Second generation Eezham Tamils in Canada assert Tamil sovereignty at Youth Conference
Eezham Tamil youth activists from Canada resolved to continue the struggle for Tamil sovereignty at the ‘Eelam Tamil Youth Conference-Canada 2012’ organized by the National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) and the Tamil Youth Organization-Canada (TYO-Canada) at Toronto City Hall, Toronto this Sunday. After three presentations from the organizers and an interactive discussion, nine resolutions were passed in the conference which received unanimous approval from the participants. The resolutions, which welcomed the Tamil Sovereignty Cognition declaration “as a principled approach to resolving the national question of Eelam Tamils”, highlighted the nature of genocide of Eelam Tamils in their homelands. Rejecting the territorial integrity of the unitary Sri Lankan state, the resolutions also called for a boycott of those diaspora organizations that principally lent legitimacy to the same.
Representatives from 14 Tamil Students Associations from high schools, colleges and universities in Canada participated in the conference.
Student activists reaffirmed the principles enshrined in the Vaddukkodai Declaration of 1978, the Thimpu Declaration of 1985 and upheld the Tamil Sovereignty Cognition declaration released on Heroes Day last year as a conceptual reference point. The conference consisted of three presentations followed by in-depth discussion with the participants.
Priyanth Nallaratnam, spokesperson of the TYO-Canada, delivered a presentation on the historical role played by Tamil youth in the liberation struggle. The presentation reviewed the genocidal oppression that gave birth to the liberation movement and the conditions that necessitated a political and armed struggle.
“Tamil students have always played a revolutionary role in moving the struggle for freedom forward. As second generation Tamil youth we have a duty to elevate the struggle for the liberation of the occupied state of Tamil Eelam,” he said.
Samuel Nithiananthan, director with the NCCT, spoke about geopolitics and the contemporary Tamil struggle.
Pointing out the geopolitical interests of both Eastern and Western in Sri Lanka leading to the genocide of the Eezham Tamils, Nithianandan opined that the Western establishments were complicit in the military defeat of the Tigers.
“Tamil student activists must develop a thorough understanding of geopolitics to effectively advocate for national liberation and avoid being deceived by the international powers into a mode of containment,” he said, also criticizing the UN for its inability to pursue a just approach with respect to the Tamils.
Arguing that mere war crimes enquiry was just a containment strategy, Nithiananthan stressed that Eezham Tamils in Canada should stand for Tamil sovereignty and self-determination without which, there would be no reconciliation in the island.
Krisna Saravanamuttu, spokesperson of the National Council of Canadian Tamils, facilitated a discussion on the international legal principles of self-determination, the need to build solidarity with other oppressed nations and peoples’ seeking self-determination, and the internationalization of the Eezham Tamil freedom struggle.
Touching on the self-determination struggles in the era, he pointed out how the principle of Tamil sovereignty was historically upheld in both the political and military struggles of the Eezham Tamils in the homeland.
He was of the opinion that there were legal limitations in current definitions of self-determination and that there was need to develop a new strategy to check genocide and assert sovereignty, based on the internationalization of the Eezham Tamil struggle through a million strong diaspora.
“The responsibility for the Tamil struggle for self-determination now rests squarely on the shoulders of our generation in the homeland and the diaspora. Depending on how we take the struggle forward, history will either absolve us or indict us in the genocide of our own people,” he said, adding that “The need of the hour is to build an international solidarity movement to counteract the ongoing military occupation of the Tamil homeland”
The following resolutions were ratified at the conference
Awareness of Eelam Tamil identity and the promotion of the same among the mainstream Canadian polity and society is vital for our authentic cultural life in Canada as well as for the restoration of our sovereignty in the occupied homeland of the Eelam Tamils
We welcome the Tamil Sovereignty Cognition as a principled approach to resolving the national question of Eelam Tamils in the island of Ceylon and recognize the declaration as a milestone following the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution of 1976, the Thimpu principles of 1985 and the reaffirmation of the Vaddukkoaddai Resolution amongst the Tamil Diaspora in 2009.
It is due to the global injustice that the genocidal war was made possible on the Eelam Tamils. The same global injustice prevails, politically privileging the perpetrators in the Sri Lankan establishment. Addressing this is a step to restore the lost power of balance.
The struggle of the Eelam Tamils, who are subjected in their homelands to a protracted, intended genocide carried out in various ways and kept under a system of colonization, militarization and Sinhalicisation, has been internationalized with over a million of them in the diaspora, and thus, a solution from a purely local approach is not only impossible but also unproductive.
We uncompromisingly uphold the legacy of the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle and its martyrs of over 60 years of resistance and shall endeavour to promote its political and cultural symbols, the Tamil Eelam national flag, national festivals, national culture to both local and global audiences and what we shall promote the ideals of the resistance and the freedom fighters in all spheres of Tamil life.
We reject the territorial integrity of the Sri Lankan state that occupies Tamil Eelam and we reject the imposition of the ‘Sri Lankan’ identity, politically and culturally on the Eelam Tamils
We will boycott any Tamil Diaspora organization that compromise the principles of Homeland, Nation and Self Determination and therefore lends legitimacy to the unitary state of Sri Lanka
As a practical next step to the Tamil Sovereignty Cognition declaration, we call on a new generation of Tamil leaders from Tamil Nadu, Tamil Eelam, and the Diaspora to challenge the international community to revaluate its approach to self-determination for unrecognized nations and peoples and to build solidarity with other peoples living under occupation to challenge the present geo political order.
We resolve to raise awareness and educate Tamils and non-Tamils about the ongoing-internationally abetted- genocide of the Tamil nation. We will educate the international community about the legitimacy of the Tamil liberation struggle.
At a time when establishments are promoting certain individuals and organizations within the diaspora to work with the ‘development agenda’ of the GoSL through lucrative career options, the resolutions adopted by second generation youth at this conference in a country which has the strongest concentration of Eezham Tamils abroad sends a strong message about the political consciousness of the diaspora.
“We hope that Tamil youth activists in Tamil Nadu and the Eezham Tamil Diaspora will stand firmly by the principles of sovereignty and engage in coordinated efforts to achieve the same” Samuel Nithianandan told TamilNet.