell pepper , Julianne slice • Hot peppers • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese • 3 tbs yogurt • 1 tbs red peper • 3 potatoes, cut into cubes • 1/2 cup mayo • 1/4 tablespoon garlic paste

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1 Mix lemon juice, yogurt, oil, oregano, salt and pepper, red pepper and chicken

4 Heat oil on high heat and add chicken. Cook for 15 minutes, or until brown.

7 Strain Potatoes and heat pan. Add potatoes, salt, peppers. Fry for 5 minutes on high heat.

2 Let it stand for 10 minutes to marinate

5 Meanwhile, cut cucumber, peppers, lettuce, and onions and crumble feta. Set aside.

8 Spread tzatziki over half of each pita.

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3 Boil potatoes for 10 minutes

6 Mix Mayo and garlic paste together. Set aside.

9 Put chicken, vegetables, feta in the pita. Serve with Potatoes and garlic sauce.


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H [youth reflections] PART 2 OF 2

Yet in the face of such damning evidence, the Sri Lankan Government not only continues to dispute the figures quoted, but also refuses to allow an independent international investigation into the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

truly independent investigation into all sides. The Sri Lankan state – that has failed in the fundamental duty of any state, to protect its own civilians – cannot and will not provide the justice and accountability the Tamil people have a right to. Instead, the government continues to showcase its intent to destroy the Tamil nation.

The historical root causes of the conflict continue to be ignored by the government. The discrimination, oppression, persecution and ultimate genocide of Tamils led to peaceful protests, and the demand for freedom, security and independence emerged. The Tamil nation’s call for an independent state of Tamil Eelam was mandated in a widespread referendum in 1976 (the Vaddukkoddai resolution) and subsequently ratified through an election the following year. Yet when the nation’s legitimate demands for independence and peaceful protest against continued oppression were met with brutal state terror, the armed As expected, the LLRC report, released this month, dismisses struggle became inevitable. any notion of Sri Lankan armed forces intentionally killing Tamil civilians. This is not the result of scientific evidence or During the armed conflict, the Sri Lankan state was able to criminal investigation. The LLRC authors themselves point conveniently mask its genocide with the ‘war on terror’ out that Sri Lanka does not have the technical expertise to cover. Now, the persecution continues under the guise of conduct such an investigation, but instead, the LLRC concludes reconciliation. that the deaths of any civilians were down to a few renegade Without accountability and justice for crimes committed soldiers and the LTTE. against the Tamil people. The very soldiers, shown to kill Not only is the massacre of 40,000 civilians a crime that prisoners of war and civilians in the Channel 4 documentary warrants an adequate investigation, responsibility for ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’, will continue to serve on active duty, crimes against humanity committed during the war requires bringing ‘security’ to the North-East. investigations into all levels within the chain of command. Impunity feeds on apathy, and fuels crime. Only an immediate Moreover, killings on a scale of forty thousand individuals are independent international investigation into all sides of the not the actions of a few, rogue individuals. conflict, examining the perpetrators of the crimes – as called Sri Lanka’s failed attempt at accountability, the government’s for by human rights organizations and the Tamil diaspora culture of impunity, and the state’s long-standing failure to groups worldwide - can bring justice to the victims. provide justice for crimes committed against the Tamil people, prove that the state is incapable and unwilling to conduct a Unable to withstand the growing international call for a credible investigation, the government commissioned its own internal report, the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC). The commission was appointed by the Sri Lankan president to investigate the government and present its findings to him, which was understandably described as ‘flawed on every level’ and ‘biased’ by Amnesty International. As Human Rights Watch highlighted, the LLRC is the latest in a long line of commissions and inquiries organized by the state that are yet to yield any results.


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TYO - CANADA

Speak Out As Tamil youth in Canada, we have the ultimate duty of educating others, as well as ourselves of the suffering of the Tamil people. Understanding is crucial. And with understanding comes awareness, the most essential step in the path to progress.

Join TYO Our doors are always open to new members that are looking to make a difference for Tamils around the world. 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 as well. Interested in getting involved? Please contact us at

REACH@CANADATYO.ORG

Or visit us at

WWW.CANADATYO.ORG

REACH Team Editor Laxana. P Designer Shiyamdev. S

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REACH-March 2012