Thousands throng Sydney, London Heroes’ Day events
Thousands of Eezham Tamils from across the UK gathered at London on Tuesday to pay obeisance to the Maaveerar (heroes) who laid down their lives in the struggle for a sovereign Tamil Eelam. Likewise, large crowds showed up at the Heroes Day event at Sydney, which was held in open space, and the people stayed on till the conclusion despite a heavy downpour. At the Heroes day event at Excel centre, London, security sources informed that the overall crowd was roughly around 20,000. Speaking to TamilNet, a community activist from Australia said that the strong presence of Tamil public at the Heroes Day events in different parts of the world showed that the diaspora will not be intimidated by any targeting or attacks on grassroots activists. Separately, Australian Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon also spoke in the parliament on the occasion, referring to challenges faced by the Tamils.
“I congratulate the aid workers, Tamil doctors, priests, TamilNet journalists and diaspora Tamils who stayed in the conflict zone and did everything they could to make the world listen. Many died. Today, I will remember them on Maaveerar Naa’l,” Ms. Rhiannon said.
“Australia’s continuing ‘friendly’ relations with Sri Lanka in order to stop Tamils from fleeing their country is a matter of despair. The Australian government and opposition’s discriminatory views and actions towards Tamil asylum seekers who do manage to make the dangerous journey here is shameful,” she said.
Referring to the recently released UN internal review report, Ms. Rhiannon asked whether the officials with UN will be held accountable, referring explicitly to the roles of Palitha Kohona, Sri Lanka’s representative to the UN, and Vijay Nambiar, former Chief of Staff under Ban Ki-moon.
Talking about assassination of grassroots activist in France Mr. Parithi and the ongoing repression of Tamils in the island, she affirmed her commitment to an independent investigation in the island.
In Silverwater, Sydney, a special outdoor arena was created in a circular shape, symbolic of unity, focus and revolution, the organizers told TamilNet.
The first event was a short dance drama by Tamil youth titled ‘Survival’. It depicted the pain and suffering of women in Tamil Eelam as well as their will to survive, fight and their hope that still burns for freedom.
Another innovative performance was the execution of a dance based on the Haka dance of the Maori, a traditional war cry dance of New Zealand’s Maori people, which involves vigorous body movements combined with shouts aimed at intimidating opponents. Titled “Tamil Eezha purachchi aattam”, it was performed by a group of around 25 Tamil youth, who shouted war cries based on the Tamil Eelam liberation struggle.
One such cry was “Oh veerane! Un seerudaikalai ennaku thaa, un pathanikalai ennaku thaa, un ayuthankalai ennaku thaa.” (O hero! Give me your clothes, give me your boots, give me your weapons!)
Speaking at the event, in the midst of a heavy rainfall, the guest speaker Mr R. Thirumavalavan, President of Malaysia Tamil Neri Kazhagam, reminded all that were present about the richness of Tamil History, the sacrifice of the Heroes and the right and responsibility that the Eezham Tamils had to reclaim their future.
At the event at Excel, London, homeland oriented songs, poems, dances and theatre hailed the legacy of the nation’s heroes and the spirit of the struggle for freedom.
Speaking at the event, Dr. Andy Higginbottom, principal lecturer in Politics and Human Rights at Kingston University, spoke about the need to build a mass movement to boycott genocidal Sri Lanka. He further cautioned diaspora activists against certain NGOs which might appear well-meaning but actually only serve to legitimize the Sri Lankan unitary state.
Viduthalai Rajendran from the Periyar Viduthalai Kazhagam, calling the LLRC a farcical ploy used by Sri Lanka to deceive the world, cited the examples of the struggles of Eritrea, East Timor and urged the Tamil diaspora to consistently push for a referendum among the Eezham Tamils.
Video messages from Eezham Tamil poet Kasi Anandan and MDMK leader Vaiko were also broadcast at the event.
British politicians Siobhain McDonagh, Labour MP, Robert Halfon, Conservative MP and Lee Scott, Conservative MP and Chair of APPGT also addressed the audience, conveying their solidarity for justice for the Eezham Tamils.
Mr. Rajamanoharan from the TCC-UK informed the audience about the cultural repression by the occupying Sinhala military in the Tamil homeland especially in the time of Maaveerar Naal, referring to recent incidents, and commended the spirit of the Eezham Tamil youth in the homeland in defying this.
Mario Arulthas from the TYO-UK said “The horrors of Mullivaikkal and the genocide that continues today are not a question of human rights. What happened and what continues to happen to Tamils in the North-East, is precisely because they are Tamil. It is a culmination of the Sri Lankan state’s intrinsic intent to decimate the Tamil nation,” adding that the genocide of the Eezham Tamils takes place because it is mandated by an unwaveringly chauvinist Sinhala nation.
Sanju Ganesan from the TYO-UK read from a global TYO declaration that the youth would never compromise on the fundamentals of the Eezham Tamils’ struggle for nation, homeland and self-determination.