Potent Tamil voice for European Parliament

[TamilNet, Sunday, 31 May 2009, 01:44 GMT]
June 4th elections will determine if Tamils in the London electoral region have the political muscle, organizational acumen and seasoned campaigning skills to attract broader British voters to elect Ms Janani (Jan) Jananayagam, a British, French educated young professional, who is contesting as an Independent candidate to the European Parliament. Ms. Jananayagam’s educational credentials, demonstrated communications skills, and a deftly constructed election platform centered on civil rights, financial transparency, and equality and diversity, will appeal to a broad section of British public and other immigrant groups besides the Tamil community, political observers in London say.

"Ms. Jananayagam's anti-sleaze and anti-BNP campaign themes will most likely resonate with the general public and garner support to her candidacy," an official of the British Tamil Forum (BTF) which is supporting her candidacy, said. "Britain is reeling from scandals involving MPs "exploiting a lax system of expenses to claim a mind-boggling array of benefits," and also there is growing fear that the plummeting popularity of the two main parties has given rise to the possibility of the far-right wing, whites-only British National Party (BNP) candidate being elected. Jan's anti-BNP platform will help her win votes from disgruntled citizens," the official added.

Ms. Janani (Jan) Jananayagam, candidate for MEP
Ms. Janani (Jan) Jananayagam, candidate for MEP
Tamil circles say the British Tamils will be drawn to the fight-the-genocide theme of Jananayagam's manifesto which says she will challenge "the failure of states to abide by the human rights agreements they have already ratified, for example, the UN Genocide Convention, the UN covenant of the civil and political rights of peoples which includes the right to freedom from torture and the right to self-determination."

"Her legal knowledge and mastery of facts on genocide and war crimes, especially her work with the US-based 'Tamils Against Genocide (TAG)' group's filing of criminal charges of genocide against Sri Lanka officials, has earned appreciation from many Tamils," said Darren Maynard, a director of TAG. "Her belief in the accountability of publicly funded financial institutions, such as the IMF, was also a key element to the litigation we started in the U.S. and in the U.K. for stopping IMF from granting a $2b loan to Sri Lanka, an egregious violator of human rights," Maynard added.

On the impact of Jananayagam on Tamil youth, parents of a youth leader, whose visit to meet US officials was sponsored by the British Government, said: "Second generation diaspora Tamils, energized by the recent activism in the streets of world capitals, are looking for a role model for transforming the activism into a serious political form to advance the Tamil struggle. The entry into politics of the young and articulate Ms Jananayagam, is a timely phenomenon, that will motivate the Tamil youths, and provide them needed confidence and direction."

Maya Arulpragasam (MIA), the Sri Lanka born music phenom, added endorsement to Jananayagam's credentials, saying in her twitter pages, Ms Jananayagam is "awesome" and she should "come over to the U.S. to shed some light [on Tamil genocide]."

To the Tamil diaspora which is in shock at the slaughter of Tamil civilians, and enduring the daily stream of disturbing news on the suffering of the Tamils held in internment camps, this election provides a positive opportunity to unify and assert the diaspora's growing power of their voice in the world stage, a France-based veteran of Tamil struggle told TamilNet. "I have high confidence that Janani will be a trail blazer for Tamil youths," he added.

Jaffna born Ms. Jananayagam first went to Africa with her teacher parents when she was young, and later emigrated to the UK. She first studied BS in Computing at Manchester University, and followed this with an MS in Applied Mathematics at Imperial College and an MBA in INSEAD Buisness School in France. She splits her consulting time between the London and German offices of a large Italian bank.


Chronology:


External Links:
UK: Jananayagam: Profile, Manifesto
MIA: Jan should come to US
UK: UK Office of the European Parliament
TAG: Tamils Against Genocide

 

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