If you steal something from someone, you will spend your whole life fighting to keep it.
Let that sink in.
The victim chasing the perpetrator across the road until they can no longer run anymore may follow the theft of money.
The theft of a whole Nation, the undermining of it’s very existence, the robbing of its culture, land and life, can only be expected to be followed by a vigorous, passionate and long struggle to reclaim all that was taken.
During my time in TYO (2008-2012) as an active member, I saw first hand, that certain individuals in the UK Tamil diaspora, were willing to run across the road in pursuit of stolen money, whatever the cost, even if the money wasn’t theirs. If they fell and scratched their knees, or grazed their hands, or were struggling for breath, they would see the need for justice to be served, and they would keep running. For that, I am grateful.
I value TYO for a multitude of reasons, but three essential functions stand out to me:
Firstly, the individuals that devote their time to TYO value their culture, language and heritage. Through this, they see the importance of preserving it, both in their everyday lives, by conversing in their mother tongue, to a larger scale-putting on shows and cultural events, and providing education on the homeland. Examples of this can include Ilanthalir, Pongal celebrations. During my time in TYO, I am proud to say my cultural awareness improved. The organisation helped me grow as an individual and embed myself deeper into simply being Tamil. For that, I am forever grateful.
Secondly, we cry together. TYO is family. New faces come, old faces go, but we are all drawn together when the struggle needs us. Like birds flying back to their nest, we never forget that countless lives were lost for us, and countless more will suffer. My time in TYO showed me genuine tears, from people I thought were ‘too strong to cry’. I now know that strength is not those that do not cry, but those that use their tears to push themselves towards achieving the greater good. This gives me hope that our generation cares, and as long as we keep caring, we will keep fighting-on the streets, on our laptops, and on larger scale political platforms. For that, I am grateful.
The most important function though, is that TYO believes in Eelam. The central defining factor that makes TYO, is the wholehearted belief in establishing a place we can safely live, and call home. This belief alone has spurred members to become highly knowledgeable in global politics, in addition to pursuing their various chosen fields of study. This understanding that Eelam is not a solution, but a historical truth that has been forgotten has led members to re-model their lives, to make this truth widely known.
Members have used TYO as a foundation, and a platform to access other avenues and paths to achieve Eelam. It has divided us. It has brought us together. There is nothing wrong with this, as far as I can see. For, if we all share one common goal, does it matter which path we choose to achieve that goal? TYO has done an amazing job at teaching and nurturing so many individuals; helping them realise their strengths. Sometimes these individuals have felt the need to use these strengths outside of TYO, but still to achieve the goals of the organisation. However, the destination, that TYO taught us, is always the same-Justice for our people, and a free Eelam. For that, I am grateful.