Second-generation diaspora reflects trauma and hope

[TamilNet, Friday, 13 March 2009, 20:39 GMT]
"I feel guilty every day for waking up... I follow the news everyday with my family, and sadly our family time has been all about discussing the fate of the Tamil community,” writes Sumudini Sathivadivel reflecting the trauma of the second generation diaspora of Eezham Tamils. “What can I do at this point to take my guiltiness away? I sit here in tears, holding my head… unable to think because I feel helpless. Then I get back on my feet and think to myself there is hope... I guess we are all eagerly waiting for the day to say I am a Tamil from Tamil Eelam.”

Full text of the article published in the February issue of REACH, a monthly newsletter of the Tamil Youth Organisation in Canada, follows:

My feelings

I sit here in front of my computer, surfing the net, messaging on FaceBook, clicking through websites to see if there is any improvement on our situation back home. I feel guilty every day for waking up, coming to work, talking to employers, going for lunch with co-workers, then going back home and hitting the gym. I make the effort to go to every rally possible and every meeting held by youth.

Trauma and Hope
I follow the news everyday with my family, and sadly our family time has been all about discussing the fate of the Tamil community. I started thinking about what is fair and what is not?

Is it fair that we still don’t have a land of our own? Is it fair that our identity is questioned by random people? Is it fair that we are labeled as ‘Terrorists’? Is it fair that we flew miles away looking for peace and still do not have it? Is it fair that out brothers and sisters are brutally murdered and thrown on the streets? Is it fair that rape, torture and murder have become full time jobs for some people? Is it fair that Tamils all over the world are still on the streets fighting for justice? When does this end or is there an end?

Am I a Sri Lankan? A Canadian? A Sri Lankan Tamil? A Tamil Canadian? What am I? Or should I simply be a Tamil?

I guess we are all eagerly waiting for the day to say “I am a Tamil from Tamil Eelam”

What can I do at this point to take my guiltiness away? At the end of the day, I still feel guilty no matter how much I screamed at the rally, no matter how many hours I sat at the meetings, no matter how much I watched the news, no matter how much I educated my non-Tamil friends. I lose a life… miles away… every minute. Is this the compensation for everything I am doing here?

I sit here in tears, holding my head… unable to think because I feel helpless. Then I get back on my feet and think to myself “there is hope…..if there is Obama then definitely there is hope”.

I talk to my co-workers about the war and surf the net again for protests and meetings. I read the news and watch Youtube…looking for justice. I think about the progress we have made…then I think about the lives we have lost. I think about Rwanda, Sudan and the Middle East.

A battle starts again in my head. My clients sit in front of me hoping to find employment while I type their resumes. I fail as a community worker by not giving them my full attention because I have my own battles on my mind.

What have I become in the past month? Who am I? I drive home with hundreds of thoughts running through my mind…. then it all stops when I see a Tamil standing at the intersection, holding a sign “STOP Tamil Genocide”. I start tearing up again….unable to drive… turning on my emergency lights. Do we deserve this? Why did this happen to us?

Then I realize, if this is how I feel in Canada…imagine the pain of my people in my home land…running for their lives, bleeding to death, screaming to let them live, hiding so they don’t get raped…hoping to see just one more day….the pain is UNBEARABLE.

I feel the power when I am in the protest and I see my fellow Tamils scream together for justice. I feel proud to see the youth who are born and raised here, standing together for their brothers and sisters miles away. I feel the solidarity when we are standing soul to soul and crying for help.

I sit here again… looking forward to another protest… another opportunity to make a difference in my community…. another step towards getting Tamil Eelam….

All I have is HOPE… and that is what I pass on to you….

Together we stand, together we will rise!


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