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TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009

Vol - 16

REACH Official E-Newsletter of TYO - Canada

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TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009 To work towards the enhancement of the Tamil Nation and to provide an avenue for the betterment of Tamil youth in canada

TYO

History Youth Canada Youth Reflections World Youth

Vol - 16

Pg 3 - 5 Pg 6 - 11 Pg 12 Pg 13 - 17

…standing behind the door, I heard a high pitched shriek coming from the room. I stood there frozen in fear, as the screams of the female reached my ears.The fear in her voice, as she screamed at the top of her lungs, and the shadows of the men that were trying to rape her… I can’t bear to even think back to it. “No, no! Noooooo..” these were the only words coming out of her mouth. Her cries would not help her in these death camps run by the government. Her life was coming to an end, just like the hundreds of women that came before her. It frightened me. I cowered into the corner, in fear: death was just around the corner. I tried not to make a sound, but a little gasp escaped from my mouth. One of the shadows turned in my direction.The shadow started to creep towards me. Death, fear, misery; it all approached me at once. “Is it my turn now? Am I going to die?”

If this female lived in Canada, she would be enjoying her life: running in the park, watching movies, reminiscing the good times and getting ready to see the fireworks on Canada Day. Unfortunately, this female is one of the many forcibly placed into the concentration camps. There are hundreds of children enduring painful lives in Sri Lanka, just because they were born Tamil. These youth, our age, are being discriminated against, because of something that they do not have any control over. It is preposterous, and disturbing to even think that individuals can be murdered based on their ethnicity, and even more distressing to see the world remain silent. The false propaganda being spewed by the Sri Lankan government can only be demolished by the Tamil Diaspora. To make sure that all Canadians see the truth behind the crisis in Sri Lanka, we have to continue to protest, and educate the non-Tamils about the issue, so that they will be able to understand it. We have to initiate the change that will make people see that this is not only a Tamil issue; it is a Canadian issue, as well as a humanitarian issue. The innocent lives being taken in Sri Lanka are human, and are as pure as the people livning here. Thus, the Tamils residing in our homeland deserve a chance to live, and we are the only ones who can provide that to them.

In Solidarity, TYO - Canada

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History

(continued from April)

States & Nations Today, most books about global conflicts and the media in general use the terms state, nation, and nation-state interchangeably, and this has confused the issue greatly. Nations are geographically bounded territories of a common people. A nation is a self-defined group who see themselves as “one people” on the basis of common ancestry, history, society, institutions, ideology, language, territory, and (often) religion. The existence of nations is ancient - that is, there have always been “nations” for as long as there have been human beings and today there are somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 nations or distinct peoples or cultures in the world (Nietschmann 1987:1). As opposed to nations, states are relatively knew in human history. They are centralized political systems recognised by other states, that use a civilian and military bureaucracy to enforce one set of institutions, laws and sometimes culture (e.g. language and religion) within their claimed boundaries. The thousands of nation peoples of the world are organized into the fewer than 180 states or countries represented in the United Nations. More than 95% of these states are multinational - that is, composed of many nations or distinct peoples, many of whom do not consent to being absorbed and governed by an imposed central government in the hands of a different people. That this is so, and how it came about historically, goes a long way to explain the phenomenon of national liberation movements.

One of the most important geopolitical facts of our times is that many hundreds of distinct peoples or nations in the world today live in states they do not consent to be part of because they are oppressed, exploited and treated unjustly in these states. Nonetheless, governments invariably assert that their state is made up of one common people. This is frequently a political myth. As Benedict Anderson (1991) has shown, multi-national states are in fact “imagined communities.” The true “nation-state” - that is, a state that represents one single nation or people is, in fact, a distinct rarity. No directory, atlas or encyclopedia lists or describes all or even most of the peoples of the world, and almost no state refers to them as nations; they prefer to call them “ethnic groups”, “minorities”, or “tribals.” These terms substitute state-related, nonpeople identification for the actual names that nation peoples call themselves and their territories (Nietschmann 1987). This is because nations are “candidates for statehood” - that is, each of them could, theoretically and by right, seek independence and become their own independent state.

“A people” has internationally recognised rights to self-determination and self-defence against invasion and external aggression; “ethnic groups” and “minorities” do not. For example, the UN Charter (1945) states that “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development” (cited in Nietschmann 1987:6). up How We Got Here - States, Predatory Expansion, and Empires (Colonialism, Imperialism, Neocolonialism, Third World Colonialism, Internal Colonialism) The first thing to note about national liberation movements in general is that they are the inevitable result of the rise and spread of states. One thing that anthropologists know is that the kind of society we live in today - the state - is a relatively new development in the history of humanity. For at least 98% of human history (about a half million years), people lived in “tribal” societies, usually foraging for a living, without accumulating wealth or power, without elites, without poverty, without soldiers or much in the way of warfare, with scarcely any occupational differentiation, political domination, or economic exploitation, and without revolutions or national liberation movements. All of these things we know to have been inventions of only about the past 8,000 years or so with the development of the state, which was a consequence of the development of surplus food production. This allowed for the first time production for accumulation and exchange as well as for use, and lead to the origin of cities and the state, social status based on control of property and labour rather than on family

No nation people has ever voluntarily given up their national identity and national territory, and both the states we know today and those that preceded them are and were all created by war and conquest in the history of empires.

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History

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TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009

and kinship, and associated with these changes, the appearance for the first time of governments, armies, markets, occupational specialization, social stratification, territorial conquest, ownership of productive resources, human exploitation - and yes, national liberation movements - and all the rest that we admiringly identify as “civilization.”

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followed in the tradition of First World and emerged as imperialist powers in their own right, forcibly colonising and “absorbing” other peoples against their will. These Third World states oppress and exploit these peoples in much the same way the European colonial powers formerly exploited them. Most of the “economic development” of some of these Third World countries has been achieved by the invasion and forced annexation of nation peoples’ lands and resources (Nietschmann, 1987). This situation, where a state exploits and oppresses peoples and regions within their own boundaries much the way the European colonial powers used to exploit and oppress foreign colonies, has been described as “internal colonialism” (Hechter 1975). Sri Lanka is an example of this; many Tamils believe that they are, for all practical purposes, treated as an “internal colony” of the Sinhalese-dominated state. Example: Tamil Grievances in Sri Lanka

There have been national liberation movements since the evolution of the first states. States have proven to be the most efficient form of social and military organisation ever devised by human beings for the pursuit of conquest or predatory expansion. The history of states is the history of empire, and from their beginning they spread by conquest and subjugation of neighbouring peoples until today all of the formerly independent nations or peoples have been conquered and included within their boundaries. This process of world conquest by imperial states was greatly accelerated in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth centuries as a result of the Industrial Revolution and rise of mercantile capitalism in Europe and later North America, heralding the development of the great age of mostly Euro-American imperialism and colonialism1.

* Sinhalese declared official language in 1956, Buddhism state religion in 1972. * State-sponsored colonisation of traditionally Tamil areas by armed settlers. One quarter of island’s poor Sinhalese population moved from Wet Zone to Dry Zone 1948-1971.

During this historical era, almost all of the remaining unconquered and formerly independent nation peoples of the world were finally conquered and brought within the boundaries of states. These imperial states expanded until they ran up against other states who had the military capability to check their advance.

* Discrimination in education, employment, and economic development.

This created new borders and new colonial states which had never existed before, mostly, of course, in what came to be referred to as the “Third World.” The boundaries of these colonial states were determined not by existing cultural boundaries, but by the struggles between the various European imperial and settler forces. They frequently completely ignored existing boundaries between indigenous peoples, with the result that many peoples of the world suffered the misfortune of being divided up between one or more colonial states.

* Substandard infrastructure in Tamil areas. * Small number of delegates to Parliament, so unable to affect government policy or defend rights. * Repeated racial killings of unarmed Tamil civilians in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1974 and 1977. * Government condoned and sponsored riots killing 3,000 Tamils and destroying their property in 1983.

Example: 25 million Kurds are divided among six states - Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Syria, Armenia, and Azerbaijan - and have been fighting for an independent homeland since 1880, over a century.

* Tamil parliamentarians harassed, harassment and disappearances of Tamils in Colombo and elsewhere.

In the Nineteenth and first half of the Twentieth centuries EuroAmerican imperialism reached it’s peak, and there were dozens of “national liberation wars” - mostly indigenous peoples trying to defend their freedom and traditional ways of life. Following the Second World War, a large number of colonial states, mostly in the Third World of course, were granted their formal independence and emerged as states in their own right. It is worth remembering that most of these states gained their independence either directly or indirectly through colonial wars of national liberation.

* Sustained military campaign against Tamil civilians and economic and military blockade of traditional Tamil homeland, under guise of fighting LTTE. [Source: Brief Notes - No.A-1, Feb. ‘96, from Bulletin Board] Many Third World peoples found that after “independence” they had simply traded one set of oppressors (white) for another (brown and black). The result is that today many Third World states, most of them the direct or indirect result of national liberation wars themselves, are now fighting against national liberation movements within their borders. Good examples in this part of the world include Indonesia (fighting national liberation movements in East Timor, West Papua, and Aceh province) and Papua New Guinea (fighting a national liberation movement in Bougainville).

The period since the Second World War is sometimes referred to as the era of “decolonisation” or “post-colonialism”. This is a misnomer because colonialism was largely replaced with neocolonialism; while these formerly colonised peoples were given their political independence, they still remained largely under the power of the former colonial powers who controlled their economies and development.

Imperialism and colonialism are not gone; similar processes are still going on today all over the world, particularly the Third World.

Furthermore, some of these independent Third World states have

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pursues a similar settler strategy in its colonies of East Timor and West Papua.

“Neocolonialism”, Third World colonialism, and “internal colonialism” are the new forms of imperialism, domination, and exploitation characteristic of national politics and international relations. As anthropologist Kathleen Gough has pointed out Capitalist imperialism is still flourishing and “as bloody and cruel as it ever was” (Gough 1990:1707):

Since the end of World War Two, the nature of global conflict has reflected this. Rather than wars between states, internal wars within states are now by far the most common. Today, the vast majority of wars worldwide are between states and nations. Of the 120-odd wars, 72% (86) are state-nation conflicts. That is, internal wars between states and oppressed nation peoples within their boundaries. 98% of the conflicts (118) are in the Third World, and 75% (90) are between Third World states and Fourth World (“tribal”/indigenous) nations (Nietschmann 1987:7)2.

“It operates especially through the support, often covert, of governments which favour the interests of the US capitalist class, and through the extraction of economic surplus from the dominated countries by such means as withdrawal of profits, unequal trade, and especially recently, foreign debt” (Gough 1990:1705)

Modern national liberation movements are basically the result of the spread of world capitalism, which has established a global pattern of social stratification between the “haves” and “have nots.” The spread of the capitalist market-place has created a world where the lives of uncounted millions of people are characterised by oppression, exploitation, violence, and injustice. The result of this is that many of these people have been forced to seek some form of defense against these experiences, and national liberation movements are one very important form of such defensive reaction.

Similarly, Noam Chomsky (1993), in his history of colonialism and imperialism over the past five centuries, concludes that they are just as alive and well today in the so-called “New World Order” as they ever were in the past. For this reason, some argue that it is more accurate to refer to the post-World War Two period as the era of “recolonisation” rather than “decolonisation”. For example, Palestinians are not the only nation-people to experience settler colonialism in the so-called “post-colonial” era since 1945; the territory of the Yanomami people is being invaded by settlers and “developed” as an internal colony of Brazil, and Indonesia

Canada Day Message A nation, once under the rule of Britain, gained independence 142 years ago. On July 1, 1867, the Canadian federal government was created, granting Canada full power to function on its own, as an independent nation. Everyone awaits their birthday with great eager, looking forward to the presents, the excitement and the fun adventures they will experience on that special day. Birthdays are given great value, as they mark the event of attaining a year, gaining maturity. In that manner, Canada Day marks the birthday of the nation of Canada, this beautiful nation that granted all of us a place to call home. Every year, communities across Canada unite to celebrate this special day. On this day, Canadians celebrate the achievements made by Canadians, the unique heritage of Canada and what it means to be Canadian. As Canadians, let’s join the celebrations, waving the Canadian flag, singing the Canadian national anthem, lighting fireworks, showing our gratitude to this nation. But remember, the peace gained in Canada is only temporary; we must never forget that we need a permanent place to call home. We will continue to fight for our own independent nation, but at the same time, let’s show our respect for the nation that gave us a living all these years. 5


TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009

Youth Canada

Thamileelame Thagam

Tens of thousands of Tamil Canadians, joined by several non-Tamils, gathered at Parliament Hill on June 3 for a massive rally. Tamils raised their voices, demanding the Canadian Government to pressure the GoSL to release the Tamils in internment camps under the responsibility of the UN, to bring the GoSL to court for committing genocide, to allow NGOs and basic necessities to reach the Tamils, and to pressure for a permanent solution granting Tamils their right to self-determination.

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Youth Canada

TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009

Vol - 16

Students Uprising Day Canadian Tamils gathered together in front of the US Consulate on June 6th for Students Uprising Day, to commemorate the sacrifice made by martyr Pon. Sivakumaran. The event was organized by the Tamil youth community and was promoted by emails, facebook, text messages and word of mouth. Hundreds of youth from the Tamil Youth Organization, various high schools, colleges and universities were present, dressed in red and black, carrying the Tamileelam national flag. The crowd was addressed by many passionate youth speakers.

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Youth Canada

TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009

Vol - 16

Condemn Sri Lankan Government’s Anti-Canada Stance – June 12

Following the deportation of Liberal MP Bob Rae from Sri Lanka, thousands of Tamil Canadians gathered in front of the Sri Lankan Consulate to condemn Sri Lanka`s Anti-Canada Stance. Tamils protested carrying the Canadian flag, showing their Canadian nationalism and denouncing the uncivilized behaviour of the Sri Lankan Government. At the end of the protest, protesters marched to and joined the nonstop protest in front of the US Consulate.

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Youth Canada

TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009

Vol - 16

World Refugees Day

Thousands of Canadian Tamils gathered at Queens Park, in front of the Ontario Parliament on June 20th to commemorate World Refugees Day. Tamils gathered to bring to light the situation faced by Tamils in Sri Lanka and to honour the lives lost to genocide. As the day drew to an end, a candle light vigil was held, as the Canadian Tamils marched to the US Consulate to join the nonstop protest.

Fun Canada Day Facts Did you know that Mandarin offers a free all-you-can-eat buffet to Canadian citizens on Canada Day?

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TYO - Canada

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Youth Canada

CTYA`s First Public Forum

Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance held its first public forum on June 21st at Canada Kandasamy Kovil. Hundreds of Tamil youth attended the forum, where they were educated about the upcoming initiatives of CTYA, including a huge Tamil Genocide Museum project. Canadian Tamil Youth Alliance is a new organization, formed in attempt to bring all the Tamil youth residing in Canada together.

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Youth Canada

TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009

Vol - 16

IDP Awareness Day IDP Awareness Day was held at Dundas Square on June 25. Tamils were present in large numbers on behalf of the Tamils internally displaced in Northern Sri Lanka. Numerous speeches were delivered by individuals from various backgrounds that emphasized the brutal conditions that the internally displaced 200 000 Tamils were living under in concentration camps.

Nonstop Protest in front of US Consulate The nonstop protest initiated last month still continues in front of the US Consulate. Tamils continue to demand that the international communities intervene in Sri Lanka, provide immediate humanitarian relief for the Tamils suffering in concentration camps, and to recognize Tamileelam as Tamils’ only solution.

Fun Canada Day Facts Did you know that the Canadian flag was established only 37 years ago in 1965?

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Youth Reflection

TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009

Vol - 16

Resisting the Urge to Give Up The struggle for existence: one of Charles Darwin’s four postulates of natural selection. It may sound random for me to bring up such a biological phrase, but we Tamils can relate to this. Tamils are struggling to exist in our own land. The Sri Lankan Government’s heartless, merciless fight against the Tamil race was the sole reason why we fled our home country. We are no harm to society, as we only wanted our voice to be heard. We only asked for our rights; rights that were taken away years ago. Sometimes, I wonder: is there any value for the life of a human being? Can life be so cheap? Tens of thousands of Tamils were trapped and wiped out intentionally in the “No Fire Zones” meant to protect lives. Can the world not distinguish between protecting and harming? Those who were “lucky” to survive the killings got forced into concentration camps by the Sri Lankan government. Ironic. Our brothers and sisters were “lucky” to escape immediate death, but they are now gradually dying; the lives of innocent Tamils are slowly being sucked out in these death camps. Women are raped regularly, on a daily basis. When a young female was raped by a group of men, the mother went to the police for justice. What happened? She ended my being murdered by the police. This is such a shameless and degrading act and I’m surprised that this hasn’t caught the attention of the media. This is just one of the hundreds of events that occur, and many of these events happen without witnesses. Many people may ask for evidence of these horrid actions, but the evidence is hidden by the government when the officials burn the corpses and deposit the ashes into the ocean. Tamils all over the world are in pain at this moment because of what happened, and what is happening. We’ve held numerous protests, but it hasn’t stopped the Sri Lankan Government from committing their treacherous acts against Tamil civilians. As blood relatives of the lives that are being brutally taken, we must continue to speak out, because the biggest defeat is not when you lose a battle, but when you give up in the process of the battle. In Sri Lanka, people are rejoicing hearing that the LTTE has been defeated and are blindly accepting that what happened was all for the best. Haven’t these people realized that the victory parties that these individuals have held have done none other than fuel the anger of our younger generations? Don’t they see that now, the 12

youth are more determined than ever? It broke my heart when we had the candle light vigil last month, because it made me realize the hundreds upon hundreds of lives that were crushed and taken. Today I am more determined than ever, because we have united as one; we have all united for one cause which is Tamileelam. We can’t change the past, but with our solidarity, we can build our future with a stronger foundation. Byravy Velautham, UTSC


World Youth

TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009

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Students Uprising Day in Germany Hundreds of German Tamils held Students Uprising Day on June 6 to commemorate martyr Pon.Sivakumaran’s sacrifice. Speeches, dramas and songs stressing the genocide faced by the Tamil youth in Sri Lanka were addressed to the audience. A similar event was held in Berlin, Germany.

Bike-a-thon in Paris A bike-a-thon was held by the Tamils of Paris, France as a tribute to martyr Pon. Sivakumaran.

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World Youth

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Students Uprising Day in Norway

An awareness rally, organized by the Tamil youth community, was held on June 6 in Bergen, Norway, demanding the international community to take action to bring justice to the Tamils.Youth depicted the crisis faced by Tamils by illustrating a real live death camp, appealing to the emotions of many Norwegian citizens.

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World Youth

TYO - Canada

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Students Uprising Day in Britain Students Uprising Day was held in Britain to honour martyr Pon. Sivakumaran.

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TYO - Canada

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World Youth

Protest in Norway

Norwegian Tamils protested continuously for five days in front of the Norwegian Parliament. A different approach was taken by the protesters each day of the protest, drawing the attention of several Norwegian citizens. Norwegian Tamils also held Students Uprising Day to pay their respect for martyr Pon. Sivakumaran.

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World Youth

TYO - Canada

JUNE 2009

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Protest in Australia

Australian Tamils rallied on June 4 in front of the various international consulates in Canberra, Australia. Starting at the France Consulate, protesters marched to the consulates of Malaysia, Denmark, Norway, South Korea, Japan, Belgium, Netherland, Switzerland, Germany, Canada, United States, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, Sweden, China and Mexico. Representatives from the Tamil youth community discussed the atrocities faced by the Tamils in Sri Lanka with members of the consulates and presented a petition at each consulate on behalf of the Australian Tamil community. The rally ended in front of the Australian Parliament.

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TYO - Canada

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Get Involved

JUNE 2009

Speak Out

Join TYO

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.

Our doors are always open to new members that are looking to make a difference for Tamils around the world.

Ignorance is not a bliss. • Stay updated with recent news

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.

• Write to your local politicians

Interested in getting involved?

• Attend rallies

Please contact us at contact@canadatyo.org Or visit us at www.canadatyo.org

• Enlighten non-Tamil peers • Write a poem, articles, essay • Research, understand and recite

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TYO - Canada

Get Involved

JUNE 2009

Vol - 16

WRITE

For the beautiful moments For the tragic times With your heart and no regrets

For our next month’s issue: Submit your written work based on

‘what’s on your mind?’ Please follow the guidelines below. Don’t forget to add reach@canadatyo.org to your e-mail safe list. We appreciate all of your time and effort. TYO - Canada

Guidelines: o All submissions must be in English o You may create your own title for your work o Written work should be within 750 words (or 2 pages letter sized), 12 pt font (Times) o Can be written in any form (article, research essay, poem, story, etc.) o Include your name, contact info, and University/ College/ High School (If applicable) o Submit before July 25th, 2009 o Must be e-mailed to reach@canadatyo.org with the subject ‘Reach- July 2009’ o Please attach a word file or copy and paste your work in your e-mail

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TYO - Canada

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Vol - 16

REACH - June 2009  

Official monthly e-newsletter of TYO-Canada

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