Today, two years on, our nation, once again stands united to remember. Not just amongst us here in London, but we stand united with Eelam Tamils in every major city, throughout the world, and with every mind of every Tamil who continues to live oppressed in our homeland.
We will never forget those horrors that passed. Unseen, unheard, concealed from the outside world. The injured father who limped for days, only to be killed in a hospital bombed by artillery fire. The newly wed wife butchered into submission as she tried to stop paramilitaries abducting her husband. And the young boy who saw his mother’s murdered body, violated by Sri Lankan soldiers. We will never forget.
And through those painful memories, we also recall the unbearable anguish we felt at watching their deaths unfold. The agony that spurred petitions, campaign letters and awareness events. The agony that eventually caused us to descend upon Parliament Square, in protest at the merciless brutality unleashed upon our nation. And the agony that called us back there, day after day, through wind and rain, for 76 days.
So on this day every year, we recall that at our nation’s bleakest moment, we came together. In the face of unimaginable destruction, we stood united.
May 18th 2009 will always be a painfully etched scar in the heart of every Eelam Tamil. But since that time, for every moment that has passed, and those that are yet to come, our nation beats each beat, united in our consciousness of that scar. And over the days, the weeks and the months that have passed, we, living outside the bloody grip of the Sri Lankan state, who have been entrusted to carry the embers of our nation’s light, have together, re-kindled that flame.
Tamils worldwide have campaigned relentlessly, to call for the release, of war-ravaged civilians from internment camps, to highlight the on-going, human rights abuses occurring within the Tamil homeland, and, to call for an independent, international investigation into the final stages of the conflict. The report released by the UN panel of experts is a much delayed, but nonetheless crucial development. The world, has a duty to see that war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide – are investigated and those responsible, brought to justice.
Time may have numbed the raw pain, but it has only strengthened our resolve. Today, we renew that resolve. We renew our commitment to seek justice for those that perished, not just two years ago, but those that have been persecuted and killed for over 60 years for being Tamil. We renew our conviction that these decades of the genocide against our nation, will only cease with an independent state of Tamil Eelam. And we renew our resolve, standing as one nation – the Tamils of Eelam – to work towards our nation’s freedom.
Across the world today, many nations yearn for freedom and equality. Freedom from dictatorship, from persecution and from genocide, as we do. In each of those struggles, it is the youth of the nation that has risen up and carried the struggle through to the future. Day after day. Generation after generation. Our struggle, against the oppression and genocide of our people is no different. The Tamil youths of every generation have protested and campaigned for the freedom of our people.
This year, we, the Tamil Youth Organisation, launched our campaign calling for the boycott of Sri Lankan cricket, until the Sri Lankan state makes satisfactory progress on accountability and human rights. This campaign was actually started over three decades ago, by the youth of the generation above us. But that is not a mark of defeat. It marks the unwavering resolve of our nation. It marks the strength of our determination. And sadly, it stands as a mark of the ceaseless injustice the Tamil nation has faced.
So on this day, we, the Tamil youth, who have come out here in large numbers, right across the world, we say to you, our elders – we will never forget. We renew our resolve to be our nation’s future and carry with us the light of our nation. In 1976, the Tamil people gave their overwhelming mandate for an independent state of Tamil Eelam and this has always proved to be the will of the people. We will continue that struggle, to see that dream becomes reality.
So long as the Sri Lankan state persecutes our nation with impunity, we will not stop, we will not give up. It is the on-going genocide of our nation that wakes us each day with a yearning for an independent state of Tamil Eelam.
The struggle for freedom, independence – the struggle for a lasting peace – the struggle for Eelam goes on.