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> Peace Rally by Tamil
Americans, 23 July 2007
Tamils - a Trans
State Nation: USA
Peace Rally by Tamil Americans
"We, the Tamil Americans, hereby proclaim that Eelam Tamils
constitute a Nation"
23 July 2007
Massachusetts Resolution in 1981 Memorialising the President and
the Congress to Recognize
the Right of Self Determination by the Tamil people of Tamil Eelam.
- "Resolved, that the Massachusetts
House of Representatives hereby
urges the President and the Congress of the United States to support
struggle for freedom
by the Tamil nation for the
restoration and reconstitution the separate sovereign state
of Tamil Eelam and to
recognize publicly the
right of self determination
by the Tamil people of Tamil Eelam...."
Rally - in English -
Declaration by Tamil Americans and Friends of Tamils
Memorandum Submitted to Members of US Congress
தாயகத்தை அங்கீகரிக்க வலியுறுத்தி அமெரிக்கத் தலைநகரில் நடைபெற்ற பேரணி நிகழ்வு
தொடர்பாக கலாநிதி எலியேஸ் ஜெயராஜ் வழங்கிய நேர்காணல்
this madness? - speech by Dr. Ellyn Shander M.D
Press Release at Conclusion of
Rally, 25 July 2007
[TamilNet Report] In the peace rally attended by
nearly one thousand American Tamils from several states across the United States
in front of the Capitol Building, in Washington D.C. Monday from 12:00 noon to
3:00 p.m., the participants said:
"We, the Tamil Americans, hereby proclaim that
Eelam Tamils constitute a Nation. We resolve that our struggle to establish the
right of Tamil people to Self-Determination, and to establish self-rule in the
territories Tamil people have made their home for centuries will continue until
our goal is achieved,"
in a declaration released to the press at the conclusion
of the rally.
Mrs Kandaswamy, 80, braved 200 mile bus-ride to attend the rally
from New Jersey. She said she had stood in front of the Parliament in Canberra
in 2003, in front of Britain's Houses of Parliament in 2005, and that she is
happy stand in front of the Capitol Building with her adult son at the rally
today. Expatriate Tamils, including a large contingent of second generation
American Tamils, from far-away states including Florida, Ohio, California, and
Boston, and from several other states attended the peace rally.
Participants carried colorful placards, wore sun-visors and
T-shirts carrying the message of peace and the right of Tamil for
self-determination, and shouted slogans throughout the rally.
Tamil youth group which has organized a pre-, post-rally congressional lobbying
campaign, read messages of support from several Congresspersons between the
speeches by International Human Rights Lawyer, Karen Parker, New York Attorney
Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, Ellyn Shander, a Medical Doctor from New Canaan,
Connecticut who had visited the NorthEast to provide care and grief counseling
to the tsunami survivors, and several others to the participants.
Chris Gaston, Senior Aide to Congressman Rush Holt from New Jersey met with the
contingent that attended the rally from the Congressman's home state.
Ms Parker said: "Because of the right to self- determination, the Tamil areas
belong to the Tamils. It is their land. The civilian government and the military
force - the LTTE - have a right de jure (by law) to this State. Tamils presence
in their own land is not de facto and their government is not a de facto one.
"The Sri Lankan government’s occupation of part of the historic Tamil Eelam is
de facto. They are there by the clear facts on the ground but they don’t have
the legal right to it," Ms. Parker added.
The declaration read at the conclusion of the rally also noted that 100,000
Tamils have died and more than a million have been internally displaced during
the struggle, and that Tamils did not participate in Sri Lanka's 1972 and 1978
constitutions which "institutionalized discrimination" and "denied Tamils
effective role in decision making process."
தமிழீழத் தமிழர்களின் தன்னாட்சி
உரிமையை வலியுறுத்தி அமெரிக்கத் தலைநகரில் 23.07.07
பேரெழுச்சியான அமைதிப் பேரணி
வாசிங்ரன் டி.சியில் உள்ள அமெரிக்கத் தலைநகர் கட்டட முன்றலில் 23.07.07
பிற்பகல் 12 மணி முதல் மாலை 3 மணிவரை நடைபெற்ற இந்த அமைதிப் பேரணியில் அமெரிக்கா
முழுவதிலிருந்தும் ஆயிரக்கணக்கில் புலம்பெயர் தமிழர்கள் பங்கேற்றிருந்தனர்.
'தமக்கு இருக்கும் தன்னாட்சி உரிமையின் அடிப்படையில்,
தமக்கென ஒரு சுய ஆட்சியை நிறுவி
தம்மைத் தாமே ஆழ்வதைத் தவிர,
சுதந்திரத்தோடும் நிம்மதியோடும் வாழ்வதற்கு ஈழத் தமிழர்களுக்கு வேறு வழியில்லை"
என்று இந்தப் பேரணியில் வலியுறுத்தப்பட்டது.
புளோரிடா, ஓகையோ, கலிபோர்னியா, போஸ்ரன் உள்ளிட்ட பல்வேறு நகரங்களிலிருந்து
பெருந்தொகையான இரண்டாம் தலைமுறைத் தமிழர்களும் இப்பேரணியில் கலந்து கொண்டனர்.
தமிழர்களின் தன்னாட்சியையும் சுயநிர்ணய உரிமையையும் வலியுறுத்தும் மேலாடைகளை அணித்து
பேரணியில் பங்கேற்றோர் உரிமை முழக்கங்களை எழுப்பினர்.
இந்நிகழ்வில் அனைத்துலக மனித உரிமைகள் சட்டத்தரணி கரேன் பார்க்கர், நியூயோர்க்
சட்டத்தரணி விசுவநாதன் ருத்ரகுமாரன், ஆழிப்பேரலையால் பாதிக்கப்பட்ட தமிழர்களுக்கு
மனவள ஆலோசனை அளிக்க தமிழீழத்துக்குச் சென்று திரும்பிய மருத்துவர் எலின் சண்டெர்
உள்ளிட்டோர் உரையாற்றினர். அவர்களின் சிறப்புரைகளுக்கு இடையே ஈழப் போராட்டத்துக்கு
ஆதரவளித்துள்ள அமெரிக்க காங்கிரஸ் உறுப்பினர்களின் அறிக்கைகளும் வாசிக்கப்பட்டன.
நியூ ஜேர்சியைச் சேர்ந்த காங்கிரஸ் உறுப்பினர் ருஸ் ஹோல்ட்டின் மூத்த உதவியாளர்
கிரிஸ் காஸ்ரன் இப்பேரணியில் பங்கேற்றார்.
'சுயநிர்ணய உரிமையின் அடிப்படையில் தமிழர்களின் தாயகப் பிரதேசம் தமிழர்களுக்கானது.
அங்கே ஒரு அரசாங்கத்துக்குரிய குடிசார் அரசாங்கமும் இராணுவமும் இயங்கி வருகிறது.
தமிழீழம் அவர்களின் சொந்த மண். அங்குள்ள அவர்களின் அரசாங்கம் நிழல் அரசாங்கம் அல்ல.
பாரம்பரியமான வரலாற்று ரீதியான தமிழர் தாயகத்தை சிறிலங்காதான் ஆக்கிரமித்துள்ளது.
தமிழர் நிலத்தில் எதுவித சட்ட உரிமையுமே சிறிலங்காவினருக்கு இல்லை" என்று கரேன்
பேரணியின் முடிவில் பிரகடனம் வெளியிடப்பட்டது.
இந்தப் பேரணியில் திருமதி கந்தசாமி என்ற 80 வயது மூத்தாட்டி பங்கேற்றார்.
நியூஜேர்சியிலிருந்து 200 மைல் தூரம் பேரூந்தில் பயணம் செய்து இந்தப் பேரணியில்
தான் 2003 ஆம் ஆண்டு அவுஸ்திரேலியாவின் கான்பரா நாடாளுமன்றக் கட்டடம் முன்பான
ஆர்ப்பாட்டத்திலும் 2005 ஆம் ஆண்டு பிரித்தானிய நாடாளுமன்றக் கட்டடம் முன்பான
ஆர்ப்பாட்டத்திலும் பங்கேற்றதாகவும் இப்போதும் அமெரிக்க தலைநகர் கட்டட முன்றலில்
எமது தாயக உரிமைக்காக குரல் கொடுக்க நிற்கிறேன் என்றும் பெருமிதம் பொங்க
இந்த ஆர்ப்பாட்டப் பேரணியில் முதல் முறையாக ஆயிரத்துக்கும் அதிகமான தமிழர்கள்
பங்கேற்று தங்களது தாயகத்துகான அங்கீகாரத்தை வலியுறுத்தி உரத்து குரல் கொடுத்தமை
கடந்த காலங்களில் அமெரிக்காவில் நடத்தப்பட்ட தமிழர்களின் போராட்டத்திற்கு ஆதரவான
பேரணிகளில் இதுவே மிகப்பெரியது.
அண்மையில் அமெரிக்கா, பிரித்தானியா, அவுஸ்திரேலியா, பிரான்ஸ் போன்ற நாடுகளில்
ஈழத்தமிழ் செயற்பாட்டாளர்கள் மீது அந்தந்ந நாட்டு அரசாங்கங்கள் சட்ட
நடவடிக்கைகளையும், கைதுகளையும் மேற்கொண்ட சூழ்நிலையில் இவ்வளவு பெருந்தொகையானோர்
இதில் கலந்து கொண்டது, அமெரிக்கா தலைமையிலான மேற்குலகுக்கு ஒரு முக்கியமான செய்தியை
சொல்கின்றது என்று இதில் கலந்துகொண்ட ஒருவர் தெரிவித்தார்.
அண்மையில் செய்தி நிறுவனம் ஒன்றுக்குப் பேட்டியளித்த சிறிலங்காவிற்கான அமெரிக்கத்
தூதுவர் றொபேர்ட் ஓ பிளேக், தன்னோடு பேசிய எந்தத் தமிழர்களும் தனிநாட்டுக்
கோரிக்கையை ஆதரிக்கவில்லை என்று தெரிவித்திருந்த பின்னணியில், அமெரிக்கத்
தமிழர்களாகிய நாங்கள் எமது அபிலாசை என்ன என்பதை, அவருக்கும், அமெரிக்க
அரசங்கத்திற்கும், அமெரிக்கா தலைமையிலான மேற்குலக நாடுகளுக்கும் இப்போது
தெரிவித்திருக்கின்றோம் என்று இந்த பேரணி ஏற்பாட்டாளர்களில் ஒருவர் தெரிவித்தார்.
இங்கே வெளியிடப்பட்டு, பேரணியில் பங்கேற்ற அனைவராலும் கையெழுத்திடப்பட்டு, அமெரிக்க
நாடாளுமன்ற வெளிவிவகாரக்குழு உறுப்பினர்களுக்கு கையளிக்கப்பட்ட
"தமிழீழத் தமிழர்கள் ஒரு தேசமாக, ஒரு தேசிய இனமாக வாழ்ந்து வருகின்றார்கள் என்பதை,
அமெரிக்கத் தமிழர்களாகிய நாங்கள் இங்கே பிரகடனப்படுத்துகின்றோம்.இலங்கைத் தீவில் தமிழர்கள் பாரம்பரியமாக வாழும் அந்தத் தமிழர் தாயகப் பிரதேசத்தில்
ஒரு தமிழ் சுயாட்சியை நிறுவுவதற்காகவும், தமிழ்த் தேசிய தன்னாட்சி உரிமைக்காகவும்
நிகழும் எமது போராட்டம், அந்த இலட்சியங்களை அடையும் வரை முடிவுறாது என்பதை
அமெரிக்கத் தமிழர்கள் இங்கே பிரகடனப்படுத்துகின்றோம்
Declaration by Tamil Americans and Friends of Tamils
at the Peace Rally in Washington D.C. Monday July 23, 2007 (also
in PDF )
1. Recognizing that the Tamil people in the island now known as Sri Lanka
paid a heavy price for freedom in their struggle for justice bearing the loss of
100,000 people and the displacement of over a million as refugees and internally
2. Bearing in mind that successive Governments of Sri Lanka have been
responsible for those deaths and persecution, discrimination, and ethnic cleansing including the recent expulsion of Tamil people from Colombo to their Homeland;
3. Deploring the plight of the millions of refugees and displaced persons who
have been uprooted as a result of Sinhala armed forces’ acts and preventing from their
right to return to their homes voluntarily in safety and honor, and emphasizing the
urgent need for concerted international action to alleviate their condition;
4. Mindful that the Tamils did not participate in the making of the
1978 constitutions which institutionalized discrimination and which denied them an effective role in the national decision-making process;
5. Noting that the Tamil people gave their mandate to their elected
representatives to seek an independent state for the Tamil people in the elections subsequent to
the Vaddukoddai Resolution of 1976;
6. Reaffirming that the universal realization of the right of all peoples,
including those under alien domination, to self-determination is a fundamental condition for the effective guarantee and observance of human rights and for the preservation and promotion of such rights;
7. Being aware that the history of the relations between the Tamil People and
the Sinhala People has been
a process of broken promises, unilateral abrogation of
pacts and agreements by the Governments of Sri Lanka;
8. Bearing in mind that the
armed struggle as a measure of self-defense and a
means of the realisation of the right to self-determination arose only after the failure
of the 40 years of non-violent struggle, and due to the absence of means to resolve the
9. Cognizant of the reality that the war in the island of Sri Lanka has been
principally confined to the NorthEast, resulting in the destruction of its social, economic, administrative and physical infrastructure;
10. Accepting that it was the Sinhala attempt to
subjugate and assimilate which
led, eventually, to the rise of the armed resistance of the Tamil people, led today
by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam;
11. Conscious that an effective control and jurisdiction of the NorthEast of the
island of Sri Lanka is exercised by Tamil governance, which is also resisting the
war for land to colonize the Tamil Homeland;
12. Welcoming the
Fifteen Non-Governmental Organizations’ statement at the UN Human Rights Commission in February 1993 that: -
"A social group, which shares objective elements such as a common language and
which has acquired a subjective consciousness of togetherness by its life within a
relatively well defined territory, and its struggle against alien domination, clearly constitutes a
"people" with the right to self-determination”.
13. Noting that the Tamils of Eelam are not simply an ethnic group. Their
togetherness is not only a cultural togetherness, they are a people who have lived within a
relatively well defined territory for many centuries and established their own separate and independent state and defended it against alien invaders;
14. Recognising that Tamil Eelam is a de jure State where in some areas Sinhala
alien de facto rule exists, against the will of the Tamil people;
15. Determined to bring lasting peace to all Peoples of the island of Sri Lanka;
We, the Tamil Americans, hereby proclaim that Eelam Tamils constitute a Nation.
We resolve that our struggle to establish the right of Tamil people to Self- Determination, and to establish self-rule in the territories Tamil people have
made their home for centuries will continue until our goal is achieved.
We appeal to the legislators, the Administration and the people of the United
States who fought and won their freedom to empathize with the Tamil people, and help to establish our right to Self-Determination from the remnants of the Sinhala
Memorandum Submitted to Members of US Congress by Tamil Americans and Friends of Tamils at the Peace Rally in Washington D.C. July 23, 2007
[also in PDF]
We, the undersigned, have gathered today to rally for peace and an end to human
rights abuses in war-ravaged Sri Lanka and to support the
Tamil people’s right to
self-determination in pursuit of a lasting peace on the island.
Over the past two years, under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapakse,
violence in Sri Lanka has been on the rise with the 2002 ceasefire agreement between the
government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam effectively abandoned. As
reported in Amnesty International’s 2006 report, “The human rights situation in Sri Lanka
deteriorated dramatically. Unlawful killings, recruitment of child soldiers, abductions, enforced
disappearances and other human rights violations and war crimes increased…”
According to the United Nations Human Rights Council, three million citizens
have been affected, 500,000 forced out of their homes and over 4,000 killed in the past 12
months. The toll has added to the 100,000 deaths, mostly Tamil civilians, in more than two
decades of sectarian strife. Massive military operations in the Tamil homeland in the North and East
of Sri Lanka have displaced half a million war and tsunami devastated Tamil civilians who
have been left to suffer in refugee camps, most of which are in deplorable condition due to lack
of food, water, sanitation, medical care, schooling, and adequate shelter.
Human rights watchdogs and international leaders have spoken out against the
government’s increasing brutality as it engages in crimes against humanity including,
“directing artillery fire at military targets and civilians without discrimination, firing artillery from
populated areas, summarily executing persons, and unnecessarily preventing the delivery of
humanitarian aid” (Brad Abrams, HRW, April 16, 2007).
In August 2006, the government of Sri Lanka closed the A-9 highway, the only
land route linking the Northern Jaffna peninsula with the rest of the island. Almost one
year later, approximately 400,000 Tamil civilians remain trapped in this region, where they
continue to be denied food, medicine and humanitarian aid. In a further display of
discrimination and oppression against Tamils, the UN reports that Tamil regions have received 20
percent less tsunami aid than other areas, despite having suffered 65 percent of the tsunami
destruction. As little as 29 percent of the required permanent houses have been completed in the
war-torn Tamil regions, compared to 98 percent in the south.
Last month, the situation took an even more alarming turn as the government
stepped up its efforts to purge Tamil civilians from the capital city of Colombo in what
amounts to no less than ethnic cleansing. “The forced eviction of 375 Tamils from the capital of Colombo
… carried out by police and soldiers in a nighttime raid on areas of Colombo populated by the
Tamil ethnic minority, was the latest chapter in the brutal civil war,” reports The New York
Times. In the past year, more journalists and aid workers were killed with government
complicity in Sri Lanka than anywhere else in the world.
Throughout this time U.S. military aid has increased, despite the government’s abominable record of human rights violations.The
suffering of the innocent people of Sri Lanka has taken an enormous toll, as poignantly reported
in Time magazine: “Sri Lanka has been in ceaseless turmoil for more than three decades…
Fighting has gone on for so long now that it has brutalized an entire society, creating a
culture of violence that haunts the country whether there is fighting or not” (April 5, 2007).
We urge the great citizens of this country and the U.S government to take the
following actions to help restore peace, justice, and democracy in Sri Lanka, and protect the
victimized Tamil population:
• Support the current Senate language in HR 2764 that would restrict military
aid to Sri Lanka;
• Join the Price-Holt initiative in the US House of Representatives in asking
President Bush to “increase U.S. diplomatic engagement and high-level political contact in
Sri Lanka to work toward achieving a lasting peace… increase U.S. efforts to promote
strong human rights protections for civilians”;
• Encourage the involvement of the United Nations to monitor human rights on the
• Put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to rescind the declaration of Tamil
land in Trincomalee area as high security zone thereby preventing the resettlement of
the Tamils and Muslims;
• Demand the Sri Lankan government immediately allow humanitarian organizations unrestricted access to conflict areas and open the A-9 highway to Jaffna;
• Promote lasting peace through a permanent resolution, not excluding a
• Recognize and support the
Tamil people’s right to self-determination.
Thank You. Sincerely, (see signatures on the attached pages)
What is this madness? -
Speech by Dr. Ellyn
First I want to say how honored I am to speak at this rally. I
want to express my appreciation to the organizers who had the
vision to invite us together for this important cause. And a
heartfelt thank you ,to each of you who took the time to travel
from your homes and express your solidarity, here in Washington
DC, with the Tamils in Sri lanka, who dont have the opportunity
to be here today expressing their anguish and despair.
I am an American physician that went to Sri Lanka and
volunteered my services in the North, 6 weeks after the tsunami.
I returned 6 months later for a follow up visit.
All of us remember the devastation of the tsunami, villages
flattened, whole families swallowed up, lives shattered. For a
brief moment in time, Sri Lanka was illuminated. I traveled the
road from Killonochi , thru the elephant Pass up thru the
fishing villages that dot the shore. I met the most beautiful
people. And an extraordinary thing happened to me. I fell in
Love. I fell in Love with the people, their courage, their
strength and their willingness to invite me into their homes and
share their grief. I helped the families make sense of the
incomprehensible; I treated the children, and met teachers,
fishermen, moms, dads, people just like us, trying to hold their
families together in extraordinary circumstances.
I took their pictures home with me, and left a piece of my heart
there, in a small fishing village on the North east coast . When
the civil war broke out again, I was sad. When the government
closed A-9 I was devastated! I have no words for the madness
that stalks the north and east today. You see for me this crisis
IS personal. The Tamils who are being bombed, killed, abducted,
tortured, starved and denied medical care are family to me.
Their pictures are in my home, and I will NOT stop fighting for
peace and justice for them.
Today NGO’s are denied access to the North and East by a stalled
government process. The government refuses to open A-9, the
highway that supplies food and medicine to the North. More than
500,000 civilians are being held hostage there. Shelling by
government troops continues to rain on civilian areas. If the
hospitals are closed and have limited medicines and few doctors,
how does a maimed or burned child get help??
What is this madness? Tamils are being forced to return to areas
that have NOT had low mine clearance. They are forced from one
camp to the next as the fighting spreads, they have no income
and have to depend on food handouts from aid agencies. What is
this madness? International agencies are reporting rampant
malnutrition in the northern Jaffna district. Fisherman are
denied access to the sea. In Vavunia last week 4 Tamils were
shot. One of them a 14 year old boy. How can this be happening??
What is this madness?
On July 14 and 15th the SL Army launched heavy sustained rocket
fire on the Pulliyankulam hospital in Vavunia. 2 shells
exploded right inside the hospital. It used to serve the needs
of 15,000 inhabitants.
What is this madness? What government kills its own civilians?
of Darfur, the former government of Saddam Hussein, and the
government of Sri Lanka .
What is this madness?? The war is reported as a fact sheet of
military conquests.. Very little is said about the real victims
of this war. The Tamil people who are dying in the thousands.
What is this madness?
Children cannot go to school, medical students in Jaffna the
future pride of the Tamil people cannot finish their studies,
and the youth are being kidnapped and torn from their families
What is this madness?
You know the opposite of this madness is a dream that I have.
Martin Luthur King a great American stood close to here and
shared his dream. America is a place of dreams. Today I want to
share mine with you!! I have a dream that every Tamil can feel
the breeze on their cheeks without worrying about being killed.
I have a dream that every Tamil can look up at the sky and
check the weather without checking to see if their government is
raining bombs on them today.
I have a dream that every pregnant Tamil will have access to
a hospital and only be concerned if she is having a boy or girl
and NOT whether a SL Army shell will take her life and her
I have a dream that every Tamil child can laugh and go to
school in freedom and not worry that her family will be dead
when she returns home or to the refugee camp.
I have a dream that the fishermen I met can go out on their
boats again and bring home their catches , and not worry about
being tortured and kidnapped.
I have a dream that no Tamil person will ever have to be on
rations, or be without .doctors or medicines.
I have a dream of Tamil weddings, birthdays, and festivities
in a peaceful self governed state called Tamil Elam.
Land does not belong to people!! It is people that belong to
land. The Tamils belong to their land.
Please let us work toward stopping this madness. Let us work
towards peace talks. Let us work towards Justice and Freedom for
every human being in Sri Lanka . Denying the right to self
determination is a violation of human rights! Today I ask the
Sri lankan government
If you don’t want to treat the Tamils equally, fairly, or
humanely, then what is wrong with a 2 state solution? Two States
in Peace is Better than One State in War!
Stop the persecution of the Tamils!!! Let us call today
for an independent state for the Tamils before it is too late
and there are no more Tamils left in Sri Lanka. Please peace for
Stop the Madness. Thank you.
Press Release by Tamil Americans
and Friends For Peace, 25 July 2007
Tamil Americans Hold Peace Rally at Capitol Hill
Tamil Americans in the US held a massive Peace Rally on July
23rd in front of the US Capitol. The rally attended by nearly
one thousand American Tamils of all ages from across the country
projected the Tamils’ right for self-determination as the
peaceful solution for the vexed ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka.
Scores of non-Tamil Americans also participated in solidarity
with the Tamils.
declaration released at the conclusion of the rally stated:
"We, the Tamil Americans, hereby proclaim that Eelam
Tamils constitute a Nation. We resolve that our struggle to
establish the right of Tamil people to Self-Determination,
and to establish self-rule in the territories Tamil people
have made their home for centuries will continue until our
goal is achieved."
"We appeal to the legislators, the Administration and the
people of the United States who fought and won their freedom
to empathize with the Tamil people, and help to establish
our right to Self-Determination from the remnants of the
Sinhala colonial State," the declaration further said.
Carrying colorful placards and wearing T-shirts with message
of peace, the participants chanted slogans drawing parallels
from the United States declaration of independence to that of
the Tamil struggle. “Raise your hands, free our land,” “We
reject Sri Lanka; Tamils can govern themselves,” were some of
the chants heard resonated. One placard said: “Life, Liberty &
pursuit of Happiness: -What is good for US is good for Tamils in
Eelam too.” “Peace in two states better than war in one,” stated
another. The slogans highlighted the deaths of 100,000 Tamil
civilians and the displacement of over 1 million at the hands of
the Sri Lankan military and called for an end to ethnic
cleansing in Sri Lanka.
The Tamil youth group participants who organized a pre- and
post-rally congressional lobbying campaign, collected signatures
from the attendees for a special memorandum to the US
legislators calling for an end to all military aid to Sri Lanka,
and pleading for humanitarian aid to the half-a-million Tamil
refugees in the NorthEast of Sri Lanka.
They also read messages of support from several
Congresspersons between the speeches given by International
Human Rights Lawyer, Karen Parker, New York Attorney
Visuvanathan Rudrakumaran, Dr. Thani Cheran of North Carolina,
and Dr. Ellyn Shander of New Canaan, Connecticut who had visited
the NorthEast to provide care and grief counseling to the
tsunami survivors. The public meeting part of the Peace Rally
was presided over by Lisa Hansen of the Clinton Foundation.
Pointing out the ongoing ethnic cleansing and the scale of
government induced mass displacements of the Tamils, Ms. Parker
argued that the actions of the Sri Lankan Government clearly
constitute genocide. The Tamils’ right to self-determination
conforms to all international laws, Ms. Parker observed. “The
Tamil areas belong to the Tamils. It is their land. The Sri
Lankan government’s occupation of part of the historic Tamil
Eelam is de facto, whereas the civilian administration and the
military force of the Tamils have a right de jure (by law) to
the land they control,” she said.
electrified the crowd by her speech, by bringing heart and
mind together and sharing her dream of a peaceful Tamil
homeland where the children going to school will look up the sky
only to check the weather and not scout for fighter jets. “I
have a dream that every pregnant Tamil will have access to a
hospital and only be concerned if she is having a boy or girl
and not whether a Sri Lankan Army shell will take her life and
her newborns,” she said.
Dr. Shander questioned the Sri Lankan Government, “If you don’t
want to treat the Tamils equally, fairly, or humanely then what
is wrong with a two-state solution?” “Two States in peace is
better than war in one,” she concluded.
Earlier in the afternoon, Chris Gaston, Senior Aide to
Congressman Rush Holt came to the rally and met with the
contingent that attended the rally from the Congressman's home
state of New Jersey. The rally organized by Tamil Americans and
Friends for Peace, concluded at 3pm and participants peacefully
dispersed to their far way home states along the east coast,
Midwest and far west.
Pictures of the rally can be found and freely
information please contact
or call Elias
Jeyarajah at 919 247 4072.