Black July remembrance held in Australian cities

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 July 2006, 10:55 GMT]
Candle light vigils and 24-hour fasts were held in several cities across Australia in the 23rd year anniversary remembrance of the victims of 'Black July.' Nearly thousand people assembled in the heart of Sydney at Martin Place to attend a candle light vigil held between 5 pm and 7 pm on Tuesday 25th July. In Melbourne Tamils were joined by their Australian friends and parliamentarians in a 24 hour fast. A vigil was also held in Brisbane City Centre where leaflets were distributed.

Australia
Young Tamils, many children and relatives of survivors of the Black July carnage, manned tents depicting news reports of the massacres published in 1983 in western newspapers and distributing leaflets to passers by in the Sydney event.

The vigil was addressed by the International Head of the International Commission of Jurists, Justice John Dowd, Rev Michael Barnes of the Uniting Church Ms Virginia Judge, a Member of the NSW State Parliament and Mr. Robert Balzola, representing the Federal Member for Lowe, Mr. John Murphy..

Justice, John Dowd, a Former Attorney General of the State of New South Wales, a Judge of the Supreme Court and the current Head of the International Commission of Jurists, acknowledged that truth was the first casualty in a war and the Tamil people were disadvantaged by the manner in which the news media had reported events. He wanted the Tamil people to continue holding events of this nature to inform the international community of the continuing state terror in the Island of Sri Lanka. Whilst it was important to combat terrorism, Justice Dowd warned that labeling those fighting for their rights and ignoring acts of terror by state actors was distorting the truth.

Austrailai remebrance


Rev Michael Barnes who had visited the NorthEast in 2002 and was privy to personal stories from a number of his parishioners who had escaped the carnage in 1983 stressed that remembrance events such as this were important.

Virginia Judge and Robert Balzola also acknowledged the need to keep the memories and truth in the eyes of the international community. Judge had also been to the NorthEast and had seen for herself the way in which the defacto state was functioning.

On the previous day 24th July a similar vigil was held at Paramatta another part of the city was also well attended and addressed by parliamentarians and the Mayor of Parramatta.

The Highlight on both days was the 'street theatre' depicting the continuing state violence (massacre at Allipiddy) and expressing concern on the silence of the International Community.

Australia


On Sunday, a large public meeting was held in Lidcombe also in Sydney addressed by both Labour and Liberal politicians. Laurie Ferguson, Federal Member for Reid and a shadow Minister, acknowledged that evidence pointed to Sri Lankan State's participation in the 1983 anti-Tamil violence. Ms Barbara Perry, a Member of NSW State Parliament and Bill Carney, the Mayor of Burwood also spoke.

Tamil sentiments were voiced by the Chairman of AFTA who said that state instigated violence was still continuing and that people have endured persecution and oppression far too long and that it was time that they were allowed to be free.

Meanwhile, in Melbourne Tamils were joined by their Australian friends and parliamentarians in a 24 hour fast. In Brisbane to a vigil was held in City Centre where leaflets were distributed.


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