5.11.2009

stand in solidarity with the tamil people

Some of this information is outdated - the May 9 protest was two days ago - but since last night's protest by Tamil Canadians on the Gardiner Expressway has brought the issue into view for many people, I'll post it anyway. From Toronto Coalition to Stop the War:

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Call for solidarity with Tamils
End the killing in Sri Lanka now!

Dear friends:

A humanitarian catastrophe is well underway among Tamils in Sri Lanka. Since January, over 6,000 Tamils have been killed in a brutal war of aggression led by the government of Sri Lanka. Thousands more have been wounded, many of them critically. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced, and remain trapped in so-called "safe zones" where government forces continue to shell civilians, hospitals and schools.

These attacks are part of a decades-long campaign led by the government of Sri Lanka against the Tamil people and their culture. Since 1983, over 70,000 Tamils have been killed in this conflict, which many human rights groups warn could turn into a genocide.

Now more than ever, we need to show our support for peace and justice in Sri Lanka, and to stand in solidarity with the Tamil people.

In particular, non-Tamil allies - both individual activists and organizations - must make an extra effort to show the Tamil community that it isn't isolated. We have mobilized in large numbers for Afghans, for Iraqis, for Palestinians, for Lebanese and for Somalis.

Now it's time to mobilize for Tamils.

The Toronto Coalition to Stop the War is calling on all allies and supporters to take action now to end the killing in Sri Lanka. Please forward this message and follow the steps below to show your support.

Thank you in advance.

In solidarity,
Toronto Coalition to Stop the War

Call for solidarity with Tamils
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ACTIONS & EVENTS:
1) City-wide rally and march: May 9
2) Sign and circulate the solidarity statement
3) Contact your Member of Parliament
4) Write letters to the editor
5) Show your support on facebook
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1) City-wide rally and march: May 9

[details on event deleted]
Event on facebook

Download the poster here
Download the leaflet here
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2) Sign and circulate the solidarity statement

The Canadian Peace Alliance has produced a solidarity statement, calling for an end to the attacks on the Tamil people. If your group would like to endorse this statement, please e-mail cpa@web.ca.

Stop the attacks on the Tamil people
Solidarity statement by the Canadian Peace Alliance
Please read the statement here.
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3) Contact your Member of Parliament

The Canadian Peace Alliance has produced a sample letter that you can send to your Member of Parliament. Download the letter here.

Please copy the letter and circulate to family, friends, co-workers, etc. Remember that no postage is required to send a letter to your Member of Parliament. Just mail your letter to the following address, and it's free of charge:

Member of Parliament (add your MP's name)
House of Commons
Parliament Buildings
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0A6
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4) Write letters to the editor

Please take a moment to send a short letter to the editor in response to any articles you see in the media about the situation of Tamils in Sri Lanka or about the ongoing solidarity protests in Toronto and elsewhere.

Even if your letter isn't published, it sends a message to the editorial board that this is an important issue and that support is growing for the Tamil cause.

Please keep your letters short (under 200 words) and concise.

L note: this is particularly important, given people will be writing letters denouncing protests that inconvenienced them!
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5) Show your support on facebook

Join this group on facebook to show your support for peace and justice for Tamils. Please invite your friends to join too!

I’m not Tamil, but I support peace and justice for Tamils: group here.

9 comments:

Dharma Seeker said...

Personally I'll never support a group that forcibly recuits child soldiers.

I believe anyone and everyone has the right to protest - nobody has the right to be violent (I consider throwing a bike at someone violent). I know that you don't think Buddhism gels with your activist nature because it's too passive. Ghandi was one of the greatest activists that ever lived - imo. He wasn't Buddhist but he did practice ahimsa (non-violence). If anything people need to dig deeper to find the determination and stamina to resist while adhering a commitment to non-violence. Violence can be rationalized but isn't justified and shouldn't be excused.

The Canadian response to the tradgedy in Burma showed that we can pressure the Government to act and impose sanctions without dragging children on to highways or throwing bikes at people.

L-girl said...

"I know that you don't think Buddhism gels with your activist nature because it's too passive. Ghandi was one of the greatest activists that ever lived - imo. He wasn't Buddhist but he did practice ahimsa (non-violence)"

I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. Buddhism doesn't gel with me because I am completely areligious and not spiritual, and am not drawn towards any spiritual movement or practice.

Nonviolent civil disobedience is an important part of many movements, and Ghandi was a freedom fighter and a great hero.

I do support movements that engage in violence, and I do believe violence is an integral part of freedom movements, and that no freedom movement, anywhere in the world, has ever succeeded without violence.

Not sure what the bike comment is about, but I imagine I'll see a news story somehwere that mentions it. It would seem shortsighted IMO to discount an entire people's movement because one person threw a bike.

Dharma Seeker said...

"Buddhism seemed cool, but I knew it could never be more than play-acting for me. It sounds nice, but I couldn't really believe it. Plus, it seemed anti-activist, contrary to working for change and social justice".

Your spiritual beliefs don't have anything to do with anything. I'm suggesting that it is possible to work for change and social justice without violence. Violence is probably easier, that doesn't make it right.

"It would seem shortsighted IMO to discount an entire people's movement because one person threw a bike".

If it's wrong for the US government to compel people to fight in a war why aren't you outraged that the Tamil Tigers abduct children and brainwash them to fight? Because they're tomorrow's heroes? Bringing children on to a major highway is ok? Because the ends justify the means? It's not the cause I discount, it's the methodology, and anyone who blindly throws their support behind TT.

L-girl said...

"Buddhism seemed cool, but I knew it could never be more than play-acting for me."

Play-acting refers to the fact that I have no spiritual side. In those days - more than 25 years ago - I also saw Buddhism as anti-activism, but that was an aside, since it wasn't for me anyway.

I've since learned about socially engaged Buddhism. That isn't in the post because it wasn't relevant to my journey towards atheism - I discovered socially engaged Buddhism much later.

"Your spiritual beliefs don't have anything to do with anything."

They do if we're discussing a religion or spirituality, which you brought up.

"I'm suggesting that it is possible to work for change and social justice without violence. Violence is probably easier, that doesn't make it right."

I understand your opinion. However, I have a different opinion.

I obviously don't condone violence in all circumstances. But I do think that it's a necessary and vital part of many movements, alongside nonviolent options.

I don't blindly support Tamil Tigers - or anybody else, for that matter. I support the Tamil people in their struggle against oppression.

"Because they're tomorrow's heroes?"

Not sure what this is about. DS, I'm sorry if something I said offended you. If we see this issue differently, perhaps it's better just to let it go. I'm not going to be baited into an argument.

L-girl said...

I just checked on this post, to make sure I hadn't written anything I didn't mean. The post makes no mention of the Tamil Tigers. Never mind blind support, I didn't mention them at all.

Here is, in my opinion, a good balanced view of the LTTE - how they formed, what they've accomplished, mistakes they have made: link.

This story gives an idea of why we cannot trust most of what we read about the LTTE, because of Sri Lanka's control of foreign media: link.

L-girl said...

[reposted to fix link]

Arundhati Roy: "Killings and Concentration Camps: A Colossal Humanitarian Tragedy is Underway in Sri Lanka and No One is Saying a Word

What is happening right now in Sri Lanka, and what is being so effectively hidden from public scrutiny, is a brazen, openly racist war."

linkThis is what the protests are about, and why I support them.

L-girl said...

Good photos of the protest from CBC: link

David Cho said...

Wow, things I seldom hear about from the U.S. media.

Cornelia said...

You can sign up against the genocide against Tamil people at this link:

http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_bloodbath/97.php?cl_tta_sign=2e714f18a92dcf72e1968044b463a332