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REACH OFFICIAL E-NEWSLETTER OF TYO-CANADA

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MAY 2012


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MAY 2012

May 2009 was marked by the height of the genocidal onslaught committed by the Government of Sri Lanka against the Tamils in Sri Lanka. With the failure of international bodies to uphold human rights, tens of thousands of Tamil civilians lost their lives and countless others were maimed and injured in May 2009 alone. The slaughter of Tamils reached genocidal proportions in Mullivaikal, where 50,000 Tamils were slaughtered in cold blood within forty-eight hours. Following the massacre, 300,000 Tamil civilians were illegally forced into Sri Lankan government-run detention camps and denied their civil liberties. Currently, after nearly three years since Mullivaikal, thousands of Tamil Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are still languishing in the Sri Lankan government run, inadequately managed, poorly fed, military guarded, and overcrowded detention camps. TYO further recognizes that the Government of Sri Lankan has been tirelessly working to

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further marginalize the Tamils in their homeland. The Sri Lankan government continues to colonize traditional Tamil lands in an attempt to break the continuity of the Tamil homeland.The security situation for Tamils has not improved either. Thousands are still kept in secret detention camps, which have been justified by the Prevention of Terrorism Act, which has not been repelled. Three years since May 2009, our brethren continue to suffer. TYO-Canada calls upon the International Community to bring the perpetrators of the genocide to justice and to ensure that the political aspirations of the Tamil people are met in order for lasting peace in the Island. - TYO-Canada


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REACH A [tamil history]

p.4

Cultural Genocide of the Tamil People

E [did you know?]

p.17

Combat Stress Reaction?

45 B [world history]

p.5

Anne Frank

MAY 2012 CONTENTS C [youth canada]

p.6

Tamil Uprising Day

D [world youth]

p.14

War Crimes Day + F [face-to-face]

p.18

w/ Neethan Shan

G [chef @ cheran]

p.20

Making Bisquick Coffee Cake

Italy - Genocide Memorial NZ - May 18th Memorial +

H [youth reflection]

p.22

Critical Theory 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] Cultural Genocide of the Tamil People

The burning of the Jaffna library, one of the biggest libraries in Asia, on the night of May 31st 1981 was an act of cultural genocide of Eelam Tamils committed by the Sri Lankan state. On that unfortunate night Sri Lankan forces and Sinhalese mobs set ablaze this grand library as part of the pogrom against Tamils of Jaffna. Some 97,000 volumes of books, excluding rare and important Ola manuscripts, went up in flames. These included works of Ananda Coomaraswamy, the famous Tamil Indophil and eminent intellectual Professor Issac Thambiah. In the massacre that followed over the next two days statues of Tamil cultural and religious icons were destroyed or disfigured. The library was built in many stages starting from 1933, from modest beginnings as a private collection. Soon with the help of primarily local citizens, it became a full- fledged library. The library also became a repository of archival material written in Palm leaf manuscripts, original copies of regionally important historic documents in the Contest, political history of Sri Lanka and newspapers that were published hundreds of years ago in the Jaffna peninsula. It thus became a place of historic and symbolic importance to Eelam Tamils. Eventually the first major wing of the library was opened in 1959. The architect of the Indo-Saracenic style building was one Narasimhan from Madras, India. Prominent Indian librarian S.R. Ranganathan served as an advisor to ensure that the library was built to international standards. The library became the pride of the local people as even researchers from India and other countries began to use it for their research purposes.

Braving its first destruction in 1981, the Tamil community pooled thousands of books, to rebuild the library when the civil war caught up in 1983. In 1985 again, the semi-built library bore assault of Sri Lankan Army. Of all the destruction in Jaffna city it was the destruction of the Jaffna Public Library was the incident, which appeared to cause the most distress to the Tamil people. After the occupation of Jaffna by Sri Lankan forces in 1996 efforts were made to rebuild the symbolic and important library. But the lost inflicted was irreplaceable and the damage had already been done. Many Tamils argue it should have been kept as a memorial and claim that it was rebuilt to whitewash and hide the Sinhala pogrom against Tamils. The library was reopened in 2003, twenty-two years later, Mayor of Jaffna Nadarajah Raviraj still grieved at the recollection of the flames he saw as a University student. He was later killed by unknown gunmen in the capital Colombo in 2006. For Tamils the devastated library became a symbol of “physical and imaginative violence� of majoritarian extremists. The attack was seen as an assault on their aspirations, value of learning and traditions of academic achievement. Not much has changed for Tamils in the North and the East parts of Sri Lanka today. The cultural genocide of Eelam Tamils still continues.


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B [world history] Anne Frank

Anne Frank was born into a middle-class, liberal Jewish family in Frankfurt am Main, Germany on June 12th, 1929 and lived only till months before her 16th birthday. She was an ordinary girl that loved to do ordinary things. She loved riding her bike and enjoyed the seaside. She also loved to write. Anne, like many of her neighbors and relatives, considered Germany to be her home. Her family had resided there for centuries and Anne was troubled when told to leave in 1933 by the Nazi. Her family was forced to restart their life in a new country far away from the Anti-Semitist regime in Germany. Having settled in Amsterdam without any trouble for around six years, in the month of May of the year 1940, Nazi Germany attacked the Netherlands. Five days after, the Netherlands surrendered and Nazi Germany had taken control of the nation putting place discriminatory laws against Jewish citizens. Jews were no longer able to go to school with non-Jews, they weren’t allowed to sit on park benches, go to public swimming pools, or even take public transportation. During the month of May of 1942, every Jewish child over the age of six was forced to wear the yellow Star of David on their clothes. Soon the Netherlands was subject to murder, and further deportation of Jewish citizens. The borders were closed off and the only way to survive the wrath of Nazi Germany was to go into hiding, which is exactly what Anne’s family decided to do. While Anne and her family had gone into hiding she had recorded everything in her diary that she had gotten for her 13th birthday. She wrote about the living conditions,

her fears, hopes, and her character. She spent around two years and a month in hiding and called this particular place, “Secret Annex.” When she was 15 Anne was arrested along with the eight others she was hiding with, however her diary was left behind and was kept safe. She and the others were transferred over to Auschwitz and when they got there they were separated. Anne and her older sister, Margot, were transported to Bergen-Belsen at the end of October 1944. Early next year, Margot died due to typhus, a bacterial disease spread by lice or fleas. Soon after, Anne also suffered the same fate. About a month after both their deaths, Bergen-Belsen was freed from the clutches of the terrorizing Nazi control. After the libration of all the concentration camps, Mr. Otto Frank, Anne’s father who was the only surviving member of the people hiding in the Secret Annex, had Anne’s diary published. Through her diary, Anne’s perspective of her life during the time she had spent hiding was exposed to the world. Everybody was able to experience through her words the dangerous and fearful situation she and her family had faced. Some might discourage the act of keeping a diary, but sometimes writing your heart out is the only healthy way to express how you truly feel without having to bottle everything inside. Anne’s diary is a treasured possession and holds great merit. The power of the pen is often underestimated but words are beyond inspiring, so writers don’t ever stop writing.


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MAY 2012

C [youth canada] War Crimes Day SCARBOROUGH, ON

On Friday, May 18th National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) gathered the community gathered at Albert Campbell Square to commemorate the innocent Tamil lives lost at the height of the genocidal onslaught in 2009. With speeches from various Members of Parliament and Members of Provincial Parliament, this event reassured the only solution to end the suffering of the Tamil people in the North and the East to be that of a separate state. An independent impartial international investigation was called upon at the event and also stood firmly by the solution of TamilEelam.

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MAY 2012

Tamil Uprising Day TORONTO, ON

On Saturday, May 19th the Tamil Youth Organization-Canada alongside various Tamil Students’ Associations hosted “Tamil Uprising Day.” The day following the community’s remembrance of the grave losses due to the Tamil Genocide was declared to be an inspirational day. This day was filled with speeches and performances that reiterated the importance of continuing the fight for TamilEelam from the youths’ perspective.

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MAY 2012

YUTSA Project Rajapaksa TORONTO, ON

Flyers were distributed all over downtown and Scarborough as York University’s Tamil Students’ Association set off their “Project Rajapaksa” campaign to create awareness about the war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by the Sri Lankan State. YUTSA furthered their campaign online through various forms of social marketing, Facebook and Twitter to name a few. An ongoing campaign, YUTSA hopes that this campaign not only makes its way around Toronto but around Canada and the rest of the world.

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UTSC TSA May Massacre Campaign SCARBOROUGH , ON

On Wednesday, May 16th the Tamil Students’ Association at the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus held an interactive campaign to educate their fellow students about the Tamil Genocide and the plight of the Tamil people. Little flames that read, “I, ________, will rise up for TamilEelam!” were signed and placed on a larger painting of the nation and a fist to symbolize revolution. Over 200 flames were signed as the executive members and directors of UTSC TSA created awareness around campus.


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MAY 2012

Blood Drive MARKHAM, ON

On Friday, May 18th, the Markham chapter of the Tamil Youth-Organization spearheaded a blood drive clinic in memory of the lives lost at the height of the genocidal onslaught of the Tamil people. The blood clinic attracted many individuals and was a very well organized initiative that fulfilled a great cause.

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CTYA Poetry Slam TORONTO, ON

On Thursday, May 31st the Education and Career Development Council of the Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance held a Poetry Slam to honor the lives lost in the last stages of the armed conflict.Young poets from all over Toronto came together to express their views and portrayals of the Tamil Genocide. The event was inspiring and left the audience in complete awe.


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MAY 2012

D [world youth] Genocide Memorial ITALY

In the city of Reggio Emilia, the Council of Eelam Tamil Italy (CETI) and Giovani Tamil organized an event to commemorate the Tamil genocide. They placed 40 bricks in the square, to represent the estimated 40,000 civilians massacred in the final stages of the armed conflict. Flyers were handed out and members of the organization also gave interviews to journalists, explaining the ongoing genocide that’s occurring in the Tamil homeland.

Multicultural Showcase ITALY

Italian Tamil youth joined other Italian youth to celebrate the diversity and multiculturalism at Castelnovo Sotto on 6th May 2012. Communities included India, Ghana, Albania, Russia, Madagascar and the Arab Maghreb Union just to name a few. Members of a Tamil youth organization named Giovanni Tamil, shared their memories and thoughts of the struggle faced by their nation in the North-East of the island of Sri Lanka. Guests joined members of Giovanni Tamil in wearing black ribbons, in remembrance of the Tamil Genocide.

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May 18th Memorial NEW ZEALAND

The Tamil Youth Organization – New Zealand held an event to commemorate the lives lost in the last stages of the war, particularly on May 18th. Tamils from across New Zealand gathered to pay their respect by laying flowers at a memorial. A Member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Jan Logie, and human rights activist, Maire Leadbeater, gave speeches remembering the victims of the massacre. Members of TYO – New Zealand played a video they had made that showcased the details of the Tamil Genocide.

May 18th Memorial AUSTRALIA

The Tamil Youth Organization – New Zealand held an event to commemorate the lives lost in the last stages of the war, particularly on May 18th. Tamils from across New Zealand gathered to pay their respect by laying flowers at a memorial. A Member of the New Zealand House of Representatives, Jan Logie, and human rights activist, Maire Leadbeater, gave speeches remembering the victims of the massacre. Members of TYO – New Zealand played a video they had made that showcased the details of the Tamil Genocide.


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MAY 2012

Genocide Memorial UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Students from a private high school in Los Angeles California, motivated by lessons on genocide learnt from their history class, have organized fund-raisers and social awareness campaign to help victims of the alleged genocide of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. “We felt that it was our duty to help them in any way we could,� said the students who also created a video on the details of genocide as part of their information campaign. The group raised money for Tamils Against Genocide. They are also in the process of setting up a club at high school to continue their campaign work.

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E [did you know?]

Combat Stress Reaction? A PRECURSOR POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

Amidst a war-torn setting, you could probably imagine the amount of heartache and chaos that people may have to endure. From damaged places to flooding tears, the degree to which the lives of individuals are altered automatically escalates. If the lives of the people within the war-torn nation can get traumatized, imagine how much the lives of those fighting battle may get distressed. Did you know that many people who fight battle often go through many anxieties that are associated with fighting battle? Combat stress reaction (CSR) (also known as battle fatigue) is a common reaction of individuals fighting battles and they refer to the many pressures that are encompassed with fighting battle. These pressures often inhibit an individual’s ability to efficiently fight as they exhaust the combatants and cause mental, physical, and emotional strain. This stress causes individuals to react at a slower pace and alienate themselves from everything that’s happening around them.

Did you know that in the past, this was commonly known as shell shock? It originated in World War I and the reason for the terminology was because at that time, it was believed that individuals suffered from shell shock because the effects of war and the shock waves from the artillery shells caused damage to their nervous systems. Nonetheless, as people get more familiar with the effects of such incidents, we realize that there is a lot that we do not know and as we grow and research, we learn a lot. For instance, before, the long-term effect of ‘shell shock’ was not considered as much. The focus remained more on the shortterm effects. However, overtime we realize how times can change and people’s level of perception and understanding could also change.


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F [face-to-face] Neethan Shan

IN THE YEARS THROUGH YOUR INVOLVEMENT IN THE CANADIANTAMIL COMMUNITY AS WELL AS THE BROADER CANADIAN COMMUNI-

WHILE GROWING UP EVERYONE HAS CERTAIN INSPIRATIONS OR IDOLS,

TY, YOU’VE BEEN THE PRIME EXAMPLE OF PERSISTENCE. WHAT WOULD

WE’RE SURE THAT YOU ARE NO DIFFERENT. WHO WERE YOUR KEY ROLE

YOUR ADVICE TO YOUNG POLITICIANS WHO ASPIRE TO BE WHERE YOU

MODELS THAT YOU’VE LEARNED FROM AND LOOKED UP TO IN ORDER

ARE TODAY?

TO GET TO THE PLACE YOU ARE TODAY?

Any young person wishing to be successful in politics needs to have great patience. It is very common for politicians to have many failures before a success. It is also very common that there will most likely be a failure after a few successes. So in politics, I think it is important for us to not get stuck to our positions. We choose politics to effect change not to build a career. We just need to keep focused in doing what we set out to do through politics. I want to advance social and economic justice in my city, in my province and in my country. In addition, I want to stand up for the protection of human rights around the world, including the human rights of Tamils in Eelam.

My parents have been key role models for me in my life. My father inspired me to relate well with others, respect my heritage and my language and to be focused. He gave me the confidence that I needed to succeed. My mother, who protected the four of us (my three sisters and I) and provided for us during the most difficult times of the civil war with heavy military attacks and economic embargo, instilled in me the ability to resist, to be resilient and resourceful. She taught me to care for others. They have had an enormous impact on me.

Even though luck does play a role occasionally, it is mostly hard work that brings success in politics. The success achieved through luck doesn’t usually last long. Many believe that a good politician is someone who can speak well. Public speaking is important, but I feel it is more important for a politician to be good listener. I can say many more things: transparency, integrity, consistency, good friends, family support, balanced life style, good sense of humour, openness to criticism and the ability to make tough decisions, even when it is unpopular. Finally, as a Tamil Canadian, I have always been proud of my Tamil Identity as much as my Canadian identity. One can be successful in politics in Canada, while having strong sense of his/her roots. I value our freedom struggle, our mother language, our homeland and the sacrifices of those who fought for our freedom. This makes me stronger, more resilient and gives me the drive and motivation to continue to push for social and economic justice locally, nationally and internationally.

All the young people who had sacrificed their lives fighting for freedom, so that our next generation can at least live as free human beings continue to drive and motivate me to fight against oppression, marginalization and discrimination. Their sacrifices remind me every day to do something useful with my life in advancing social and economic justice. Finally, in the field of politics in Canada, I have had the great privilege to work with Honourable Jack Layton. He was a great supporter during my 2007 elections. He encouraged me and gave me hope and optimism. In Canada, we rarely see the level of emotional outpouring when a politician leaves us. Among the many reasons why Jack got such overwhelming love was because he did politics differently. He took a stand on issues of equity and justice, even when at times they were unpopular. He was humble and connected with organizers at the grassroots level. Despite of the amazing growth and momentum that the NDP and he as the leader experienced, he didn’t forget the roots and he still remained very committed to the values and principles of our social and economic justice movement. He continues to be the role model for me in Canadian politics. He is someone whose footsteps and style of politics that I wish to follow.


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YOU WERE RECENTLY FEATURED ON “TVO’S THE AGENDA WITH STEVE PAIKIN” AS ONE OF THE PANEL OF SPEAKERS. ON THE SHOW YOU SPOKE ABOUT THE REASONS WHY RECONCILIATION WILL NOT WORK ON THE ISLAND UNDER THE CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES, UNLESS THE TRUE POLITICAL ASPIRATIONS OF THE TAMIL PEOPLE ARE RECOGNIZED. WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS IT IMPORTANT FOR CANADIAN-TAMIL YOUTH TO CONTINUE ADVOCATING FOR TAMILEELAM AND TO

WOULD YOU MIND SHINING SOME LIGHT ON YOUR GOALS, ENDEAV-

CONTINUE TO UPHOLD TAMIL IDENTITY?

ORS AND DREAMS FOR THE FUTURE?

Tamils have faced severe oppression for over six decades. During this time, over many hundreds of thousands of crimes against humanity has been committed by the Sri Lankan State against the Tamils. Unless, there is an acknowledgement of this injustice, it is difficult to talk about reconciliation. A pre-requisite for reconciliation is redress and accountability for the injustice that has been committed. After an acknowledgement, there needs to be an investigation. Those responsible for the crimes not just in 2009, but also during the decades that went before it, need to be brought to justice and punished. Then, there needs to be redress and compensation for the impacted individuals and communities. Tokenistic, superficial, insulting and in some cases, discriminatory projects are being hailed as reconciliation projects and this poses an issue as many of them attempt either knowingly or unknowingly to erase the history, evidence and memories of injustice and crimes committed against Tamils.Tamil youth are capable of. Ilanthalir was the perfect stage to showcase these talents, as it also showcased different messages about the civil war and genocide back home.

I wish to continue to expand my knowledge about other social justice struggles in Canada and around the world. I hope to continue to push for a more economically and socially just society in Ontario. I wish to continue to be involved in politics to support marginalized communities in Canada and to support Tamils in Eelam in their fight for rights and freedom. Even though I don’t have a particular position that I am aspiring to in politics, I will continue to work hard to get to positions from which I can address the needs of marginalized communities around us. In other things to do, I hope to finish a Ph.D in the field of Education, direct at least one full length movie on a unique storyline from our struggle and author a few non-fiction books. On the personal front, I hope to be a good father, husband, son and brother.

In the current context where heavy militarization, occupation, extra-judicial killings, disappearances, sexual harassment, economic exploitation and many other human rights violations are common occurrences in our occupied homeland, it is important for Tamil diaspora, particularly our youth, to continue to advocate for the protection of human rights of Tamils in Tamil Eelam. The right to self-determination is a human right as well. Therefore, it is important to ensure that the Tamils in Tamil Eelam have the right to exercise the right to self-determination if they wish to. As our places of worships, libraries, historic sites, memorial spaces and other important dimensions of our heritage are being deliberately destroyed, the diaspora needs to take a leadership in protecting, preserving, documenting and celebrating our identity and heritage as Tamils.

My biggest source of strength in the past nine years has been my wife. I can always count on her to bring me up when I am down. I was able to handle my losses during the past elections, since she was always there to support and put things in context. Fortunately, as she is also very connected with the field of politics, she also functions as a great advisor to me. Our son, Ellalan was born about a year ago. I want the world during his life to be a better, cleaner, healthier and safer place for him and his generation than the world my generation and I lived in. That means we have a lot of work to do. So let’s do it.

BEING INVOLVED IN THE COMMUNITY HAS MADE YOU A HOUSEHOLD NAME. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY WERE YOUR GREATEST STRENGTHS AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT THAT ALLOWED YOU TO CONTINUE FIGHTING FOR SUCCESS WHENEVER YOU MAY HAVE THOUGHT OF GIVING UP?


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G [chef @ cheran]

Bisquick Coffee Cake INGREDIENTS DOUGH

• • • •

2 cups Bisquick 2/3 cup water or 2/3 cup milk 1 egg 2 tablespoons sugar

TOPPING

• • • •

1/3 cup Bisquick 1/3 cup brown sugar 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 2 tablespoons butter

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1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a deep pie plate, 8”x8” square pan, or 9”x9” square pan.

4 Mix topping ingredients with a fork or pastry mixer until crumbly.

2 Prepare the correct measurements of ingredients for the dough

5 Spread the topping mix over dough and drag a butter knife across like you were making a tic-tac-toe board several times.

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3 Mix dough ingredients and put in baking dish.

6 Bake for 25 minutes and serve with ice cream


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H [youth reflections]

PART 2 of 2

The concept of reconciliation itself has a major hole in it which people are blind too. Some people or groups focusing on reconciliation should understand that their project is not to enforce the Tamil identity but to completely erase it in any way they can and form a chauvinist Sri Lankan identity. To start off: To be a Sri Lankan (regardless of Tamil or Sinhalese) is a disgrace specially to know that the country (which is not secular) created/follows a flawed version of Buddhism. Buddhism is supposed to preach non-violence, selflessness and lead a life that absolutely lacks desires which in no amount can be found in Ceylon/Sri Lanka .The peak of Tamil Genocide from 2008-2009 evidently proves that Sri Lanka is following its own form of vile Buddhism that directly insults true Buddhism. The Sri Lankan identity automatically entitles the person: responsible for the brutal Tamil Genocide, representing and obeying the Genocidal constitution which was formed against the Tamils and representing a non-secular state that not only misrepresents Buddhism but also insults it. This might sound really harsh but are drawn from solid facts. Quite a few are attracted to this concept of reconciliation and these are the people, who try seeking an immediate remedy and fall into the problem-solving concept within a severely flawed system.What has to be understood is that livestock in slaughterhouses are fed but at the end of the day they reside inside the slaughterhouse, which marks their demise. The Tamils in the North and East of Sri Lanka are in a similar situation. Addressing their immediate concern would ease their pain but unless we seek out a permanent solution that gives Tamils an

absolute social justice can we save ourselves from our own demise. If reconciliation were possible our struggle would have ended within 3 years since British left an independent Ceylon. The reason it kept on failing is because the country itself is flawed, still flawed and any form of solution from this country is only focused to exterminate the Tamils like they have did in the past. This will go longer if I have to go in a finer detail but I think it’s up to people to question themselves about their path and analyze it to see whether their solution would seek a permanent solution to the Tamils in North and the East, or a painful demise; is in each ones hands. The ones with the least amount of far-sighted vision would understand this but for people who are seeking a quick solution; this will look radical. We saw how the problem solving theory would never work in our struggle regardless how hard one tries to prove it. The one and only reason is: The problem solving theory focuses on preserving a vile and genocidal system against the Tamils which aims only to please the “Sri Lankan” population but will not give the absolute social justice to our people in the north and the east. Critical Theories are always meant to challenge and always take time, but implementing a solution from critical theory will have vast benefits to the people who wanted change. Tamil Eelam is a Critical Theory, which certainly challenges many people’s views but when it becomes legitimate it will be a place where Tamils can eternally exercise their rights and freedom, an eternal benefit the Tamils always wanted.


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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-May 2012  

The official e-newsletter of TYO-Canada.

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