Remembering Mu’l’livaaykkaal is not wailing for a tragedy. It is remembering the highest achievement of modern Tamil history, when Tamils decisively said no to an entire international community abetting a genocidal state. Mu’l’livaaykkaal is not an end of a journey. It calls for our massive re-commitment of collective political aspirations more than ever, as the Sri Lankan state has intensified its second phase of genocide, again aided by the international community, said Dr. Jude Lal Fernando, addressing Mu’l’livaaykkaal rememberance event in Dublin, Ireland, on Friday. Dr. Fernando, a Sinhalese currently lecturing and doing post-doctoral research in peace studies in Ireland was one of the main co-ordinators of the Dublin Permanent People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka held in January 2010.
Dr. Fernando’s vantage of looking at Mu’l’livaaykkaal from a Tamil history perspective as well as from a universal perspective of the edification of the international community gains significance, when failed ‘peace facilitators’ like Erik Solheim of Norway, asserting that his view is the stand of the international community, denies the right of self-determination to Eezham Tamils despite the two phases of genocide, and asks them to “abide by the international community.”
There is no support for a new separate state in Sri Lanka or for the models of applying self-determination as in Southern Sudan and other examples, Solheim said in Oslo, a week ago.
“My opinion here is absolutely similar of the opinion of India, of the European Union and the United States of America. […] – and of a broader western global community. It may not be the opinion of Iran or Pakistan or some other forces. But, it is most certainly the opinion of the influential parts of the international community in the United States and Europe,” Solheim, sharing stage with TNA parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran, asserted at the meeting organized by some diaspora Tamils.
How to reach out to the international community is to abide by the international community, Solheim advised Tamils.
“Frankly, there are two international politicians who have taken an interest in Sri Lanka from the West over the last three years. Bob Blake, the American Deputy Secretary of State and myself. We only get blame for this.” Solheim further said.
Eezham Tamil political observers, comparing the addresses of Solheim and Jude during the same week, said that if genocide and denial of right to self determination of the people is going to be the model of the so-called international community in implementing a new world order, then the edification of those who ideologically steer it is of utmost priority for the collective struggle of the masses, for the model is going to be a bane to entire human civilization.
Eezham Tamils having a case of life and death for themselves as a nation, and having a responsibility to the entire humanity in this respect, should realize what should not be compromised and where to address their struggle as a priority, the political observers further said.
Significantly, on Friday of the same week, C. Mahendran, a leader of a mass-based, All India political party, the Communist Party of India, highlighting the need of a collective mass struggle of Tamils in the island, in Tamil Nadu and in the diaspora for a referendum to democratically decide the political status of Eezham Tamils, said, “If Washington and New Delhi want to refuse our rights let them try.”
Full text of the address, Mullivaikkal – 2012, by Dr. Jude Lal Fernando in Dublin on 19 May 2012:
Today, as a people in exile, gathered in hundreds of thousands, whom do we remember and what do we remember? Are we here to remember a loss, a tragedy or a defeat that happened three years ago? I would say, no, none of these. We are here to remember the highest achievement of modern Tamil history. When the entire international community, due to pressure from the major powers opposed them and demanded them to give up our struggle, three years ago, on this day in 2009, facing the genocidal army of the Sri Lankan state, they decisively said no, they will not give up our struggle; instead, they will give up their lives. This is the highest achievement that a Tamil can reach in modern Tamil history. It is this achievement we remember today. Let this Remembrance Day reflect unity, not division among the Tamil people who share a common goal.
Hundreds of thousands of our dear ones were killed, because they belonged to a distinct nation, they were killed because they belonged to a particular land and joined a historical struggle.
And they were killed because all of them shared and many of them unconditionally stood for their collective political aspirations against the genocidal Sri Lankan state which was heavily aided by the major powers in the world.
These lives who never gave up their struggle are the reason for us to gather here today and where do we go from here? Some say Mullivaikkal marks the end of Tamil Eelam, but for us who uphold Mullivaikkal as the highest achievement in our journey towards national liberation struggle it becomes our moral compass, our power and our strength to reach our goal.
Therefore, let this day be the day that we re-commit ourselves as a people to the goal of self-determination, homeland and nationhood amidst pressures coming upon us in the name of realism and expediency in international diplomacy.
Let me quote Martin Luther King who once said:
Cowardice asks the question – is it safe? Expediency asks the question – is it politic? Vanity asks the question – is it popular? But conscience asks the question – is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right.
Dr Fernando receiving the copy of a poetry book by the exiled writer Thirukumaran [left]. The book contains 68 poems which depict not only the pain and suffering but also the power of resistance. Some of these poems were read at the Mu’l’livaaykkaal Remembrance event in Dublin.
A massive re-commitment to our collective political aspirations is needed more than ever before as the Sri Lankan state has intensified its second phase of genocide in the Tamil homeland today. The genocidal war continues today in the name of post-war reconstruction, again aided by the international community, through heavy militarisation and Sinhala colonisation and thereby altering the entire cultural, social and economic landscape of the Tamil people.
Amidst on-going arrests, disappearances, rapes, torture and killings the people in Tamil homeland continue to be resilient. For them Mullivaikkal is not an end of a journey.
In an open memorandum to the Tamil National Alliance they have clearly stated their collective political aspirations.
Let the memories of Mullivaikkal and the resilience of the people in the Tamil homeland inspire us and may the on-going genocide in Tamil homeland instil in us an urgency to hasten our journey towards freedom.