Ilankai Tamil Sangam
Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA
Open Letter to The Toronto Star
July 15, 2005
Canada will bear the consequences
I refer to the letter written by Cathy Schaffter on the above subject in your newspaper of July 13, 2005.
It is well known that the Sri Lankan Tamil community has been the victims of ethnic cleansing and Sinhala mob and state terror for over five decades. Many thousands of Tamils were massacred, their homes, hospitals, temples, churches, schools, libraries and farmlands wantonly destroyed. Hundreds of thousands of Tamils have been rendered internally displaced, and many more havebeen forced out of the country seeking refuge in other countries, including Canada.
After the continuing genocide of Tamils by the Sinhalese culminated in 1983, the Tamils started arming and defended themselves. Tamils are the victims of terror and not the perpetrators. Tamils are defending themselves on their own soil of Eelam against aggressors and war criminals.
Ironically, many countries such as USA, India, Pakistan, China and Israel supply arms to the Sri Lankan government to wage war against and terrorise the Tamil population. This is outsourcing state terrorism, and counter-productive to the 'war on terror.'
It is also well known that the tsunami of December 2004 devastated the Tamil homeland of NorthEast Sri Lanka , causing tens of thousands of deaths and many more were made orphans and homeless. It is also known that the Sinhala-dominated Sri Lankn government has been only assisting the Sinhalese, but neglecting the Tamil-speaking tsunami victims who were the most affected. The government also obstructed international help reaching the Tamil-speaking people. Sinhalese racist political parties such as the JVP, JHU, SU and the Buddhist priests went all out to prevent aid reaching the Tamil-speaking refugees, and even forcibly diverted supplies sent by Tamil organizations. It is the INGOs and the Tamil Rehabilitation Organization that went to the aid of the helpless Tamil destitutes.
It is the Tamil expatriates all over the world who contributed the urgently-required funds to the charities that rushed to the aid of the starving Tamils. Now you publish a letter in the Toronto Star by Cathy Schaffter insinuating that the Tamil community is funding terrorism by contributing to charities looking after the Tamil destitutes. The writer is accusing the entire international Tamil community of funding terrorism and the Canadian Tamil community of disloyalty to Canada.
Your action is endangering the only source of help to the hundreds of thousands of Tamil victims of man-made and natural disasters in Sri Lanka. This amounts to obstruction of efforts to save the Tamils from national calamity and extermination. We can understand if stray individuals are ignorant of facts, but a newspaperl like the Toronto Star should be better informed.
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and former US President Bill Clinton have both visited Sri Lanka and acknowledged the role played by Tamil charities in providing relief. Many international reporters have praised the Tamil administration of the NorthEast and the Tamil charities for their efficiency in spontaneously administering relief.
We Tamils are grateful to Canada, and have a deep loyalty to this country that gave us refuge and sanctuary from Sinhala mob and state terror. We strongly resent the insinuation against us in the Toronto Star.
Mak. S. Makenthiran
Associate Editor, Kuviyam
Vice-President, Senior Tamils Society of Peel
Posted July 19, 2005