Tamil Americans pay tribute to Anton Balasingham
[TamilNet, Monday, 05 February 2007, 01:29 GMT]
Several hundred Tamil Americans braved the weather to pay tribute to the later Anton Balasingham, theoretician and political advisor of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), at a memorial event held in Manmouth Middle School in New Jersey, 5:00 p.m. Saturday. Mr Balasingham was diagnosed with bile duct cancer in the middle of November, and passed away on 14 December 2006.
Attendees to the event observed a minute of silence and then paid floral tribute to the photograph of Mr Balasingham at the start of the event.
Mr Visuvanathan Rudrakumar, the legal advisor to the LTTE, speaking at the event said: "Mr Balasingham gave the political and theoretical framework for the Tamil Nation’s legitimate political aspirations. He believed that since the Tamils are denied political space to exercise their right to self-determination they have a right to establish an independent Tamil Eelam as manifestation of the exercise of that right.
Rudrakumar speaking at the function
"As a consummate negotiator, he understood the lack of political consensus and dearth of political will in the south and the limitations of the representatives of the government of Sri Lanka. Given the above, he showed flexibility in the peace talks with the hope that the Sinhala political leadership would evolve in a position to become a partner with the ability to deliver in the negotiating process. He did not believe in zero-sum game he was for a win-win situation. Unfortunately, given the dysfunctional politics in the south his patience and his hopes did not materialize," Rudrakumaran said.
Dr Ilankovan, a prominent Tamil American from Tamil Nadu, spoke of his association with Mr Balasingham during his exile in Chennai. "He was the central figure in formulating the political strategy for the Tamil people. His loss has left a great void at a critical juncture in the history of Tamil struggle," Dr Ilankovan said.
Several other prominent Tamil activists spoke at the event.
Speakers commented on the concern Mr Balasingham had for the welfare of people undergoing immense hardship in the east due to the military offensive. "His deeply philosophical mind was at peace in accepting his death, and concern for the suffering of his people was always his foremost concern even at his last few days," speakers, who were able to talk to Mr Balasingham while he was very sick, said.
Poems extolling the qualities of Mr Balasingham were read and children performed cultural before the conclusion of the event.