Ilankai Tamil Sangam

28th Year on the Web

Association of Tamils of Sri Lanka in the USA

Tamil Group Urges Martin Luther King III to Lead Sri Lankan Government Along the Road to Peace

by PRWeb, February 11, 2010

We saw your online interview with the Daily Mirror of Colombo, Sri Lanka," said Tamils for Obama in a letter to MLK III. "We are pleased and encouraged that a person of your international stature came to observe and address the problems of our remote part of the world." However, the Sri Lankan government does not seem to share his or his father's commitment to non-violence, the Tamils said.

Martin Luther King III recently had a friendly visit with Sri Lanka's defense minister Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and Tamils for Obama sent the famous civil rights leader a letter explaining that Rajapaksa and his family might not share King's dream of a world without violence and racism.

"We listened to King's online interview with the Daily Mirror of Colombo, Sri Lanka," said a spokesman for Tamils for Obama. "We were, of course, pleased and encouraged that Mr. King came to observe and address the problems of Sri Lanka, which is far away from his home in Atlanta, Georgia, in the U.S.A. We hope he and his belief in non-violence can be helpful to the Tamils.

"One of the things that Mr. King said in the Daily Mirror interview, with which we certainly agree, is that ultimately there must be a shared government in Sri Lanka. This has been one of the goals of the Tamils in Sri Lanka ever since independence in 1948.

"We still hope that this can be achieved," said the spokesman.

"Martin Luther King III also said in online interview that the choice for humankind is 'no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence... It's nonviolence or nonexistence,'" the Tamils for Obama spokesman remembered. "Mr. Rajapaksa, with whom Mr. King posed for friendly photographs, has made a career out of getting his way through violence."

The spokesman went on "It doesn't appear that Mr. Rajapaksa, or anybody in his government, is ready to adopt non-violence. Even with the war over, he is still spending hundreds of millions of dollars to buy weapons from Russia and China and to enlarge the armed forces of Sri Lanka. This is in a country with no foreign enemies, so we can infer whom he plans to use the weapons against.

"While Mr. King was chatting with the Sri Lankan defense minister, his brother the president was in Russia arranging for the purchase of an additional $300 million dollars worth of military hardware. We Tamils have known Mr. Rajapaksa and his family for a long time, and we have experienced only violence from them. While we hope for peace and justice, we can only expect more violence from this government. It appears to us that the Rajapaksa family does not share Mr. King's philosophy of 'peace though non-violence,' and we said so in the letter.

"'My father talked about what he called the triple evils of racism, poverty and militarism,' the Daily Mirror quotes King as saying, 'and how we must somehow eradicate those evils.' The Rajapaksa government has made a policy of persecuting and driving out Sri Lankan's Tamil ethnic minority," said the spokesman for Tamils for Obama. "If this isn't racism, what is?

"Mr. King also said 'an exorbitant amount is being spent on defense. Someday we have to find a way to stop spending all that money on defense and start spending it on social up-lift.'" The Tamil spokesman asked "If this isn't a misuse of resources, what is? The Rajapaksa regime can always find money to spend on their military. Perhaps Mr. King can persuade President Rajapaksa to spend some of that money on resettling the Tamils who have been displaced and impoverished by the government's ruthless war.

"Mr. Rajapaksa and his friends have succeeded throughout their political careers by using oppression and violence. Our fear is that this gang will continue to use the tools that have worked for them in the past, and that the future of Tamils in Sri Lanka includes more oppression and violence from this government. As Mr. King also noted, people who face exclusion and oppression will eventually rise up. We are afraid that more of the Rajapaksas' type of government will lead to another round of civil war.

"We hope that Mr. King will be able to lead the Rajapaksa regime along the road of peace that he and his father spoke in favor of," concluded the spokesman.

To read the whole letter, go to:

To watch the Daily Mirror interview, go to :

Tamils are an ethnic group living mainly in the northeast of Sri Lanka and southern India. During the final weeks of the recent civil war, the Sri Lankan government killed about 1,000 Tamil civilians per day, according to the United Nations, and about 30,000 in 2009. Tamils are a minority population in Sri Lanka, and have borne the brunt of a civil war they regard as genocide. One-third of the Tamil population has fled the island and formed a substantial diaspora overseas. Tamils for Obama is comprised of Tamils who have settled in the U.S. or who were born in the U.S.

To contact the group, call at (617) 765- 4394 and speak to, or leave a message for, the Communication Director, Tamils for Obama.


Tamils for Obama
Communication Director
(617) 765- 4394
E-mail Information
Trackback URL:


Printer-friendly version