Pin It

Tamil Diaspora grassroots level campaigns were one of the main reasons for the United Nation's (U.N.) resolutions including A/HRC/RES/30/1, on Sri Lanka's war crimes. The government of Sri Lanka was forced to free 300K Tamils from the concentration camps or so-called IDP camps, created after 2009. However, the government's intention was to keep the camps for years, but the intense war crimes awareness pressured them to close and free the people. After May 2009, the war ended, yet thousands of Tamils were killed or enforced disappeared by the Sri Lankan government.

genocide of tamilsAfter 1948 when the British left Ceylon (the ancient Tamil term is Eelam) the Eelam Tamil struggle for freedom began. Currently, as of 2020, Chinese, Tamils, Sinhala, and Muslims (unlike Christians or Hindus, Muslims identify themselves as a separate ethnic group) live in Eelam. In the past, there was an ethnic group called Burghers, which is a small Eurasian ethnic group descended from Portuguese, yet they are now extinct. Yet, Sri Lanka claims the whole Island belongs to Sinhala Buddhists only. However, Tamils are the indigenous people of Eelam, but their rights were taken away. From 1990 until 2009, Tamils had a government in Tamil Eelam for themselves. Tamil Tigers (LTTE) formed that government based on Tamil's democratic mandate in 1976.

As of 2009, the true details about Sri Lanka's committed war crimes and genocide became known to the world. During the war, Sri Lanka claimed that only 70 thousand people were in the war zone, aka killing fields, knowing that there were over 300 thousand people. Their real intention was to kill all the Tamil people by giving false information to the U.N. and the world. The U.N. was expelled from the war zone in advance; however, the U.N. had its agents in close proximity to the war zone. The U.N. knew the exact casualties and population inside the war zone, yet they intentionally hid this information. Their setup was kept quiet to allow Sri Lanka and India to get rid of all the Tamils in the area.

After May 2009, only grassroots level campaigns were able to fight for war crime and genocide deniers to accept some level in the United Nations. There was no significant institutionalized campaign by Tamil Diaspora since 2009.

On May 18, 2009, Tamil Tigers ceased to exist, and the Tamil Eelam government was completely destroyed. Before 2009, the LTTE was the main part of the Tamil Eelam government. Many of the Tamil Diaspora, either sympathetic or supporters, financially or morally supported the Tamil Eelam government. Although, a few of the Tamil Diaspora were against the Tamil Eelam government.

The propaganda by the Indian and Sri Lankan governments stated that the Tamils' struggle ended in May 2009; however, it did not. Sri Lanka's genocide still continues and a unanimous resolution, in 2015, by the Northern Provincial government called "Sri Lanka's genocide against Tamils" explains this. For example, Tamil's identities are being systematically replaced with Sinhala Buddhist identities in all parts of Tamil Eelam. For instance, the government is replacing Hindu temples with Buddhist temples. Tamils' lands were confiscated, and the demography is forcefully changed by Sinhala colonization.

The Congress party of India and Sri Lanka were able to completely eliminate the Tamil Tigers because the Tamil political party, TNA, and their leader Sampanthan, kept quiet during the Tamil genocide. Sampanthan and his party were promised by India that once the Tamil Tigers were fully eliminated, India will ensure Tamils will get their federal system as a political solution. Yet, once the Tamil Tigers were eliminated, India didn't fulfill their promise. In order to avoid any pressure from the USA and India, Sri Lanka sided fully with China. India's policy from the Congress party against Tamils brought China in its backyard. The elimination of Tamil Tigers created a lack of leadership in the Tamil Diaspora. India wanted to keep this lack of leadership in Tamil Diaspora by extending its ban on LTTE even though they knew LTTE no longer existed. They effectively wanted to ensure the history and artifacts of Tamil Eelam are erased digitally and physically so that any future generation of Tamils will grow up not knowing their heritage.

By the end of 2008, when the genocidal war escalated, and Tamil Eelam shrank in narrow land, Tamil Tigers assigned KP Pathmanathan as their diaspora representative. In 2009, he was captured by the Rajapakse government of Sri Lanka and all of the Tamil Diaspora LTTE network went down with K.P. Tamil Tigers probably had money invested in the Tamil Diaspora. Based on a CBC news article in 2005, in Canada, the annual amount the Tamil Diaspora raised for Tamil Eelam is about half a million. Yet, the only person who has the account of the Tamil Tiger's money is the current Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as KP Pathmanathan is in his custody with all the LTTE documents. However, after 2019, justice for Tamil projects was not funded by any of the Tamil Eelam government money.

After the destruction of the Tamil Eelam government, the members of the Tamil Diaspora had issues trusting one another. Yet, they were still able to create two world level entities. They are TGTE (Transnational Government of Tamil Eelam) as a government of Tamil Eelam in exile and GTF (Global Tamil Forum), a world federation of countrywise Tamil organizations. Both were financially very weak entities. For example, in 2010, a 100K pound project was initiated to raise war crimes awareness. Yet, the Tamil Diaspora from Canada struggled to raise10K as part of the 100K project. This is because Tamil Diaspora didn't trust these new entities. They trusted Tamil Tigers in the past and provided financial support to huge humanitarian projects through TRO (Tamil Rehabilitation Organization) that were once praised by USA president Bill Clinton for its Tsunami recovery. Another example is when the U.K. documentary director Callum Macrae tried to raise funds for the most significant war crimes documentary release in 2013 and 2015. The crowd-funding efforts didn't get 30K pounds within a few days; it took a few months to get that funding.

In general, there was a lack of financial contribution by the Tamil Diaspora. However, the grassroots campaigns at small levels around the world keep help pushing for justice efforts.

Currently, as of 2020, there is a big online grassroots protest, #shameonvijaysethupathi, because of an upcoming film about the cricketer who defended Sri Lanka's genocide and its war crimes. The Tamil Nadu actor, Vijay Sethupathi, has committed to play the role of the Cricketer Muralee's biopic. In the past, Cricketer Murali was able to make friendships with the U.K. Prime Minister and other dignities because of his fame in the Cricket world. He used his Cricket influence to cover up Sri Lanka's war crimes and genocide.

When Tamil grassroots campaigns pushed the U.K. to take action on war crimes, the U.K. Prime Minister, David Cameron, visited Sri Lanka and met mothers of disappeared sons and daughters. Cricket Murali took the side of genocidal Sri Lanka and justified its extrajudicial killings, and made fun of the mothers who cried in front of the U.K. Prime Minister. His stand was inhuman, but for the U.K. Tamils grassroots campaign for justice, it caused a very big roadblock. They had to work much harder to get justice for war crimes by reaching out to the U.K. M.P.s. With all odds, the Diaspora grassroots campaign for war crimes eventually succeeded, and the U.N. made of few resolutions, even though there is no implementation yet. By Vijay Sethupathi taking the role of Cricketer Murali's biopic, he will be able to whitewash the cricketer's record on human rights, and Sri Lanka's genocide. As of 2020, Tamil grassroots continue to protest and highlight the need for justice for war crimes and genocide committed by Sri Lanka.

(This article was published in Fortnightly Magazine 'Abel', October 20, 2020)


 You can send your articles to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Pin It

Add comment


Security code
Refresh