If Canada doesn't stop Sri-Lanka, Who will?

[ TamilCanadian ] - [ May 04, 2009 06:12 GMT ]

"Even after hearing all our cries, Canada disappointed us. It unexpectedly failed us. But we, Canadian Tamils will not stop protesting. Our demonstrations will not stop. No matter how long it takes, we will bring this genocide to a halt, because right now this minute as I talk my people are dying. My language is dying. But I will not let my language die. As long as I live so will my language. It is true that Canada did fail us Canadian Tamils, but we still believe in you. No matter how many times Canada refuses, we will always stretch our hands. We believe that you sir, Mr. Stephen Woodworth can do something for us. Because if Canada doesn't stop Sri-Lanka, who will? I leave these questions unanswered in your minds, hoping you can answer them." said Miss. Harunya Satgunarajah, a 12 year old grade 7 student on April 25, 2009 at a Tamil community town hall meeting in Guelph, Ontario. Full speech is below:

Speech addressed in a Tamil's awareness meeting at Guelph

Good evening, honorable MP Stephen Woodworth and my community people. My name is Harunya Satgunarajah and I am a 12 year old, grade 7 student of Sacred Heart Catholic School in Guelph. I'm here today to give you a speech about Genocide in Sri-Lanka. Most of you probably know, but it's only right to tell all. I learned all this from hearing, but there are children in Sri-Lanka who experience it everyday. I moved to Canada at age 3, but still the blood that runs through my body is Canadian Tamil blood. Every breath of my life is Canadian Tamil. I wrote this speech only last night, but it is not just a speech, it is a flow of my thoughts and feelings. So here I begin, with a few questions, which you might have as well. I'll try to answer most of them, but some I cannot figure out.

The problem in Sri-Lanka is often interpreted as war. It is genocide. Well what's the difference some say, here's the answer to that.

What is Genocide?

The present event happening in Sri-Lanka is often misunderstood as war. It's not war. Of course not. War is when two opposite parties fight against each other. That's not what is happening in Sri-Lanka. The correct word is genocide, where only one party attacks. Some people would disagree saying that the LTTE is also attacking. But this is not a strong point. I'll explain.

Genocide is the plotted killing of one particular kind of people, like what happened in Germany by the Nazi invasion. Think back to that time period-World War II-when the Nazis with Hitler took over Germany (and many other nations) forcing the Jews out, killing them. At that time period, if anyone can remember, there was a small group of people that would fight against the Nazis secretly and slowly. Those people at the time were not accepted in society either. Those who supported them were arrested. The world didn't ban them! The problem caused by Hitler was not recognized as war! Why? Why? World countries violently entered the Nazi areas and fought against the killers. America and Canada and many great nations got involved in helping the people, getting rid of the Nazis. But why wouldn't anyone go to Sri-Lanka? Do they not know of the genocide? Do they not accept/believe it's true? Do they not have enough power to interfere? Or, are they afraid of consequences of doing so, and facing countries like India?

All right! Enough about what genocide is. I think you get the point. But what about the next question? The question that everybody is sure to ask frequently…Why.

Why is there genocide in Sri-Lanka?

Well this question goes a little bit into history. But don't worry, I'll make it short! Long time ago when Kings had the power what is now recognized as Sri-Lanka was three main kingdoms, in which one was completely of Tamils. When the British came to colonize the already taken island, they united it and named it Ceylon. But when they left, they left it united. As the majority of the population was and is the Singhalese people, they were the government. Now, imagine two completely different birds living together in a cage. I don't think that would work out very well. Not at all. That's exactly what happened in "Ceylon". The Singhalese always outnumbered our votes, causing majority dictatorship! And since the Tamils and the Singhalese were two completely different people living together in the same land, it didn't work out so well. They had different cultures, languages, religions, etc. The Singhalese using their power decided to make their language the only official language, and then changed the name "Ceylon" to "Sri-Lanka" a name of their language. They showed partiality between the peoples and changed the rules according to their needs. Problems arose to killing the Tamils. India too, supported the Sri-Lankan government, in the name of personal revenge. Growing with every incident the problem now is this large, and Sri-Lanka won't stop until its thirst is quenched with as many lives of Tamils as possible, and India will be on its side.

If this has been going on for so long, why is everyone bringing it up more seriously now?A very serious issue right now that distresses us World Tamils, is the new method used by Sri-Lanka to kill Tamils. Cluster Bombs, CHEMICAL WEAPONS! But both are world banned weapons, and Sri-Lanka is using them on Tamils. Now if anyone else had used these weapons on anyone else, the UN and world countries would have willingly interfered. Human Rights are being broken! But when it's the Sri-Lankan government that's using it, no one cares! Why?

What did we do about it?

Seeing all this happening, do you think Tamils worldwide were silent? The UN says that since January 6,500 Tamils have died in the war zone. But in the past 4 DAYS, 3, 000 have died in the same area. Unable to stand the vicious killing of our kind, many Canadian Tamils gathered close to the parliament, in Ottawa and stood for 14 DAYS through rain and snow, protesting. On the 15th day, Tuesday April 21st 2009, some 50, 000 Canadian Tamils came together in front of the Canadian parliament and called for our government to call for an immediate ceasefire. I stood there along with all those desperate Canadian Tamils, screaming for immediate ceasefire, the end of genocide, the end of chemical weapons, the end of innocent Tamil death. We were not asking Canada to get us a separate nation. We were not asking for Canada to get independence from Sri-Lanka for us. We were asking for Canada to recognize Tamil Eelam, our own nation that was stolen. We were asking for Canada to call for an immediate ceasefire! Canada knew about the injustice in Sri-Lanka, it even accepted it. We believed that Canada would help us. We screamed our lungs out through the rain that day. We stood their telling Canada our problems. We waited for a response. We waited for an answer. We waited for Canada; we waited for something, anything. We kneeled in front of the parliament, we cried for help. We begged the parliamentarians to come talk to us. About 2 out of 307 MPs came talked to us. We cried more, we begged more. No one took notice. Canada took no notice. We asked Canada to break the silence, it chose to remain silent. We reached out our hands to Canada, hoping it would lend a hand, but Canada only stood silently, stone heartedly. We couldn't believe it, our government, the government that we pay taxes to, the government we elected, the government of Canada FAILED US! Earlier in the week many people who walked by told us that this wasn't our country, that Canada wouldn't take notice, but we believed in Canada. But Canada failed us.

Okay, I'm almost done my speech, but I have only a few more questions, UNANSWERED. So I can only hope that you know the answers yourselves.
  • There are over 300 MPs in the Canadian government, where were they when we called for them?
  • Why did Canada not take notice to our crying?
  • Why does UN not take action against Sri-Lankan government?
  • Where are organizations like UN, UNICEF, etc?
  • Why are world countries thinking of consequences of interfering and not of rewards
  • Why does no one care about the dying Tamils?
  • Every day we mourn for death in Sri-Lanka; is it our fault we're Tamils?
  • What did we ever do to anyone?
  • Why do we suffer?
  • What is Canada going to do, if it ever does so?

Even after hearing all our cries, Canada disappointed us. It unexpectedly failed us. But we, Canadian Tamils will not stop protesting. Our demonstrations will not stop. No matter how long it takes, we will bring this genocide to a halt, because right now this minute as I talk my people are dying. My language is dying. But I will not let my language die. As long as I live so will my language. It is true that Canada did fail us Canadian Tamils, but we still believe in you. No matter how many times Canada refuses, we will always stretch our hands. We believe that you sir, Mr. Stephen Woodworth can do something for us. Because if Canada doesn't stop Sri-Lanka, who will? I leave these questions unanswered in your minds, hoping you can answer them.

Thank you for listening to my speech.