Canadian students show solidarity with Tamil cause

[TamilNet, Sunday, 20 November 2011, 03:01 GMT]
The York Federation of Students, the students’ union at York University representing over 50,000 students, unanimously adopted a resolution last week recognizing the ongoing structural genocide of the Eezham Tamil nation and the need to stand in solidarity with the Tamil people in their global struggle for self-determination. The success of enacting such resolutions has been credited to campaigns by Tamil students in educating and explaining the narrative of the Tamil struggle to their peers and allies, student activists said. The move is considered to be a reflection of the broader strategy to resist the discourse that aims to create a climate of fear, criminalization and alienation of Tamil community activism. Such efforts increasingly create a culture of acceptance to the Tamil nationhood and to its national symbols, student activists further said.

The resolution of the York Federation of Students (YFS) is seen as a first of its kind coming from student unions and is of much symbolic significance as the YFS being the largest students’ union in all of Canada.

Adopted at the Annual General Meeting of the YFS, with over 580 members present, the motion passed unanimously with no opposition. The unanimous support for the motion was credited to awareness campaigns surrounding the right to self-determination of the Tamil people, the activists told TamilNet.

The resolution reads as follows:

“Be It Resolved that the York Federation of Students shall endorse the international call to immediately establish an independent, international, and impartial mechanism to ensure truth, accountability and justice in Sri Lanka; and

Be It Further Resolved that the York Federation of Students encourages its members to pressure the Federal Government to unequivocally call for an international war crimes inquiry to establish accountability and true reconciliation; and

Be It Further Resolved that the York Federation of Students encourages its members to stand in solidarity with the Tamil nation in their global struggle for self-determination and freedom; and

Be It Further Resolved that the York Federation of Students calls for an immediate end to the colonialism and genocide of the Tamil nation and an end to the occupation of the Tamil homeland by the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and its allied paramilitary groups.”

The Tamil Youth Organization-Canada and the Tamil Students' Associations have led a series of campaigns to educate and explain the narrative of the struggle for self-determination of the Tamil people. The campaigns harness creative and innovative methods to mobilize memberships and educate peers.

Tamil Remembrance Day Awareness Flash Mob
York University Tamil Students' Association stage a flash mob at York University to highlight Tamil Remembrance Week
The campaigns organized at York University by the York University Tamil Students Association (YUTSA) are seen as a microcosm of a wider network of unified activism by Canadian Tamil youth. Maintaining consistency and persistence in the conditioning of the national symbols of Tamil Eelam to their identity, YUTSA has increasingly normalized a culture of acceptance to Tamil nationhood at York university.

In the York University Lip-Dub video-a worldwide phenomena highlighting school spirit and diversity organized by the York Federation of Students and York University- the Tamil national flag is used to represent YUTSA. A moment in the video shows the Sri Lankan national flag and the Tamil Eelam national flag next to one another, symbolically reflecting upon a shifting discourse that has begun to accept the nationality of Eezham Tamils.



The Pongku Thamizh rally for Tamil self-determination held in late October saw hundreds of solidarity activists from civil society and grassroots movements across Canada supporting the call for Tamil self-determination.

This shift in discourse has been emerging throughout the spectrum. University Administrations and Members of Parliament, whom once antagonized the national symbols of liberation, have now begun to accept them as the identity of Eezham Tamils. Tamil student organizers hope to provide for a broader strategic understanding amongst the Tamil diaspora to purse a path for liberation, uncompromising of principles and national identity.


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