Feature Article

Ecuadorian indigenous people universalise Tamil genocide remembrance

[TamilNet, Friday, 20 May 2016, 20:17 GMT]
Amidst two powerful earthquakes shaking the country on Wednesday, the Ecuadorian indigenous people were undeterred in showing determined solidarity with the cause of Eezham Tamils marking the Mu'l'livaaykkal Genocide Day for the first time in Latin America at Quito, the capital of Ecuador. The gesture shows the universal importance of the Tamil issue, the gravity of which was felt by a people, who have been experiencing global injustices for a long time. The remembrance, held in a charged and emotional atmosphere at the Fundacion Pueblo Indio Del Ecuador (indigenous center), also saw the participation of Latin American left activists, the followers of legendary Liberation Theologist Leonidas Eduardo Proaño Villalba and a visiting delegation of Tamil and non-Tamil activists from various continents. The main slogan of the event was: ‘Tamil Eelam lives; the struggle continues’.

Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance at Ecuador

Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance at Ecuador
Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance at Ecuador
Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance at Ecuador
The late Archbishop Proaño (1910 - 1988), who was well known in entire Latin America for his activism in Ecuador to liberate the indigenous people, had started the foundation that observed the Mu'l'livaaykkaal Day on 18 May 2016 at Quito.

Proaño was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by a former recipient of the same prize in 1986. In 1988 he was awarded one of the United Nations Prizes in the Field of Human Rights, along with Nelson Mandela and four others.

A key participant at the event was Bianca Chancsco, the vice president of Ecuarunari (Movement of the indigenous people of Ecuador), which is the organization of indigenous peoples of Kichwa nationality in the Ecuadorian central mountain region.

Ecuarunari is also a member of the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE), which sharply opposes the so-called neoliberalism coming with U.S. military involvement in Latin America.

The CONAIE, consisting twelve ethnic groups, has focal demands for equality in Ecuador.

The confederation was also behind the popular 1990 Indigenous Uprising, in which Santa Domingo Church at Quito was occupied by the indigenous on the 500th year anniversary of Columbus ‘discovering’ the Americas.

The Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance on Wednesday organized by the indigenous people of Ecuador is also the first event at global level to be organized by the people from a country that doesn't have Tamils living there.

The activists among the indigenous people have understood the nature of the crimes committed against Eezham Tamils by the Sri Lankan Agent State with the complicity of global powers, commented the activists who were present at the event.

The leaders of the indigenous people were already aware how the geopolitical injustices are being committed enabling various Agent States to commit genocide, outmaneuvering human rights mechanisms meant to stop or prevent continuation of genocide.

Initially, the event was scheduled to take place at a university with more than 200 people attending. But, the event was suspended due to the unexpected tragedy of twin earthquakes in the early hours on Wednesday.

Despite this the indigenous peoples' organisations insisted that the Tamil genocide remembrance was to be held anyway and organised the event at their own indigenous center in Quito.

Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance at Ecuador

In January 2016 the Indigenous People’s Foundation of Ecuador informed the organisers of the People’s Tribunal on Sri Lanka (PTSL) of their decision to hold a series of public events marking the Tamil Genocide during the month of May, said the representatives of Peoples' Tribunal.

The PTSL was requested to organise a delegation of Eezham Tamils and their supporters to join the events.

The organisers of the Tribunal took this unprecedented solidarity initiative by an oppressed population with the seriousness that it deserved and made arrangements for a 24 strong team of Tamils and their supporters to attend this event.

Mu'l'livaaykkaal Remembrance at Ecuador

Amidst earthquakes, the delegation consisting of Tamil activists, academics, survivors from Mu'l'livaaykkaal, drama and dance artists and solidarity activists took the trip to Ecuador with the support and participation of grassroots in New Zealand, Canada, Norway, England and Germany.

“Fundación Pueblo Indio del Ecuador, founded by the legendary liberation theologist Monseñor Leonidas Proaño, displays the spirit and determination that Eelam Tamils can be inspired by,” a young Tamil academic member in the delegation told TamilNet.

Mu'l'livaaykkaal Genocide Remembrance at Ecuador

On 16 April 2016, an earlier earthquake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale killed 661 people and left more than 28,000 thousand people homeless in the country.

Since then Ecuador has been experiencing a number of aftershocks. The twin quake on Wednesday measured a magnitude of 6.7 on the Richter scale.

The late Archbishop Leonidas Proaño [Left], a Liberation Theologist, was championing the cause of the indigenous people in Ecuador.

External Links:
PTSL: Peoples' Tribunal on Sri Lanka



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