2ND LEAD (Adds photos)
Tamil university students in Canada organise to protect national identity
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 July 2011, 02:01 GMT]
The Tamil Youth Organization (TYO-Canada) organized on Sunday ‘Transition 101’, an orientation designed to educate about the role of TYO and the Tamil Students Association (TSA) on university campuses across Canada. The second annual event was held in Toronto’s York University. “Transition 101 is designed to educate our fellow youth activists in universities about community engagement, nation-building, the importance of preserving Tamil identity, language and culture,” said TYO spokesperson Priyanth Nallaratnam.
Sunday’s event was attended by the Tamil Student Associations from the University of Toronto – Scarborough Campus, University of Toronto – St. George Campus, University of Toronto – Mississauga Camus, Ryerson University, University of Waterloo, University of Ottawa, Carleton University, York University, and University of Guelph Humber.
“The event was a great success as it was attended by outgoing and incoming executives from universities across Canada,” TYO-Canada said in a statement. The new executive team from each TSA will begin working actively on campuses once the fall term begins in September 2011.
“As university students we all have a great responsibility to advocate for our freedom and to work against the negative perception of our freedom struggle,” TYO spokesperson Nallaratnam added.
The highlight of the event was the “passing of the torch” ceremony where the outgoing executive team passed down the Tamileelam National Flag to the incoming executive team.
The symbolic gesture signified allegiance to the occupied state of Tamileelam and to never compromise on the aspirations of the Tamil people, TYO-Canada said.
“It is very important that as young people we take steps to protect and foster Tamil identity. We should work together to fight the negative stigma attached to our people and struggle rather than compromise” said Ronklin Gracian from the University of Guelph Humber.
“Over 30,000 of our Maaveerar made the ultimate sacrifice for the liberation of our homeland [and] Over 100,000 innocent people were brutally killed because they were citizens of Tamileelam.”
TYO also introduced a new concept at Sunday’s event, The Red Book.
“The Red Book is designed to archive and recognize universities and executive members in each university who have played an active role in working for the betterment of the Tamil community in Canada and also in Tamileelam,” the statement said.