Diaspora Tamils launch Pongku Thamizh 2008
[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 June 2008, 13:41 GMT]
Diaspora Eezham Tamils on Saturday began rallying in support of the Eezham Tamils Right to Self-Determination in 'Pongku Thamizh,' which means 'Tamil Upsurge', an annual move aimed at Tamil awakening through cultural programmes. First country to mark the move was New Zealand, where Tamils gathered at Potters Park in Auckland for two hours on Saturday between 1:30 and 3:30 p.m.
A dance programme in Auckland Pongku Thamizh event
Eezham Tamils in Auckland, New Zealand, mark Pongku Thamizh on 14 June, 2008.
More than 350 Tamils of the 400 Tamil families in Auckland, wearing T-shirts marking the traditional Tamil homeland and carrying the portrait of Velupillai Pirapaharan, the leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam, called for the recognition of Eezham Tamils Right to Self-determination and marked the upsurge event with cultural programmes and speeches.
Maire Leadbeater addressing the audience in Auckland, New Zealand.
Maire Leadbeater of Indonesia Human Rights Committee, a former East Timor solidarity activist and author of "Negligent Neighbour: New Zealand's complicity in the invasion and occupation of Timor Leste," addressed the audience.
Mrs. Narmatha, a former lecturer at the University of Jaffna, who witnessed the emergence of the Pongku Thamizh movement under the SLA occupation in Jaffna in 2001, and a representative of Pax Christi International also spoke at the event.
The Pongku Thamizh movement was initiated by university students in the Tamil homeland. The move was first held in North and East on January 17, 2001 followed by well attended celebrations by Tamil Diaspora in various parts of the world. It serves for the motivation and demonstration of will for the cause of Eezham Tamils.
In its initial declaration, the movement marked the Tamil aspirations as Right to Self Determination of Eezham Tamils, recognition for the Traditional Tamil homeland and the Eezham Tamils as a distinct nationality.
Diaspora Eezham Tamils in Norway and Denmark also mark Pongku Thamizh on Saturday. In Norway, a Thamilzh Eezham umbrella was released prior to the rally. The organizers said the umbrella symbolized the unified efforts by the Diaspora Eezham Tamils voicing for the right to self determination of Tamils.
Tamils in Italy, Finland, South Africa, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Australia, Swtizerland, UK, France, Sweden, Canada and Malaysia are also expected to mark the move in the forthcoming days.
The Initial Declaration of Pongku Thamizh movement in the University of Jaffna in 2001
Recognise the truth. Tamil Eelam Must Be Free, says a placard carried by the participants in the Pongku Thamizh rally in New Zealand
Pongku Thamizh rally at Potters Park, Auckland, New Zealand.