Record turnout as Canada Heroes Day event asserts sovereignty

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 29 November 2011, 12:07 GMT]
More than 70,000 Canadian Tamils paid homage to heroes at the Toronto Heroes Day event organized by the Canadian Tamil Remembrance Organization (CTRO) Sunday. Conducted in four sessions in a make-shift venue, emotions were high and messages were clear. Despite threats of manufactured divisions towards the event, organizers came under the banner of CTRO for the importance of a strong display of unity. The event was marked with heart-touching cultural programmes reflecting on national unity amongst Eezham Tamils, highlighting successes and rejecting strategies of division in moving forward.

Heroes Day- Toronto, Canada
Attendees at Toronto Heroe's Day showing support for sovereignty
Mrs.Kalanithy Kulamohan
Chairperson- Canadian Tamil Remembrance Organization
With a concentrated effort to weaken the diaspora, Colombo think-tanks have engaged in a process to divide Eezham Tamils through the targeting of events that evoke feelings of liberation. The ability of the diaspora in Canada to overcome this strategy and proactively unite under the banner of CTRO for Heroes Day was seen as a strong display of unity for national liberation said diaspora circles.

The Canadian Tamil Remembrance Organization is legally registered in Canada and had organized the Heroes Day events in four cities on Sunday with Toronto being the largest venue. It was the common consensus amongst organizers in Canada that to avoid future confusion, the remembrance events should be organized by CTRO, which is governed by those who have lost immediate relatives to the cause of liberation, said community organizers. Mrs. Kalanithy Kulamohan, Chairperson for the Canadian Tamil Remembrance Organization, delivered the main address on Heroes Day.

She spoke of the evolution of the liberation struggle over the decades, and the sacrifices made by tens of thousands of Tamil liberation fighters and civilians. She stressed the heavy responsibility the diaspora holds in the future of the liberation movement, and that decisions must be considerate of their consequences.

James Clark
Coordinator-Toronto Coalition to Stop the War/ Steering Committee member- Canadian Peace Alliance
Siva Vimalachandran
Student activist/ Director for National Council of Canadian Tamils
In the wake of the national question of Eezham Tamils being absent in the discussions surrounding justice and accountability in Sri Lanka- the messaging from Heroes Day rejected discourse that subjugates the Eezham Tamil nation. The diaspora in Canada is very aware of the challenges the national liberation movement of Eezlam Tamils faces.

“Our strategy has been to resist this discourse, which creates a climate of fear, criminalization and alienation towards Tamil community activism. Through this resistance, we are increasingly creating a culture of acceptance to Tamil nationhood and to its national symbols,” said Siva Vimalachandran, a student leader and National Council of Canadian Tamils (NCCT) member in Canada, in his address to the gathering in Toronto on Heroes Day.

“Solidarity is the key. In 2009 we saw tens of thousands of Canadian Tamils calling for a halt to genocide and support for the right to self-determination of the Tamil people. Today, hundreds of thousands of Canadians recognize the ongoing structural genocide of the Eezham Tamil nation and support the need to stand in solidarity with the Tamil people in their global struggle for self-determination.”

“Let us take productive and proactive steps and not get distracted by the shallow matters being propagated by a few disturbing elements in society.

Our strength is in our numbers unified. Let us purse a path for liberation, uncompromising of principles and national identity,” he further said.

The message of solidarity was evident with James Clark- coordinator for the Toronto Coalition to Stop the War and Steering Committee member for the Canadian Peace Alliance- also addressing the audience.

“It is a major victory for the community to have shifted the terms of debate so dramatically. In the last year, major civil society organizations in Canada, most of them non-Tamil, have passed resolutions in support of the Tamil struggle for Tamil Eelam. This represents the success of your community in expanding and deepening your struggle, and in winning support from outside the community. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, the Canadian Federation of Students and the Canadian Peace Alliance are among those major groups expressing support for Tamil freedom and self-determination,” stated James Clark.

“You must also remember that the struggle for national liberation is a noble, just and legitimate struggle, one that is recognized by international law. The work you have done over the last few years, especially your youth leaders, has set an example for all oppressed people in their own struggles for peace and justice. Your success in generating true solidarity and support from non-Tamil allies in Canadian civil society and the wider public has set a precedent for Tamils in the global diaspora to emulate.”

“Your success in connecting with so many other struggles against war, tyranny and oppression means that the Tamil freedom struggle will always have allies. If you continue to build as you have in the last few years, you will accelerate the struggle for Tamil freedom and self-determination, and hasten the arrival of the day when we can stand together to celebrate the liberation of Tamil Eelam. I’m confident that we will see that day sooner rather than later, ” he further said.

Developments In Canada resonate well with the recent declaration on universal justice to the national question of Eezham Tamils said diaspora circles. The emerging understanding for a political consensus amongst the Tamil Diaspora to purse a path of liberation assertive of sovereignty is evident.

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