Tamils commemorate Vanni massacre at Lincoln memorial
[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 May 2010, 12:20 GMT]
More than four hundred Tamils in the U.S. held a remembrance rally in Washington D.C. for the nearly 40,000 Tamil civilians massacred by the Sri Lanka State in Mu'l'livaaykkaal during the final months of 2009. "We had the event at the very heart of the Nation built on promise of freedom and justice; we demonstrated first in front of the White House, and after a one mile procession, at the reflecting pool adjoining the Lincoln memorial to symbolize and demonstrate our resolve that we will never forget this atrocity, and that until we bring the perpetrators of this dastardly crimes, we will not rest," Dr Jeyarajah, the main organizer of the event said.
"Today we stand united as one community remembering the Tamils of Sri lanka who were massacred by evil. What kind of evil murders over 40,000 civilians in one weekend? Over 100,000 Tamils in the last 20 years," Dr. Ellyn Shander, a key member of the US Tamil Political Action Group (USTPAC) who spoke at the event asked.
"Before their deaths, many of the murdered people begged, "Help us, save us, tell our story.
"They sent their messages out in eyewitness videos, through the brave doctors during the siege, and through the occasional Tamil who escaped from the fighting. They wanted the world to know about their suffering, their horror and their sacrifice.. They held the hope until the very end that the civilized world would somehow come to their rescue. The truth of the premeditated genocide was inconceivable.
"They believed that the United States or India would stop the carnage.. But sadly no one came.. No one helped. No one responded to their pleas. And no one stopped the Sri Lankan government from burning their bodies and hiding the evidence," Dr Shander said.
Jan Jananayagam, British representative of US-based group "Tamils Against Genocide (TAG)" and who contested as an independent candidate in the the 2009 European Parliament, speaking to the attendees, noting that Vanni has represented to Tamil people "hope and freedom," said: "[i]n the final years as the Sri Lankan army came North, tens of thousands of Tamil people fled to Vanni, converging from every direction into this symbolic centre of Tamil Eelam.
"They too chose the hope of freedom over the certainty of repression. But the promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has been cruelly betrayed.
"Because the people of Tamil Eelam, courageous as they were, were forbidden to defend themselves. They were forbidden to acquire arms – and we were forbidden to provide them with the means of defense," Jananayagam said.
Ms Jananayagam was critical of the peace doctrines and the institutions and governments that pretend to uphold/implement them. "R2P – the responsibility to protect – fell perversely on an Orwellian state that was determined to destroy them. It fell to international institutions that had already been bankrupted by their repeated failures in history – the United Nations that failed in Srebrenica as it did in Rwanda .
"R2P, like the UN convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide, turned out to be a cynical and false promise issued by bankrupt institutions.
"For the Tamil people, the so-called safe zone on the beach was a cynical and cruel manipulation. It was a place to which the people could be herded and then destroyed in large numbers so that the surrounding areas could be ethnically cleansed," Ms Jananayagam added.
"For the Tamil people, democracy in Sri Lanka is a cynical and cruel promise: a promise collateralised by the morally bankrupt institutions of racism, Jananayagam said.
Dr. Ilangkovan, a retired physician, also appealed to Tamils in Tamil Naadu to join in masses to take the struggle forward.
While the conventional war has ended, the next phase of struggle has just begun in the many lands across the seas from the shores of Sri Lanka where the Tamils were treated worse than animals, Jeyarajah told TamilNet.
"The psychological trauma of witnessing their own relatives, friends and neighbors suffering, will linger for generations in Tamils' psyche and, the State's attempts at erasing the physical evidence will only firmly imprint the horrific images in expatriates' minds. We hope, this will propel all expatriate Tamils to unite and work towards exposing Sri Lanka State to international justice.
"Tamil expatriates should shun talks of development and reconciliation, which some of the powers are attempting to do, until accountability for the genocidal crime is established," Jeyarajah said.