Monday, June 23, 2008

Conservative Government Attacks Yet Another Oppressed Nation

The Canadian government is no stranger to colonialism. Recently, it has been oscillating wildly on the issue, from acknowledgment of its own past wrong-doings to its unilateral support for occupying powers in racially motivated conflicts overseas. The latest move came last Tuesday, when Stockwell Day entrenched the Conservative government’s anti-Tamil slant by adding the World Tamil Movement to its terrorist financing list, forcing Canadian institutions to freeze its assets.

The WTM denies any funding links to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and says it will fight the terrorist designation. Shortly thereafter, the Canadian Tamil Congress responded to the announcement in a press release reminding Canadians that the conflict in Sri Lanka is a complicated situation which requires an even-handed approach.

Few places in the world have known such a long history of colonialism, race-related civil conflict, and poverty. Since the British relinquished control of the island in 1948, severe clashes between the largely Buddhist Sinhalese (approximately 75% of the population) and the Sri Lankan Tamils have gripped Sri Lanka. The Tamils were on the wrong end of Sinhalese-inspired language and cultural reform policy, differential university entrance requirements, and anti-Tamil mob attacks. In response, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, or “the Tamil Tigers” were formed, and began to fight for separate nation. The ongoing violence on the island has lead many to call Sri Lanka India's fallen tear".

Canada is home to the largest population of Tamils outside of South East Asia. With over 300,000 Tamils living in Canada, most of them in Toronto, it is surprising that the federal government has named the WTM as a terrorist organization, thereby decisively choosing what is considered by many, an anti-Tamil position. The move to designate the WTM came just days after a Toronto-area university student, who was incidentally Tamil, was arrested in Sri Lanka for possession of an infrared heat detector, CDs, and mechanical grease.

If Canadians are keen to shed the image of oppressor and colonizer, their government would do well, at the very least, to be more balanced in its approach to international civil conflicts.

2 comments:

pragas said...

The Canadian government is silencing the Tamil Voice in Canada. They are accepting state terrorism, and are deciding the fate of the innocent Tamil people. What kind of a world do we live in. Now I that Canada shouldn't have accepted my parents as refugees, because they don't seem very committed to us.

Piragal said...

While we chose to leave the hell ridden state of Sri Lanka from its state oppression, and took oath to abide by the rules of Canada and it's queen, we never said we wont speak against the injustice and abuse unleashed upon the Tamils of Sri Lanka. The inevitable truth is that Tamils have the right to self determination from all aspects. Canada shall not de-moralize the community or its roots and its plight for self rule. Kosovo broke free from Serbia, East Timor broke free from Indonesia, So shall Tamil Eelam from the opressive Sri Lankan regime. If fight for democracy, freedom and justice shall be listed as terrorism... that leaves the US, Israel and even Canada as terrorists as well.
Don't marginalize a community for the erros a few make. Punish them... not the community or its rightful liberation struggle.