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Sunday, 15 August 2010

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Canadian Tamil Forum Director tells Tamil diaspora:

Help Govt. in post-conflict peace building

Canadian Tamil Forum Director Dr. Joseph Chandrakanthan has called upon the Tamil diaspora to extend its Cooperation in the post-conflict peace building process in Sri Lanka, instead of Criticising the Sri Lankan Government and working against its humanitarian activities.

Dr. Chandrakanthan made this appeal to the Tamil diaspora when a boatload of Sri Lankan asylum seekers reached the shores of Canada on Friday.

Dr. Chandrakanthan was a key speaker at the Canadian Tamil Forum, which held a symposium on the post-conflict situation in Sri Lanka.

The following is the address by Dr. Chandrakanthan.

ďAs a community and a collective national entity we, Tamils of Sri Lankan origin must come out of the political illusion we have uncritically built around us. Itís time we realise that our narrow walls of nationalism have caused us and our children and our childrenís children untold misery and hardship leading to enormous loss of life and limb, property and resources.

As very ancient communities that have shared our life in Sri Lanka for several centuries, we have to reconcile to the truth that without the Sinhalese, we Tamils have no future, just as the Sinhalese will have a perpetual despair if they treat the Tamils and Muslims in the island as underlings. We should focus on what would unite us as a human community rather than fighting over those factors that divide us from one another.

Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims might have died in this cruel war but it was humankind that was killed. In the twenty-first century we canít afford to leave a legacy of mayhem and mutilation to our posterity. Itís a common cultural norm among Sinhalese and Tamils, when families that stay away from each other for years due to small or big fueds and disputes re-unite at funerals rather than weddings.

Both Tamils and Sinhalese have had large scale deaths, endless funerals, murders, mayhem, mutilations, mass killings and massive loss of their private and public wealth. In the past thirty years or so we have lost too many of our young sons and daughters, we have smudged our cherished cultural and religious values. We cannot afford a situation like this to surface again.

We have seen as to how the so-called free world responded to the human tragedy that unfolded in our land in the last days of the war. We should not rely anymore on the charity and goodwill of the West. There are many things that are important and there are many more things that are immediate. Cultural rights, linguistic and territorial rights are important issues for all human communities but food and shelter clothing and health are more immediate needs that cannot be postponed.

For instance, the work being done by an organisation such as NERDO may not be up to our expectation but somebody has to initiate this task. Feeding the orphans and widows, providing basic educational facilities for children in refugee camps and visiting those in detention barracks and prisons cannot be left in the hands of foreign organisations. The vulnerable victims are our children and we should take the first step. Our armchair criticism will not benefit those in prisons and camps but we can reach out to them through those who are truly committed to humanitarian exigencies,Ē he said.

-AP

 

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