2ND LEAD

American Tamils observe Tamils Memorial Day

[TamilNet, Monday, 10 December 2007, 11:53 GMT]
Several hundred expatriate American Tamils from New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut attended the Tamils Memorial Day was held in Edison, New Jersey on Sunday December 9th to pay tribute to those Tamils who gave their lives in the struggle for Tamils national self determination.

Attendees observed a minute’s silence and filed past two memorials set up as monuments to place flower petals as a mark of respect for those who gave their lives. Later they watched traditional dances and other cultural events staged by young performers in the American Tamil Diaspora.

“We are neither terrorists nor separatists, we are only fighting back to regain our lost freedom” said Mr. S. Nagarajah, Attorney at Law and former mayor of Jaffna who now a resides in New Jersey in the welcoming speech. Tamils have the right to reclaim freedom for their traditional homeland and restore the sovereignty that was lost to the foreign invaders which must be restored, he added.

Highlighting the historical aspects of the non violent nature of the Tamil struggle for self determination and recalling how state violence is being unleashed upon them amidst inaction by international community, he said the “Tamils now have no other choice than accepting the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as their sole representatives to regain the lost freedom.”

American Tamils observe Tamil memorial day
Dr. Ellyn Shander, an American psychiatrist who went to Sri Lanka and volunteered services in the North, after December 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami.
American Tamils observe Tamil memorial day
LTTE’s International Legal Advisor, Mr. Viswanathan Rudrakumaran
American Tamils observe Tamil memorial day
S. Nagarajah, Attorney at Law and former mayor of Jaffna
He emphasized that the events marking the Tamils Great Heroes’ Day in November are similar in importance to that of the Veterans Day or Remembrance Day observed by countries such as United States, Canada and England.

Dr. Shander, the guest speaker, is an American physician who went to Sri Lanka and volunteered services in the North, 6 weeks after the tsunami. “I fell in love with the people for their love, courage; they invited me in to their homes and shared their grief, I left a piece of my heart when I returned,” she said.

Dr. Ellyn Shander dedicated her speech to all of those who have died for peace and dignity for all people in Sri Lanka. She added that, “the Tamils are being bombed, abducted and starved and I will not stop fighting for peace and justice for them.”

Dr. Shander drew attention to the current plight of the Tamil children and women who are lacking nutrition and health-medical facilities and facing the threat of starvation due to Sri Lankan government sanctions. She expressed fears that the medical repercussions will be felt for generations.

Addressing the international community, humanitarian and media organizations in her speech seeking their attention, she queried, “I ask the governments of the civilized world, What is this madness?” Dr. Shander brought to their attention that only the government in Darfur, the former government of Saddam Hussein, the government of Burma and government of Sri Lanka are those who kill their own citizens and civilians.

Closing of schools and denial of continuing higher studies for medical students and others, creating high security zones amidst deep fishing and farming areas and destroying an entire generation of people all amount to a cultural genocide of Tamils she said. The collective trauma being inflicted on the Tamil people is much like that of what was done to the Tibetans by the Chinese authorities, Dr. Shander added.

She said the denial of self determination for Tamils is a violation of human rights. Posing a question for the Sri Lankan government she asked, “If you don’t want to treat the Tamils equally, then what is wrong with the two state solution? Two states in Peace, is better than one state in war.”

The LTTE' s International Legal Advisor, Mr. Viswanathan Rudrakumaran speaking at the Tamils Memorial day said that lack of consensus in the South is the obstruction to the solution to the Tamils struggle. The Tamils eagerly anticipated that the engagement of the international community will bring about a just solution through the peace process. But just as the LTTE leader said in his Great Heroes' day speech, the international community has been hoodwinked throughout the peace process and peace talks by the Sri Lankan southern political parties, Mr. Rudrakumaran said.

Award winning Norwegian Documentary "My Daughter, the Terrorist" featuring two young female elite LTTE soldiers was also screened at the New Jersey Tamils Memorial Day.

Tamils Memorial Day events were held in US also in Los Angeles, California, Colombus, Ohio and, Queens, NY and Florida also in the recent days.

 

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