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
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
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.