January 3, 2012 Comments Off on Update on SL News
Global Post – Sri Lanka: new test of India’s global influence
Deccan Chronicle – ‘The Tamil diaspora does not want peace’
New York Times (Opinion) – Sri Lanka’s Ghosts of War
Official Government News Portal of Sri Lanka – Sri Lanka Government ready to discuss scopes on Police, land powers with TNA – Govt Spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella
India Ministry of External Affairs – Report of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission of Sri Lanka
BBC Sinhala – 26,000 not resettled due to HSZ
BBC Sinhala – India cannot dictate terms says Govt
Sky News Australia – Sri Lankan MP held over Briton’s death
Deccan Chronicle – Tamils to blame for Lanka solution delay: Rajapaksa
Deccan Chronicle – ‘For Lanka, India comes first’
Counter Punch – A Brief Assessment – Sri Lanka’s Truth Commission
Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice – Lessons learned?
The Economic Times – Lankan lessons: War crimes and Rajapaksa regime
The Sunday Leader – Tamils, Indians, The LLRC Report And Rajapaksa Politics
Xinhua News – Sri Lanka’s PM commends China for strong support
Asian Human Rights Commission – SRI LANKA: Extravagance — national pride to continue in 2012 as well?
Asian Human Rights Commission – SRI LANKA: The New Year Wish List- 2012
December 13, 2011 Comments Off on Because I am Tamil…
New Matilda (28/11) by Brami Jegan
As Tamils gathered this week to remember those who died in the civil war, the call for an independent investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka is getting louder, writes Brami Jegan
Yesterday I joined hundreds of thousands of Tamils across the world — in the UK, France, Germany Switzerland, America and India — to remember those who died in the 26-year struggle for our independence. It was day of haunting sadness.
The day is called “Maaveerar Naal”. Veerar in Tamil means “warrior or hero”. Maa means “great”. Naal means “day”.
It is held each year on 27 November, the date the first Tamil Tiger, Shankar, died in combat in 1982. I was two years old.
Alongside 2000 Tamils at a park in Silverwater in Sydney’s west, I wept for the 40,000 Tamils that were massacred by the Sri Lankan Government in 2009. I paid my respects to those who sacrificed their lives for my freedom.
I remembered the months of paralysing fear my family went through while my father was in the former conflict zone. I went to bed each night petrified of waking up to news he had been killed in an aerial attack by Sri Lankan Kfir jets or drones.
I honoured my dearest friend K, and the hours of laughter we shared together. A night I will never forget is when we sat under monsoon stars in Tamil Eelam in 2006, talking about life and love, war and peace till 4am in the morning. He kept the electricity generator running for me, even though it would have cost him more than he could afford because he knew I was scared of the dark. He died fighting for my identity.
The Sri Lankan Government is on a witchhunt to silence anyone that dares speak out about theatrocities committed against the Tamils. I have the honour of being on their list. This has only strengthened my resolve.
When people ask me where I am from, I say “I am Tamil”. I am not a Sri Lankan. A regime that has brutalised, terrorised and murdered, does not speak in my name.
The Mahavamsa, the great chronicle of Sri Lanka, is interpreted by the country’s rulers as“proving” that Sri Lanka is a Sinhalese Buddhist island. It can equally be read as the story of how the Sinhalese and Tamils founded the country together. In the story, the Tamil King Elara ruled with equal justice and was accepted by both communities.
As a diaspora Tamil I have struggled to understand my privileged place in the west. There is nothing I want that I can’t have. But since I first returned to Sri Lanka in 2002, I have had no peace of mind.
At the age of 22 I came face to face with the horrors of war: orphaned children; adults and children who had lost their arms, legs and eyesight; Tamil women who had been raped by the Sri Lankan army; men who had been tortured. The memories are endless and terrifying.
How do I reconcile my fortunate life with these stories? How do I explain to my western friends the pain and suffering I have witnessed? How do I not let their pain become a part of me?
I feel incredibly lost in post-war Sri Lanka as do many other diaspora Tamils. What is our role now?
Two and a half years ago genocide was committed against the Tamils of Sri Lanka and the entire international community did nothing to stop it.
The horrifying images of war crimes and crimes against humanity shown in Channel Four’s ‘Sri Lanka’s Killing Fields’ were a stark wake up call to the world. The broader understanding and perception of the Tamil struggle is shifting.
UK’s Prime Minister David Cameron, Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper, our former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser have come out strongly in favour of an independent war crimes tribunal for Sri Lanka. As has the UN Secretary General’s Panel of Experts, Amnesty International, International Crisis Group, and Human Rights Watch.
Shamefully our Prime Minister and Foreign Minister won’t add their voice to this call for an independent investigation.
I don’t know if there will ever be an independent war crimes tribunal for Sri Lanka. But the Arab Spring has shown the world that anything is possible. Hope must continue in some form.
The war no longer defines me. But the struggle forever will. I am a Tamil and with that comes a responsibility. A responsibility to myself, to my father, to K and to the Maveerars to honour the sacrifices and strength of my ancestors: “Because you died, we continue to live”.
December 13, 2011 Comments Off on Sydney Maveerar Naal
December 13, 2010 § 1 Comment
Tamilnet (12/12) – SL cabinet decides to abolish Tamil version of ‘national anthem’
The first cabinet meeting convened by Sri Lanka president Mahinda Rajapaksa after returning from London decided to abolish the Tamil version of Sri Lanka’s national anthem, Sunday Times reports. The ‘shortcoming’ of having two national anthems should be rectified and in no other country was the national anthem used in more than one language, Mahinda Rajapaksa told his cabinet Wednesday. The Tamil version of the national anthem of Ceylon and later Sri Lanka was adopted in 1948 at the time of the so-called independence. It was an exact translation of the Sinhala original, sung in the same tune. Supporting Rajapaksa, minister Wimal Weerawansa said that even in neighbouring India, where around 300 languages were used, the national anthem was only in Hindi. But the SL minister was ignorant of the fact that the national anthem of India is in Bengali.
July 23, 2010 § 1 Comment
We remember the 3000 Tamil lives that perished; the 150,000 rendered homeless; as a result of the state backed anti – Tamil pogrom in the island of Sri Lanka.
We remember the victims of July 1983; the unspeakable tragedies endured by them; each innocent, but for the crime of being born Tamil.
We remember the victims of today; those left without recourse to law or aid…
…and finally, we remember that hope for the helpless lies in the strength of our voices.
Facebook Event: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=101274666594053
Facebook Group: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=100714736649612&ref=ts
July 12, 2010 Comments Off on Australian Tamil youth runs for Senate
TAMIL JUSTICE IS PROUD TO ANNOUNCE THAT BRAMI JEGAN, A YOUNG AUSTRALIAN TAMIL FEMALE WILL BE RUNNING IN THE UPCOMING AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL ELECTIONS FOR THE SENATE!!!
Refugee, then investment banker, then journalist, then communications officer, then human rights advocate and finally political candidate, Brami Jegan tells us what led her down this path.
The Australian – Tamil refugee, Brami Jegan, seeks Senate seat
AS an ex-banker of Tamil heritage, Brami Jegan has hardly been plucked from central casting for a life in Australian politics.
“I know, my background is a bit different,” the newly anointed Greens Senate candidate says with a laugh. “But I’ve got nothing to hide. I’m here because I want to contribute to our society.”
Ms Jegan, 30, was born in the northern Sri Lankan city of Jaffna. But with the civil war raging, her family moved to Somalia, Tanzania and Malaysia before finally settling in Sydney as refugees when she was eight. Her first career was as an investment banker with Macquarie Bank and JPMorgan for eight years.
But Ms Jegan determined to chart a more public-minded course after returning to Sri Lanka in 2002 for two weeks with her father.
“Seeing children blind through malnutrition, and adults without arms and legs because of landmines, it was really confronting,” Ms Jegan says. “And that’s when I decided to do something more with my life. That was the beginning of a road that led here, to a career in politics.”
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Having worked as a journalist with SBS, and currently as a communications officer with Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA, Ms Jegan is also expecting the scrutiny that comes with seeking public office — even if, ranked fourth on the Greens Senate ticket in NSW, her chances of winning a seat are slim.
Last year in England, her uncle, Arunachalam Chrishanthakumar — known as AC Shanthan — was jailed for two years for aiding the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, the notorious Tamil Tigers militia outlawed in Britain as a terrorist organisation.
The founder of the British Tamil Association, Shanthan was found to have acquired electrical componentry and military manuals for the LTTE. Three other charges were dismissed.
“Yes, it happened, but I don’t believe I have anything to apologise for,” the Greens candidate says, pointing to a transcript of the judge’s comments in which her uncle was called “a thoroughly decent man” who hadn’t sought to “assist (the LTTE) in war”.
“The fact is my uncle was trying to help Tamils in Sri Lanka. But he wasn’t a terrorist,” she says.
Unsurprisingly, Ms Jegan nominates refugee policy as her main political focus. She is a regular visitor to the 39 Tamil asylum-seekers held at Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney’s west.
And while she agrees Sri Lanka is more secure now, she cites the latest UNHCR report in stating the threat still exists for some, and that asylum-seekers should be assessed case by case.
June 27, 2010 Comments Off on UN unhappy with GoSL's refusal of visas
Sri Lanka will ban visits by the three-member United Nations panel investigating alleged human rights abuses in the final months of the island’s civil war, a senior minister said Thursday.
…”We will not issue them with visas. We will not allow them into this country,” External Affairs Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris told reporters…
The head of a UN panel probing alleged war crimes during Sri Lanka’s civil war has criticised Colombo’s decision to ban him and colleagues from the country, a report said Friday.
…”Everybody loses out if we cannot go to Sri Lanka, it will make it harder for the truth to be unearthed,” Darusman told the BBC, describing the ban as “most unfortunate”…