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A struggle for all of us

[Lakbima News, Sunday, 5 December 2010 08:22 No Comment]

I came to England to see my friend Reg Goodwin, Dean of my college at Cambridge. His son Mark who visited me several times in Lanka, wished to have a function on behalf of his father who will be 88 in December. Even for gold I could not refuse and I faced this terrible weather to come here. When I arrived, suddenly I was invited to address Heroes Day. The remembrance meeting was held at the Excel auditorium in London.

It was organized by The Tamil National Remembrance Foundation (TNRF) led by Ravi, Karikalan, David Joseph, and David Pararajasingham among others. It is an organization formed by mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and friends to remember their loved ones who had fallen in the Tamil Liberation struggle.For the people of a Tamil homeland and for Tamils living in many lands and across distant seas, November 27 is a day they remember, honour and mourn for those who have given their lives to the Tamil liberation struggle for freedom from chauvinist Sinhala rule.

First freedom fighter

19-3 It is the day marked by the death of their first freedom fighter in 1982. Since then, more than 25,000 people have given their lives. Ravi told me the Tamil people do not seek to glorify the war because they know too well the pain and suffering that war brings in its trail. They said further “We seek neither to boast nor to magnify. But we do seek to remember, honour and mourn our war dead – remember with gratitude, honour with humility and mourn from deep within our hearts. At the same time, we seek to re-dedicate ourselves to the cause of justice and freedom for which our brothers and sisters gave their lives. Those who have died shall not have died in vain.”

In my speech on that day I said the following:

Tamils were killed by successive Sinhala chauvinist governments and at last but not the least by the Mahinda regime. Not only Tamils but also thousands of Sinhala youth who were sent for aggression in the Tamil homeland and attack Tamils died in an alien land. The misery created among the Sinhalese will also be shown in its reaction in future. It is an irony of history that Sarath Fonseka who was selected to carry out this attack against Tamils is also suffering in jail with Tamil political prisoners. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) which pushed, promoted and persuaded Mahinda to carry out this war is now beaten up by the same regime. They are harassed, beaten up and put in jail. They too are compelled to fight against the same regime they set up.

In this moment of sorrow let me mention some names. Mahendran Nadesan was a member of my party for a long period and I was a witness to his marriage. Two days before being killed, he told me that he is not going to give up. He is no more. Kumar Ponnambalam, whom I met when we were studying at Cambridge, came to my defence whenever I was hounded by Sinhala chauvinist governments. He also gave his life. So was Nadaraja Raviraj. He campaigned with us in the south, against the abductions and disappearances. Joseph Pararajasingham who stood for Tamils was with me in campaigns in Canada.

All their lives were taken by the state.

Self-determination and autonomy

Twenty four members of my party including DM Chandawimala and AK Annamalai gave their life for self-determination and autonomy. Over a 1000 Sinhala Socialists and Social Democrats were killed by the Sinhala chauvinist JVP. This is a struggle for all of us. Not only for Tamils but also for Sinhalese who value democracy. Yes, we have gone through defeat. Now, we have to get up and fight to overthrow this chauvinist regime to have democracy in the land. Only then can we really bring justice to the country. Then only can we punish those who committed war crimes. On behalf of some Social Democratic elements and the NSSP we have agreed to work with the British Tamil Forum (BTF) to bring democracy to our country. In order to do that we are going to campaign to re-establish civil administration and the civil society in the Northeast, for the release of political prisoners and to find what happened to the disappeared.

Things are difficult at the moment but the tide is changing. It is a military government in the NE at the moment. There is no civil society and no elected Tamil members of parliament is allowed to intervene there. However, we have had a campaigns for the disappeared and political prisoners in Vavunia, where over 1000 people participated. We definitely can build on that. More and more are joining us and let us get-together from today to fight for democracy and freedom in Lanka.

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