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Academics across continents mark Tamil genocide remembrance in Dublin, discuss global injustice

[TamilNet, Friday, 10 May 2019, 23:34 GMT]
Irish, Cypriot, Rwandan, Palestinian, Rohingya, Korean and Colombian academics were taking part in an academic conference and a commemorative event on the tenth year of 2009 Mu’l’li-vaaykkaal Tamil genocide in Dublin, Ireland on the 02nd of May and on the 08th of May. The reflections made at these events provided both insights from lived experiences of genocide as well analysis of the situation before and in the aftermath of May 2009. The geopolitical context of Mu’l’li-vaaykkaal, attempts to de-politicize Tamil resistance and consolidate the ongoing structural genocide institutionalized through the unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka were discussed in detail in the events making comparisons with the oppressions elsewhere in the world.

Dublin event

Tamil Genocide Remembrance, Dublin 02 May 2019
Tamil Genocide Remembrance, Dublin 02 May 2019
Dublin event
On the 02nd of May, Professor Jude Lal Fernando, Director of Trinity Centre for Post-Conflict Justice alongside other scholars of Trinity College held a commemorative event for the 10th year of the Mullivaykal genocidal massacres. The session included Eezham Tamil writers and genocide survivors’ sharing their reflections over the ten years which have lapsed and the dynamics of Tamil resistance and quest for justice to the audience who were present.

The event was co-chaired by Iain Atack, Head of Peace Studies and School of Religion at the Trinity College of Dublin.

Korean activist and PhD scholar, Dong-Jin Kim was also part of the event.

An Eezham Tamil genocide survivor, who went through the last phase of Mu’l’li-vaaykkaal, including the appalling conditions at the barbed-wire internment camps, was also present.

The survivor held an emotional appeal detailing how the hundreds of thousands of Eezham Tamils who survived the onslaught at Nanthik-kadal were herded into by the so-called internment camps by the occupying Sinhala army. He narrated the policies of the SL military and the SL State during and after the genocidal war in Mu’l’li-vaaykkaal.

Expressing his anger at the powerful international alliance of states which abetted the SL state in the military offensives which resulted in the genocidal massacres up to the 18th of May, 2009, the survivor said he had lost eighteen family-members during the onslaughts in 2009.

Flowers were offered, and candles were lit, amongst others by a genocide survivor, an academic and genocide survivor from Rwanda, Professor Colette Nkunda, to commemorate the Eezham Tamils who lost their lives.

Professor Nkunda also shared her experiences of genocide in Rwanda.

Dr N.Malathy, spoke over the internet from New Zealand, giving insights and reflections from her period working with the North-East Secretariat of Human Rights (NESoHR) and the Peace Secretariat of the LTTE, spanning the time from 2005 – 2009.

She also spoke on the welfare, preschool and educational endeavours of the Tigers to serve the Eezham Tamil masses as well the social spaces engendered by the LTTE women in bringing about a new society in which Eezham Tamil women and men were on par.

Malathy said that the women created social spaces, which they manned and in which LTTE women connected with Tamil civilian women in managing and expanding such a space. All these were annihilated with the destruction of the LTTE through the genocide, she said.

An exiled Tamil poet, Thirukumaran, who is a survivor of Sri Lankan military torture, recited his Tamil poem of his own.

A Tamil academic from Scandinavia also gave his reflections on the dynamics of ongoing structural genocide and Eelam Tamil people’s grass-roots mobilization of resistance to these processes and identified that within the unitary state structure, neither arrest of genocide nor accommodation of Tamil national aspirations and grievances and quest for justice could be achieved.

On the 08th of May, in a collaboration between the Korean Institute for National Unification, Trinity Centre for Post-Conflict Justice, Trinity Long Room Hub and the Irish School of Ecumenics Trust, a one-day academic conference was held at Trinity College Dublin. The conference “Peacebuilding and Local Communities in Post-Conflict Societies: Challenges and Opportunities” featured academics and scholar-activists who have been working from and around conflict-ridden societies.

During the conference, several scholars, as well as peace-making practitioners from the context of political struggle, explained how the so-called ‘post-conflict’ processes do not grasp the situation in either occupied Palestine and Tamil Eelam.

The welcome remarks were provided by Jude Lal Fernando, Byoung-Kon Jun (Acting President of Korean Institute for National Unification, KINU), Jane Ohlmeyer (Director of Trinity Long Room Hub, Chair of Irish Research Council), Duncan Morrow (Ulster University).

Dublin event

Duncan Morrow of Ulster University presented the case of Northern Ireland Peace Processes and local communities, in which he pointed out the structural limitations of the processes which have not resolved the conflict while it has provided for a cessation of violence.

Professor Yong-Hoon Song (Kangwon National University) presented the case of the Korean Peninsula, and efforts at reconciliation between the two Koreas outside, including attempts at joint industrial ventures and the demilitarization of the heavily militarized border between North and South Korea. Such efforts, as the scholar pointed out, was attempted to be done between local communities on both sides without the meddling of external actors.

His presentation also painted a picture of the geopolitical challenges which such efforts faced.

Kyriakos Pachoulides (Association for Historical Dialogue and Research, Cyprus), presented Peace-making and cross-border interactions between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, and between the two states, to which his association was a direct witness.

Colombian academic Lina Paola Malagón (University of St Andrews), presented the following paper “Transitional Justice and Local Community in Colombia”, which illuminated the challenges of the Peace processes between FARC and the Colombian government. She pointed out some of the ongoing violence against Afro-Colombians, indigenous and Peasant communities by the continued existence of armed paramilitaries associated with the Right-wing elements of the Parliamentary political parties.

Discussants to the topics presented were amongst other, Scholars David Mitchell (TCD); Suk-Hoon Hong (KINU); Ji-Soon Lee (KINU); Chiara Mizzoni (TCD) The second session presented cases from Tamil Eelam, Rwanda and Palestine, and was chaired by anthropologist of the Trinity College Dulin, Andrew Finlay.

Palestinian academic Maath Musleh (AL Quds university), presented “Just-Peace in Palestine”, pointing out how the major world powers, such as the US, UK and Israel while demonizing the Palestinian resistance to colonization, propagate an international discourse in which the Israeli state is reified and consolidated.

He pointed out how the ‘ceasefire’ which have presently been passed in Palestine, means security for the Israeli state, as colonization, occupation and surgical strikes continue against the Gaza.

Rwandan scholar Colette Nkunda spoke of the systemic background and some of the historical context of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She also spoke of the contemporary efforts at reconciliation between the communities.

Eezham Diaspora PhD scholar Athithan Jayapalan (University of Oslo) presented a paper and the case of “Post-War Justice and Right to Self-Determination of Eelam Tamils”, reflecting the structural national oppression and genocide perpetrated by the institutions of the unitary state in the aftermath of 2009 Mu’l’li-vaaykkaal, and the forms of resistances of Eezhm Tamils. He also touched the geopolitical dynamics, and the US, British, Indian, and to a lesser degree, the Chinese states consolidating Colombo. All the actors were opting for the unitary state structure, he said.

The panellists were scholars Brendan Browne (TCD), Seraphine Habimana (Dublin City University) and Jude Lal Fernando (TCD).

Professor Jude Lal Fernando explained the inability of Eezham Tamils to exists as a collective people with aspirations within the unitary state and how the USA, India and the UK deemed a single administrative unit in the centralized form of the unitary state as ensuring ‘strategic usability’ for their imperial ambitions. Hence, these countries abetted the Sri Lankan state in the annihilation of the LTTE and in the continued structural genocide against Eezham Tamils, with orientations to neutralize the political struggle of the Eezham Tamils.

The last session was chaired by the Director of the KNU, Professor Bo-Hyuk Suh. KINU scholar Ju-R Kim spoke on the denuclearization processes in the Korean Peninsula and its relation to the reconciliation and cooperation between the two Koreas.

Scholar, Maja Vodopivec (Leiden University), spoke on the Srebrenica genocide, and the justice processes in the Balkans. The discussants included Dong-Jin Kim (TCD) and Maja Halilovic-Pastuovic (TCD).

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