« The ACTC/TNPF is strongly backed and heavily influenced by LTTE and Pro-LTTE elements in the Global Tamil Diaspora.These tiger and pro-tiger elements are strongly opposed to the TNA and its current political approach of working towards an acceptable political settlement within a united but not necessarily unitary Sri Lanka. The overall objective of these elements is two – fold. Revive the LTTE in some form and engage in violence in Sri Lanka. Undermine the political process and disrupt all positive political engagement between Tamil representatives and the Governments in power in Colombo. »
Sri Lanka’s government has been reaching out to the country’s influential Tamil diaspora with the aim of building minority support and boosting its international standing. But the contentious strategy holds risks for the government’s survival ahead of parliamentary elections next week.
(Text of a Press Statement Issued by the Canadian Tamil Congress on August 7th 2015)
The Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC) strongly urges Tamils and all citizens of Sri Lanka to exercise their right to vote at the upcoming Parliamentary elections.
The presidential election of January 8th, 2015 was a turning point in the recent political history of Sri Lanka. Voters turned up in large numbers and voted for change and a new beginning.
While Canada and other members of the international community acknowledged and welcomed these changes it is the duty of all responsible Sri Lankan citizens to ensure that these tenuous beginnings are consolidated without giving any chance for their reversal.
Although many issues of the Tamil people including land rights, political prisoners and disappearances were not addressed as expected, the election did bring about early signs of goodwill, as reflected in some actions that were taken by the current government. CTC believes that these positive developments, together with new-found political optimism, can be further strengthened after the August election.
The resolution of the Tamil problem will invariably involve meaningful negotiations between the Government of Sri Lanka, the elected representatives of the Tamil people, and other relevant stakeholders. In this context, Parliamentarians elected by the Tamil people will have a major role to play. One strong united voice speaking for Tamils will have a significant impact at these negotiations.
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), under the responsible and experienced leadership of Mr. R. Sampanthan, has earned the recognition and respect of not only the Tamil people, but also other community representatives in Sri Lanka and international community members like Canada, USA and India. He has carefully and consistently articulated the concerns, grievances and aspirations of the Tamil people
CTC works closely with TNA, and our partnership has been crucial in some of the diplomatic achievements made in Canada as well as at the UNHRC in Geneva. TNA’s Secretary for Legal and Foreign Affairs, Mr. M.A. Sumanthiran’s advocacy skills, experience and expertise has been beneficial to both CTC and TNA when meeting various government officials in Canada, Geneva and other parts of the world.
CTC firmly believes that a strong mandate given to the TNA to represent Tamils in Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka will strengthen our position during negotiations. Together with a victory for the progressive forces that advocate democracy and good governance in the South, the chances of achieving a negotiated political resolution, accountability and sustainable reconciliation in Sri Lanka will more likely become a reality.
Sections of the Tamil Diaspora are on a virulent campaign against the TNA. Most Tamils abroad are not engaged in politics, because it is dirty and dangerous. Slanderous stories are put out against those not in agreement. Fear of being labelled, leaves the field open to virulent sections of the Diaspora to speak on behalf of all others.
In the US this mantle of Tamil leadership has defaulted to Tamils for Obama. As fair-weather friends, they were Tamils for Clinton when Hilary Clinton seemed likely to win the Democratic Party nomination in 2008 and then, when Obama did, they re-Christened themselves as Tamils for Obama. Now, in 2015, as Obama’s term is ending and Hilary seems likely to be the Democratic Party nominee and ultimately president in Jan. 2017, they wrote shamelessly to her on 10 May 2015 signalling their willingness to turn-coat again: “We are Tamils for Obama. We would like to remind you that before the nomination was settled in 2008, we were Tamils for Clinton. We are still here and eager to offer our support again. We were among your supporters before, and we haven’t changed our minds.”
C.V.Wigneswaran, who became Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province in 2013 thanks to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), appears to be drifting away from the party which propped him up.
« Valvettithurai is a place that has figured prominently in the politics of Sri Lankan Tamils. Valvettithurai is a coastal town along the Vadamaratchy littoral region of the northern Jaffna peninsula.VVT as Valvettithurai is generally referred to acquired a notorious reputation at one time as the hotbed of smuggling. In later years Valvettithurai became known as the nursery of Tamil militancy. A very large number of VVT youths have been at the forefront of the Tamil armed struggle launched to achieve the secessionist ideal of Tamil Eelam. Chief among these was Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) leader Thiruvengadam Velupillai Prabhakaran. »
Ordinary folk such as S. Sivanesan, a teacher in a government school in Jaffna, says, “We will vote for candidates who are willing to speak on behalf of the Tamil people and their causes. They should be able to help people affected by the war and not able to resettle in their respective land. That’s our immediate need. It has to be done.”
« When Dheepan was announced as the winner of the coveted Palm D’Or at this year’s Cannes Film festival, it was its unlikely lead actor Jesuthasan Antonythasan, 47, who stole the limelight. Known in literary circles by his pen name Shobasakthi, he has written several short stories, political essays, and two novels in Tamil, the most recent being a collection of translated short stories, The MGR Murder Trial. A former LTTE child soldier, Shobasakthi’s own career graph bears close resemblance to the film’s lead character’s journey. Over a telephonic interview from Paris, Shobasakthi talks of his yearning to return to Sri Lanka, his political allegiances and why violence solves nothing. »
Thirty-two years ago on Friday, anti-Tamil riots burned a hole into the South Asian island nation of Sri Lanka that it still struggles to close. For many of us in the Canadian Tamil diaspora, it is an emotional reminder of not only what we had lost in Sri Lanka but also what we have gained in Canada in return
« It’s nonsense of course to talk about a diaspora as a coherent entity. It’s made up of every shade of political view, different generations, different levels of education and class, and most of all very different experiences of suffering and exile. »
« Tamil National Alliance(TNA)Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan MP and TNA National list Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran won many hearts and minds by participating in the official Independence day ceremony held in Battaramulla on February 4th…. »
This week Rt. Reverend Shantha Francis, the Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala, resigned from his position claiming that “he, being a Tamil, was under pressure from Tamil Diaspora groups to toe their line.”(DM, 05/01) According to Bishop Francis the Diaspora is against his support for a unitary state and his lack of speaking for the rights of the minorities. Bishop Francis was never actively involved in a campaign to support unitary state or rights of the minorities. He may have expressed his support for a unitary state. I am not aware of any Bishop who openly rejected the idea of unitary state in their official capacities, even in situations when they have spoken for the rights of minorities.
« Das Kastensystem gibt es leider noch. Ich bin jetzt 24 Jahre alt und ich habe Kolleginnen, die sich in einen Tamilen aus einer anderen Kaste verliebt haben. Dieses Familientheater! Wahnsinn. Familien sprechen nicht mehr miteinander, die Kinder müssen ausziehen und werden ausgeschlossen. »
[ English Translation: « The caste system unfortunately persists. I’m now 24-years-old and I have a female colleague who fell in love with a Tamil from another caste. The drama that followed! Insane. Families stop speaking to each other, children are forced to move out and are banished. » ]
You could find below a link to download Amarnath Amarasingam’s chapter on « The Cultural, the Nominal, and the Secular: The Social Reality of Religious Identity Among Sri Lankan Tamil Youth in Canada. »
The TNA chiefs are looking for a stunt of some sort to defend their sustained inertia in the context of a profound need for clear leadership for Tamils in Sri Lanka. Of course, the current regime complies – its continued repression of some TNA leaders provides opportunities for them to escape their responsibility. In fact, the TNA leaders intended to keep to the TULF tradition of supporting the right-wing UNP candidate. However, this was spoiled by Maithiripala Srisena’s announcement as an opposition candidate.
Prior to the election announcement, the TNA put time and effort into convincing a section of the diaspora leadership to support the UNP. TNA leaders met some diaspora leaders in a not-so secret meeting in the US. It was made clear that the TNA leaders were ready to compromise on key demands, including the demand for the right to self-determination, and that this was not just a strategy but a political stand that they are taking. Sadly for them, the diaspora organisations are still to the left of the right-wing TNA leadership and refused to give into all that was demanded.
A section of the TNA who dare to speak out are supressed by the TNA leaders. The current leadership spent more time manoeuvring against their opposition within the TNA than actually developing a political strategy to advance the right of Tamils. Creating illusions in the Indian government and western governments is their only consistent policy. This serves no purpose other than to transform them into a tool of the west and India depite the claims that they propagate among Tamils in the North and East – that the west and India are coming to support the Tamils’ cause. »